To 12" iBook or to 12" Powerbook?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by MacJeep, May 6, 2005.

  1. MacJeep macrumors newbie

    May 6, 2005
    ***My apologies if this was asked before****

    I am making the switch after the WWDC conference - waiting to see if anything interesting shows up at the conference to prevent buyers remorse. I am looking at both the 12" iBook and the 12" Powerbook as my first Mac because I am used to having a laptop, love the portability, and am willing to sacrifice a little on the power. I have been hearing so much about iLife and am wanting to get into iLife deeply using all aspects of it. I am also wanting something that's not only going to be visually impressive to my family, who are all Window users, but performance impressive since I have been bragging about OS X for the past year. I can purchase 1 GB of memory AND a Lacie 16X Dual Layer DVD Burner with the extra $500 dollars it will cost to purchase the 12" Powerbook Combo with 512 MB. I've read somewhere that it's slower to burn a DVD using an external drive, which makes me looking more at the 12" Powerbook SuperDrive, but that's $700 more than the 12" iBook. My questions are:

    1. Will I be able to do everything that I want to do with iLife on the iBook?
    2. Will I see any extreme performance differences using the Powerbook over the iBook? If so, is it worth an additional $500?
    3. Will I see any extreme performance differences using an internal DVD burner over an external DVD burner? If so, is it worth an additional $700?
    4. Will 1 GB of PC2100 (266 Mhz) memory on a 133 Mhz FSB be faster than 512 MB of PC2700 (333 Mhz) memory on a 167 Mhz FSB?

    Any other machine configuration suggetions are welcomed. Thank you all in advance.
  2. tdewey macrumors regular

    Jul 7, 2003
    Hard to say w/o knowing what is going to happen at WWDC.

    However, if I had to choose (and if I didn't play WoW) between the two right now, I'd buy the $999 iBook (cheapre if you have and edu discount), put the $500 into the bank and upgrade to the PB G5 next year.

    As an aside, having owned a 12" G4 (now on perma-loan to my sister), I have to say I found the screen-size to be just too small. If I had to buy an Apple laptop today I'd choose either the 14" iBook or the 15" PB.

    All of this may change come WWDC/Paris/Time.
  3. mcgarry macrumors 6502a


    Oct 19, 2004
    First, if you are waiting for WWDC because of the possibility of updates by then, you may as well wait until then to ask this question, since any answer you get could possibly be outdated.

    Second, the price difference between base model iBooks and PowerBooks is $500, but they are not configured similarly. Using the BTO options on Apple's site, to get more directly comparable, you have to add the 60GB HDD, BT, and 256 MB more RAM. That gets you to $1199, leaving a $300 difference. This $300 (20% of the cost of the PB) buys you, roughly:
    - 20% faster CPU
    - 20% faster system bus
    - Faster, CI-compliant GPU
    - Double the VRAM
    - Faster HDD (20% by rpm)
    - numerous small extras: BT2, HDD drop protection, enhanced trackpad, built-in audio-in, DVI-out, true clamshell mode (able to devote all VRAM to external screen), all in a slightly smaller, lighter body.
    - plus the options for a SuperDrive or a 100GB HDD, not available as BTO on the 12" iBook.

    Now, no, you do not need to use all the BTO options as I presented, but that's how you'd compare the two computers more directly. And my point about the "20%" thing is not that the numbers all somehow directly translate to performance gains in those exact terms, but merely to highlight the similarity of the numbers.

    As for your questions:
    1- the iBook can handle iLife
    2- the PowerBook can handle it better, as could any faster computer. How much better is a tough question, and depends on what you do, but paying more to get more should not be a surprise.
    3- don't know
    4- more RAM is generally better with OS X, but RAM can always be upgraded later, while a slower system bus cannot. The short answer is probably, more RAM is better; the exact answer depends on what you're doing.

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