$1500 challenge...

in General Discussion edited January 2014
To establish a little context first, I am a college student studying both biochemistry and German. Right now I have a Pismo 400 Powerbook -- which I love most dearly -- the swappable batteries, etc., etc. However, since my school is pretty reasonably priced (state schools are WONDERFUL things), I have some money with which to invest in a new Mac -- specifically I want to get another notebook. I would like to see what you guys can recommend in the $1500 - $2000 price range in terms of Apple notebooks. I've been wracking my brain now for a few weeks -- the new PBs are tempting, but after reading the recent thread about financing Macs, I know that I want to stay under two grand, preferably around $1500.

To give the recs a little guidance, I am serious about moving up to a G4 processor at last -- but if those of you who have used the 800 MHz IBM-G3 driven iBooks would contribute, please tell me how they compare in moderate usage applications (i.e. I do Photoshop work with hi-resolution digital photographs and produce high-level publications with the combination of InDesign/Illustrator) compared to a G4 at about the same or lesser speed. Right now Photoshop 7 takes almost 2 minutes to complete boot, not to mention how much time I get to spend watching the progress bars move across the screen when I open up (not even mentioning manipulating) a large item in Photoshop.

Thanks in advance!


  • Reply 1 of 14
    to add to this...I am a member with Apple's student developer program, so that helps quite a bit...right now (thanks to another highly similar thread) I am also swerved toward the 12" Mini PowerBook -- I can get it for US$1599 leaving me space to get AppleCare, etc.

    ....oh...what decisions....
  • Reply 2 of 14
    The new iBooks will be noticeably faster than your Pismo ... not only a faster clock, but the bus-speed is faster as well. This adds up to a huge improvement !

    If, however, you really do a LOT of Photoshop stuff, you'd probably appreciate the G4 and DDR of the new PB's ... and since you're a student, the 12" is SOOOO portable !!!

    But... as someone who's been in debt before and has since kicked that habit, I wouldn't finance a computer purchase (or any other) if you have one that works (even if it's old and slow). You'd be much better off saving your pennies 'till you can buy it with cash !

    Sorry for the sermon, but I really feel that most young people today don't understand what debt does to you.
  • Reply 3 of 14
    mcqmcq Posts: 1,543member
    IIRC the ADC pricing on the 12" Powerbook is $1429... that'd leave quite a bit of breathing room, no?
  • Reply 4 of 14
    Thanks for the tip -- but my brother's (who is now 28) forays into the world of credit have taught me enough not to even think about credit cards/loans. The money for this PowerBook/iBook is coming from scholarship funds which weren't applied to tuition/fees/etc this semester. I tried to upgrade this past summer but was scammed out of $1500 for a laptop which never materialized (no more eBay comp. purchases for me - regardless of feedback).

    With my developer discount (about 20%), the SuperDrive Mini PowerBook is VERRRRY attractive, but I do not even have a digital camcorder. One thing that's been a little leery, though, is the graphics card in the Aluminum models -- is it really a poorer performer than the Radeon Mobility, or will the average user really not notice it (i.e. I don't play games but might catch a few DVDs)?

    Thanks again!
  • Reply 5 of 14
    emaneman Posts: 7,204member
    [quote]Originally posted by KingOfSomewhereHot:

    <strong>The new iBooks will be noticeably faster than your Pismo ... not only a faster clock, but the bus-speed is faster as well. This adds up to a huge improvement !


    Not true. Both the Pismos and the current iBooks have 100MHz buses.
  • Reply 6 of 14
    lucaluca Posts: 3,833member
    I'd suggest upgrading your Pismo. A G4/500 upgrade is available, and you can also put a larger HD, up to 1 GB of RAM, and a CD-RW or Combo drive in the drive bay. If you need any more connections you can always get a PCMCIA card. Airport is nice too, very nice. If your college is set up for Airport, then you should definitely get a card. You can even get an 802.11g PCMCIA card, though only the 802.11b Airport card will work in the internal slot.

    If you really want a new notebook, and you're doing Photoshop, then get a G4. It sounds like you can't quite afford a new TiBook but you could go for either the 12" or for a used 15", like an 800 MHz.
  • Reply 7 of 14
    Thanks so much for the great suggestions -- the PowerBook G4/800 is what I was scammed on this summer...it might do my soul some good to actually have one. So far, it's between that and a 12" PB (with the combo drive).

    the AlBook looks very very nice, but I used a 12" iBook once before, and I do not know if I could live with that screen full-time (would mean bringing my 17" Sony CRT which I use on a G3/350 Yosemite tower to school).
  • Reply 8 of 14
    [quote]Originally posted by TexMac:

    <strong>Thanks for the tip -- but my brother's (who is now 28) forays into the world of credit have taught me enough not to even think about credit cards/loans.</strong><hr></blockquote>

    Careful there, skipper. Not having any credit cards or never taking out any loans leaves you wholly deprived of a credit record. You'll need some credit history if you plan on getting a home loan to buy a house, among other things. The only way to build a credit history is to play the game. You can have credit cards and be resposible. Get an AmEx and force yourself to pay it off every month. You don't even have to use the credit cards, just having them is a good start.

    Your credit record is one of the most important things you'll have as you get older. Start building it now.
  • Reply 9 of 14
    Yeah, I've thought about that...but right now since I have no history and no steady income, my options are next to nothing. I suppose I should go to my credit union (through our community's major employer - hint, it rhymes with "bow wow" and is three letters long and matches the name of an industrial index on Wallstreet) and ask them what they could offer in terms of a student situation (i.e. with only a moderately insane interest rate) and just use it for emergencies.

    Thanks for the good advice....I've got lots of options under my belt now. What'd really be nice (at least for my cash-crunched, desiring-to-save-a-little situation) would be for Apple to surprise us all with 15" Alumnimumated PowerBooks!

    [ 02-03-2003: Message edited by: TexMac ]</p>
  • Reply 10 of 14
    murbotmurbot Posts: 5,262member
    I've said in other threads here to be careful using high interest credit cards for an expensive purchase like a computer, but Jack is right - you should have one and start using it. Just be careful about paying it off every month.

    I did this my first year in college. It was SO easy to get a credit card. There are apps everywhere on campuses. Of course they are hoping you'll rack up a balance and be stuck paying interest for years... you just have to be smart about it. Just use it for stuff you have the money for, and pay your bill immediately. You have to start building credit sometime.

    I also got a line of credit at my bank when I was 20, for $5000. I've used that a few times over the years, and the interest is much lower than my damn credit cards. Might want to check that out.
  • Reply 11 of 14
    fred_ljfred_lj Posts: 607member
    The 1GHz SuperDrive (or downgrade to a Combo via the Apple Store) with your student ADC discount is a viable option, along with the 867MHz model. From what I've been reading, the NVIDIA cards in the newer PowerBooks might be a little bit on the questionable side as far as color accuracy goes -- but most graphics people will tell you to use a CRT anyway. The 867 and 1GHz models represent the pinnacle of a very well-designed line of PowerBooks -- very refined units which are attractive for their lower price now and the ability to boot into OS 9.
  • Reply 12 of 14
    groveratgroverat Posts: 10,872member
    The 12" powerbook is my dream laptop. Oh glorious and beautiful thing, will you be mine?

    I will treat you right, baby, you'll be my little princess. Oh yeah, baby, it'll be good.

    Oh... wait... this is about you...
  • Reply 13 of 14
    Have NO FEAR about the video cards .... unless you play video intense games, you'll NEVER see any difference between a Rad9000 128MB and a GForce2 32MB (well... maybe if you were running two monitors off it).

    The only drawback to the 12" is it's screen size, but even that is respectable considering how portable the whole package is !!!

    Heck, I watch DVD's on a clamshell iBook with an 8MB rage3 mobile with no problems.

    (and that thing about needing a creditcard for a credit-rating is a load of crap .... you can by a house with no credit-card history at all ... just put 20% down and don't buy more than you can afford)
  • Reply 14 of 14
    [quote]Originally posted by KingOfSomewhereHot:

    <strong>(and that thing about needing a creditcard for a credit-rating is a load of crap .... you can by a house with no credit-card history at all ... just put 20% down and don't buy more than you can afford)</strong><hr></blockquote>

    That's probably true but I think it helps to have a positive history.

    What I do is put my groceries and gas on my credit card and pay it off at the end of every month. That way, I build up a history and it keeps me from writing a bunch of checks.

    [ 02-03-2003: Message edited by: Agent69 ]</p>
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