To PowerBook or Not to PowerBook?


macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Nov 29, 2002

I'm thinking about getting the new PowerBook with Superdrive. But there are couple of issues that's bothering me. I hope some of you could comment on this.

First issue is the fragile PowerBook case. Specifically the screen. I read many posts regarding how the hinge holding the screen broke off during normal usage and how it was difficult and very expensive to fix this. From things I've read and noticed, I suspect 1) Heat generated during extended usage weakens the material 2) which coupled with stiff hinge could leverage the material to break off. This is just a speculation. But whatever the reason, I wanted to know if this is still the case with recent PowerBooks (someone mentioned this might have been the case with only earlier models) and maybe someone could comment on this?

Another issue is fan noise. I also read posts regarding the new 1ghz PowerBook, describing it as high pitched jet engine noise. I visited local store, but due to the noise in the store, I couldn't confirm this. I hate annoying ambient noises like that. I have Power Mac and its noise reminds me of a large metal refridgerator. Part of reason why I'm thinking of getting a laptop which has to be quieter than a desktop. Could someone comment on this if you have any information?

Besides these issues, I would also appreciate any kind of feed back one might have on PowerBooks.



macrumors 68020
Sep 24, 2002
I got the new 1GZ Powerbook 3 weeks ago and i must say that it is the best computer I have ever used.

So far I haven't had any problems with the screen hinges--it feels sturdy to me and if I do ever have a problem I have Apple Care for any problems.

Jet Engine? Well the fan is on most of the time, but you will quickly get used to that. It really isn't that loud. My friend has the 1st generation Powerbook which gets super hot. My Powerbook still gets hot, but not hot enough to burn you like the 1st generation.

This is such a beautiful, graceful machine that I am so glad that I bought it and I say go for it!




macrumors 65816
Oct 9, 2002
Sydney, Australia
just make sure you get apple care. as someone somewhere once posted:

there isnt one thing thats covered under apple care that isnt more expensive than the apple care itself to replace.
Before saying anything about it, just to clarify, I've owned a TiBook 400 and 800.

- Screen hinge:
Although the paint chipping has been a sooooo frustrating part of my life with PowerBook G4s, I've never heard/seen of screen hinge issue. If you are very much worried about expensive repairs, buy extended Applecare. Let me tell you that TiBook is not a super tough notebook. BUT I've took it to hardcore back packing trips in southeast asia, and it's still working fine.

- Heat and fan noise:
What you've heard it true. As I understand, Tibook has 3 tiny fans. Depending on the amount of heat and area, some or all of these will run. If you will be using your TiBook in a nicely air conditioned room, you'll probably go up only up to 2 fans. It doesn't sound so good, but you just have to live with it. Say, during my time on a Tibook, I get no fan 70% of my time, one fan 10%, 2 fans 10 %, 3 fans 10%. I don't think that issue about the high heat weakening materials is true.

Here's my personal comparison on the fan noise:
Cube (no fan!) > iMacLCD > PowerBook G4 (when the fan's not runnning it's quieter than iMac) > Older PowerMac G4s > PowerMac G4 MDD > XServe

Conclusion: TiBook is not perfect, but it's as close as it gets to the perfect notebook PC.

Comparing my 400 and my latest 800 ones, 800's paint is much better, and I imagine there are a lot more improvements there. I'm guessing that Apple has done some more on the latest 1Ghz. But the heat from the CPU is a little bit more, I guess.

I'm not sure how's iBooks for these matters. I'm under the impression that iBooks are stronger and quieter.


macrumors 6502a
Mar 5, 2002
The Netherlands
I have a Powerbook G4 550 since late October 2001 and it is in perfect condition. Not a single scratch or a broken hinge. As for the Fan noise... Only I leave it running Folding@Home for a long time in a warm enviroment will it come on at full speed, so no need for you to be afraid. Its an excelent Laptop and I'm a very proud owner! Go for it!


macrumors member
Sep 6, 2002

I've had the 400 rev 1 powerbook and now the 1ghz powerbook: the 1 gig is a tremendous machine. It is fast, real fast, and the graphics are amazing for a portable.

However, check the machine CAREFULLLY when you purchase it: I would even tell the store that you want to review it prior to putting down your credit card.

Here's why: there have been numerous reports of minor defects in the present models. In fact, I'm taking mine into the Apple Store today to exchange my machine for another new one. Mine has a latch defect (the top latch - screen casing - is bent and is chipping the paint on the bottom latch mechanism).

If yours checks out - you've got a tremendous computer. Go for it!
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