Want to get a mac! Powerbook or iBook for me?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by iBunny, Apr 15, 2004.

  1. iBunny macrumors 65816

    Apr 15, 2004
    Hello all,
    I am an avid PC user who never even wanted to take the plunge into a mac until recently. Now i am intregued and want to either get a Powerbook or an iBook. I am uncertain on which to get and which is right for me. Obvisully the Powerbook is faster however its much much more expensive compared to the iBook. I will mainly use this computer for school, Microsoft Office ( I want to get Office 2004 soon ) Watch DVD's Burn CD's, Internet, and Chat alot, Wireless For sure and Music creation.
    I am un sure wich i should get.... I know that the ibook could easily do these tasks however I want a machine that is very responsive. Nothing bugs me more in a computer than slow accessing files, slow at opening programs, and stuff like that.... all around a "fast" feel is what I want to make my decision. Now I cannot play around with a mac to see, cuz i know of no one who has them, and there is no mac store in my area (about 1000 miles away ) so my question to you professionals is, what should I get.... is the iBook very responsive and fast in genaral OSX usage? should i spend the extra money and get the powerbook?
    Thank you all...

    iBunny :p
  2. macka macrumors regular

    Mar 19, 2004
    Well I ain't an expert...but my buck says go for the Powerbook if you can afford it.
    I've got an iBook and it's fine for me cause being just a little slower doesn't bug me cause I'm usually only running one app at a time, two at the most and I use it for school.
    If a slower machine really bugs you like nothing else, then go for the Powerbook. If you wanna save a couple of bucks then go the iBook. Either way you got yourself one nice piece of machine.
    Congratulations on the switch. ;) :)
  3. AmbitiousLemon Moderator emeritus


    Nov 28, 2001
    down in Fraggle Rock
    hello iBunny,

    I think mst people here will tell you to go for the ibook. It is a peppy little machine and is more than enough computer for the tasks you listed. It will not feel slow in osx. For the average switcher an ibook or emac is ideal. Its a cheap introduction to the world of mac, and offers far more computing power than most pcs of similar pricing.

    All that said my recommendation would be to go with the powerbook. It is a far more versatile machine than the ibook. And yes, of course it is much faster. But other than that I have two reasons for saying choose the pbook.
    1) when someone is switching i often feel that they should see apple at their very best. the powerbook is apple's very best computer. and the rev that is rumored to be released next week will be the very last g45 pbook. now don't get disappointed that it isn't a g5, you can look at this g4 in a positive light. This is a tried and true model. Apple has had years to iron out the bugs. It is a solid system that will outperform any wintel laptop on the market.

    2) For the typical consumer stating an interest in what you listed the ibook would be more than enough. But the fact that you not only took some time to explore the mac platform, but also sought out this forum to get advice makes me think you are going to want to do more with you machine. Having only used a PC before of course all you expect to do is email, web, office, etc. that is all PCs can do (a joke— really it is). I think you will end up pushing whatever system you buy to its limits and tehrefore you should get a high end system. Buy a system that will do more than what you expect to do, because chances are as soon as you grow comfortable with the switch you will start exploring how much more you can do with a computer that actually works. (now of course you need to decide on which pbook to buy)
  4. t300 macrumors 6502a


    Apr 10, 2004
    Same question over and over...


    But, wait for the updates.... iBook with Superdrive...
  5. thirteen1031 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 23, 2004
    AmbitiousLemon makes an excellent point about pushing the powerbook to its limit. You've only to hook up a digital camera to become addicted to iPhotos. And if you have a large music library, iTunes makes it all too easy to keep it all on your laptop. Between the photos and music, you'll appreciate having the powerbook's larger hard drive.

    Of course, if your budget is real, real tight--if that extra money will do too much damage to your pocketbook, then you can certainly get the iBook (especially if they notch it up as they might this week) and be completely satisfied. iBooks are very good computers, very solid, and they have the one advantage over the powerbooks of a longer battery life. Also, you're probably going to want Airport and at least 512 RAM (you can get that cheaper from elsewhere and put it in yourself), so figure that into the cost as well. If the powerbook's really too much with extra RAM and Airport, then go for the iBook. It will do the job.

    HOWEVER, if you can afford the powerbook, especially those (maybe) being released this week, go for the powerbook. Remember that unlike most PC's, you can expect to keep, use, adapt and expand this machine for 3-5 years. PC's are often cheaper, but people tend to replace them after a couple of years and their re-sale value can be poor. Your Powerbook will last longer, give you more satisfaction and productivity, and if you decide to sell it, it will have an excellent re-sale value.

    So even though it costs more, bite the bullet and get the Powerbook if you can--in the long run, you'll be getting your money's worth.
  6. JFreak macrumors 68040


    Jul 11, 2003
    Tampere, Finland
    buy an ibook.

    i switched two years ago and had the same dilemma. i decided to buy a powerbook [because i could], but later found out i should have bought an ibook as my first mac. simply because it took some time to get used to osx and the power of powerbook simply didn't get used. and, today the ibooks are quite equal in power to the powerbook lineup back then.

    save your money now and buy the powerbook later, when you have the need for more power. and actually, it's not about the power if you don't do video editing or heavy audio production, but rather style and usability - powerbook line has wide screens [very nice!], stylish outfit, superdrive, all the latest connections, and very expensive applecare warranty and non-warranty service costs.

    if you can live without wide screen and superdrive, don't buy powerbook at this time. buy ibook now and learn to use [love] the osx. buy all kinds of accessories and software you need with the money saved for not buying the powerbook; and when you know you need it, buy the powerbook.
  7. MacQuest macrumors 6502a

    Jan 18, 2003
    You See Dead People...
    The quickest way that I've found to make people decide between an iBook and a PowerBook [without getting into irrelevant technical specifications] is:

    a] Do you think that you would want to add an external LCD display within the time that you expect to keep your iBook [avg. 3-5 years]?

    b] Do you think that you will need a DVD burner? Keep in mind that most people didn't feel that they would use CD burners when they started becoming popular in the mid-late 90's. Also, it's pretty much a sure thing that once you start using iTunes, iPhoto, and inevetibaly iMovie, you're going to be left wanting iDVD so that you can watch/share your projects on your home dvd player that's [most likely] connected to a televison that is much larger than any computer display you have. It's also a lot more comfortable to watch these things in the comfort of your living/family room instead of on a small computer screen. Although you can connect an iBook to your television and watch iMovie projects directly from there, easily created and professional quality DVD's are very nice and easily distributable to others.

    c] Do you need a widescreen format LCD on your laptop? Most people want one, but rarely do they need it, again, unless you really start playing with the iLife applications.

    If you can rule out the addition of an external LCD display, a DVD burner, and a stock widescreen LCD [if you're considering anything larger than either the 12" iBook or PowerBook] for 3-5 years [of course you can always sell it and upgrade earler], then go with the iBook.

    I personally tend to see people opt for the 12" PowerBook if they were looking at the 14" iBooks because the prices are close enough, but the 12" iBook is a steal if you want something small and can rule out all of the above. Yes, there are ways [adapters, custom installations, etc.] to add those features to an iBook, but there not cost effective.

    Good luck on your decision and welcome to the Mac community iBunny! :)
  8. josepho macrumors regular

    Mar 12, 2004
    Surrey, England
    I was very recently in a similar situation to yours. My uses of the mac were gonna be similar, MS Office, Internet, Chat, burning some CDs now and again. I swayed between the two many times, and finally decided one day - go for the iBook.

    Well, a week and a half later I'm sitting in my bed (half lying, half sitting), iBook on my lap, on the net, connected through the Netgear router I got yesterday. The whole wireless thing is so good - if you can, a wireless network at home is the way to go.

    So, what I'm saying is, my ideas were similar to yours and I chose the iBook. So far (1 day) I'm SO happy with it, and don't think that I'd've appreciated the differences between this and the Powerbook to warrant the significant price increase.

    G'luck, cheers!
  9. wPod macrumors 68000


    Aug 19, 2003
    Denver, CO
    go for the PB . . . you can put in more ram if you want a zippier speed in the future and it will last longer b/c it is faster etc to start with. if money is an issue there is nothing wrong with the iBook it is still an apple and will still be much better than any windows laptop you can find. but if you do have the money, go for the PB you will enjoy the extra edge over the iBook.

    or if you want a good cheap laptop to introduce you to apple check out the iBook i am selling

  10. laserbeahm macrumors member

    Feb 4, 2004
    Central Valley, CA
    Go for the 14" iBook. I used my iBook at school all the time. Here's a few reasons why:

    1. It's great for taking notes (the keys are nice and quiet)
    2. I believe that battery life is actually a little longer than the PowerBook.
    3. The 14" screen is fine for any of the apps that you use. I use it a lot for Excel spreadsheets, and it has plenty of room.
    4. AirPort connects without problems to on-campus networks.
    5. It costs a lot less than the PowerBook.
  11. me_94501 macrumors 65816


    Jan 6, 2003
    For your needs, I think an iBook is more than enough computer.

    Before the iBook I used to gripe about not having a CD burner. However I still don't use my CD burning capabilities on my iBook. :eek:
  12. Zaty macrumors 65816

    Mar 14, 2004
    Wait until next Tuesday which will probably bring new PowerBooks and new iBooks!
  13. Kingsnapped macrumors 6502a


    Oct 16, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    Keep a couple things in mind though:
    a) The Powerbook is just as good at notetaking, my keys never interrupt anybody.
    b) The 12 and 14 inch iBook screens are the same resolution, you're just getting larger pixels and losing portability. If I were to get an iBook, it would be the 12 inch model just for size's sake.

    Your situation sounds like you should get an iBook. You would be dropping a lot of extra money for a Powerbook if you're unsure you need its features. As for the DVD burner, I consider myself a prosumer editor (I make videos in FCE for cash) and I've only used my superdrive once or twice. You always have the option of saving your movies to quicktime and taking them to a university or something when you need to use iDVD. Whichever you choose, enjoy and stick around here for a lot of tips when it comes to your mac.
  14. iBunny thread starter macrumors 65816

    Apr 15, 2004
    Well, as for the movie thing. I wont be doing any of that except for watching DVD's. I am not a 'editor' or whatever, i dont even desire to play with it. However, i do want to get into Digital sound / music creation with 'Soundtrack'. Other than that, Office 2004, Internet, Chat, PDFCreation Storing all my photos, and song colection is all I will be using this computer for. No photoshop either, Im not too good at it :(

    I am still unsure of my decision however. I am not worried how my new apple will run the programs I want it to, I am more concerned with how the Computer will handle the Smoothness and responsivness of the operating system espically with multiple windows and programs open. I dont want a computer that 'if i were to have (2) instances or Internet open, (1) Chat program, MS Excell, Encourage and word open at the same time that the OS would crawl such as moving windows around, Maximizing and Minimizing and switching between applications. THat is what I am most concerned about. I need a good smooth feel of the computer.... thats what I am most after. So if the iBook can get my that.... than I will take it.

    But I am going to wait until this Update everyone is talking about. Hopefully we can get faster iBooks. I would really like to see 1.25Ghz G4 w/ 512KL2 Cache in the new 14' iBooks. We will see.

    Thank you all for your help, and I still would appricate peoples input on what I should do and what you would do. Thanks.
    PS, My Budget is about 3500$ but that includes, Software such as Office 2004, Airport Base and stuff like that too.

  15. thirteen1031 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 23, 2004
    If that's all you're worried about, don't be. An 1ghz, 12" iBook can handle all that--though you will need at least 512 RAM.

    OS X is made to switch between applications fast and smooth--and it's uses it's Mhz very efficently to do it.
  16. dragula53 macrumors regular

    Jun 23, 2003
    my 2 cents

    I have had a 14" ibook for about 3 years now.

    the lid doesn't latch all the way and the plastic warps. (the problems are related ;) warped lid keeps the rinky dink latch from holding it shut)

    the resolution is the same as a 12".

    there isn't much speed difference between the g4's in the ibooks and the powerbooks. something you won't really notice. be sure to get enough ram

    if you have a <1100 price limit, I'd get a 12" ibook.

    if you have the money, go powerbook and don't look back. the 12" powerbook that I played with was extremely solid. and light. and the keyboard was way better. and it just plain looks cooler. You are buying a macintosh for aesthetics, and the powerbook is a fine example of aesthetics.
    it has the same kind of latch, but not the warping problem. plus the added advantage of ADC out, things like that make it very nice.

    a 12" powerbook will be my next computer.

    anyway, that's my opinion.


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