Would I be happy with an iBook?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by Azmordean, Jan 30, 2005.

  1. Azmordean macrumors 6502

    Mar 10, 2004
    Silicon Valley
    Well, first a little background. I used to be a pure PC person. Last year I started getting into macs, and in March I took the plunge and bought a refurb PowerMac G5 single 1.8. I dropped an extra gig of RAM in and I was set. I just love the machine, and love OS X. I have never had problems with Windows at all (no crashing, etc) but OS X is just more elegant, and more fun to use. I basically only use my PC for gaming now.

    Now to the question at hand. Laptops. I currently have a very nice PC laptop (DELL Latitude D600). It has a 1.6 Ghz Pentium-M (Centrino) processor, Radeon 9000, 512 RAM, 40 gig hard drive, CD-R/DVD combo drive, 14" 1400x1050 screen. It is quite speedy, and serves me well, but I'm feeling the urge for a mac laptop. Also, while mine is light, I'm thinking I might like a 12" machine. So I was thinking of a 12" ibook - it seems to be a much better price than the powerbook for not much less of a computer. My question is, will I be happy with the speed of an ibook? Part of me think it is a big step down performance wise from the laptop I currently have. Any thoughts on this?

    PS: I will be waiting for the upcoming PB release to do anything - for now the PB 12" seems like a waste of money over the iBook, but that may change depending on what apple puts out.
  2. leftbanke7 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 4, 2004
    West Valley City, Utah
    Well, the first thing that needs to be said is that your purchase should be determined by what you plan on using the laptop for. If you need portible power for photo/video editing or other intensive tasks, then the PowerBook is the way to go. If it is just for portible conveinance (e-mail, text, internet) then the iBook is the way to go.

    Having that being said, I am not sure what the speed comparisons are btw your current lappy and an iBook (perhaps are more learned member of the forum can answer this) but I don't imagine that the speed difference, if any, would be significant.

    It probably wouldn't hurt, however, to wait a week or two to see if these updates PBook rumors pan out.
  3. tech4all macrumors 68040


    Jun 13, 2004
    Doing basic stuff like, email, Word, internet, iLife, etc, yea it should be OK.

    Doing graphic design, video edititing, probably not.

    What is the main thing you want to do with the iBook? Your Dell notebook doesn't seem to be super-duper high-end laptop (not insult intdended), so I assume you don't do anything processor intensive. If so, then the iBook should suffice. I would just upgrade the RAM to at least 512MB.

    EDIT: Yea basically what leftbanke7 said. :)
  4. Azmordean thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 10, 2004
    Silicon Valley
    First, to correct any misunderstandings, much like MHz isn't the end all and be all with respect to PC-Mac comparisons, the same is true with Pentium-M vs. Pentium 4-M comparisons. Pentium-M processors have huge amounts of cache and other features that make them outperform even desktop P4s in "business type" tasks. For such tasks, the notebook I have now probably compares well to a Pentium 4 in the 2.5 GHz range. Now, in tasks like gaming, the Pentium 4 2.5 takes off, but otherwise, the Pentium-M 1.6 is its match.

    As for what I will use the notebook for: primarily word processing, internet, email, and other "business" type tasks. Some CD ripping / burning and video watching duties while travelling. No high end video or graphics editing however. Also, I would like the notebook to at least be serviceable for light gaming. I play World of Warcraft - my current laptop can handle the game well enough to play (though it isn't that pretty, lots of options must be turned off). It was my hope the ibook would handle it in a similar manner (if only apple would let me install WoW in the store to try it out :p).

    I guess what really concerns me is this... my DELL was pretty top of the line in the thin and light category (its about 1.2", and 5.2lbs) when I bought it (summer 2003) and I paid around $2100. I can only hope to get $1000 or so out of it now. Part of me worries "switching" to the iBook will be a bad trade performance wise, all for the sake of a mac. I love OS X, but XP is just as functional for me, OS X is just more fun to use. So, I don't want to end up with an inferior machine just because I would prefer OS X.
  5. Mitthrawnuruodo Moderator emeritus


    Mar 10, 2004
    Bergen, Norway
    Having an iBook G4@800MHz with 640 MB RAM, as my main (and just at the moment only running) computer, I don't think the current model iBook would feel like a (significant) step down from a PM@1.6GHz for the things you want to do. Just remember to max out RAM and HD.

    I'm using it for everything, also some Photoshop work, without any problems. The machine is also my portable jukebox and contain all my music. I've ripped all my CDs (and som from family/friends/public library) and use it as my main music player at home (connected to the hifi wirelessly using an Airport Express) and syncs my favorite playlists onto my mini iPod whenever that needs charging). As a CD-ripper/-burner the iBook is MORE than good enough. (Have tried some DVD burning using an external DVD-R, and converting .mov/.avi to DVDs took forever. You're better off doing this at your G5.)

    Haven't tried WoW, but I play some CM4, and although it's on the slow side, it's still highly playable...

    If you can get enogh funds selling a year-and-a-half old PC laptop to get a brand new iBook I think it's a good trade. You won't get a faster machine, just a small, really tough little workhorse with a sleeker, safer and sexier OS. ;)
  6. Azmordean thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 10, 2004
    Silicon Valley
    Ok an update - with the release of the new PBs, I'm now thinking the 12" PB is "better enough" to warrant paying the extra cash. But I've got more questions. First, is the Geforce 5200 GO video card better or worse than the Radeon 9200. I know the GO has more RAM, but I remember reading somewhere that the 9200 stomps it. In that case, maybe the iBook would be BETTER for gaming?

    Now, with regards to performance. Just for kicks, I downloaded the CINEBENCH 2003 benchmark onto my DELL laptop and onto my G5. The results were, well, disturbing.

    The G5 beat the DELL in the CPU test - barely (214 vs. 247). Given that about the highest scores I've seen for a G4 powerbook are in the 140 range, I'm beginning to wonder if this DELL simply won't outperform the PB across the board.

    The graphics tests were even worse! The G5 got 235, 634, 1000 (in GFX C4D, OGL SL, OGL HL). The DELL laptop got 229, 1037, 1327. In other words, my G5 with a desktop 64MB Geforce 5200 got stomped by a laptop with a 32MB Radeon 9000. This doesn't seem to bode well for the Geforce 5200 Go chip.

    So, who knows. Maybe this is just one wonky benchmark, but it seems to be widely used in the reviewing world. I love OS X, but I'm not willing to take a huge step down in performance just to use it. Am I deluding myself thinking the PB or iBook will really keep up with my DELL?

    Bah, decisions, decisions.. what a pain.
  7. Aaon macrumors 6502

    Jun 30, 2004
    I suppose I'm in the same boat as you, jahutch. I am currently using a Thinkpad with a P4-M 1.8, and it does everything I want it to do, has a bright, big 15" screen, and is generally fault free. But I enjoy OSX so much more, that I want to get myself a Mac laptop. For the past 6 months or so I have been set on the 15" powerbook, but even with the price drops it is a pretty expensive machine. I don't plan on doing heavy video editing or anything with the laptop, I just want an enjoyable experience. I love Expose and Safari, and the whole OSX "feel." So I look at the laptops and agonize over what to do. 15" Powerbook, 12" Powerbook, 14" or 12" ibook... I can't say I NEED the high power of a Powerbook, but I've always bought the best out there. As a grad student who doesn't make much, this is a major purchase for me, and I am torn over what to do.

    I think in many ways the choice will come down to the screen quality. I mean, if you are gonna stare at something all day, it should be nice! I'm not simply referring to resolution, but to brigntness and contrast (two things which seem oddly missing in reviews of laptops). So I sat down with a 12" pb and a 12" ibook at my university store yesterday, and put them both next to my Thinkpad. The viewing angle and brightness on the thinkpad was far superior to both of these, which left me somewhat disappointed. And as for the two Macs, I actually thought the ibook had the nicer and brighter screen.

    Sooooo.... What is the point of this long, rambling post? I'm not quite sure. I guess I'm just venting some of my frustration over my current hunt. I want to make sure that the computer I buy will do everything I want it to do, but I also want to make sure that I don't pay too much, or buy more than I can use.

    And if anyone cares to express their honest opinions of the screens on their laptops, especially some comparisons, that would be great!


  8. lasuther macrumors 6502a

    Feb 13, 2004
    Grand Haven, Michigan
    If you really want to play games on your laptop, you are probably better off with your current machine. The iBook handles WC3 just fine, but everything I’ve heard about WOW on the iBook is bad.

    However, if you want OSX, expose, iLife, and a sweet looking laptop, you’ll have to go with an iBook. Good design, long battery life, and slot loading CD burner is something Dell can’t give you. I use my laptop for OSX, Internet, iTunes, and iPhoto. These are things that iBooks excel at.

    My recommendation is to keep your current set up. When Tiger comes out, get an iBook with Bluetooth. For about $1000 you’ll get a new laptop with Tiger, iLife 05, and Quicken 05. When you take all the software into consideration, it’s an amazing deal that Dell can’t touch.


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