unscientific Powerbook performance test

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by ChitownE, Jan 31, 2005.

  1. ChitownE macrumors newbie

    Jan 31, 2005
    After today's price drops, I went to the Apple Store in Chicago to convet the Powerbooks. They still had the "old" ones on display, but I just wanted to fuel my excitement - I'm going to purchase a PB in the very near future.

    However, something gave me pause. For a long while, I was deciding between a 12'' and a 15''. I decided on the 12'' as I'm also getting a 23'' display which I'll use for the majority of my computer time. But when I'm on the road, I want ultimate portability.

    I walked up to the 12'', fired up GarageBand, then Word, all while a Incredibles trailer was playing. Not a very nice test, and the 12'' seemed to struggle a bit. However, when I tried an equivalent test on a 15'' with the same specs (same RAM, same speed, same HDD), it seemed to be quite a bit faster. The only big difference between the two that I know about is the video card. Would that really make the 15'' that much faster?

    I tried a second trial by closing everything, then timing GarageBand loading up. About 6 seconds on th 15'', 10 on the 12''. Odd! Any thoughts on why? Should I stretch the bank book and opt for the 15'', sacrificing the 12'' portability?

    I was assuming that the 12'' would be plenty powerful for my needs (no film editing, only occasional gaming), but now I"m worried...

    Any thoughts are greatly appreciated!
  2. carpet macrumors member

    Jan 13, 2005
    Did you check to see if more programs were opened on the 12inch that you may have overlooked?
  3. NCTRNL macrumors regular

    Aug 17, 2004
    Kansas City
    I went with the 15"...because I don't use it with an external monitor much. I like the speed of mine, and I just don't like how tiny the 12" is. I know that everyone has their taste though. Are you sure the two computers had the same specs?
  4. ChitownE thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 31, 2005
    I'll be honest, I'm a long time PC guy, so there may have been many applications open but I wasn't positive how to tell. And yes, I'm pretty positive the specs were the same.

    I tried the same test on another pair of Powerbook with similar results. But, if people are sure that there is no technical reason for the 12'' to be slower, then I guess I'll just chalk it up to a fluke.
  5. jackieonasses macrumors 6502a


    Mar 3, 2004
    the great OKLAHOMA....
    You just stated that you weren't doing anything THAT intense, besides gaming. If you aren't doing anything TO bad - then the 12 will be fine. I have a 1ghz 12" powerbook- and i found myself in the Editing arena. I spend about 8 hours a day on Final Cut and i hit the ceiling - but it is an acceptable ceiling. The 12 inch is tiny- and if you need portability go for it. You will not be disappointed.

  6. James L macrumors 6502a

    Apr 14, 2004
    More important component to your test... how much ram did they have?

    The video card doesn't make squat difference in most apps, unless 3d modelling is involved (and with some os stuff).

    Ram, on the other hand, makes a huge difference. I seem to remember that some models of the 12" only had 256mb stock, and some 15" models were either 256MB or 512MB stock.

    In OSX that can make a huge difference. 512MB isn't even really enough, you should definitely get 1GB of ram. 512MB, however, is much better than 256MB in OSX.

    When you buy your machine, get the most ram (3rd party perferably) and the fastest HD you can (though I think the new models are all 5400rpm. Also, get the best video card you can, but this won't be a big performance booster in most apps.


  7. deebster macrumors 6502

    Oct 21, 2004
    Olde Englande
    The original post says "same RAM, same speed, same HDD"

    Given that it happened twice I too find this quite intriguing. I was all for getting a new 12" but if the 15" is that much faster maybe I need to rethink.
  8. Lacero macrumors 604


    Jan 20, 2005
    Perhaps Garageband was cached on the 15" PB. It may have been the speed of the HD, since the 12" PBs have 4200RPMs standard. The only way to test PB processor/memory performance would be to launch GB and both machines, quit out, then relaunch. They should launch within seconds of each other, if not the same.
  9. QCassidy352 macrumors G4


    Mar 20, 2003
    Bay Area
    I don't know what to tell you except this: I've played with lots of macs in apple stores and never been very impressed with their performance. I don't know why, but store models never, in my experience anyway, perform like they should. Who knows what is running on them, what is loaded on them, who has done what to them. Bottom line is that store models are just not like having your own machine and setting it up the way you like. I've found that it's actually a pretty drastic difference.

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