View Full Version : Rev B iMac and 12" iBook or PB?

2005-12-28, 06:58
Hi, my fellow brethren in aldo. :)

The good lady and I are back in Melbourne for Christmas/early Jan and have noticed that a local store is having a sale.

I need a new computer for music production and she desperately wants to be able to watch DVDs or ammend the staff roster and write up work proposals on a train/plane/bus as well as be able to surf, email, store music and photos when at home.

Anyway, I'd appreciate some advice on two distinct issues:

iMac G5 20" (rev B) 2.0GHz/512MB/250GB HD/SD/AE/BT - $1699Au/$1238US* ($1799Au/$1311US BRAND NEW)

Will it be able to run FrontRow somehow?
Not too clued up on the graphics card capabilities (this has the ATI Radeon 9600 rev C has the ATI Radeon X600XT) - what is the crucial difference when compared to the new model?
Is it easy to upgrade the RAM on this model?
Any thoughts/issues from current owners? (g, InactionMan, Chinney, pscates2.0@work?)

Other notes

I already own an iSight and I'm not too fussed by lack of MightyMouse - I can always buy that later on if I so desire.
I can wait if I have to. If this is not particularly compelling I can stick with my original plan of buying an Intel Mac mini and separate monitor later in the year whilst in Nanjing.
I was keenly waiting for the Rev B iMac and have a soft spot for this particular model.

Basically I just want to know if this deal is worth pouncing on. :)

The portable laptop

iBook 12.1"/1.33GHz/512MB/40GB HD/Combo/AE/BT - $1199Au/$874US*
PB 12" 1.5GHz/512MB/60G HB/Combo/AE/BT - $1299Au/$947US* ($1399Au/$1020US BRAND NEW)

Now, before you weigh in here with the "wait" advice, I do *know* about the upcoming MacWorld, the switch to Intel, and the possible demise of the 12" form factor and have even gone so far to explain as much to the better half. However, she does not care for these things and is intent on snapping up a bargain now. Also, the fact remains that even if new product is announced, it will not make it to Australian shores before we return to Nanjing and my wife would like to start using the computer from the beginning of the school year.

Which would you suggest?
I know that the iBook traditionally represents better value at the normal price points, but is the extra $100Au/$73US* worth it for a fine looking (and possible end-of-the-line) 12" PB?

* all currency conversions as at 2005/12/28

2005-12-28, 07:18
For that little of a price difference, I'd snap up that 12" Powerbook.

Franz Josef
2005-12-28, 08:43
Hi Mac+, seasons greetings to you :) On your laptop question, the PowerBook is an easy winner to my mind. As you allude to, the PB was always a better laptop than the iBook but has simply suffered from lack of attention from the guys at Apple making it look less good value. The extra 20GB HD, the marginally faster processor and the lighter, smaller (80% of volume) size all make it look like a good investment. I'd even venture to say that a 40GB HD just feels a little too small these days. I'd be inclined to slip some extra Crucial / Newegg RAM under the bonnet but 512MB isn't too bad if you decided to keep as is.

Safe trip back to Nanjing!

2005-12-28, 10:06
The only thing keeping me from recommending the iMac is the fact that Apple desktops don't have any international warranty coverage. If you encounter problems with it, your support options are severely limited versus the portable.

I do love my iMac (Rev A) even though it's had it's guts replaced more times than I would have normally put up with any other computer I've owned.

For travellers, best stick with a portable.

2005-12-28, 12:42
I need a new computer for music production and she desperately wants to be able to watch DVDs or ammend the staff roster and write up work proposals on a train/plane/bus as well as be able to surf, email, store music and photos when at home.

That iMac's gonna be pretty heavy sitting on your laps.:)

Seriously, decide which of the two uses you'll be needing more. Portability or production. The two machines are completely different...obviously in form, but more so in power.

I just picked up a rev. B iMac G5 20" and so far it's wicked. So much faster than a G4 Powerbook. I gave up a PB 15" 1.5 GHz earlier this year because it was just too slow for serious production (graphics).

2005-12-28, 14:16
Hi everybody - thanks for the replies so far.

I think I need to clarify. We would buy a computer each.

I want advice on whether or not the iMac is worth it at this point in time. It will sit on my desk in Nanjing.
My wife is after a portable for DVD watching, work and general iLife capabilities.

Based on the advice so far, the 12"PB seems a winner - so, presuming they still have it in stock, I will opt for that. Any recommendations on the iMac for myself - buy now, or wait until I'm back in Nanjing and search out something new from Mac World?

btw ...
PB PM - thanks for the prompt reply, I'll heed that advice.
Franz Josef - seasons greeting to you as well - all the best for 2006 ! :) (In fact, that goes for all! :D) Thanks for the sound reasoning on the PB. You are *almost* tempting me to opt for one myself!
Dave_D - good point about the Int'l Warranty. Might have to negotiate something with the store down here. If worse comes to worst, we can always transport the iMac back to Melbourne when one group returns and wait for the next group to bring it back. (But, I sincerely hope it never amounts to that!)
Satchmo - thanks for the testimonial on the Rev B. I'd be jumping from a Ti550MHz PB, so it's not just the speed that is going to blow me away. (I'll also be saying hello to a larger screen, faster FSB, better RAM, improved graphics card with more memory, a SD, larger HD, AE, BT, newer OS, etc.)

2005-12-28, 14:52
Will it be able to run FrontRow somehow? (with RevB iMac)
Not without a hacked copy, and without the remote to use if from a distance whats the point IMO.

2005-12-29, 00:30
Not without a hacked copy

Going slightly off-topic.. my apologies...

If one uses the Frontrow Enabler (http://www.versiontracker.com/dyn/moreinfo/macosx/28528), I personally think it's more a caveat than a hack since Frontrow 1.01 is available for download at the Apple Support site.

I use this method in conjunction with Salling Clicker to control Frontrow remotely via BT Cellphone. That's why I'm holding on to my old Rev A iMac since it still has more than 2 years of Applecare left.

Back on topic,

My wife is after a portable for DVD watching

I also don't use the internal optical drive for watching DVDs because if you plan to use DVDs with different regions on the internal optical drive of ANY Mac, you are only allowed a certain amount of changes before your optical drive gets locked to a specific region. That's bad because if your drive gets region locked to letsay China. You will no longer be able to play DVDs encoded to other regions in the future.

And before somebody pounces on me saying there's ways around it... let's keep in mind not everybody has the means or the fortitude to go through hoops to bypass this hardware limitation.

2006-01-03, 13:57
Just to post an update, we went with a 12"PB, AppleCare and Airport Express ($150Au) ... and I opted to pass on the iMac. Curse my limited funds.

We've also been led to believe that we should get a refund in the GST at the airport, so that's a bonus if it pans out.

Dave_D - thanks for chiming in with the DVD region playing issue. I had already mentioned it to my wife and she rationalised it away as "Well, I'll just play the DVDs from China on this one (the 12"PB) and when we're back home (in Australia), I can watch a DVD from the lounge room DVD player."

Also, they had U2 iPods (colour screen models) for $299Au - was so tempted to pick one up and keep it as a collectible (ie: not use it) ... but then I realised I was being way too self indulgent. Still, I'm sure there were one or two folk (for whom $299Au is chump change) who picked one up with the same intent. :\

Franz Josef
2006-01-03, 15:13
Just to post an update, we went with a 12"PB, AppleCare and Airport Express ($150Au) ... and I opted to pass on the iMac. Curse my limited funds.Not a bad result all told. :)