To go portable or not to go portable...

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Smileyguy, Aug 1, 2006.

  1. Smileyguy macrumors 6502

    Nov 29, 2004
    Hello everyone...

    At the moment I own a 1.8Ghz SP G5 Powermac, running it on a pretty crappy 15' Packard Bell Display. I'm about to enter my final year as an undergrad student, and I think it's time to go portable, for a number of key reasons.

    1) I plan to travel a lot over the course of the next three years. It's likely I'll be studying in a couple of different unis over the next three and am keen to spend time travelling

    2) I have experience in journalism, but I really want to start to move into travel writing and writing on wildlife/conservation issues. Obviously a laptop would be useful here.

    3) I've just finished two years as editor of my uni paper, which had the upside of me always being able to get a computer on campus right away (in the office I worked in). Now I'm entering my final year, when I'll have to write a thesis etc, and I don't fancy lining up to get a machine. I think it would make much more sense to be able to carry my mac around rather than have it sitting a mile from campus.

    Now, the main requirements I have in a machine are...

    1) My main uses are: Word processing, presentations, internet, iTunes and some basic Photoshop and iPhoto
    2) I would like to be able to build a hefty photo and music collection
    3) I would like portability
    4) It would be great if I could connect to a larger, external monitor
    5) Possibly run some stastics programs like SPSS

    So I was thinking I would go for a MacBook, 2GHZ, white (black is nice, but not worth the extra cash to me), and eventually (when I get the cash) get a nice 20' monitor and some external HD space, iCurve etc... at home. But I have a couple of questions...

    1) Do external monitors hook up to Macbook seamlessly?
    2) How much speed difference (better or worse) will I notice with my current G5?
    3) How long would a MacBook kitted out to 2GB of Ram last for the above tasks?
    4) Is typing on a laptop keyboard comfortable over long periods of time (eg thousands of words)

    I suppose while the move makes logical sense in my head the idea of swapping my beautiful, powerful G5 tower, keyboard, mouse and speakers for a tiny 13' Macbook with a small keyboard and trackpad seems a bit scary. Am I doing the right thing?

    Thanks in advance for any help,

  2. dsnort macrumors 68000


    Jan 28, 2006
    In persona non grata
    I can't speak to most of your needs, but I do know this. If you get a Macbook for iTunes, be ready to use your earbuds to listen to the jams. The speakers on a Macbook are not particularly high quality sound producers.
  3. Xander562 macrumors 68000


    Apr 2, 2006
    yes, monitors connect seamlessly, although i think you might need a mini-dvi to dvi port (i think :eek: i dont know) as for the keyboard, i've heard mixed views, some people like it, some people hate it's guts, you could just buy another keyboard though, or keep the one you already have. that's what i'd do. as for speed, i really dont know. just make sure to max out your RAM. i think for just those tasks, a MB would be a good choice, you dont really need anything more for word processing, music, and photos. if your worried about screen space, you could always run in Clamshell mode, with an external mouse, keyboard and monitor, and then just unplug everything when you want to take it somewhere. that way it'd be almost like your G5.
  4. ammon macrumors regular

    Sep 24, 2005
  5. Xander562 macrumors 68000


    Apr 2, 2006
    um, that would be an iBook, iiiiiiiiiiiiBook not MACBook MAAAAACbook.
  6. SheriffParker macrumors 6502a


    May 24, 2006
    The land of love
    1. Yes external monitors hook up seamlessly. The Macbook comes with a minidvi to dvi adapter. It also allows screen spanning, so you won't just have a mirror when connected to an external monitor... you'll have two desktops. Just don't plan on hooking up to a 30" ACD. The 23" is the max size the Macbook can handle.

    2. On universal applications, the macbook will trash your G5. Running rosetta with 2 MB of RAM will be almost as fast as your G5 for PPC apps. I edit photos on my intel mini with 2GB RAM and it already trashes my ibook g4 in speed. It's not that bad at all. Plus Universal Photoshop next year, so there's nothing to worry about. Word, although it may take a bit to start up, will run flawlessly.

    3. I would guess your Macbook with 2GB RAM would last 3 years and still be totally usable for what you need it for. Maybe longer since you aren't really pushing the limits of the processor that much.

    4. I've written several full-length screenplays on my iBook, and it's not uncomfortable at all. The keyboard on the Macbook is really sweet, too. It's very comfortable. I wouldn't hesitate to write a novel on it.

    Go for it! And good luck! :D
  7. ammon macrumors regular

    Sep 24, 2005
    I know it was an iBook. It was suppose to be a joke! :rolleyes:
  8. gog macrumors regular

    May 13, 2005
    Jobs' kitchen cupboard.
    I totally agree with that everything that man just said. Apple notebook keyboards are very nice.
    I suggest you definitely get the 20" external display like the wide dell or ACD if you really want to get into photos though as the little screen is restrictive. Then you can get an external keyboard and mouse too.
  9. Smileyguy thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 29, 2004
    So it's pretty much settled. Right now, I'm going to get the MacBook for home. Not sure whether to keep my 15' LCD for now to use with the iBook or to sell it, buy an iCurve and then start saving for a big 20' display.

    Thanks for all the help folks.

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