View Full Version : I'm coming back to the Mac!

2005-03-05, 17:45
This is a silly question for ME of all people to be asking, but here it goes.

I might need a laptop in a little while. One I can use as my primary machine. This would undoubtedly be a Mac, because while I'm not a huge fan of Apple's desktops, their laptops kick ass. I can't spend much - maybe just slightly over $1000.

My question is, how much have iBooks and PowerBooks improved since, say, the G3/800 iBook? I owned one of those a couple years ago when it came out and I was really disappointed with the performance even in general use for OS X, and yes I had the max RAM. I'm concerned that with such a limited budget, I won't be able to afford anything a whole lot faster than one of those iBooks, and I'd end up being frustrated with my computer again and selling it (yet again). Has anyone compared a G3 iBook to a G4 iBook?

I also ask this because right now I'm primed to move back to the Mac. My main reason for having a PC, the games, is fading away. While I do still enjoy gaming sometimes, I don't play them very often. The only one I play with any regularity is Counter Strike, and even that is getting a bit boring. So I could give up games and not be too unhappy.

Any suggestions, guys? I kind of hate iBooks, but on the other hand I think they've been getting steadily better (relatively speaking; obviously they will always improve with time). As a general purpose OS X machine that won't be doing anything too demanding, how low do you think I can go, based on your actual experiences? I can theorize and speculate with the best of 'em, given my knowledge of Macs and OS X, but I'd be interested in a more qualitative opinion.

2005-03-05, 20:08
I am on an 1Ghz 12 inch iBook G4 (w/blue tooth + airport + 60gb hd +512 Kingston ram) and i am satisfied with the speed. It is my first apple computer so i can't compare it to the g3. I saw a benchmark comparing itunes encoding in a 933~Mhz G3 to an 800Mhz G4 and the G4 had a 10-40% performance jump (mostly due to altevic).

I think i am about an average user in that i only use it for surfing the net (safari), rss feed (NetNewsWire), aim (adiumx), irc (colloquy), mail (apple's Mail), Papers (TexEdit/Microsoft Word soon iwork), itunes, iphoto and vlc/quicktime stuff. And I have no complaints about speed but that could be because I am used to it. I usually have 8+ programs open at once with no noticeable difference.

I am a college student so I really wanted to get it for battery life. When I got it I drained the battery dead 4 times (i head thats good to do when u frist get it). If i have only word open the screen brightness way down, and no internet or bluetooth, reduced cpu, and disk spin down, I get ~7hrs if i go straight. but if I go off and on it can last the whole day easy. Also airport reception is supposed to be better than 12 inch pb so that's a +.

Hope that helps.

2005-03-05, 20:48
I have a 12" 1.33 PB and it is fast enough for me (I also have a DP G5 and I am still happy with the PB). Not sure if 12" is too small for you or not, I do find it a little smallish but it is much more portable then the 15" and IMHO is a better buy than the 15".

I bet you can get a refurb for $1000 or so.

Glad to see you coming back into the fold.

2005-03-05, 21:07
Hah, I'm sure a 1.33 GHz PowerBook would be fast enough! Not that I could afford one, but thanks anyway ;).

I haven't made any decisions yet. However, as I talk to my friends on AIM (while I sit at the desk at work, rotting away), I'm starting to think that it would be a good idea to try to de-emphasize computers in my life. They're taking over, I swear. The idea is that if I have an older computer that isn't super fast, I won't be inclined to spend so much time on it. I need to get out and exercise more so maybe I could handle something kind of old and slow (but not too old or too slow).

I know a guy who has a Pismo he'd be willing to sell for around $500. My dad has a 550 MHz TiBook that he might replace at some point. I'd probably be fine even with something like that. Perhaps a 1 GHz iBook G4. If I could have some money left over after selling the PC I'd be ecstatic, and then I would use it to buy an iPod mini ;).

Combine all this together and I think it can even be regarded as a life choice. Yeah, it's just a computer. But getting a Mac will maybe allow me to get out more, get more exercise, take walks to pass the time, and bring the iPod with me. All that stuff. That seems like what many Mac users see as the ideal way to use their Mac. Not as something you hunch over for hours, but as a nice complement to their lives.

2005-03-05, 21:29
I'm on a 12" Powerbook at 1 Ghz. the 12" screen is fine since you don't plan to play games on it much. Just get the 12" ibook and bump it to a 60 GB Drive a 512 MB of ram and it will zoom. An ibook equipped with that will cost $1149.

2005-03-05, 22:57
15" 1Ghz PB....$1200 on macofalltrades.com (www.macofalltrades.com)

2005-03-05, 23:26
I just sold my 867MHz TiBook, that thing was freaking awesome. I used it for everything, video, papers, research, movies. Never had anything less than 5 programs open at a time. I absolutely loved it. I don't think you could go wrong if you found a sweet deal on a little 12" or 15", depending on your portabilty requirements, I think you would be in good shape.

2005-03-06, 09:33
I tried out a 12" iBook w/ 512MB RAM at the apple store and it seemed fine to me, performance-wise.

Now I think I want the 12" iBook w/ the 512MB RAM or the iMac- not sure yet. I love the portability of the iBook but I love the G5 on the iMac. I'm waiting to see future upgrades/price drops and how Tiger runs on both.

2005-03-06, 09:38
Ha, Luca you sound like me.

When I first came to Texas A&M in 2000, I bought my first PC (we had a family pc, but you know how that goes - still I was playing games as far back as wolfenstein 3d, tie fighter, dark forces, Doom and Doom II, Duke Nukem ... and so on). I got this new computer specifically for gaming. It cost me $1,500. The graphics card was almost 400 bucks, it was a geforce II GTS ... one of the FIRST video cards with 64 megs of video ram. Half Life (orignal) blew my mind. But then that led to Counter Strike ... previous games were like highschool flings - but CS ... CS was TRUE LOVE. I played Counter-Strike, DoD, MoH, Q3, HL, WC3 and countless mods hours and hours a day. Then almost 2 years ago this august, I bought a new gaming computer. Spent $1,500 this time as well for an awesome system. Again I was spending a lot of the day gaming. I mean, I had a "life" - I played soccer and bball intramurals, played guitar, hung out with friends, I was engaged then to my now wife (http://will.dealdonkey.com/userfiles/Will/Pictures/Engagement.jpg), but I was just spending HOURS a day for the last 4 years ... no wait, since I was in middle school ... in front of a computer monitor or TV playing games!!! At some point, I just realized that the computers will get faster, the games will get better ... but what changes aside from that? You sit on your butt wasting away, never getting "satisfied". No matter what game you play you're still just vegetitating in front of a cathode tube. So I took off all my games (only HL2 and CS:S at this point ... ha, how fitting ... I started out with HL and ended after beating HL2), then sold my huge computer with 21 inch monitor about a month after that, and have been saving since January. Yesterday was my bday and my wife knows that ive been wanting a 12" pb and she gave me the remainder as a present (another side note: Im finishing my last year of college - and she's graduated, working, and paying the bills - ha). What a great present from an awesome wife!!! But I also think she's sick of me stealing her thinkpad as well, ha.

SO - I GET a mint 12" 1.33 / 768 ram / 60 gig / BT / AE / Combo / with ilife 05 and office OS X sometime by the weekend - my first mac and my first laptop!!! I'm exited about going from a HUGE PC sytem with tons of cords and wires and heat ... to a sexy quiet little alum mac. That will last me a lot longer and hold value a lot better than a quickly depreciating pc gaming machine.

2005-03-06, 13:02
Has anyone compared a G3 iBook to a G4 iBook?

Funny you ask, because I have just gotten my 12" G3 800 replaced by a brand-new 12" G4 thanks to the G3's video crapping out for the last time.

I had 640 MB on the G3, and have 768 on the G4. I also paid for an upgrade to 60 GB because my G3 was full, and even my iPod was getting full with all the stuff I backed up onto it. I should've upgraded to a Superdrive, though...

I gotta tell ya, it's nice. I didn't seem to have problems with the G3, but it was fun trying out some mildly processor-intensive things for the first few days on the G4. The new iPhoto is running like a charm, nowhere near the sluggishness that I've read about here, and importing/converting my library with no issues. GarageBand is a kick, and I'm eager to get back home and install all the games that I had quit playing because I had no space on my G3, too.

2005-03-06, 13:52
My brother's 1.0 ghz g4 iBook with 768 RAM is quite snappy.

2005-03-06, 14:00
Thanks for the words of encouragement, fooboy! Seems like you managed to find a gorgeous girl (congratulations by the way!) before giving up the PC and gaming. I'm hoping getting rid of it will be a catalyst for me.

As far as the performance is concerned, I may be throwing it out the window so I can afford more extras. I'm thinking of just getting a Pismo. It belongs to a friend of mine and is very well preserved. Of course, I could always try to stretch the budget a bit and get a used 12" iBook or PowerBook.

2005-03-06, 20:04

something else I found ... was that - having an awesome gaming machine was a huge part of the problem. It made me want to play cuase otherwise I felt like I was wasting it. Imagine trying to quit drinking but having a fridge stocked full of beer and a loaded wet bar ...

I mean I am sure you know tons more than me about mac stuff ... but I sold my PC gaming machine for 825 with montior and everything and yours is much better than mine ... and you can find good deals on 12" powerbooks 1.33 ghz with upgrades for around $1200. I know becuase I found several and settled on one. You should be able to sell your stuff for close to that.

BTW - I sold my machine really fast by posting on clan sites for older games ... like server forums for cs 1.6 ... cuase those people want to be playing cs:s and hl2 and whatnot. People who are playing the newest best games probably already have the newest best stuff.

and I appreciate the congrats on getting married!

The Return of the 'nut
2005-03-06, 23:36

You should know one thing by now. Never expect realistic assessments of Mac performance from a mac user forum. Everyone has distorted views of what performance is. I remember when Mac OS X came out. It was very apparent that is was slow and sluggish even on the fastest hardware....yet, mac users across the web claimed it was fast and snappy even on iMac 233s and Performas or whatever the hell struck their fancy. Then then 10.1 came out......all of a sudden it was alright for 10.0 to be called slow.

I have a Powerbook G4/667. It handles OS X 10.3.8 fine. Word processing, web surfing, etc are all fine. I have 512MB RAM and I find its not enough. Unfortunately I think the minimum RAM for "smooth" OS X performance would be 640+MB RAM. Sure, in most instances 512 will get you buy without a hitch...but there will be occassion where you see slow downs, so, I'd say 1GB is what I'd shoot for these days.

My brother has an iBook g3/800. He has 640MB RAM I believe and his iBook is much smoother/snappier than my G4/667. I've actually considered trading laptops with him. I think the Powerbooks are a bit overpriced when compared to the iBooks. Right now I'd say the iBook, despite not being upgraded recently, is still one of the best buys not only in terms of price/performance but also resale value. So right now I'd say go with the 1.2Ghz iBook for 999. It's a great deal. You can also find 1.33Ghz 12 inch Powerbooks for around 1200 I think. For 200 dollars more it might be worth it. Probably not though.

2005-03-07, 09:18
You're probably right, applenut. I'm definitely going to try to get the best machine I can afford, and I will put plenty of RAM in it. Unfortunately, I can't afford much. After the sale of this PC, I'm already going to have to put $350-$400 into purchasing an iPod mini plus a 250 GB hard drive with a Firewire enclosure. That doesn't leave a whole lot for a laptop. But I'll see what I can do.

That brings me to another problem... how am I going to back up all the data from my PC so I can use it on my Mac? I would have liked to just keep my 250 GB SATA drive, but I can't use it with a Firewire enclosure so it's useless as an external drive. I might have to just buy an IDE drive and enclosure, and make sure it's formatted with a file system that both my PC and my Mac can fully use. Anyone know if there are issues with that? I'm pretty sure my PC won't be able to write to an HFS+ partition, and I don't think a Mac can write to NTFS. What about FAT32? Are there a lot of limitations in using FAT32 on a Mac?

2005-03-07, 10:07
I don't know about one writing to the other, but I do know it is possible to copy from one to another. I, much like you Luca, am in the final stages of disposing of my home PC, likely for an Apple laptop as well. (been pondering this for a while) I took my PC drive, plugged it into my Mac tower, had it show up as a Windows drive and then just copied every thing I wanted over to my Mac drive.

I know you don't have a tower right now but perhaps a family member of friend still does.


2005-03-07, 10:39
Yeah, actually I was thinking I could probably do that. I know someone who has access to a huge number of computers. I'm sure he'd let me use one of the G5s to connect my SATA drive and dump the stuff over to an external hard drive. That way I don't have to break the bank buying an external hard drive before my other gear sells, and I don't have to worry about using a weird file system like FAT32 on my Mac.

EDIT: Actually alcimedes offered to let me use an IDE-Firewire converter to move the stuff off. I'll buy a case once I actually get my new Mac. Thanks, alcimedes!

2005-03-09, 10:49

I have an original G4 PowerBook (Ti 400) with 512MB the only thing I saw as needing to be upgraded was the Hard drive. I just bought the HD after 2 years of debating and using external drives and shared folders on other machines. It was a capacity issue (original drive is only 10GB). I did opt for a 5400 RPM, 40 gig drive with a 16MB cache. I figured if I was going to do the size increase I might as well do the speed increase and I was able to get the drive for under $90 shipped.

Even though I noticed that the original drive was slow, it did not bother me as much as the size of the drive.

2005-03-09, 10:59

I'll point over to this thread in case you haven't seen it. Pretty good deal on a last gen 12" PB, around $1000 after rebate - showing 7-21 day wait though.


2005-03-09, 11:09
I noticed! I'd be all over it if I had the money right now.

Actually, I should give a little update. I've for certain decided to sell the PC, along with a bunch of other extra stuff. Fooboy here is kind of coaching me along - he encouraged me to find ANY extra stuff that I'm not using and sell it. So I'm selling my Babylon 5 DVD sets, my Family Guy DVD set, my GameBoy Advance SP, and my PC. I'm going to save up as much money as possible and hopefully I can afford a lightly used or refurbished 12" PowerBook.

So I've been putting signs up on campus to try and sell these things. I figure if I can find a local buyer, I'll save lots of money and hassle on shipping and paypal fees. The only problem is that it's hard to find a good public bulletin board where I can post my ads, and it could take a while to sell. I'm not sure if it's worth it to take it down and sell it online, though. I know for a fact that I could sell everything online if I part it out, but that's a huge hassle because I'd have to dismantle the PC and put each component into a shipping box.

In the meantime, I'm going to try getting along for a while using my 433 MHz Celeron notebook in conjunction with my 19" CRT monitor. The 800x600 screen would drive me insane if I tried to use it full time, but I should be able to get along for a while if necessary.

Any tips or suggestions for selling on campus? I'm kind of trying to figure out the best approach since I've never sold anything this way before. Oh, I'm also changing the title of this post so it fits better.

2005-03-09, 11:15
So I'm selling my Babylon 5 DVD sets.

Sacrilege, pure sacrilege.
May the Shadows and the Drahk visit you tonight!

I wish you luck in your sales.
I've tried much the same thing and I ended up turning to ebay.

2005-03-09, 11:19
How much does it cost to place a classified in your local campus paper? That might be the most cost effective. I was curious to see what a Facebook announcment cost is, but those are expensive. $17/day, and it's on rotation with other announcments for that day.

I have a 1.0 GHz 12" PB that I've tossed around the idea of selling to move to a new 12" PB. Nothing serious yet though - just floating it out there. :D

2005-03-09, 11:28
Well, if you decide to sell it, you know where to reach me.

As for the B5 sets... well, I'm definitely a big B5 fan, but I've already seen all of them and I'm not sure if I'll ever go back and watch them again. Seeing them the first time, when I got the sets, was kind of magical. I watched one of them again a couple months ago and it just wasn't the same. I kept noticing little problems that I didn't see the first time through, like how annoying Delenn is, or how the acting really isn't very good.

I'll definitely make copies before I sell them though :D

2005-03-11, 00:48
Perhaps I'm wrong but I thought you could use an iPod formatted to a PC to move files to a Mac? Just not a Mac formatted iPod to a PC.

About selling stuff on campus- unless you're on a big, big campus, I agree- go with eBay. People with JOBS buy stuff on eBay. People on campuses have computer stuff their parents bought them and are snobby about stuff like that. Even with the fees you'll get a better deal online.

Worst case, those USB drives go back and forth between PCs and Macs. :-) If you don't have that many files, you can do it. I have- it didn't even fill up my 512.

Regarding the comment about how slow OS X was when it came out- I installed in on my POS iBook at my brothers insistance. I hated it- it was way too slow. I never used it. He thought I was nuts. The upgrade was much better. :-) I'm glad I wasn't the only one that thought that. It's like being a Mac Communist when you think like that. You just don't dare say it to "Windows" people, in case you give them ammo. :eek: I still have gripes that I keep to myself. :-)

2005-03-11, 01:09
:lol: squishles, you don't really get it do you...

My PC has two hard drives. A 200 GB one and a 250 GB one. I can fit everything onto either one of them, at least once I delete all the games that I won't be able to use on the Mac. I also have a 250 GB IDE drive which I will format into HFS+, put into a Firewire case, and then I'll transfer everything from my PC to the Firewire drive connected to a Mac over a network. There are several problems with moving files from a PC to a Mac, the largest of which is the big problem of file systems.

I wouldn't be able to fit much on an iPod anyway. It would take a dozen trips or more. As for a USB drive... well, I have a 256 MB one, but that would take hundreds of really slow trips. 4 tips = 1 GB, and I have about 150 GB of data to move. You do the math.

Anyway, I've pretty much solved how I'm going to move all my stuff over from my PC to my future Mac. Now the decision lies in which Mac I want to get. A little while ago, I thought a laptop would be a great idea. However, I'm working on a budget of approximately $600-$800 for a complete computer (and that includes a RAM upgrade, and a keyboard and mouse if applicable), and that won't buy a great laptop. The best I could do would probably be an iBook G4/800. I'd like one of those.

Another option is to not get a laptop and instead get something like a Mac mini. I'd get the base 1.25 GHz model, but with 512 MB of RAM and the wireless package as BTO options. I know that Apple overcharges for RAM but $75 to move to 512 MB isn't TOO bad, especially considering that upgrading it yourself could void the warranty. Also, while I would not actually use Bluetooth, I may as well get it since it's only $20 extra. I definitely want Airport Extreme since with a small computer like the mini, I want as few cables as possible hanging off it.

And there's the tiny possibility of getting an old PowerMac G4 on eBay. It's only about $200 now for a stock one. Add a $200 processor upgrade, a $50 graphics card, a $50 optical drive, and $100 of RAM, and you've got something as fast as the Mac mini for the same price. I already have the IDE hard drive and I can use the high-capacity drivers to see the whole thing, or I can choose to continue using the IDE drive in an external case or buy an ATA card for about $60.

Anyway, there are a lot of options. Given my budget, it would be difficult to swing a laptop, and I'm not sure how much benefit I'd really get from having one. It would be convenient, no doubt, but I'm not sure if I really need to have my computer with me all the time.

2005-03-11, 01:14
Heck, you can carry a Mini with you if you want, and Firewire Target it to any available Mac to get access to your files if you need to when you're out and about.

Sounds like a pretty cool plan to me....

2005-03-11, 01:56
So I'm selling my Babylon 5 DVD sets

I WANT I WANT I WANT... I have season 1 and really want to get the rest.

2005-03-11, 03:08
Check your PMs, Wrao.