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View Full Version : Need advice on Powerbook 17"


jcampa
2005-10-27, 09:22
Hy guys, I need your help, I have a 1 Ghz 17" PB (the first one 2003) and now the screen doesn't work anymore ($1,200 USD for repair) and I have the opportunity to buy another 17" PB (1.67 Ghz) and I have some questions I would like you to answer me:
1. Is there a big difference between the 1 Ghz and the 1.67Ghz proccessor in terms of speed?
2.Is faster to have the DDR2 ram memory in this machine?
3.How long do tou think will last without beeing obsolette?
4.And the all time question, do you think we'll see not a PB G5 this January, but a better G4 PB?

I want to buy the best for my money, and now it cost $200 less, and maybe I can get the educational discount, so it will cost me $2,299, so what do you think.

Thanks.

Luca
2005-10-27, 09:45
1. 1 GHz to 1.67 GHz should make a bit of a difference. I don't think it'll be dramatically different but it is a 67% increase, which is substantial.

2. The DDR2 will not help with performance at all. It uses less power and results in longer battery life, but DDR2's higher theoretical bandwidth is cut off by the G4's slower frontside bus. Even though DDR2 is capable of communicating at 533 MHz, the frontside bus can only allow it to run at 333 MHz, same as the 1 GHz version.

3. Was your 17" PowerBook good enough when the screen died? I would expect a brand new PowerBook to still be good for at least three years. You probably should have bought AppleCare for it... oh well, that's something you should remember to do this time around. Especially with the educational discount, you really need to get AppleCare. If you have a fatal screen defect like the one you experienced, Apple will replace it free of charge.

4. Possible. The PowerBooks got an upgrade "in place" so to speak - Apple changed the lineup a bit and added a couple features, but the guts of the machines are largely unchanged, including the processor and graphics processor. They might schedule a "real" update for sometime around January.

Who knows, though? By some accounts, Apple updated the Mac mini twice in quick succession - first the "upgrade in place" where they kept the same basic configurations but made a few more of the features standard, and then the silent upgrade to the processor and graphics. These happened within just a couple months of each other. So it's not out of the question that the PowerBooks would receive an update by January.

Look at it this way - the Mac that has gone longest without an update is the iBook (if you include the silently upgraded Mac mini at 1.33/1.5 GHz). It doesn't have anywhere to go without the PowerBooks also being updated. Clearly the PowerMac and iMac lines will not be updated in January, so that only leaves the Mac mini, iBook, and PowerBook. I'd give the PowerBook a 50/50 shot if I'm being optimistic, 40/60 against if I'm thinking more realistically.

Mugge
2005-10-27, 10:08
3. Was your 17" PowerBook good enough when the screen died? I would expect a brand new PowerBook to still be good for at least three years. You probably should have bought AppleCare for it... oh well, that's something you should remember to do this time around. Especially with the educational discount, you really need to get AppleCare. If you have a fatal screen defect like the one you experienced, Apple will replace it free of charge.

Is it particularly good to have Apple Care on an educational discount, or is it just because it's cheaper?

jcampa
2005-10-27, 10:42
Thanks for your response Luca, talking about the "real" update, let's say January, if it's a G4 proccessor what would be the faster speed to reach? 2 Ghz, 2.3 Ghz? I mean whats the highest speed a G4 can get?
And in the video card, right now it has a 128, do you thik they will get a 256 Mb by january? Is this possible?
Because my 1 Ghz PB is very good in terms of speed for me, but mine has a 64Mb video card, so this 128 VC is an excellent upgrade for me, but thinking in a 256 VC can make me hold my decission.
Thanks.

Mugge
2005-10-27, 11:08
2,3Ghz? I don't think so. It would at best be 1,8Ghz.

But 1,66Ghz is still pretty nice, and my 1Ghz iBook sure doesn't feel slow at all.

Luca
2005-10-27, 11:22
Yeah, if it stays G4 for one more revision I would expect a 1.8 GHz G4 with 1 MB of L2 cache (up from 512 kb on the current one).

VRAM will likely stay the same. The important part isn't how much VRAM the PowerBook has, as 128 MB of it is plenty. What's important is the GPU. Right now it uses a Mobility Radeon 9700 - basically a Radeon 9600 Pro made for a laptop. It's not a bad GPU, but it's fairly old and not that impressive anymore. The next PowerBook should definitely switch to a PCI Express architecture, allowing for newer GPUs.

Regardless, a GPU switch might look nice but I don't think it'll affect you much. The current GPU already fully supports CoreImage and it has plenty of VRAM. You'll only notice a difference if you play 3D games or use a 3D rendering program or another GPU-intensive program like Motion. Most other things don't rely on the video card.

pscates2.0
2005-10-27, 11:25
There's also the 4200rpm vs. 5400rpm (and a possible BTO to 7200rpm) issue.

Wouldn't that make some difference too?

Luca
2005-10-27, 11:28
True, he didn't mention that but your new PowerBook will have at least a 5400 RPM hard drive, instead of the 4200 RPM one that was in your old one. That should be good for another small increase in speed.