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iBook vs. PowerBook


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iBook vs. PowerBook
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Chinney
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Ottawa, ON
 
2004-05-28, 08:52

Why buy a PowerBook right now? I compare the specs between, for example, the 15- inch 1.33 GHz ComboDrive PowerBook and the 14-inch 1.2 GHz ComboDrive iBook and I ask myself, why would I spend the extra money on the PowerBook? Is there something I am missing here? Is there, for example, a basic higher-level of quality inherent in the PowerBooks? Fewer reported problems?

Anyone have any perspectives on this?

When there's an eel in the lake that's as long as a snake that's a moray.
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pscates2.0
Mr. Katan
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2004-05-28, 09:12

Just off the top of my head:

1. I dig the wider screen (for Photoshop and Illustrator palettes) AND the 1280x854 resolution, compared to the 1024x768 on the iBook.

2. Feels a tad more "future-proof" and well-rounded, with the PC slot, FireWire 800, DVI, etc. I feel like I've got a machine that I can use for a good 2-3 years and handle any connection/peripherals that I may encounter. Plus I can hook it to any sort of display, projector, etc. that I may come across the next several years (presentation, buying an external LCD, etc.).

3. 64MB graphics vs. 32MB...matters to some, I'd imagine, depending on what they're doing.

4. Appearances might also count and come into play: sleeker, more "professional" (whatever that means) look. Again, matters to some.

5. Larger RAM capacity (for those who need it, it matters)

6. I imagine some internal, chip-related capabilities/specs are a bit more robust (cache, bus, etc.)? The PowerBook probably has a bit more muscle under the hood for Photoshop or video work. I'm sure it does, in fact.

Don't get me wrong...I probably could've gone with an iBook and been pretty damn happy. But since I'm not murbot and don't tend to buy a new Mac every 6-8 days, I wanted to get something that would handle all the Photoshop/Illustrator/InDesign stuff I throw at it, had the latest I/O and a nice wide, higher resolution display for those palette-heavy apps I tend to spend lots of time in.

Besides, I had a 15" LCD iMac for 18 months, at 1024x768...and I was tired of the cramped clutter on my screen of that particular resolution. I wanted to "break out" a bit and not spend half my time hiding and moving palettes or scrolling around a document.


Last edited by pscates2.0 : 2004-05-28 at 09:23.
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kretara
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2004-05-28, 09:26

I picked the 12" 1.33/superdrive PowerBook over the 14.1" 1.2/superdrive based on 4 points. (config: 768 RAM, largest HD available, bluetooth, superdrive, extra power adapter, extra battery and applecare).
1. equally configured there was only a $234 (educational) price difference
2. PB a 64MB graphics card compared to the 32MB in the iBook
3. The PB had a more substantial/quality feel to it
4. The PB LCD "seemed" to be of higher quality than the iBooks (or it could be PB colored glasses).

I'm very happy with my 12" PB.

The 15" would have more of a price difference, but I think that it is worth it if you are going to be using the PB in a "work" environment. The iBook is fine for home stuff and some lower end work, but the PB really shows its stuff when you start doing alot of PS work or alot of coding (where you need multiple windows open).
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Chinney
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2004-05-28, 09:55

Thanks for the responses. I agree with your points, but I think that the upshot is that, for the day-to-day user the new iBook is at a better price point, for the features. Even for the power user, I think that the current iBook might be tempting, if money is an issue, given that the PB is not that much better. However, Id think what the true power user needs (wants) is a substantially revised PowerBook. But (and I know that this has been discussed before) I just dont see a G5 PB around the corner. I hope I am wrong. As it is, I dont think Apple is adequately distinguishing these products anymore.

When there's an eel in the lake that's as long as a snake that's a moray.
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kretara
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2004-05-28, 09:59

^
Yes to all of the above!
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pscates2.0
Mr. Katan
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2004-05-28, 10:12

Well, definitely for a day-to-day, casual or "consumer" customer the iBook wins, hands down. I wouldn't suggest anything BUT an iBook for a buddy or family member interested in surfing/e-mail/iApps usage, or a student doing writing and research.

A PowerBook, in those situations, would be a bit overkill AND an unnecessary added expense (with MAYBE the exception of the 12" model...but the 15" and 17"? No way!).

I've been responsible - in the past year alone - for five iBook sales (three since they went to a G4), so I'm a fan and definitely appreciate the model!



In fact, ANOTHER friend of mine is ordering a new 12" iBook next week, after months of picking my brain and learning about Macs. She's only dabbled in Windows up 'til now, but when I showed her iChat, iTunes, iPhoto and told her about .Mac, iSight and OS X in general, that got her interest. She's buying the iBook and an iSight and I'll surprise her with a .Mac account, just as a nice added bonus.
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Mac+
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2004-05-28, 10:22

Quote:
Originally Posted by pscates2.0
...[snip]... She's buying the iBook and an iSight and I'll surprise her with a .Mac account, just as a nice added bonus.
pscates - that's very generous of you and a nice gesture to boot ... but it's also odd that if you pay for her .Mac membership and she puts you down as the member who referred her, then you're blowing your discount for next year aren't you?

All I want is a simple life
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thegelding
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2004-05-28, 10:24

Quote:
Originally Posted by pscates2.0
and I'll surprise her with a .Mac account, just as a nice added bonus.

and what are you hoping as a "nice added bonus" in return???

g
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pscates2.0
Mr. Katan
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2004-05-28, 11:13

Nothing but a "thank you". I'm a nice guy.
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Luca
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Join Date: May 2004
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2004-05-28, 11:43

Trust me, there's more to a PowerBook that meets the eye. In nearly every area, the PowerBook is faster and more refined. Now, one thing the PowerBooks DON'T have on the iBooks anymore is L2 cache (all now have 512 kb of full speed L2). Basically the only difference between the PowerBooks and the iBooks as far as processing power is concerned is the higher clock speed and 167 MHz vs. 133 MHz system bus, but the latter won't make much difference.

Graphics power is significantly more in the 15" and 17" PowerBooks. Even the 12" is a bit better, with 64 MB vs. 32 MB. But the 15" and 17" have the Radeon 9700 Mobility, the best mobile graphics chip available today, versus the Radeon 9200 Mobility, which is low end.

Storage options are more flexible in the PowerBooks, with 80 GB 5400 RPM hard drives available.

PowerBooks have more standard features that cost extra on the iBook, narrowing the real price gap. Airport Extreme and Bluetooth on all models, and a Superdrive on the top two models, are almost all optional on the high end iBooks.

iBooks are thicker and heavier than the PowerBooks. The 12" iBook is just slightly bigger than the 12" PowerBook, but the 14" iBook is between the 15" and 17" PowerBooks in weight.

A number of very small features that matter to a few people are present on the PowerBook: illuminated keyboard, better speaker quality, better screen quality, DVI-out, monitor spanning, hot swappable batteries, Firewire 800, PC card slot, and audio input. None of these are available on the iBook.

What Apple has succeeded at is making a low-end laptop that is nearly as cool as the high-end one, with enough similarities to make it an excellent value, but not enough to blur the lines between iBook and PowerBook.
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Chinney
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Join Date: May 2004
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2004-05-29, 22:24

Lots of good reasons posted here about why to like PowerBooks - some I didn't know about.

Still, at the end of the day, I think that the new iBook has hit a 'sweet spot' for price and performance for its intended customer base. I am not sure that the same thing can be said for the present PowerBook - that one will have to wait for an update.

When there's an eel in the lake that's as long as a snake that's a moray.
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pscates2.0
Mr. Katan
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2004-05-29, 22:29

Then order an iBook already, dammit.
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Chinney
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2004-05-29, 22:43

Will you surprise me with a .mac account?

Seriously, though, I may just pick up that iBook, once I evaluate the purchase against the many, many other things that are pressing the family budget.* I had never considered a laptop until very recently, but my latest trip for work convinced me that it would be nice to bring along. Actually, I sat beside a guy on the plane who was working on his new iBook, while I typed for a little while until the crappy battery died on my crappy office-issued PC laptop. I kept glancing over at his machine until I feared that he would think I was spying on him.

Finaly comment: whether iBook or PowerBook, I do think that Mac laptops outshine the PC competition in value and quality more than do their desktops (uh-oh, whole new topic here).




*(e.g.: There is a chance that the 35 year-old boiler-furnace in this old house is shot, and we will have to get a new one. I don't think those things come cheap. Anyone have any recommendations?)

When there's an eel in the lake that's as long as a snake that's a moray.
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MCQ
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2004-05-30, 00:15

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chinney

Finaly comment: whether iBook or PowerBook, I do think that Mac laptops outshine the PC competition in value and quality more than do their desktops (uh-oh, whole new topic here).
Which is a good thing, especially since laptops are making ~48% of Apple's computer sales.
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thegelding
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2004-05-30, 00:18

chinney, do you really even need a boiler in canada...aren't the winters really mild??

just go buy the iBook, or actually get a used PB...the ones that burned peoples laps, that could keep you warm this winter when the boiler kicks the bucket


g

oooooo, my next post is 200...better make it a good one

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everything is food if you chew hard enough
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Chinney
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2004-05-31, 09:47

Well g, here in Ottawa I think that we need more heat than even an old PB could generate. Id suggest that my wife and I just stay close all winter, but every time we try that we end up in the same sort of mess, with yet another ankle-biters making an appearance about 9 months later.

I am just about to phone the boiler people this morning. I had been holding off making the call, since we wont need the furnace to come on again until September. However, delaying is not going to help me and if the verdict is that we need a whole new furnace, it would be best to have a bit of time to shop around.

Re the iBook purchase, however, there are even more competing considerations. Even among discretionary purchases (e.g., not the necessary house repairs), there is competition for our family dollars. And lets just say that another computer is not among my wifes priorities.

When there's an eel in the lake that's as long as a snake that's a moray.
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EDS66
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Arlington, VA
 
2004-05-31, 21:41

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chinney
Why buy a PowerBook right now? I compare the specs between, for example, the 15- inch 1.33 GHz ComboDrive PowerBook and the 14-inch 1.2 GHz ComboDrive iBook and I ask myself, why would I spend the extra money on the PowerBook? Is there something I am missing here? Is there, for example, a basic higher-level of quality inherent in the PowerBooks? Fewer reported problems?

Anyone have any perspectives on this?
The G4 chip in the I-Book now uses 512K of L-2 cache. It's the same chip, essentially, as what's in the powerbook. The keyboard in the ibook is a little inferior to the powerbook in my opinion, but the powerbook is more prone to cosmetic damage. I think for network admins and for people who will use their Apple laptop for general use, the I-book is the way to go.
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Chinney
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2004-06-01, 18:21

I need a whole new (boiler) furnace. I have not received any price quotes yet, but I believe that they are pretty expensive. No iBook, much less a PowerBook, in store for me this year. Damn.

When there's an eel in the lake that's as long as a snake that's a moray.
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stevegong
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2004-06-03, 09:38

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chinney
Re the iBook purchase, however, there are even more competing considerations. Even among discretionary purchases (e.g., not the necessary house repairs), there is competition for our family dollars. And lets just say that another computer is not among my wifes priorities.

Why don't you buy the book for your wife and then just use it yourself?

I would advise you to get the powerbook over the iBook. I've had 2 ibooks, the first one was the first generation dual usb ibook and now I have the iBook G4.

The first one i had was of great quality and feels like a pro machine build. The one I have now feels cheap and crappy. It's like a piece of shit plastic moulded together. The letters on the keys have rubbed off, I have trackpad problems and my hard disk won't spin down. The battery too isn't that great.

I sooo regret not having paid 300 more for the powerbook.
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Chinney
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2004-06-04, 08:34

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevegong
I would advise you to get the powerbook over the iBook. I've had 2 ibooks, the first one was the first generation dual usb ibook and now I have the iBook G4.

The first one i had was of great quality and feels like a pro machine build. The one I have now feels cheap and crappy. It's like a piece of shit plastic moulded together. The letters on the keys have rubbed off, I have trackpad problems and my hard disk won't spin down. The battery too isn't that great.

I sooo regret not having paid 300 more for the powerbook.
Thats strange I thought that current generation of iBooks had a reputation for being pretty robust. This is as opposed to the immediately previous generation, for which I understood there were problems for some users Meanwhile, I thought there were some quality issues at least at first with the current generation of PowerBooks. Can anyone fill me in here? Are there any objective measurements (e.g., problems/repairs per 1000 units) that are kept by consumer groups that could compare the different models, and indeed also compare them to PC laptop quality? I know that Macs have a reputation for higher quality, but is this just anecdotal or is there some overall quality data that is kept?

As for the look and feel element, I must say that my own subjective assessment of the current iBook is very positive. I know there are differences in opinion on this, but I dont feel that it seems cheap at all.

All this being said, I probably will not be buying anything for the next few months, for reasons I have talked about above. Damn furnace.

When there's an eel in the lake that's as long as a snake that's a moray.
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EDS66
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Arlington, VA
 
2004-06-13, 20:50

I did a powerbook install/data transfer today, and let me tell you... the screen on the new 1.33 Ghz 12 inch powerbook is much nicer than on the revision B one. Much brigher, higher contrast, truer colors. And it runs much cooler too. Great machine!
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