View Full Version : iBook 12" vs iBook 14" AND pb 12" vs. pb 15"

2005-11-15, 04:57
So, I noticed that there has been a lot of talk about the iBook vs. the pb, but what about comparisons between the iBook 12" vs 14" and the pb 12" vs. 15"? (with the current ~1.4Ghz processing speed)

I'm actually going to become a PC --> Mac switcharoo, so I'd like to make the BEST investment without regretting it. Since I know many of you love your apple products, and know them extremely well, I'd just like a little insight so I can purchase mine and start bragging about it to friends too!

A little about myself: I am an aspiring graphic designer mainly for both the web and the print, and I was wondering what lappity top to get. I'll be using a wide array of products such as the Adobe Creative Suite, Macromedia Studio 8, Microsoft Office products. I've heard that with the iBOok you get more bang for the buck in comparison with the PB, but now with the new release of the PB, that could be different. I also heard that the 14" screen quality isn't as good as the 12". As a graphic designer, more screen space is definitely appreciated, but sacrificed for something quality, now thats another thing. I'd definitely like something portable so the 17" is out of the question even though it looks nice.

So feel free to post up any comments or insights you'd like to share.

Also, with the MacExpo coming up in January, and the new Intel cpu line coming out in late next year, and christmas coming up, do you guys think it would be better if I just waited until the end of December, January? I want to get mine now so I can tinker with it, but since school is in session, I can wait. Anyone know of any deals other than the educational and the refurb'd ones? I know that they had a promo once where you buy a laptop and you get a free ipod before...dunno when they'll do that again! Hopefully soon!

Thanks in advance for all your feedback!

Dorian Gray
2005-11-15, 08:54
Welcome to AppleNova!

I'd get a 12-inch iBook. Reason? It's relatively inexpensive, an important factor when you consider that the switch to Intel processors is coming soon (even if you disregard the rumours about a January switch).

The 12-inch display has the same resolution as the 14-inch display of the larger iBook (1024 x 768 pixels). So although the 14-inch display is larger, it's not actually any more usable for palettes, multiple windows, etc. Everything is just slightly smaller on the 12-inch screen, which wouldn't be a problem unless you have poor vision.

The 12-inch iBook is not the perfect machine for graphic design, but with a cheap memory upgrade to 1 GB (not from the Apple store!) it will work fine and be a nice introduction to OS X. It would work fine for at least 12 months, by which time I'm pretty certain there will be very attractive Intel-based Apple laptops on the market.

2005-11-15, 09:33
Also, the 12" iBook is really nearly as good as the 12" PowerBook. It costs 1/3 less yet you get nearly the same performance and features. The size is almost exactly the same - the iBook is about 0.2" thicker and weighs 0.3 lbs more, an almost imperceptible difference. Performance is nearly equal, with the difference between 1.33 and 1.5 GHz also being almost imperceptible. The screen sizes are the same, of course.

The differences between them are pretty small. The main one is that the PowerBook comes with a built-in DVD burner, something that isn't even an option on the iBook (and probably one of the few things that still separates the two machines). If this is crucial to you, you might consider getting the PowerBook. There are a few other differences as well, but I don't think they're worth the extra $500 unless you really need most of them. The PowerBook has double the VRAM of the iBook, giving it an acceptable 64 MB. The iBook's 32 MB isn't enough to play most games, even old ones like Quake 3. Strangely, the iBook has a more powerful GPU than the PowerBook, a Radeon 9550 versus the PowerBook's GeForce 5200. But the iBook is significantly held back by the lack of VRAM. The PowerBook also has an audio input port and a DVI output port. You can connect a DVI display to the PowerBook and run it in "lid shut" mode, whereas the iBook is limited to VGA displays and can only mirror the main display.

There are actually a few areas where the iBook is better than the PowerBook, and not just on price. Like I said, the iBook's GPU is faster, though you'd be hard-pressed to find a graphics-intensive program that doesn't require more than 32 MB of VRAM. Also, the iBook has 512 MB of RAM built in to the motherboard, with one open slot. The PowerBook, on the other hand, only has 256 MB built in, and ships with a 256 MB module in the single user-upgradable slot. If you want to upgrade the RAM, you must pull the factory module, and the PowerBook's RAM ceiling is lower than the iBook's.

As for the 15" PowerBook... well, it's an awesome machine and it's well worth the money, but it's a LOT of money. Think about it, though... the 12" PowerBook is $500 more than the 12" iBook, yet it provides very few benefits. Yet the 15" PowerBook is $500 more than the 12" PowerBook, but it improves on the 12" PowerBook in almost every area AND it includes a beautiful 15" high-resolution screen as well!

2005-11-15, 15:44
I just made the PC->Mac switch to a 12" iBook and put 1.5gb of RAM in it. While I'm very happy with the machine and don't think I'd ever go back to a PC, I don't think it's going to suit your needs for graphic design. Quite frankly, it's just not that fast, even for pretty basic stuff. My 5 year old PC with a 1/3 of the RAM still outperforms this thing. I think the big thing is the video memory... 32mb doesn't cut it for OS X.

So it's a great machine and fine for the basic stuff I do, but if I was doing anything intense I'd go to the 15" PB, if only for the additional horsepower in the video card department.

2005-11-15, 17:24
I also have a question, because I'm going to eventually switch--will the update to intel processors also mean a price increase, or will the prices stay more or less the same? (Or can all we offer is speculation?)

2005-11-15, 17:33

iBook 14" has SuperDrive now.

Edit: Doh, I feel stupid. You were only talking about the 12" model.

2005-11-16, 03:09
Thanks for all the feedback. From what I'm hearing, it seems like you guys think I should get the 15" for more jam packed power in comparison with the ibook. I also heard that the pb recently had a screen update which wasn't all that compared to the screen before. I read in a forum where you can see the lines on the screen moreso on the new pb over the old one. I'm not sure how true this is though.

>>>"I don't think it's going to suit your needs for graphic design. Quite frankly, it's just not that fast, even for pretty basic stuff. My 5 year old PC with a 1/3 of the RAM still outperforms this thing. I think the big thing is the video memory... 32mb doesn't cut it for OS X."
That's a scarey thought. I have 768MB of ram on my baby right now with the 1.4GHz Pentium M chip right now and I think I still get some small lags here and there when handling what I normally have open (Photoshop, Illustrator, Word documents, Notepad, Calculator, AIM, Winamp, IE 10 windows, Firefox 5 windows, etc.)

Just out of curiosity, what computer would satisify a graphic designers needs? In terms of apple, pc, etc. What would you guys recommend?

"It [the laptop] would work fine for at least 12 months..."
I was hoping that my investment on a laptop would last more than 12 months. How often do you change/upgrade your laptops anyways? You can say I'm sort of new to the laptop industry. The first laptop I purchased and am still using is the Sony VAIO S-150 with 1GB of ram, 1.4GHz Pentium M and I really REALLY love the screen, which was exactly a year ago. But because the design realm is saturated with Apple users and are infatuated with the apple brand, it's important that I learn how to use an apple. (this isn't the only reason i'm planning on the switch)

"I also have a question, because I'm going to eventually switch--will the update to intel processors also mean a price increase, or will the prices stay more or less the same? (Or can all we offer is speculation?)"

My guess would be it all depends on the reviews of the product. If there are rave reviews (which I think would be most likely...so far everything the Apple brand creates is dubbed, "ingenious"). I would assume the prices for the "older" "outdated" items would have a slight drop if not stay the same for a while. But with industry trends, I'm sure the pricing for the new Intel Apple's will be quite high.

"I think the big thing is the video memory... 32mb doesn't cut it for OS X."
I'm just curious why Apple decided to keep it at 32MB? Especially since graphic designers use this so religiously? I just still can't get it. Like I mentioned earlier, I have the Sony VAIO S Series and the screen quality is SOOOO crisp, so clean, so bright that I'm not all that attracted to the screen quality the mac offers. (I suggest you guys go look at the screen on this baby). Maybe I'm buying the Mac for all the wrong reasons. I love the candy white case design, I'd love to learn the interface (os)

How much do you guys normally spend on laptops anyways? Just out of curiosity? I'm currently a student working a part time job, and I saved up my funds for a laptop purchase.

Thanks again for all your advice! I really appreciate it!

2005-11-16, 04:34
12" iBook <> 14" iBook: 12" iBook all the way.
12" PBook <> 15" PBook: 15" Powerbook all the way.

The reason iBook has only 32MB of VRAM is clear. Officially, it only supports 1024x768 and mirroring (same picture on external screen). It's not designed for graphics work.
Unofficially, do an one click hack and it has spanning and can deal with an external screen up to 1920x1200. I'm using it like that right now. The downside is it seems video players (VLC, Apple DVD Player) run out of VRAM when you try to put them in full screen. I have to switch resolution down before going fullscreen for them to work.
I also like the shell's looks better than the Powerbook's. I came off a ten month old 15" Powerbook when buying this iBook.

Frankly, considering you are starting with a perfectly functional Pentium M Vaio at 1.4GHz, an iBook will feel slower and more constrained, and a 15" Powerbook isn't a significant enough improvement to drop $2000 on. The laptop processors have been lagging behind because there were no good low-power PowerPC's. Wait for the Intel Powerbooks. On the other hand if you didn't really need a laptop, now would be a good time to get either an iMac or a Powermac.

2005-11-16, 21:15
I went to the campus bookstore today and looked at the screen, design, and tested the laptops again. It's sad that i'll have to eliminate the iBook from my purchasing decision because the screen quality doesn't cut it. Unless Apple adds at least 64MB dedicated to VRAM, I'm going to have to hold off on the iBook purchase. The PB seems like a good option. 15" seems too large for me to tote around still, but it's going to be a tight decision between the 15" and the 12" PB. I may wait until after the expo to jump on the Apple bandwagon. But I will not stop hunting for my first Apple!

2005-11-16, 22:43
The 15" PB, if you have money is worth it. The 128MB VRAM will be good if your into graphics design etc, vs. the older slower 64MB chip in the 12" PB. The VRAM almost pushed me to pay the extra money for the 15" Powerbook over the 14" ibook, but considering what I need it for now, just wasn't worth it. For you on the other hand it wouldn't be, considering what you want to do. Depending on what happens in the next 4 months with the Powerbook it may well be worth waiting for the Intel Powerbooks to come out.