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Final questions before I get an iBook.


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Final questions before I get an iBook.
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Wickers
is not a kind of basket
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2004-06-09, 15:59

While I thought I'd have one of these puppies in my hands a week or so ago, my plans were pushed back because I have been busy with exams.

Anyway. I have a few questions.

OS X related:
1. 30gigs enough? How much space is used on a default install (fresh from the factory)? Around 2-3gigs I am guessing. (?). The iBook at my local Apple reseller had something to the tune of 3gigs of hard drive space being used as swap space (VM). . . was I on crack when I saw this?

2. From what I understand Apple offers an implementation of X11, and so does an open source project. Which one should I look into? And, with an X server running, can a SSH connection with the -X switch work out of the box? (does apple's sshd server know when someone has added an X server?)

3. How many local users can I create? (is there a limit?)

iBook related:

4. With AirPort-Ex built in, do I have any chance of using an external antenna without voiding my AppleCare?

5. If the answer above is no, then will using an external USB wireless adaptor dent my battery life much?

6. Apple says it has a 6 hour battery life, I am guessing that's when it is sleeping? What can I expect realisticly, if I was only on the web or typing?

7. Audio quality? I am not an audiophile to any extreme but I do like my music crisp and clean. The right combo of speakers and soundcard can make a world of difference. How will the iBook's sound chip compair to lets say a Sound Blaster Audigy. I'll be getting a good pair of headphones.

8. Open Firmware hacking, does it void AppleCare? With the hack, what is the maximum resolution I can get with an external display? What other OF hacks can I do to get more out of the iBook?

9. How loud is the fan? Well, how high pitched is it?


Thanks for your help.

I'll be getting the 12" 1ghz G4,
Aftermarket RAM (an extra 256)
40 Gig hard drive.
AirPort Ex.
Any thoughts?
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FFL
Fishhead Family Reunited
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Slightly Off Center
 
2004-06-09, 16:07

Quote:
Originally Posted by \/\/ickes
I'll be getting the 12" 1ghz G4,
Aftermarket RAM (an extra 256)
40 Gig hard drive.
AirPort Ex.
Any thoughts?
Forget the 256 and get the 512. If you're concerned about swap files and such, you should max out the RAM from the get-go.
  quote
Wickers
is not a kind of basket
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2004-06-09, 16:11

Quote:
Originally Posted by FFL
Forget the 256 and get the 512. If you're concerned about swap files and such, you should max out the RAM from the get-go.
512 not good enough? Gee.. after reading many redundant threads about how much RAM OSX needs, I thought 512 was a safe start.

I could 'max' it out with an extra 1gig dimm. . . but that would cost far to much for my wallet to handle.
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FFL
Fishhead Family Reunited
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Slightly Off Center
 
2004-06-09, 16:12

1.Yes (except for excessive video and audio storage needs of course

2. dunno - I'd go with Apple's version

3. Only limit is your disc space for home folders

4. No

5. Maybe. Just go with the built-in antenna, it's surprisingly good. Extend range by augmenting the network with better antennas and/or more access points.

6. No, it will sleep for a couple weeks on a full battery. 6 hrs. is realistic with dimmed screen, no AirPort, no optical disc in use, and a minimum of HD activity. Real world should be between 4 and 5 hours.

7. The speakers are the most important link in the audio chain, put your money there... I suggest the Klipsch 2.1 setup

8. Warranty voided, I believe, and not sure about max. spanning resolution.

9. Not very
  quote
staph
Microbial member
 
Join Date: May 2004
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2004-06-09, 16:16

Quote:
Originally Posted by \/\/ickes
While I thought I'd have one of these puppies in my hands a week or so ago, my plans were pushed back because I have been busy with exams.

Anyway. I have a few questions.

OS X related:
1. 30gigs enough? How much space is used on a default install (fresh from the factory)? Around 2-3gigs I am guessing. (?). The iBook at my local Apple reseller had something to the tune of 3gigs of hard drive space being used as swap space (VM). . . was I on crack when I saw this?
2/3 Gigs, or thereabouts, are used by a full OS X install. If you clean reinstall without boring things like the Asian fonts and Printer drivers, you can knock at least a Gig off that.

I've seen 3GB of VM being used on my tower, but only because Photoshop went completely ballistic (something went horribly, horribly wrong). I'd try to keep 3-4GB free on principle, but I know people who've run stably for years on <1GB of free HD space.

This is partly related to memory -- buy as much memory as you can afford, OS X will thank you for it. The machine at the reseller probably had the wholly inadequate 256MB of RAM, and about a bazillion applications running, as reseller computers tend to.

Quote:
2. From what I understand Apple offers an implementation of X11, and so does an open source project. Which one should I look into? And, with an X server running, can a SSH connection with the -X switch work out of the box? (does apple's sshd server know when someone has added an X server?)
The two are almost exactly the same (Apple's X11 is directly based on the XFree86 codebase, but has a new window-manager, QuartzWM, which takes advantage of OS X's hardware-acceleration of the GUI). I'd go with Apple's, simply because it's less hassle to set up.

X11 tunnelling over ssh can be done, but I've never done it, so I'm not sure how easy it is.

You need to custom install to get X11, btw, although I'm not sure about the situation on new Panther machines, as opposed to off the Panther install CDs.

Quote:
3. How many local users can I create? (is there a limit?)
Possibly, but I've never seen any information on it, and I've certainly never hit it, so it's probably very high.

My personal record is 20, and I can't imagine why you would possibly need more than that on a personal machine.

Quote:
iBook related:

4. With AirPort-Ex built in, do I have any chance of using an external antenna without voiding my AppleCare?
Um... what do you mean? You won't void your AppleCare unless you start messing around inside your machine. Airport should work with most third-party wireless appliances, though (fingers crossed).

The built-in Airport reception on the iBooks is very good anyway...

Quote:
5. If the answer above is no, then will using an external USB wireless adaptor dent my battery life much?
dunno

Quote:
6. Apple says it has a 6 hour battery life, I am guessing that's when it is sleeping? What can I expect realisticly, if I was only on the web or typing?
You might get up to a week on sleep-time, although I've never been away from my machine for that long. The 6-hours is in-use time.

On the web or typing, expect 4-5 hours, especially if you're typing in something less CPU-hogging than Word.

Quote:
7. Audio quality? I am not an audiophile to any extreme but I do like my music crisp and clean. The right combo of speakers and soundcard can make a world of difference. How will the iBook's sound chip compair to lets say a Sound Blaster Audigy. I'll be getting a good pair of headphones.
The internal speakers, not surprisingly for such a small laptop, suck. The sound quality of the headphone jack is just fine however -- certainly good enough for CD quality.

If it really worries you, you can get external USB 5.1 audio interfaces. M-Audio makes one, and it's had pretty good reviews.

Quote:
8. Open Firmware hacking, does it void AppleCare? With the hack, what is the maximum resolution I can get with an external display? What other OF hacks can I do to get more out of the iBook?
If they catch you, probably. Are they likely to catch an OF hack after the motherboard is fried? I doubt it.

Quote:
9. How loud is the fan? Well, how high pitched is it?
Fairly quiet. It will come on very rarely anyway.


Quote:
Thanks for your help.

I'll be getting the 12" 1ghz G4,
Aftermarket RAM (an extra 256)
If you have spare cash, you might want to consider making that an extra 512MB, although 256 should be fine.

Quote:
40 Gig hard drive.
AirPort Ex.
Any thoughts?
Good luck!

Don't forget the AppleCare!
  quote
Wickers
is not a kind of basket
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2004-06-09, 16:19

Quote:
Originally Posted by FFL
5. Maybe. Just go with the built-in antenna, it's surprisingly good. Extend range by augmenting the network with better antennas and/or more access points.
It's not my network that I want to extend the range of, it' my access to other people's networks at hand. Think Pringles can.
  quote
FFL
Fishhead Family Reunited
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Slightly Off Center
 
2004-06-09, 16:19

Quote:
Originally Posted by \/\/ickes
512 not good enough? Gee.. after reading many redundant threads about how much RAM OSX needs, I thought 512 was a safe start.

I could 'max' it out with an extra 1gig dimm. . . but that would cost far to much for my wallet to handle.
Yeah, it's quite a premium for the 1 GB, but the 512 is probably a better $/MB deal than the 256 chip.
  quote
staph
Microbial member
 
Join Date: May 2004
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2004-06-09, 16:20

Quote:
Originally Posted by \/\/ickes
512 not good enough? Gee.. after reading many redundant threads about how much RAM OSX needs, I thought 512 was a safe start.

I could 'max' it out with an extra 1gig dimm. . . but that would cost far to much for my wallet to handle.
There are diminishing returns on extra RAM, obviously. 768MB over 512 should be a noticeable difference; 1280 over 768 would be less noticeable unless you intend to do a lot of video or image-editing work on it.

I'd go for 768MB. Indeed I will when I replace my iBook with a new i/Powerbook in a couple of months time.
  quote
staph
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2004-06-09, 16:22

Quote:
Originally Posted by \/\/ickes
It's not my network that I want to extend the range of, it' my access to other people's networks at hand. Think Pringles can.
You may want to suck it and see, but in general, the iBook really should be just fine. Really. It's renowned for its good reception.
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Luca
ಠ_ರೃ
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Minnesota
 
2004-06-09, 16:25

I'll answer what questions I can:

1. 30 GB wasn't enough for me when I had an iBook a while back, but I tend to have a lot of stuff. Also, it was my only computer (whereas you also have a Linux box). It really depends on your habits.

6. Battery life could go as low as about two hours if you have maximum performance on and you're using WiFi as well. It'll jump up to about four hours for low-power use, and the screen somewhat dimmed. Six hours is probably with the screen dimmed down to nothing and the machine sitting in its lowest power mode. It's not the amount of sleep time - I would guess that it would probably be able to sleep for days on end without draining the battery.

8. Technically it voids the warranty, but there's really no way to check if you've done it so you'll be okay 99.9% of the time.

9. It doesn't come on often, but when it does come on, it's fairly high-pitched. It sounds like a hair dryer to me. Quite loud, but as long as you keep it cool, it'll probably work okay.
  quote
Wickers
is not a kind of basket
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2004-06-09, 16:27

Quote:
Originally Posted by staph
If they catch you, probably. Are they likely to catch an OF hack after the motherboard is fried? I doubt it.
Let's say I have a problem that requires me to send it in. This problem does not involve the mainboard (let's say it's a drive replacement.) Can I undo the hack? Will there be any evidence that I did the hack?
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staph
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Join Date: May 2004
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2004-06-09, 16:34

Quote:
Originally Posted by \/\/ickes
Let's say I have a problem that requires me to send it in. This problem does not involve the mainboard (let's say it's a drive replacement.) Can I undo the hack? Will there be any evidence that I did the hack?
You can reset the Open Firmware by booting while holding down Cmd-Opt-P-R. That should remove the hack.

Obviously, they can detect the hack if it's currently applied and they go looking for it. Whether they will or not is another question... and it's the work of a moment to remove.

Having said that, there are reports that it has been implicated in killing some people's motherboards.

Here's the Mac OS X hints article on it, btw.

Last edited by staph : 2004-06-09 at 16:51. Reason: Described incorrect boot shortcut. Silly me. ;) + I apparently can't spell
  quote
Wickers
is not a kind of basket
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2004-06-09, 16:34

Quote:
Originally Posted by Luca
I'll answer what questions I can:

1. 30 GB wasn't enough for me when I had an iBook a while back, but I tend to have a lot of stuff. Also, it was my only computer (whereas you also have a Linux box). It really depends on your habits.
I have about 20gigs in my Linux box to play with.
I also have an external hard drive with 35gigs free.

So I am covered for backup and storage. I asked because I would like to have a lot of different networking and forensic tools at hand while on the road.

So it would be about 10gigs of media, 3gigs of OSX, 10gigs of software to play with, and at least 4gigs free.
  quote
Wickers
is not a kind of basket
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2004-06-09, 16:41

Quote:
Originally Posted by staph
Having said that, there are reports that it has been implicated in killing some people's motherboards.

Here's the Mac OS X hints article on it, btw.
From what I read, (your link), it can kill an older (500mhz-600mhz) iBook with the Rage chip.
This is funny, because the hack only works on Radeon chips, so these people just ignored simple facts and in turn lost a laptop.
  quote
staph
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2004-06-09, 16:43

Quote:
Originally Posted by \/\/ickes
From what I read, (your link), it can kill an older (500mhz-600mhz) iBook with the Rage chip.
This is funny, because the hack only works on Radeon chips, so these people just ignored simple facts and in turn lost a laptop.
Yep, pretty funny.

There are reports of Radeon-class chips dying as well. They're very much in the minority though.
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staph
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Join Date: May 2004
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2004-06-09, 16:57

By the way, on the subject of X11 -- if you're concerned by the fact that XFree86 is no longer GPL-compatible, here are the instructions for installing/running X.org on Darwin/Mac OS X.
  quote
Wickers
is not a kind of basket
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2004-06-09, 17:05

Quote:
Originally Posted by staph
By the way, on the subject of X11 -- if you're concerned by the fact that XFree86 is no longer GPL-compatible, here are the instructions for installing/running X.org on Darwin/Mac OS X.
No, I am not worried about that. If I was, I would not run OSX at all and just install Gentoo. I'll go with Apple's version for the support.

Thanks for your input BTW.
  quote
SKMDC
superkaratemonkeydeathcar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: chicago
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2004-06-09, 17:58

is 12" important to you? because just a couple hundred more and you can get the stock 14" comes with extreme and 60GB drive and a bit more power. i think the small difference in cost makes it a good value to take the bump.

you could save money by not taking apple care til the end of the year warrantee to make up the difference.

if you have to have the 12" i'd get the 60GB drive.

i think if you got the 12" with the 40GB drive you'd wish you got the 60GB this time next year, maybe you'd wish you had the 14" too.

"What's a Canadian farm boy to do?"
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Wickers
is not a kind of basket
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2004-06-09, 18:10

Quote:
Originally Posted by superkaratemonkeydeathcar
is 12" important to you?
Yes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by superkaratemonkeydeathcar
because just a couple hundred more and you can get the stock 14" comes with extreme and 60GB drive and a bit more power. i think the small difference in cost makes it a good value to take the bump.
That would push me past my budjet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by superkaratemonkeydeathcar
you could save money by not taking apple care til the end of the year warrantee to make up the difference.
Good idea, I'll do that anyway.

Quote:
Originally Posted by superkaratemonkeydeathcar
i think if you got the 12" with the 40GB drive you'd wish you got the 60GB this time next year, maybe you'd wish you had the 14" too.
By this time next year, I can just replace the drive with something much larger.

As for the size thing... portability is a major thing for me. I have had a chance to handle both and I feel that the 12" suites me much better.
  quote
SKMDC
superkaratemonkeydeathcar
 
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2004-06-09, 20:51

i'd say you're good to go,
but don't let the applecare slip....i just had a new logic board installed that would have cost $972 (american) if i'd of had to pay for it.

"What's a Canadian farm boy to do?"
  quote
Barto
Student extraordinaire
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Canberra, Australia
 
2004-06-09, 22:10

1) I'd recommend maxing the RAM and hard drive. It was so worth it for my iBook, I've only got about 2GB remaining on a 60GB hard drive. My swap file is 67MB large, the Apple reseller was obviously on crack.

2) Stick with Apple's implementation of X11, it is fine. I ssh -X all the time using it with no problems.

3) AFAIK there is no limit to local users.

4) There's no way you could rig up an external antenna without voiding your warranty.

5) Stick with AirPort Extreme, I don't have it myself but everyone I know with it has no problems with reception.

6) 4 hours typing, 2-3 hours playing games, pretty much unlimited sleeping.

7) The iBook's audio quality will be limited by your speakers. The only cavet is that the headphone connected seems to be a bit prone to static. If you want to spend a lot of money, get the Klipsch 2.1s. If not, get the Logitech Z-3s - excellent quality, very inexpensive, excellent looks. I've heard good things about Hercules XPS 210s too.

8) No idea.

9) The the iBook is the only noise source in a room, the fan seems quite loud. You hardly notice it if there is another noise source. The fan does vibrate a bit. But the fan only turns on when you are doing something intensive so who cares.

Barto

The sky was deep black; Jesus still loved me. I started down the alley, wailing in a ragged bass.
  quote
Quagmire
meh
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2004-06-09, 22:15

The 12 inch should be fine. The 14" has the same resolution, it will just make the logo's look bigger. A 40 GB HD should be fine as well. You might bump the ram to 768 MB. I think I am going to bump up my powerbooks memory from 512 MB to 768 Mb because this baby will be lasting me for 4 years.

giggity
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