(Yet another) Potential Switcher

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by Tetra, Jan 14, 2004.

  1. Tetra macrumors newbie

    Jan 14, 2004
    Hey guys.

    Just looking for some advice here. Anyways, I've been eyeing the Mac laptops for some time now. I'm a college student, major undecided as of yet, so main usages will be Word Processing/Web Browsing/Powerpoints, etc. The basics, really. I'm also an avid photoshopper, and would like to be able to pull that off with some speed. I was originally looking at the iBook 12", fully upgraded, but I'm worried that it simply won't last the length of time I need it to.

    Gaming is handled on my p4 2.66 just fine, so thats not a real concern either

    I've a budget of about $1600, which would be going through the student discount site. Buying immediatly *isn't* necessary, as I've been somehow coping with a Compaq P3 450 with 192mb. First system I was on was an Apple IIc, and from then on, it was x86. Back to my roots, I guess.

  2. floatingspirit macrumors 6502

    Oct 13, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    Hi There,

    I was similar to you when I got my first Mac about 3 years ago. Same budget and requirements, though I did more game (StarCraft) than Photoshop. iPhoto has done me just fine.

    I got the 12 for portability and the iBook for durability. It's been in a mountain bike crash while commuting to school and no problem. It's got a hard shell and I think I read somewhere that the interior is somehow mounted on rubber feet to help absorb shock.

    You can see my Mac's specs on my "signature" below. It's still goin' strong and I'm happy with it, though coveting the 15in PowerBook.

    The only thing I did was max out the ram from crucial.com and installed it myself, piece of cake. There are instructions at Apple's "Knowledge Base" website.

    If durabiltiy isn't a concern, the only thing I might suggest is try for the 12in PowerBook.

    Happy Shopping!
  3. Tetra thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 14, 2004

    Anyhow, I had been looking at the 12" PB as well, but the price gap is enormous, and for 1600, I think I can get a much better system off an iBook.

    I do tend to baby my electronics a lot, so I handle the durability issue just fine, I suppose. Of more concern though, would be batterylife / longevity of the sistem itself. The last thing I want is to drop money on a laptop, and *need* to upgrade in a short amount of time. That issue, more than anything else, is making me "Think Different".
  4. Grimace macrumors 68040


    Feb 17, 2003
    with Hamburglar.
    Whichever you go with - max out the RAM 1GB will do you a ton of good. Buy whatever minimum apple will put in there and buy the upgrades from Crucial.

    I have probably posted this 20 times today. The new "What system should I get" forums should have a default - MAX OUT RAM - reply inserted automatically.
  5. kidA macrumors regular

    Jul 22, 2002
  6. Tetra thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 14, 2004
    Ram is always a given, if I can afford it.

    That was really the selling point of the iBook to me. With a student discount, and a 1gb SO-Dimm from somewhere (Does the iBook technically support this? Apple doc's say no, people say yes") I end up with a iBook 800 12" w/ 1.15gb of ram, BT, and a 60gb drive for 1575 or so.

    With the student discount, and considering S&H, it's actually cheaper for me to get the 512 dimm via apple. In which case, a maxxed out iBook would be 1300 even, before S&H. Seeing as this is my first real Mac, that would give me a buffer for software as well.

    A comparable powerbook would be *much* more. The PB has the option of the superdrive, of course, buuuuut, in all my household desktops (3 Wintel boxxes), and family laptops (a tablet, and my compaq), only the tablet and compaq even have DVD-ROM drives in them. While being able to burn movies to DVD would be nice (I do occasionally do some editting work, mainly splicing animation to music), I don't think its utterly necessary on a laptop?
  7. hulugu macrumors 68000


    Aug 13, 2003
    quae tangit perit Trump
    iBook vs. PB

    I actually like both machines, but there are some differences between the two that are worth mentioning. So, I pulled up a bid file and pasted it below:

    12-inch iBook vs. 12-inch PB
    800mhz vs. 1000mhz
    256 L2 @ 800mhz vs. 512mb L2 @ 800
    256mb DDR266 256MB DDR
    40 GB 40GB
    Combo Drive Superdrive
    ATI Radeon 9200 Nvidia Go 4200
    32MB DDR video 32MB DDR video
    APXtreme Card APXtreme Card
    BT Module BT Module
    Combo Combo/Superdrive
    1155 1488/1688

    I tried to make the machines equal just to compare them together, for the money the iBook is the cheapest by far, but you get a faster chip set in the PB. Also, there is the Superdrive. Now, you may have never burned a DVD, but with the abilities built into OSX and iLife you much more likely to, I think of it as a way of future proofing your machine and an easy way to do a serious backup. However, if you are sure you don't need it, don't get it. But, do spring for the BT module, somewhere down the road it may become useful, but it can only be installed right now, this is not something you can do later with the exception of using a 'dongle' which I have, but I think is just annoying. Either machine will be very useful for you, just remember also that the PB can take 1 Gig of a memory as opposed to the iBook's meager 640mb.
    Also, I think the build quality has been better of late with the 12'' PB, but the Apple Care (if you get it, also something to think about) will be more expensive.
    In my mind you should always buy the best you can out of a laptop because it should last you a few years, more options and capability extends this lifetime.
    Good luck and hope you enjoy either way.
  8. Tetra thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 14, 2004
    Nice post. Thanks for the help, all.

    Anyways, between the comparision there, Yes, I know the PB is faster. No way around that.

    It can hold more ram, more L2 cache, etc. However, with the iBook, I could max its ram, whereas the PB, I'd be sitting on 256mb for some time, if the budget doesn't change on it.

    What would you guys consider the time-frame to be buying one of these to be? Techincally, I could hold off 6 months, but, as I'm reinstalling XP pro for the third time this month, I'm probably not going to hold out that long.


    Playing on Apple's Edu store:

    Budget at the moment is 1600. May grow slightly...

    12" PB

    • 1GHz PowerPC G4
    • 256MB DDR266 (256MB built-in)
    • 40GB Ultra ATA drive @ 4200rpm
    • SuperDrive (DVD-R/CD-RW)
    • AirPort Extreme Card
    • Keyboard/Mac OS - U.S. English
    • 12.1-inch TFT Display

    Subtotal $1,688.00

    + 1gb Ram from Crucial $475
    Or: +512mb Crucial $107

    iBook 12.1"/800MHz/Combo drive
    Bluetooth Module
    AirPort Extreme Card
    640MB DDR266 SDRAM (128MB built-in & 512MB SO-DIMM)
    Combo Drive (DVD-ROM/CD-RW)
    60GB Ultra ATA drive

    Subtotal $1,335.00
  9. QCassidy352 macrumors G4


    Mar 20, 2003
    Bay Area
    I have the 1 Ghz PB 12", and I love it. But I got it before the ibook G4 came out, and if I had to do it again, I'd probably go ibook. It's just a much better deal. My needs/ uses are similar to yours (I'm also a student, btw), and although the PB is somewhat faster, the ibook will do everything you want, and do it easily too.

    The PB is not that much more "future proof" than the ibook. So based on your budget and uses, I think the ibook is the clear choice.
  10. floatingspirit macrumors 6502

    Oct 13, 2001
    Seattle, WA

    I'm no pundit, but since nobody has mentioned it yet:

    You said longevity is a real issue for you. In case you don't know, a lot of us are waiting for a G5 PowerBook. That would be a whole new class of laptop. It could come out soon or not for another 6 months. At any rate, jut wanted to remind/inform you of that. Wouldn't want ya to switch with a nice, affordable iBook and then see a G5 PowerBook and think that you've got an outdated system. That might make you question the longevity of your iBook. Anyway, just a heads up on that.

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