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chucker
2005-10-19, 22:03
So I guess it's my turn to "bite the bullet", but I'm not quite there yet.

As you may have seen from various recent posts of mine, I was hoping for Apple to upgrade the 12-inch PowerBook (beyond the silly hard drive 60 to 80 GB change and the standard SuperDrive) or, preferably replace it with a widescreen model. Ain't happening, I guess. Not that I'm too surprised.

That means, though, that I don't have any decent small-form-factor laptop options from Apple at all, and by decent I mean a resolution higher than 1024x768 as well as a CPU faster than 1.5 GHz. Even the current top-end 1.67 GHz isn't too great of an offering, but maybe I really can't blame this on Apple, only on Freescale. Wouldn't be the first time for them to screw up (and thus screw Apple over) big time.

What else is there, then? The 15-inch PowerBook. It finally has a better resolution, just one notch lower as my 20-inch Dell 2005FPW (1440x960 rather than 1680x1050 -- interesting that they stuck to their 15:10 weirdness), it comes with a very decent standard setup including a DL DVD burner, a backlit and good-quality (for laptops, at least) keyboard and over five hours battery life, and its CPU is, well, "alright" I suppose at 1.67. Nothing to drool at but not complaint-worthy either (and again, not necessarily Apple's fault at all).

The problem? Its price tag. A $1999 US item isn't something you buy every day, and it should require some serious thinking.

And think I did. And I came to the conclusion: I spent 2000 Euros on this iBook I'm typing on now, over three years ago. Chances are, the PowerBook will serve me well for another three years, hopefully even more. Every person I've asked who has an old-revision Aluminum PowerBook 15 totally loves it. It seems, despite the steep price, a decent bang for the buck. However, I don't want to repeat a few mistakes I've made with my iBook.

- My iBook's keyboard has become very greasy. It's something with my fingers, now granted I don't wash 20 times a day so it's probably just unavoidable sloppiness on that part. But it gets worse; there's lots of hair stuck in my keyboard as well, and while I can and do pick most of that out every few months, that gets kinda tedious too. There's that thing you can buy to protect the keyboard (iSkin or something?). Is it worth the price? My fiancée says she's used something like that on her keyboard at work before and totally hated, hated, hated it. It slowed down her typing, it made her hit the wrong keys, and in the long run, required deeper and deeper pressing. It didn't really help the problem (though naturally the keyboard itself was kept clean), only made it more of an annoyance. Is this product better?

- Guess I'll have to get another iLap; the medium-sized version this time. So that's another $59 US right there. It adds up...

- How seamless will the AirPort work with my Netgear router? WGR-612 v6, if I'm not mistaken. Latest stable firmware; beta firmwares don't appear to install properly.

- Is the scrolling trackpad as useful as advertised? I've seen conflicting reports on this. I hate that uControl isn't updated for Tiger, and no, I don't want the sides scrolling that I can get with that other shareware program whose name I can't think of right now. The fn+tap scrolling in uControl up until Panther was great. The two-finger scrolling sounds just as great if not better.

- I can, without risk and without hacks, use this in lid-closed mode, right? Does this also mean that even with the lid open, I can turn the internal display off and use an external, bigger display? I can't seem to do that in any capacity whatsoever using my iBook. (I am going to assume that a miniDVI-DVI adapter is included. How about miniDVI-VGA? MiniDVI-S-Video/Composite?)

- Am I missing something else glaringly obvious?

MCQ
2005-10-19, 22:34
- How seamless will the AirPort work with my Netgear router? WGR-612 v6, if I'm not mistaken. Latest stable firmware; beta firmwares don't appear to install properly.

- I can, without risk and without hacks, use this in lid-closed mode, right? Does this also mean that even with the lid open, I can turn the internal display off and use an external, bigger display? I can't seem to do that in any capacity whatsoever using my iBook. (I am going to assume that a miniDVI-DVI adapter is included. How about miniDVI-VGA? MiniDVI-S-Video/Composite?)

- Am I missing something else glaringly obvious?

The AE should work fine, using 12" PB with AE and a Netgear WGR614 without problems.

Regarding the external display - yes to your first question, no to the 2nd (unless something changed in Tiger that I wasn't aware of). Both adapters are included.

Buy now to get the most use out of it. It was a marginal update as expected, so no point wasting time waiting to buy.

SlackerDX
2005-10-19, 22:42
The scrolling trackpad is awesome for me. I'm so used to it that I always find myself trying to scroll on other people's laptops. The one thing I did to though was to turn off horizontal scrolling. It didn't work too well with both horizontal and vertical scrolling on (at least not for me).

Wireless shouldn't be a problem at all. 802.11g is a standard. Apple just calls it Airport Extreme.

I don't know what to tell you about the keyboard thing. I guess you could get a Bluetooth or USB keyboard for when you are at home. Those are easier to clean and will keep your Powerbook keyboard clean. I don't have a greasiness problem and I use that pressurized air stuff to clean it occassionally.

My only complaint about my Powerbook is that it gets pretty hot but that's minor.

Good luck with your decision. I hope this helps.

Brad
2005-10-19, 22:49
Is the scrolling trackpad as useful as advertised? I have the "officially no-scrolling but unofficially scrolling" trackpad that has the two-finger mode available as a hidden feature that is enabled with iScroll2. It's friggin' awesome. After enabling this, it's hard to use an older trackpad that doesn't support it. Seriously. It's that good. You'll find yourself trying it on a different notebook (like you might gesture for Exposé on a Classic Mac or a PC) and wonder for a moment why it's not working.

Does this also mean that even with the lid open, I can turn the internal display off and use an external, bigger display?
As MCQ mentioned, no.

I've got this down to an art because (sadly) it can be rather finicky. First, open and awaken your PowerBook. Second, attach monitor and external keyboard. Third, close (and sleep) the PowerBook. Fourth, press a key on the external keyboard.

Now you're working solely from the external display. You can open the PowerBook and use its keyboard and trackpad and the display will not activate.

chucker
2005-10-19, 22:50
I appreciate your answers... I forgot to mention that I have a few iKlear cloths left, so maybe that will help a little with the keyboard.

I do have an external USB keyboard and I guess that's an option for "stress use", but that kinda takes away the comfort... hmm.

Luca
2005-10-19, 22:56
The nice thing about this revision is that now everything you wanted to add to the previous $1999 PowerBook is standard equipment. The old $1999 PowerBook had the slower processor, 64 MB of VRAM with no option to upgrade, and a Combo drive. Now the PowerBook has all of that at the same price point, as well as new tempting upgrade options like the 7200 RPM hard drive.

It seems like the PowerBook is in great shape right now. In fact, other than the horribly disappointing 12" PowerBook, I'm really happy with everything Apple has at the moment. I go through and look at their products, and realize that I could see myself buying any of their machines without any BTO or even third-party upgrades (assuming I had the money to just go around buying Macs all the time). I know in the past I've gone to the site and looked at things and said, "well, it's nice, but I need to add $300 worth of upgrades to make it really nice." Older Titanium and Aluminum PowerBook revisions always made you want to add the DVD burner, the extra VRAM, the 512 MB of RAM in one chip, the illuminated keyboard, the wireless networking and bluetooth... all that stuff. But now all of it is standard.

This is also likely to be the last PPC PowerBook revision. Unless Freescale produces a 7448 from their ass and gets production ramped up within six months (combined with Intel slowing way down), it's likely that the next revision will come in the middle of next year and will be the first x86 PowerBook. Historically, the last revision of every PowerBook form factor has been especially refined and high-quality. That was true of the Pismo, it was true of the Titanium, and it'll be true of the Aluminum as well.

chucker
2005-10-19, 23:07
I just realized I'm stupid for my mention of miniDVI, since only the 12-inch PowerBook has miniDVI, which at least up until yesterday, I knew. Not sure how that slipped out of my mind. So never mind about those adapter questions, and I see that an S-Video to Composite adapter is there as well, which is excellent.

Oh and I totally overlooked your response, Brad (posted at the same time). Thanks for that too. :)

Does make me wonder though... what real advantage does that "switch displays" function key on PowerBooks, then? iBooks don't have it. Is it really just a shortcut between mirroring and spanning?

Luca: yeah. I remember when the PowerBooks were last updated, back in January, I was thinking of getting the 15-inch, BTO'd to have the options I would want, but with edu discount.

Well, now I'm no longer eligible for the latter, but it's cheaper anyways. :)

OnStage
2005-10-19, 23:08
I too will be buying a 15, I'm sick of waiting.
One queston: to 7200 rpm, or not? I will be doing some heavy PS/moderate inDesign work. The results for the Seagate Momentus tested on BareFeats are impressive, but who knows who makes the optional drive on the apple store. 180 dollars could go a long way towards a new Wacom tablet.... but hard drives are so hard to upgrade.....
Any advice much apreciated!
john

Luca
2005-10-19, 23:23
Seagate does. They're the only company that makes a 100 GB, 7200 RPM laptop hard drive. As far as I know, they and Hitachi (formerly IBM) are the only two companies that have 7200 RPM laptop drives at all, and Hitachi is still stuck at either 60 or 80 GB for their 7200 RPM ones.

OnStage
2005-10-19, 23:41
Well that's good news, Whadya think, would it add significantly to the functionality of the PB?
john

Luca
2005-10-20, 00:51
I've found that increased hard drive speed tends to give a noticeable, if not overwhelming benefit to general use. I am not a power user but I do notice subtle differences in my Mac's performance. Back when I had a PowerMac G4, I remember replacing my 7200 RPM hard drive with 2 MB of cache with the same drive, but with 8 MB of cache. I actually saw a noticeable difference just from increasing the hard drive cache size from 2 MB to 8 MB. If that's enough to cause a noticeable difference, then I have to assume that going from 5400 RPM to 7200 RPM should provide an even greater benefit. I'd go for it, if you have the money.

OnStage
2005-10-20, 10:04
I was afraid you'd say that... I probably will seeing as how I want this computer to stay usefull for about 4 years (it'll suck by then!).
Thanks for the input!
john

Whaley
2005-10-20, 10:20
I've found that increased hard drive speed tends to give a noticeable, if not overwhelming benefit to general use. I am not a power user but I do notice subtle differences in my Mac's performance. Back when I had a PowerMac G4, I remember replacing my 7200 RPM hard drive with 2 MB of cache with the same drive, but with 8 MB of cache. I actually saw a noticeable difference just from increasing the hard drive cache size from 2 MB to 8 MB. If that's enough to cause a noticeable difference, then I have to assume that going from 5400 RPM to 7200 RPM should provide an even greater benefit. I'd go for it, if you have the money.

Any thoughts on the 120 gig/5400 drive option? Does the extra room to write to boost performance?
Roger

Meltedbutter421
2005-10-20, 14:07
2 finger scrolling is the best thing ever... i ALWAYS try to do it on all the other laptops i use

awilso
2005-10-20, 14:20
I too will be buying a 15, I'm sick of waiting.
One queston: to 7200 rpm, or not? I will be doing some heavy PS/moderate inDesign work. The results for the Seagate Momentus tested on BareFeats are impressive, but who knows who makes the optional drive on the apple store. 180 dollars could go a long way towards a new Wacom tablet.... but hard drives are so hard to upgrade.....
Any advice much apreciated!
john


Definately go for the 7200 - i put a new drive (7200) into an old titanium and the results were great, apps opened much quicker. (sorry dude, but i'm having to type one handed as the cat is using the ither hand|)

Luca
2005-10-20, 14:21
(sorry dude, but i'm having to type one handed as the cat is using the ither hand|)
Riiiiiiiiight.

:lol:

awilso
2005-10-20, 14:23
Riiiiiiiiight.

:lol:


pass the kleenex :lol: