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Help!!....iBook or Powerbook??

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone,

I'm looking to buy an Apple laptop and I'm trying to keep my costs down as much as possible, but I want something that will handle my needs well. I have never owned a laptop before so any advice, no matter how trivial you think it is, is appreciated.

First I'll mention what I will be doing with it and then I'll mention the setup I already have at home as that is pertinent to my decision.

I am a CGD artist and I create computer desktop wallpapers, as well as images for print. I will be running all the normal programs included with it, as well as Vue 5, Poser 5, Artmatic Pro, Artmatic Voyager, Photoshop CS and Dreamweaver MX.

My desktop setup at home consists of a single 1.6 Ghz G5, 1.5GB Ram, 80 GB HD, OSX 10.2.8 and my 20 inch Cinema display. I am waiting for the G5's to be updated so I can pick up a dual model with 4GB Ram. Hence the main reason I want to keep my laptop purchase as low as possible.

I will be doing a lot of word processing and business planning on both machines for a company I'm starting up and I'll be assembling the website on the laptop part of the time. I may use it down the road to compose music on as well, and that would involve programs such as Reason & Recycle.

My main use will be designing pictures using the programs listed above, but all rendering will be done at home on my G5.

For the first few months I won't have it connected to the internet, but that will change eventually. The main reason for this purchase is because I spend a great deal of time away from home, 12 hours a day during the week (with just week nights to work on the G5) and most weekends are spent with my girlfriend in another city.

So down to business. I don't need a big screen, the 12 inch will do, 15 inch max, because when I am home I have my Cinema. Whatever model I buy I'll be getting lots of Ram, an extra battery and all wireless technologies. Superdrive is optional, as I already have one at home.

I will most likely wait till the lines are updated, unless that goes into March. I have never used a G4, only my G5 so I don't even know what kind of speed these things have, but the iBook and Powerbook lines seem about even at the moment, except for graphics.

What do you think I will be best on? Be as specific as possible with features.

Thanks for the help!!
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post #2 of 6
First of all I think you should get a PowerBook. My mom has a new iBook and I wouldnt want to do the design work I do on her ibook.

I just bought my 15" powerbook over the summer this year. I got to tell you that do to the inability to do major upgrades on a laptop I opt for something that will keep you running for a few years to come. This way you wont have any regrets later on down the road. If you just get a basic model then well its good for now but how fast will it be running in a year or two.

If you need to cart the laptop around a lot I would deff go no bigger than the 15". I have a friend who has the 12" powerbook and finds it just fine since he hooks it up to a cinema display at home. However if you have like to work with many windows open or like seeing a lot more on screen the 15" is a nice upgrade.

I was able to get my powerbook as a limited offer upgrade that apple offered only in store (so I was told). MY PB includes:
1.5 G4
80gb 5400 rpm HD
1 Gig of Ram
128 ATI Graphics memory
Supper Drive
OS 10.3X
Airport
Blue tooth

With an educational Discount it came out to be like 2700 or 2800. The price of a 17" only better. I love my set up and would not have it any other way, however this is my main computer. If I had a display I would have got the 12"

I love my 1.5 power pc but a 1.33 would prob do you fine, I would recommend a 80 GB 5400 rpm HD its just quicker, or u could get a small 60 gig 4200 rpm HD and get an external down the road to save money now. Get as much ram as u are willing to spend, like i said I have 1 Gig and it really helps. You don't need the supper drive if u are not planning on burning DVDs. And u don't need blue tooth if u don't plan on ever connecting a blue tooth mouse or other devices, But airport is amazing and a must.

I do Design work on mine. I use Photoshop CS, Illustrator, Stream line, DreamWeaver, Flash, Director, Quark and so on. Having a lot of memory allows me to have many files and programs open at a time. I often have at least 3 or 4 open at once.

Let me know if u need anything else, and sorry if things are confusing I wrote really fast. Good luck.
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thank you very much for all the help!!

I have been veering more and more towards a Powerbook but I wanted to get an idea from others first, of the differences between the iBook & Powerbook.

I am hoping that Apple updates the Powerbook line very soon because I really love the idea of purchasing the 12 inch Powerbook. I want something small, light, but powerful enough to hold its own, and good battery life would be an added bonus.

One of the only reasons I would consider the 15 inch instead, is the backlit keyboard which I could use a great deal when travelling, and the added graphics performance & Ram capacity.

I wish they were more customizable because my ultimate choice would be as follows:

12 inch Powerbook
backlit keyboard
1.5 Ghz G4
2 GB Ram
60 or 80 GB 5400 HD
Combo Drive
Airport Extreme
Radeon graphics 128 MB
OSX 10.3
Extra Battery

I guess there would then be too few differences between the models if I got my wish, but it would be nice.

Some questions:

What is the life expectancy on the Powerbooks?

At the hefty price, is the applecare worth it? (bought it for my G5 but have had no problems with it at all so far)

Whats a good recommendation for a very fast, 100 GB+ external firewire drive?

Can you swap the current HD out for a faster one from another manufacturer?

How fast is Airport Extreme compared with a direct DSL connection?

How does Airport work when out & about (i.e. on a train, plane, subway, bus, at the park, in a hotel, etc)....Can you pick up clean signals??

Can I use iSync or Rendevous to communicate with my G5 at home, and what is the extent of those capabilities?

Again, all help is greatly appreciated and if anyone can recommend some sites that go into detail on some of this, that would be great. Thanks again!!
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post #4 of 6
I've got a first generation Titanium Powerbook G4-400 with 384MB of memory. It came with a 10G drive. I found information on the internet on upgrapding the hard drive and replaced it with a 40G drive (this was after a few years of use -- didn't want to disect a brand new computer). I've now got it set up where my laptop is a mirror image of my desktop computer. I use the Firewire IP mode (400 Mb/sec) to connect them and then us YouSynchronize to keep the both versions up to date.

The 15" Powerbook is nice becasue the display is 1152 x 768, giving you a lot more screen realestate than the 12".

Regarding your DSL connection: typical DSL connections are 1.2M/Sec. Some are higher, but 1.2Mb is about average. The 802.11b (11 Mb wireless) is just fine for this. You won't notice any difference in internet access with the 802.11g (54Mb wireless Airport Extreme). The 802.11g has the advantage of faster file transfers BETWEEN COMPUTERS on the same wireless network. It doesn't make any difference with your internet connection speed.

Obviously, for transfering a bunce of information between your two computers, the Firewire IP mode is the way to go since it's at 400 Mb versus 54 Mb for Airport Extreme.

The Airport extreme in AUTO mode works great for picking up wireless hotspots. My "rev 1" model had a limited range due to the titanium case, but this has been resolved on the newer models.

If you really want to communicate with your G5 at home, you can use something like no-ip.com to get a unique address for your home computer and then turn on apple file sharing. I do this so that I can get full access to my desktop machine from the road. Alternately, you can use Apples Remote Desktop or the FREE VNC to get full remote access to your machine. A broadband connection is prefered (dial-up would be painfully slow).

Personally, if you've got a G5 at home with a big display,I don't think you'll feel happy about a 12" display limited to 1024 maximum resolution. That 15" display makes a world of difference, especially when you start opening multiple windows or using a program that incorporates floating palletts.
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice about getting a 15 inch PB. I suppose if I was limiting my time to word processing and internet surfing the 12 inch would do nicely, but with PS's multiple pallettes and most of my other programs utilizing a small window surrounded by tools, the larger screen will make a world of difference.

Do any of you own a G5 and a G4? My single 1.6 G5 is very fast (it kills my girlfriends P4 2.4 when rendering large files), but I really want to upgrade later in the year to a dual system that supports more Ram. I need to decrease rendering times on animations, and images using global illumination, radiosity, HDRI, and volumetric effects.

When it comes to designing, internet, and running multiple programs at once though, it is very fast and smooth. Can I expect the same on a G4? (based on a 1.5 Ghz G4 with 1-2 GB Ram, 128 MB video)

I was reading in MacAddict about how you can setup a network of Macs to be used as a render farm, by using a router and connecting each machine by Ethernet, then downloading freeware from Apple.

Does anyone know: Would this work in the case of combining my PB with my G5, or even better, instead of buying a new dualie, purchasing four or five Mac Mini's and stringing the whole group together?

Just a thought. Thanks for all the advice.
ArtisticEvolution.com
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post #6 of 6
Quote:
Originally posted by G520incher
Thanks for the advice about getting a 15 inch PB. I suppose if I was limiting my time to word processing and internet surfing the 12 inch would do nicely, but with PS's multiple pallettes and most of my other programs utilizing a small window surrounded by tools, the larger screen will make a world of difference.

Do any of you own a G5 and a G4? My single 1.6 G5 is very fast (it kills my girlfriends P4 2.4 when rendering large files), but I really want to upgrade later in the year to a dual system that supports more Ram. I need to decrease rendering times on animations, and images using global illumination, radiosity, HDRI, and volumetric effects.

When it comes to designing, internet, and running multiple programs at once though, it is very fast and smooth. Can I expect the same on a G4? (based on a 1.5 Ghz G4 with 1-2 GB Ram, 128 MB video)

I was reading in MacAddict about how you can setup a network of Macs to be used as a render farm, by using a router and connecting each machine by Ethernet, then downloading freeware from Apple.

Does anyone know: Would this work in the case of combining my PB with my G5, or even better, instead of buying a new dualie, purchasing four or five Mac Mini's and stringing the whole group together?

Just a thought. Thanks for all the advice.

I don't know about the programs you specifically mention, but Cinema 4D has a NET render client and host included with the XL and studio bundles. This allows connection to another computer to offload rendering. I would imagine though, that to link the computers as you are mentioning (Xgrid?) it would require support in the application itself (but if anyone knows for definite??).

If you are going to be doing PS work heavily on the PB, I would suggest a 15". The screen estate is very necessary (I have a 12" and it is not really big enough). This also allows the RAM to be up to 2GB as well (unlike the 1 slot in the 12"). What about getting a 1.33 G4 combo (as a refurb if possible)? Or do you need the 128 MB video?

Either way, if you can afford to wait a little bit longer then you should. Chances are PBs are going to be updated very soon. You might even get lucky and be able to get a G5 in it (although a G4 with enough RAM should easily hold its own while you are out on the road).

[Edit:
In answer to some of your other questions, LaCie external drives have been quite reliable in my opinion and Airport extreme is much faster than the DSL connection, so it doesn't really matter (e.g DSL at 1 Mb/s, AE at 54 Mb/s max). I love Airport but I haven't used it outside the home yet.]
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