Which laptop: PB 15"/17" or IBM Thinkpad?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by Butla99, Dec 8, 2003.

  1. Butla99 macrumors newbie

    Aug 20, 2003
    CA-Bay Area
    I have finally narrowed my choices down to two (or three) laptops: a Powerbook 15" or 17", or an IBM Thinkpad T41p. I am a graduate student and will mostly be using it for creating presentations, web surfing, e-mail, word processing, and watching the occasional movie or playing an occasional game. Is there any difference between the PB 15" and 17" in terms of sound quality (I think only the 15" has a third speaker) or processor speed (I know the numbers, but I mean is there any actual real-world noticeable difference)? That will help me decide between the PB 15" vs. 17".

    Other questions:

    1. Does anyone know the contrast ratio, brightness, watts for speakers, or pixel pitch for any of the above models? I can't find this info anywhere.

    2. The IBM Thinkpad T41p lacks firewire and DVD-R or RW. How important might these be for my situation?

    3. Graphics: 64MB ATI 9600 (PB's) vs. 128MB Open GL2 (IBM)

    4. Processor/Bus: G4 1.33GHz/167MHz (PB's) vs. Pentium-M 1.7 GHz/400MHZ (IBM)

    5. 512MB L2 cache (PB's) vs. 1MB L2 cache (IBM)

    6. Screen resolutions: PB 17" is 1440x900 and IBM 14.1" is 1400x1050. Obviously, the PB is closer to widescreen and the IBM is 4:3, but will there be any noticeable difference in the overall sharpness or clarity?

    7. Last one, I swear! I have never owned an Apple and I was wondering how easy the transition is. Is the new OS easy to learn and is it really as much better as everyone says?

    Sorry for posting so many questions, but I had to type them so I could get them out of my mind. I can't sleep because I am constantly comparing the models. I am hoping to get one of these soon, my birthday is in a week and Christmas is coming also. Thanks in advance to anyone who can answer any of these questions. I better get some sleep, I have a final in like 5 hours from now. :)
  2. loneAzdgari macrumors member

    Apr 4, 2003
    UK, KENT
    I own a 15" 1.25GHz Powerbook and I genuinely think that it is the best laptop ever created. It has every single technology that you could possibly want in a laptop and more. It's a class above the thinkpad. Definitely go with the 15" 1.25GHz Model. The 17" is just too large for portability.

    1. The sound quality of the Powerbook is the best I have heard for a laptop.

    2. Firewire and DVD-R is pretty much essential these days, you can't live without Firewire certainly. The DVD writer is great for backup.

    3. The Radeon 9600 will massively outperform the IBM's chip, it's great for games. The OpenGL 2 is just not up to the task.

    4. The processor in the 15" is amazing for the portability of the actual laptop. You won't really notice any differences between the 1.33 and the 1.25 unless you deal with large files.

    5. This may have some effect but still it's pretty small. If you're playing games the performance will be much better on the G4.

    6. The G4's widescreen aspect is much better than 4:3 for watching DVD's and work will be much easier with the increased screen space sideways (for palates etc.)

    7. This is harder to judge. If you have many PC applications that you need to use, the costs will increase because of the cost of the software. As for ease of use, the mac wins hands down. Installing apps is a simple drag and drop, Expose is the best windows management system ever, Mac OS X is much easier on the eyes than windows. The list goes on.

    Hope i helped.
  3. AmigoMac macrumors 68020


    Aug 5, 2003
    Get the fruit...


    This topic will get absolutely biased answers, for most of us that word "Thinkpad" or whatever is related to it won't be read at fisrt...;)

    Of course, you will find those who want to have free/general/open opinion but just because they don't want to be pointed as geeks...:D

    15" SD
  4. WinterMute Moderator emeritus


    Jan 19, 2003
    London, England
    The only downside to owning a Mac is the lack of games on initial release, the PC has a much wider range to choose from.

    Otherwise the 15 or the 17 will leave the Thinkpad in the dust, I've had both, and now use the 17" as my main computer, it does everything flawlessly.

    DVD-r is a must, back-up alone is worth the price, but iDVD/iMovie is ridiculously easy to master. Firewire is now almost essential, it simply makes life so much easier.

    Not to mention Airport, Bluetooth and tarty stuff like illuminated keyboards...:D

    I wouldn't worry too much about the switch, sure it'll take a little time to get used to where everything is, but OSX is certainly the freindliest and most integrated of the mainstream OS.

    Buy the 17" you'll not regret it, mine goes accross London with me every day, and it is very portable with a good bag.
  5. javabear90 macrumors 6502a


    Dec 7, 2003
    Houston, TX
    not the thinkpad

    I would get a 15" powerbook if I were you. I had to make the same deciosion (only w/ older models) I accually chose the 17 so... my school has thinkpads and they are not that great. the 15/17 will be much faster.
    hope this helps
    da tedsta.
  6. ethernet76 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 15, 2003
    Re: Which laptop: PB 15"/17" or IBM Thinkpad?

    1.) Please just go into a store and look at the screens. Mark a point for the one that looks better. Laptop speakers blow no matter which one you get. Blow Blow Blow. Get a pair of add on speakers to go with it once you get the laptop either way.

    2.) Depends if you plan on usings these options. I use firewire for my iPod. However, you will probably not ever use it, unless you do one of the following. Shoot digita video, shoot high-end SLR digital cameras, get an iPod(even then they have a USB 2.0 adapter that while slower will still be quite enough).

    DVD-R for you is a complete waste. Even if you get a powerbook take it off. It's a 200 dollar upgrade you'll use once maybe twice.

    3.) ATI is the standard these days in at-home graphics. The 9600 is the best chip out there period.

    4.) 1.25 will play any game. However Mac games are limited. You'll find yourself happier with gaming if you just break down and get an xBox, console gaming these days is twice as good as computer gaming just for the lone fact of two people can sit down and play against each other in the same room.

    5.) The IBM's cache will make a difference. How large? Not sure. Even though it's double the Powerbook, I doubt the effect doubling will make the effects so lopside that the ThinkPad is th clear winner. Although if it the stats were switched, I'm sure the loons here would argue the cache difference alone would be the reason for the Powerbook.

    6.) It's more important to look at screen size than at resolution. I have a 15" monitor that can do 1600x1200. 1400x1050 would make a 64 pixel icon would be a little over half and in tall(.51). Something 72 pixels tall would be .58 inches. Experts recommend that 72 pixels be close to an inch on screen for best viewing.

    4:3 is better for every day computing. I find that I want more vertical space than horizontal and that unless i'm doing photoshop or flash the wider screen for the powerbook goes completely unused. However, the 4:3 will reduce your DVD's to tiny sizes and you'll find that it's completely unbearable to watch a dvd at a distance any more than a couple of feet.

    7.) No offense, but you don't seems like the type of person who would know how to fix something if it went wrong. For this reason alone I recommend a powerbook. I feel safe knowning that while I may be 4 hours away from my parents that their flat-panel iMac won't crap out on them and require me to go home and fix it.

    As for the switching, get a two-button mouse and you'll be fine. It'll require some getting use to. (No start menu, no my documents folder right on the desktop) But the dock and and home folder takes care of these differences, and youll have the added benefit of not worrying too much about viruses, or someone hacking your computer.

    Roundup: I'd recommend the 15" powerbook for you.

    The 17" is for design professionals and it's really to big for practical carrying around purposes, but the 15" will get you the oOOs and aHHs when you do your presentations. I could have the best computer in the world, but if looks like crap they're going to notice, and thinkpads are just play fugly. Apple has the sleek look that says high-end classy. The only problem is they might want to touch it after the presentation.
  7. kaosfere macrumors member

    Nov 1, 2003
    Man, some of the opinions here are comically biased, but that's what you get for asking questions like this on a partisan site. :)

    Despite what is being said here, the Thinkpad is an excellent machine. It will probably approach or meet, if not exceed, the speed of the PowerBook in most tests of raw number crunching. There is a megahertz gap, but it's not that significant.

    The FireGL T2, which is what's in the Thinkpad, is based on the same basic chipset as the Radeon 9600, but upclocked a little bit and with more RAM. It is at least comparable to, probably better than, the 9600. It certainly will not be "blown away" by it.

    If you don't think you're ever going to have a need for FireWire, don't buy it. USB2 HiSpeed is not as good, but it's not terrible.

    IBM makes an excellent laptop. The T41p is, I'd wager, one of the best Wintel laptops you can buy right now, and one of the best laptops period. You certainly cannot go wrong buying it -- at least, not as wrong as some of the commenters above would lead you to believe.

    Another thing to consider is battery life -- do you need alot? I'm not positive (and I don't have time to look up the specs) but I think the Thinkpad actually wins there.

    That being said, the PowerBook has alot going for it. No Wintel laptop that I've seen even comes close in terms of design quality or aesthetics. The impression you get from a PowerBook is one of sleek professional quality. I've yet to see a Wintel book that doesn't feel like cheap plastic or painted metal; Viaos come close.

    You also won't get OS X on the Thinkpad. I'm been using various flavours of Unix for years, with a sideline in Windows where I absolutely had to, and neither of them have anything on OS X, imo, in terms of beauty, human interface, or just plain ease of use. I run 60-someodd AIX machines at work, and I spend the day flinging perl and shell plumbing on the command line; waking my PowerBook from sleep when I come home is like pouring a good glass of scotch and putting on comfy slippers. It almost feels guilty, it feels so good.

    You really can't go wrong in this choice, IMO. If you can do what you need to do equally well on both machines, it comes down to trying them both out. See how they feel. Type on them for a bit. Poke around with OS X, see if you think you can get to like it.

    I want to recommend a PowerBook, because, well, I have one, but I honestly can't say that its necessarily the best choice for you, and it's certainly not the hands-down winner that folks here will make it out to be.

    My $.02
  8. AmigoMac macrumors 68020


    Aug 5, 2003

    It feels like a "general" point of view but with some hidden messages...

    nevertheless, this topic feels like the one who really wants the PB but need a lot of reasons on paper to show his/her boss/wife/husband and convince everyone around that apple is the answer...

    (That's what my cousin did) :p

    Good luck and enjoy your PB
  9. Apple //e macrumors 6502

    Jun 21, 2003
    doesnt the t41p have the fireGL, a professional graphics card?

    if it does, it is way superior to anything apple has

    id get the thinkpad t41p
  10. kaosfere macrumors member

    Nov 1, 2003
    Yes, it does. It has the mobile version of a card designed for intensive CAD/CAM work. It's essentially the 9600++. I haven't seen hard benchmarks comparing the two, but the FireGL would almost certainly win, and probably by a respectable margin.
  11. shoez macrumors newbie

    Dec 8, 2003
    Let me first begin by stating I've just recently purchased a 12" PowerBook (you can request photos after reading my response if you don't believe me :)), and have been a PC user for many a year.

    Macs are slow no question about it, and a new ThinkPad will run rings around the poor old PB. Equipment and peripherals for Macs are also available at inflated prices. Not withstanding, the Windows PC probably has a greater selection of software - and especially for me, the best text edit in Ultraedit (BBedit simply doesn't compare). Also, and this depends on how you work but OS X seems application centric. Windows is more task centric. The difference is that on OS X you can flick quickly between applications, but not separate app windows. Expose with good old F10 therefore becomes an absolute necessity because otherwise you'd stuffed. If you're anything like me, you'll have your taskbar stuffed to the gunnels with tasks. I'm a Win2k user as well, not XP which I know likes to group app windows together. You may find this slight difference in approaches disorienting and I would say it is probably the central reason why I still use my PC for most stuff, my Mac is there for Uni work (programming, dissertations).

    However, and before every Mac zealot jumps on me ("you'll get used to it", "you talk crap, it's not app centric", "Macs rule, peecee's suck", etc), Macs have lovely build quality. The 12" is quite damn heavy, and it's not exactly thin, but compares favourably against a PC counterpart with similar features. The 15" is probably even better with the gigabit ethernet and what-have-you. Just pray... and I mean, get dirty hands and knees on a dusty church floor, that your Mac comes without any faults. Busted pixels are not fixed until about 6 (or so) of them go the same way. If you go into a Mac store and ask to see the laptop before you buy, take a hike. They wouldn't allow me, and I've heard similar stories from others. (Yeeessss, I imagine others can tell different tales). I'm unsure about IBM on their pixel policy, but Dell apparently replaces machines with just 1; it may be one of those swing factors you take into consideration.

    Also, if you're a programmer consider the keyboards carefully. I'm a great user of the #,delete+backspace,home,end,page up+down keys. The Mac does quite nicely by using the function key with the arrow keys to replicate all those, but not having a standalone delete button can be frustrating. Having a BSD command line at your finger tips as well as X11 is a godsend. It's like a suped-up version of Linux, which I really dig.

    There's probably more to add but I doubt you've got this far ;) I love my new Mac by the way - but still, I reckon my desktop Athlon 1ghz is still faster! Bring on the slagging match :)

  12. twistytie macrumors newbie

    Dec 8, 2003
    As a biplatform guy I can say that alothough my pc might be occasionally snappier, the fact that Windows (yes XP) is hideous and poorly organized cancels out any performance advantage.

    I really just like to add a plug for the PB17 though. As a designer, it is the first notebook with enough screen for me to actually work on. When I need more room I just connect it to a 20" monitor. And despite a billion comments to the contrary, with a proper case, I find it to be TOTALLY PORTABLE. I routinely carry it 12 blocks in my Brenthaven bag without any trouble.

    Also, for what it's worth, before I bought, I priced a comparable Alienware PC notebook and found that once it was similary equipped to the PB there was not a significant price difference.
  13. legion macrumors 6502a

    Jul 31, 2003
    If you like OS X or need a Mac specific application (FCP, Logic), get the PB.


    For all other reasons get the T41p (though it is definitely overkill for your needs.)

    1) It has a better battery life (at least 3 hrs longer than either of the PBs),

    2) a more powerful graphics card with more RAM (FireGL Mobile T2 128MB is the highest GPU and RAM combo in laptops today)

    3) higher screen resolution (1400x1050) than either PB,

    4) better dimensions (thinner than the 15" and lighter than either),

    5) runs cooler (no hotspots),

    6) better build quality and better support (30 days no questions asked return policy, I've never seen a T40/p or T41/p with more than 1 dead pixel and you can exchange within the first 30 days even for 1 dead pixel, 24hrs-7days/12hr turnaround time in repair depot/free shipping/worldwide/3year warranty and support standard with actual knowledgeable people)

    7)BlueTooth, a/b/g wireless (every current wireless networking standard), better reception (distance) than the PBs, IBM includes really great (custom) autoswitching software so you never have to fiddle with any settings once profiles are setup, Gigabit ethernet standard, WPA and WEP security configurable.

    8) Best (full size) laptop keyboard on the market and dual pointing choices(trackpoint, trackpad) with scroll button/magnify button and programmable left/right and trackpad buttons (up to 6 possible independent programmable buttons)

    9) Modular hard drives and you can have 2 hard drives in at the same time (plus it doesn't void any warranties to change things yourself since it's designed to be highly customizable)

    10) and finally the 1.7Mhz P-M chip, 60GB 7200rpm, 2GB RAM max (and IBM does not screw around and fill both slots with RAM so you have to throw one stick out to upgrade; unlike Apple) will blow away any fully maxed PB on the market. It will excel by a major margin in performance.

    Only sticking points for the T41p, no firewire (though 2 PCMCIA cardbus slots... so you can put in non-powered firewire-- or carry an external power supply and use a powered firewire PCMCIA card), no DVI out without the port replicator.

    Expensive (though if you add AppleCare to a 17"PB you're about the same price)

    As for the DVD-R/RW issue
    The DVD-R/RW is expected by end of Jan or Feb '04 since Panasonic/Matsushtia (spelling screwed up on purpose since the filter screws the name up) finally (about 2 weeks ago) came out with a 9.5mm thin DVD-R unit which IBM will customize for the T series. That was the sticking point since no manufacturers were making DVD-R/RW units to fit such a thin space due to heat issues.

    This is a reasonable analysis of the current laptop lineups.. not intended to inflame PB owners. If there is a justifiable disagreement with any of the reasonings above, I'd love to see it; I just don't want to start a flame war. I have all three machines available to me 40 hrs a week (new 15"PB, new 17"PB, T41p and T40p (the T40p now stays at the office or I let others borrow it)-- though the T41p is now my personal laptop, so I guess I have it now 24hrs/7days-- neither the T40p or T41p have ever failed me and both are (t41p)/were(t40p) my travelling laptops--no bluescreens and they are rarely turned off) However, I'm not a gamer... I'm a programmer, pro-audio, and pro-video guy and use these systems for those purposes (along with my desktop/workstation units)
  14. alsandro macrumors newbie

    Dec 8, 2003
    I am a graduate student as well and had exactly the same nightmare for a couple months until at last I made up my mind in favour of apple's 15" powerbook.

    I owned a thinkpad for a few years and had never used an apple before except occasionally at campus labs. Loved my thinkpad and thought of buying the same brand but was somewhat unsatisfied with the design choices they have currently. Also they (IBM) neither give discounts for students nor offer any financing options unlike competitors.

    Now, looking thru the reviews the performance of all of the high end laptops are similar (except for batteries) and my decision was based mainly on userfriendliness (comfortable keyboard, interface, etc..) and industrial design. The two best looking laptops (with the remarkable performance) I came across seemed to be powerbooks and gateway's recent 200 series machine. However, just in one trip to CompUSA I where you can see all those lined up one aside the other, I realized that nothing comes close with coolness to apple's recent offsprings.

    If you're familiar with the apple website, follow the education link and you can get at least $300 discount on those powerbooks. Now i'm looking for an equally cool carry case for it...

  15. g808 macrumors regular

    Oct 6, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    We're issued IBM Thinkpads here at work and I recently switched to a 17" PB as my primary work/personal computer. I've used the older T23 and T40.

    I haven't used the Stinkpad since transferring all my files and email from it to my PowerBook. I wouldn't go back to that Stinkpad for anything. I love my PB. It's faster, more stable, and just all around more fun to use. I also found the larger screen more of a plus than I anticipated.

    I never used OSX before switching, and have found it rather easy to learn. I felt the best way was to go cold turkey, and I haven't looked back.
  16. legion macrumors 6502a

    Jul 31, 2003
    Just curious, but how is the 17"PB faster than the T40 you've used (applications, processes, etc.)?? What problems did you face on the T40? I believe that kind of information would be more helpful to the original poster than blanket statements/general impressions.

    Realize, comparing a 17"PB to a T23 is an unfair comparison as the T23 is a model over 3 years old, but the T40 (even at 1.3Mhz; lowest spec-- definitely not what the OP is considering purchasing) should have been on par or better in performance than the 17"PB. I realize by "faster" you can't be considering the UI of OSX, because I think everyone will agree that OSX (even at Panther) is still lacking in snappiness over OS9 or WinXP. (which is why I don't place much value in comparing "snappiness" between platforms-- I'm usually more interested in the heavy-lifting performance of applications rather than the "eye candy")
  17. twistytie macrumors newbie

    Dec 8, 2003
    I think that the " snappiness" factor is exactly the opposite of what the previous poster seems to imply. As a graphic designer I think I can safely comment on "heavy lifting" and in this regard my PB17 1ghz at least feels much quicker when performing lengthy pixel manipulations in Photoshop or Illustrator than my P4 workstation. Conversely, my PC seems to at least feel a little faster in general GUI operation and then craps out doing anything I actually care about, leaving me to get up, make coffee and water a few houseplants while waiting for it to apply an unsharp mask filter.

    It's interesting to me that most of the praise for the wintel machines seems to come from programmers. perhaps this percieved performance discrepancy is more software than hardware based.
  18. legion macrumors 6502a

    Jul 31, 2003
    That was what I was implying... that the GUI on PCs and OS9 seems snappier than OSX. My point, though, was a snappier GUI means nothing to me (I couldn't care less about "snappy") I don't think of any heavy lifting application performance as being able to be categorized qualitatively as "snappy" as that usually has to do with visual feedback (not necessarily what's happening under the UI) -- which leads me to the question of "what are the specs of the machines being compared?" So to twistytie, this P4, what's the chip, OS, and RAM? (and my previous questions for g808)
  19. Counterfit macrumors G3


    Aug 20, 2003
    sitting on your shoulder
    But it's not backlit :p It may have a light, but it's at the top of the display so your hands block the light when you type.

    Okay, I think I can break this down nice an' easy:
    Comparing the stock T41p (U.S.) and the stock 17" PB (with AppleCare) Winner in bold, subjective areas, draws and areas with a lack of information have no winner.
    Price: $3,379 - $3,348 (before student discount)
    OS: XP Pro - Panther
    Expandability: 2 PCMCIA type I/II, 1 Type III. 2 Ultrabay Slim expansion Bays. - 1 PCMCIA Type I/II
    ——Physical Size——
    Thickness: 1" - 1"
    Width: 12.2" - 15.4"
    Depth: 10.9" - 10.2"
    Weight (with battery)*: 5.4+ lbs. - 6.9 lbs.
    Card: Mobility FIREGL T2 128MB DDR RAM - Mobility 9600 64MB DDR RAM
    Diagonal Size: 14.1" - 17"
    Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - almost 16:9
    Max/Native Resolution: 1400x1050 - 1440x900
    External Video: 2048x1536 - 2048x1536
    Processor: 1.70GHz Pentium M - 1.33 GHz G4
    Cache**: 1MB L2 @ ? Mhz/GHz - 512KB L2 @ 1.33GHz
    RAM: 512MB PC2700 SO-DIMM - 512MB PC2700 SO-DIMM
    Max RAM: 2GB - 2GB
    HD Size: 60GB - 80GB
    HD Speed: 7200 RPM ATA/100 - 4200 RPM ATA/100
    Optical: CD-RW/DVD - DVD-R/CD-RW
    Modem: v.92 56k - v.92 56k
    LAN: 1000BaseT - 1000BaseT
    Wireless***: 802.11b w/ Bluetooth - 802.11g w/ Bluetooth
    Infared: yes - no
    Don't bother
    ——Power Management——
    Heat: 72w - hot
    Sound emissions: 36dB - quiet
    Max battery life: 6.4 hours - 4.5 hours
    —— Other Ports——
    USB: 2 USB 2.0 - 2 USB 2.0
    Audio: In/out - In/out
    Firewire (IEEE 1394): No - 1 400Mbps, 1 800Mbps
    Parallel: yes - no
    Expansion: Dock, Replicator - FireWire, USB
    Video: S-Video out, External Display**** - S-Video out, DVI out

    phew Okay, I'm too tired to continue.
    * The weight of the Thinkpad includes battery and expansion bay bezel, no optical drive. The weight of the PB includes battery and optical drive.
    ** I was unable to find any information on the cache speed, either from IBM or Intel
    *** Adding the 802.11a/b/g mini PCI adapter adds $89 to the cost of the base system.

    I hope you appreciate the hard work I went through to give you unbiased facts :D
  20. riwanami macrumors member

    Sep 4, 2003
    Tokyo, Japan

    I currently have a ThinkPad T40p and occasionally get to use the AL 15inch PowerBook that my sister has recently purchased.

    I'll try to give you the best non-biased answers I can, because I think both are great computers, but each also has its own major flaws.

    1. I think the most important thing regarding the screen is that the PowerBook is noticably brighter than my ThinkPad. In addition, the ThinkPad has a 1400 x 1050 resolution on a 14.1 inch LCD, which can make text and icons small. However, I haven't been completely sold on having a wide screen on notebooks unless you edit videos on them, but again this is just my opinion, so you should probably check it out at stores. (It's hard to find a T41p in stores though)

    2. I think not having a FireWire and DVD-RW on a $3800 notebook is crazy, and I'm not sure why IBM refuses to do this. Having a DVD-R is really nice, especially when backing up your computer. If you go for the ThinkPad you'll probably end up buying an external hard drive or an external DVD-R because backing up 60GB of data on CDs is insane. I think you'll be ok without FireWire unless you do any form of video editing. In this case, you'll have to get a PC Card with Firewire ports which costs about $60.

    3. The ATI Mobility FireGL T2 128MB graphics card that IBM installed on the ThinkPad T41p is certainly not an outdated graphics card. I don't think you'll have trouble playing games on the ThinkPad and you'll definitely have more games available on than on the PowerBook.

    4. For what you'll be doing (Presentations, Word, Email, Web, Games, and Movies), you won't have any problems with either the ThinkPad or the PowerBook. In fact, both may be an overkill. That said, I've noticed that my Centrino 1.6Ghz ThinkPad is usually faster at day to day tasks, such as launching Word or PowerPoint compared to my PowerMac Dual 1.25Ghz. The PowerMac screams at rendering videos, but I use the Centrino as my day-to-day machine. (Also remember that Microsoft Office for Mac and Windows are different, and the current Office is rumored for an update soon, which may improve performance.)

    5. Larger L2 Cache can bring significant improvement. But for what you'll be doing, 512MB of cache is enough and shouldn't be a deciding factor in choosing a PowerBook or the ThinkPad.

    6. Again, the PowerBook has a brighter screen. However, if you are used to text on Windows screens, you'll have to get used to the Mac screens. I always thought that when running Microsoft Word for Mac and Windows side by side by using my sister's PB and my TP, the text on the screen looked a little fuzzier on the PowerBook. When typing documents, I personally prefer the ThinkPad because of this. I've also noticed this on my PowerMac Dual as well. However, you'll see that the screen on the PowerBook is perhaps one of the most beautiful on any notebook.

    7. You'll definitely have to purchase new programs. Also, one thing I gave up doing was converting emails I had saved on my windows to Mac. I had about 10,000 emails on Microsoft Outlook Express that I wanted to convert to Entourage or Mail, but it was pretty difficult to do unless I forwarded each email.

    Another problem is that video conferencing between PCs and Macs is still not very good. Finally, I've noticed that when transferring PowerPoint files from PC to Macs, some fonts in PCs just don't read on Macs, which will force you to make changes once you save it on the Mac. This is most likely a font problem and can happen between PCs, but it was always a problem for me.

    I think OSX is the best OS out there right now. It's definitely more stable than any of Microsoft's offerings. Even as a mostly Windows user, I'm really amazed at how creative, stable, smooth, and easy it is. You won't have any problems learning and using most of OSX in few weeks.

    8. I know you didn't have a number 8, but I think you should be concerned about several other things between the ThinkPad and the PowerBook:

    A. Battery life on the PowerBook is horrible. I calibrated the PowerBook battery twice, but can only get about 2 hours and 15 minutes of use. My ThinkPad gets about 4 hours and 30 minutes. (Both had Wireless LAN on, bluetooth off, using mostly internet, email, and Word)

    B. The Hard Drive on the ThinkPad is 7200rpm where as it's 4200RPM on the PowerBook (upgradeable to 5400rpm if you do the BTO) I think this can also have an effect on the overall performance of the computers.

    C. The standard warranty on the PowerBook is 1 year parts/labor and 90day phone, which is one the worst standard warranties in the industry. The ThinkPad comes with a standard 3 year parts/labor/phone. I'd recommend that you buy the Apple Care Protection if you get the PowerBook.

    D. The sound quality on the ThinkPad is mediocre at best. It's not really loud, whereas the PowerBook's speakers are much much better. However, neither of them compare to the quality of a good headset or external speakers. It's probably something you should get.

    E. 2 Button mouse: I know the world is divided over this, but I've always wished that Apple would come up with a two button mouse/trackpad buttons on Powerbooks. Windows users are so used to the right-click that I often find myself "right-clicking" when using my Mac realizing that I've instead selected something.

    I hope this helps, as I think both machines are great, and you'll be happy with either one.
  21. Counterfit macrumors G3


    Aug 20, 2003
    sitting on your shoulder
    If you do decide to go for the PowerBook, I recommend the 15", it seems like it will suit your needs much better than that monster they call the 17".
  22. Butla99 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 20, 2003
    CA-Bay Area
    Wow! Thanks for all the responses everyone. I still haven't made my decision, but I have all of my questions answered. I'll let you know what I decide in a few weeks hopefully. Thanks again! :)
  23. jevel macrumors regular

    Dec 7, 2003

    It's interesting to see that someone has had the same promblem that I did. I was looking to buy a replacement for my current IBM Thinkpad T22, and I was looking at the same setup as you do.

    In my opinion I found the following points to be what tipped the scales for me:

    1. The PB beats the T41 on design by a mile or so. I've been using IBMs since PII 300, but their design has always been practical, not for the looks.
    2. Built in features. The PB has everything I need on a daily basis. That includes powered firewire and a backlit keyboard. I commute a lot, and during winter this comes in really handy as it turns dark at 3PM. (The newer IBM machines have the keyboard light placed in the screen, but after some use, the keyboard keys will start to reflect the light, making it annoying in stead of practical.
    3. Screen. The PB screen is just plain better than the TP screen. It is brighter and colours seems to me to be more accurate. With my old T22 I often found that my latest presentations would turn out different on the projector than it did as I produced it. This is also due to the powersave function that drop the screen light down to a minimum I expect.
    4. Price. The TP costs significantly more than the PB, even if you buy it through IBM's DataTeam offerings. I've found the T40 on DataTeam offering at about the same price, but that was the XGA version(!).

      And with my use which is primarily surfing the web, networking, wordprocessing, mail, some gaming, PS and FC, my choice fell on the PB.

      When it comes to performance, I don't have too much to say yet, as I haven't received it yet. But my friend just bought the T41p, so I'll be able to do some head to head comparisons when the PB arrives...

      I must say I'm really looking forward to it.

  24. Packetloss macrumors newbie

    Dec 9, 2003
    I am in the same position as you are, however i got a Thinkpad T20 and it has worked extremely well, no faults.

    Now i am considering the Powerbook 17" and i really love the design and the *NIX environemt as im used to Linux from the x86 world.

    However i got some things to sort out.

    Word processor, i do not want to use M$ Office as this is one of the reasons i buy the Apple, i want to get rid of M$ once for all.

    What would you recommend as word processor?

    I am thinking of converting all documents i type to PDF format and then distribute them to people when they want to share somehting with me instead of using *doc in Office as Windows users are used to.

    The other thing is, how can i connect to M$ Exchange servers with OSX? i do not want to use Encourage or what it's called.

    Any solution to this, open source maybe?

    Last question...

    Should i wait til January to buy the Powerbook or should i buy now?

    Do you think it will actually come out a faster G4 Powerbook or even a G5 Powerbook in January?
  25. Packetloss macrumors newbie

    Dec 9, 2003
    Actually the Thinkpad T41p is not the top of the line Thinkpad anymore.

    The R50p is currently IBMs top of the line which include just everything that the T41p doesnt have, like Firewire, DVD-R, 15".

    The rest is the same when it comes to graphics card and CPU.

    However the R50p is "very" expensive, very i might say.

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