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Alexia
2005-03-10, 04:10
I'll give some background on my laptop history.

First laptop was a Dell Inspiron 2100. Small, sleek, silver, light, kind of a PB imitator.

Current: Dell Inspiron XPS. 12lb monster with 15.4" 1920x1200 resolution. (The power adapter is larger than a brick.) It does everything, including any gaming I would want to do.

What I mostly do on my laptop is mostly because of the high resolution. Web page design, photo touch up/editing, IRC, web/email/messaging/music. I do play some UT2004 occassionally, but I know it is available for OS X as well. I also use StarDock's ObjectDock on all my computers. Handy having all those quick links not cluttering the desktop.

I hate the one button mouse, but I will probably barely use the touch pad since I prefer an actual mouse.(I have Logitech MX510s for all my computers.) I'm familiar with the general interface from using OS 9 back when I was in middle school. Though I visited the Apple store on Tuesday and was freaking out because I couldn't Alt+F4 to close a program since I'm a keyboard shortcut junky.

My main concerns:
How are the colors and contrast of the 17" screen? The screen in the XPS has a horrible time displaying grey and the colors are simply off. I found this out when working with a client on the webpage. Purples are light blue! Not good for my photography work. This is the absolute best reason for me to ditch this XPS.

Comparable to the speeds of the P4 3.4ghz? I know RISC works different and utilizes clock cycles better. It would be silly of me to sell what I already have to essentially downgrade. I'm really having trouble finding comparisions out there that compare to PCs, not just other Macs.

Screen Resolution? I'm not going to lie, I am absolutely spoiled typing this message in 1920x1200. So much more space to work with my photography and just fit more on the screen. I would really like to see resolutions higher than 1440x900.


Future Buying Concerns: (Since I have to ride this laptop out until the semester is over, required to use MS Access for class...)
RAM Should I just get the default RAM and buy third party? So expensive for such a relatively cheap upgrade.

G5! I really wish I could see a G5 in a Powerbook, but unlikely by the time I get around to making the purchase.

OS X 10.4 Tiger Hoping this will be out buy the time I finish the semester.


Program Replacements?
mIRC - Snak
Winamp - iTunes
Trillian - ????
Xara X1(Vector Drawing) - ????
IrfanView(Picture viewer, better than Windows default) - ????
WinRAR - ????
WordPerfect Office 12 - MS Word 2004 for Mac doesn't sound TOO evil. ;)

Not including the obvious ones like Photoshop.

eleazar
2005-03-10, 04:46
Well, you have a ton of specific concerns and I'll leave those for other posters who are more technically inclined. That said, I am a student as well and I have the 15" which works perfect for me. The size is a little big for some of those cramped classrooms so I think the 17 would be a little big unless the screenspace you get from the 17 is just to valuable to you. (my resolution is 1280x854)

I have heard many have good success with adjusting the colors by using the built in calibration tool.

As far as the general interface being the same as OS9, well, I guess you can maybe say that in a round about way but OS X is quite different. You will learn the keyboard shortcuts like command-Q for quit = alt F4, etc.

Buy your ram from somewhere else other than apple

Tiger will be out Next tuesday (not really)

I use the *nix program Gaim like trillian
"Preview" lets you look at pictures
WinRAR, you can use a whole bunch of different compression tools via CLI like rar, tar, gzip, etc.

Being a long time linux user, I bought a mac because it has all the tools I use,plus commercial apps, and it just works which allows me to get work done. To me, that was more important than specs.

chipz
2005-03-10, 05:44
The 17" PB might be a little large for use in crapmed classroom space. That's a decision only you can deal with. The native resolution of the 17" PB is 1400 x 900...a little lower than you are used to, but still good. It should handle most of your other programs as well. Access is not available for Mac. MS Office is available and is a better version than that available for Windows. The weight of the 17" PB is a lot less than that of your Dell. The 17" PB screen is also wide screen so viewing on it can be a lot more satisfying, especially if you use it to watch DVD movies.

Paul
2005-03-10, 11:23
WinRAR=Stuffit Expander/DropStuff/DropZip (takes care of almost everything, I have only had trouble with .ace files-needed a PC to expand it... the cli tools may have been helpful tho)
Trillian=Adium (amazing program that uses gaim, I'm sure you will like it. There are many options for chat on X (proteus$, iChat, Fire, AIM, MSN, Yahoo!, ect.)
IrfanView(Picture viewer, better than Windows default)=Preview/Graphic Converter/iViewMultimedia (there are a bunch of different options in this space, many of which come with the PB... you'll have to experiment when you get the PB)
Xara X1(Vector Drawing)=Illustrator?/OmniGraffle?

Basically, whatever you need there is a 99% chance that a comparable or better program is out there for OS X... its just a question of finding it.

The built-in ColorSync Tech in os X will take care of your photography issues, but you may have to make the display look kinda wonky to get everything right. LoCash can give a better explanation, but basically he has a color profile for "general use" and one for color accuracy in photoshop... do a search for colorsync or color profile and a few helpful threads should pop up.

I'd wait for tiger just to save the $69 (edu) but it doesn't NEED to be preinstalled, you can get the upgrade disks at the time of purchase if it isn't.

The maxxed out 1.67 G4 will be a very good performer-especially when on battery. A G5 would be MUCH better tho...but you have to take what you can get.

stonyc
2005-03-10, 11:33
I'd wait for tiger just to save the $69 (edu) but it doesn't NEED to be preinstalled, you can get the upgrade disks at the time of purchase if it isn't.To the original poster, if you're a student consider looking into Apple's Student Developer Program? For $99, you get a larger discount over the .edu discount at the Apple Online Store to purchase your PB or PowerMac AND you will get Tiger shipped to you for free upon release.

Kiren
2005-03-10, 12:40
For IRC I've used xchat-aqua, which is just a OSX port of xchat, the same thing I use in windows and linux
For IM I mostly use Fire, which I'll admit is inferior to trillian, I'd love a trillian for OSX or linux. (trying Adium, mentioned in another post)
And for office I've been playing with NeoOffice/J (OS X port of open office, neooffice.org ) I haven't used it very much yet though so I can't voice much of an opinion on it, other then that it exists.

As for irfanview... well I dunno I'd love something like it (small, resizes/resamples, supports most image formats).

sildani
2005-03-10, 13:07
My main concerns:
// ...
Comparable to the speeds of the P4 3.4ghz? I know RISC works different and utilizes clock cycles better. It would be silly of me to sell what I already have to essentially downgrade. I'm really having trouble finding comparisions out there that compare to PCs, not just other Macs.
// ...I've done some research on this. Being a recent Mac "convert" I had similar concerns, specficially since in my field of math and science I need a fast machine. So I traded my P4 2.4Ghz desktop for a G4 Powerbeook 867Mhz, the PB with slightly less RAM (768 MB on PB vs. 1 GB on P4 desktop), and I must say that the G4 PB holds its own. It's hard to compare, because they are different, down to the machine level (even memory handling is different). But overall, the performance was good running programs like Photoshop, IntelliJ IDEA development platform, MySQL Server, and Resin Java container. And that's an 867Mhz machine running less RAM! I wouldn't take my personal experience as law because it could be different in some metrical way, but my experience has been that.

A simple web search like G4 vs P4 on Google (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&safe=off&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-US%3Aofficial&q=G4+vs+P4&btnG=Search) should help you on this one issue. I liked the TechTV article in particular (http://www.macobserver.com/article/2001/08/28.6.shtml), but bear in mind your laptop may be big but it is pretty technologically advanced on the intel x86 side of life, so it may suit your needs better. But they are sooo big, aren't they?

Alexia
2005-03-11, 20:25
A simple web search like G4 vs P4 on Google (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&safe=off&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-US%3Aofficial&q=G4+vs+P4&btnG=Search) should help you on this one issue. I liked the TechTV article in particular (http://www.macobserver.com/article/2001/08/28.6.shtml), but bear in mind your laptop may be big but it is pretty technologically advanced on the intel x86 side of life, so it may suit your needs better. But they are sooo big, aren't they?

Yes, it is very well advanced for the X86. You can put a 3.4ghz in a smaller form factor, but it won't perform as well. In the XPS this thing has a large fan with a heatsink composed of multiple heatpipes. The reason this thing is so thick is just because of the required specialized heatsinks. I am quite willing to say a cooling solution like this would work for a PB G5, but I know Apple is too stuck up to make a DTR monster.

Thanks everyone for the advice. I'll wait until a PB with a G5 comes around. This XPS monster will serve me until then.

Franz Josef
2005-03-12, 04:03
Some shootouts here with comments http://systemshootouts.org/

Alcibiades
2005-03-12, 10:28
Don't get your heart set on a G5, there's a good chance that Apple will use one of the e600 line that they have in development. For more info on the e600 line, see:

http://www.freescale.com/webapp/sps/site/overview.jsp?code=DRPPCDUALCORE

Personally, I'd love to see a nice dual core G4 with an upped bus. Excellent power, acceptable energy usage, it would be perfect for a professional notebook like the PB.

In any event, Apple will hopefully make some major changes with their next notebook revision, I know thats what I'm waiting to get (well, that and $3300 Cdn to buy one)

FallenFromTheTree
2005-03-14, 07:05
I think you'll be way happier with a topped out 15" 1.67 GHz
with the 128MB GPU and lots of RAM.

NaMo4184
2005-03-14, 13:00
If you are looking for software the most helpful sites are www.macupdate.com, www.versiontracker.com and www.pure-mac.com. Macupdate will let you search for the newest and greatest software for os x specific software. Same with versiontracker but its a bit slower and doesn't have all of the software that macupdate has. Pure-mac is not a search engine for mac software but it shows you a category and you look for software that way. hope this helps.

Program Replacements For me

mIRC - xchat-aqua or colloquy.
(both have limitations xchat has more features but colloquy has a superior mac feel but no dcc chat and cannot handle large channels well(1500+))

Winamp - iTunes (I've also heard of audion)

Trillian - Definitely adiumx but there is also proteus and fire

IrfanView(Picture viewer, better than Windows default) - preview that comes std on mac is fast.

WinRAR - stuffit expander thats the only free thing i know of

(to make it go faster turn off auto check for update cuts out about 5 seconds for startup)

WordPerfect Office 12 -

MS word for mac isn't bad AFTER you update. I got my copy for 12 dollars (got to love UT) so i gave it a spin and before the update it crashed at least 2 times per lecture. After I got the service pack I haven't had a crash since. However its not native to os x and it has poor graphics support. So I got iwork for 45 bucks and Its sweet. Though if you are taking science labs that require you to have std deviations I don't think iwork can do that so you may end up using excel for that.

You may also want to check out netnewswire for rss feeds macjanitor for running cron scripts, bittorrent for mac so you don't have to wait in queues in irc, and goliath if you need webdav to access your webspace at your school.

Also I am curious why you chose a 17 inch PB I am currently in college and use the 12 inch ibook so I want to know if the 17 inch has an advantage for college types (besides being wickedly bad ass). I would have thought if i had your budget i could get the 12 inch PB and a 24 inch dell external monitor and still have room in the budget for an ipod. Well actually if you need color accuracy it would probably be a better idea to go with an apple display.

good luck

mkalus
2005-03-14, 13:18
MS word for mac isn't bad AFTER you update. I got my copy for 12 dollars (got to love UT) so i gave it a spin and before the update it crashed at least 2 times per lecture. After I got the service pack I haven't had a crash since. However its not native to os x and it has poor graphics support. So I got iwork for 45 bucks and Its sweet. Though if you are taking science labs that require you to have std deviations I don't think iwork can do that so you may end up using excel for that.

Actually the entire Office Suite is native to Mac OS X, and it works just great.

Better than the Windows version in my opinion.

baaron
2005-03-14, 22:36
I'd get the 15". The 17" is totally overkill, is hard on the battery, and some people have had bad experiences with its screen. (A simple search on these forums should do the trick.)

The only reason I can think of for needing the 17" is if all you do is record/edit audio/video on the road and don't have access to an external display. Even then, a 15" is mighty impressive. I dunno, I borrowed my friend's 17" for a day, and it got annoying. Carrying it around, it is heavy, big, and just plain awkward. I couldn't even fit it into my backpack.

Right now I've got a 14" iBook, and my next one will definitely be a 12". True portability at its finest.

Alexia
2005-03-15, 05:41
The 17" isn't overkill at all. I have put up with this Dell XPS and it is fairly portable.

The main reason behind the 17" is for its native resolution. 1440x900

Anyway, like I said I'll just wait until the Powerbook line is updated with a faster CPU line. My current laptop beats my desktop in performance.

WBG4
2005-03-15, 07:25
Trillian - ????
Adium (http://adiumx.com/)

Here is a screen shot of my adium set up (http://homepage.mac.com/amerchant/screen6.jpg)

WBG4
2005-03-15, 07:28
You could also get a 15" and hook it up to a 2nd screen for more space. This way you could have a larger resolution then you could ever get on the 17" and have more portability. I own a 17" and many times i wish i had a 15"