Powermac or Powerbook?

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
This is one of my first posts around here. I've been lurking for a while since I usually don't have much to contribute. I was going to ask a question though. I'm going off to college in late August (or so), and I need to buy a new computer. I have decided I want a Mac (it'll be my first), but I haven't decided what exactly I want. To me the question remains of whether portability is worth the drop in speed. I will most likely be making my purchase in March (right around my birthday), and whatever I buy will have to last me from then through college (so probably four years). The way rumors go (at least the ones I've read around the internet), we may see a small speed bump for the Powerbooks and a small speed bump for the Powermac. Since it seems likely that the Powerbook won't hit G5 till fall or winter, to me the choice seems to be between G5 or G4 and portability or not.



As far as what I'll use my computer for, it'll be mostly e-mail and internet stuff. That's typically what I use my current computer for. I may also want to do some minor video editing or maybe play around with Garageband. I will need a DVD burner (which is taken care of by both of my choices). I'd also like to figure out how much of a noticeable upgrade I'd get from either deal. My current specs are as follows:



1 Ghz AMD processor (not sure what type of AMD it is)

512 MB of RAM

16 MB Voodoo 3 card (very crappy and old)

80 GB hard drive



And that's really about it. I would just like to here people's views about both the Powermac and the Powerbook. Would a Powerbook be able to handle what I need it to? And, in the reader's opinion, is the speed decrease worth the portability? Any help or opinions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 38
    aslan^aslan^ Posts: 599member
    I think a powerbook will have more than enough power for what you need to do, although some people say garage band is resource intensive (dont know, never used it). No doubt garage band performance will improve over time as Apple refines the code.



    As for laptop vs desktop, my personal preference is an Apple laptop (performance and reliability) and a PC desktop (upgradable and cheap). If you've never owned a laptop you might be amazed at the computing freedom it affords you, I love it. If cost is a factor and you must have a mac then you will get more bang for your buck from a desktop.



    My vote is for the powerbook, desktops are cool and all but in my opinion laptops are far more useful.
  • Reply 2 of 38
    i've always preferred the desktops, more bang for the buck, you know, for the same price as a PBG4 12", you can get a 1.6 GHz G5
  • Reply 3 of 38
    Quote:

    Originally posted by AsLan^

    I think a powerbook will have more than enough power for what you need to do, although some people say garage band is resource intensive...



    ^what he said, and



    You're going to college (University, right?). Are you doing a lecture based course or a practical course? Can you type fast enough to use a PB in Class to take notes? Will your campus have wireless access that you can exploit by using a PB?



    I have *almost* cut out (ha ha) paper from my work-life. I take my PB to all lectures and classes and type up notes directly in Word/TE. I can then take my PB to the Library and continue my work with reference material by my side (History Student). I get approx 3hrs 15 out of the battery in my 1.25GHZ AluPB. The weight is *nothing* to carry around in a backpack and the working freedom it gives is great.



    On the more personal side, I love watching .avi movies, surfing the net (inc. AI), and having access to all my work, music, photos etc and using Poisoned, all in lectures. (While the network in school accommodation is crippled, I've had momentary D/L speeds of 1000+kbps before on wireless IN school )



    And remember, if you're moving away from home, and you want to go visit your folks, you can take all your work (and your AIM contacts) with you.



    There are so many advantages to having a PB if a student lifestyle is what you will have. Let someone else talk about desktops...



  • Reply 4 of 38
    Quote:

    Originally posted by SonOfSylvanus

    ^what he said, and



    You're going to college (University, right?). Are you doing a lecture based course or a practical course? Can you type fast enough to use a PB in Class to take notes? Will your campus have wireless access that you can exploit by using a PB?



    I have *almost* cut out (ha ha) paper from my work-life. I take my PB to all lectures and classes and type up notes directly in Word/TE. I can then take my PB to the Library and continue my work with reference material by my side (History Student). I get approx 3hrs 15 out of the battery in my 1.25GHZ AluPB. The weight is *nothing* to carry around in a backpack and the working freedom it gives is great.



    On the more personal side, I love watching .avi movies, surfing the net (inc. AI), and having access to all my work, music, photos etc and using Poisoned, all in lectures. (While the network in school accommodation is crippled, I've had momentary D/L speeds of 1000+kbps before on wireless IN school )



    And remember, if you're moving away from home, and you want to go visit your folks, you can take all your work (and your AIM contacts) with you.



    There are so many advantages to having a PB if a student lifestyle is what you will have. Let someone else talk about desktops...







    I am going to a university (in particular the University of Texas at Austin). I'm fairly certain that they have at least the basis for wireless access around the campus (particularly the new buildings). Also, according to my brother who just finished up there, most classes will allow laptops and all. I'm a fairly fast typer, although I may have to revise my notes if I type all of them (since I'm bound to make mistakes like yuo instead of you). The main draw to me for the Powerbook was the ability to take it with me if I travelled back home or somewhere else. So yea. So far this has all been good information. The concern I still have left is the fear that the Motorola G4 will be left behind once the G5's are in most machines. Maybe it's an unnecessary fear, but it still crosses my mind.
  • Reply 5 of 38
    aslan^aslan^ Posts: 599member
    If a powerbook can use the internet, take notes, edit dv, burn dvd's, and run garageband now... it will still be able to do so in three years.
  • Reply 6 of 38
    Does Garageband need a lot of power like you said earlier? I had heard that it doesn't work (or at least doesn't work fast) on some of the laptops. To run it, would I need to upgrade the RAM a lot in the Powerbook? Or does anyone know?
  • Reply 7 of 38
    pscatespscates Posts: 5,847member
    As someone recently making the switch to a laptop, I can say this with little to no fear of contradicting myself down the road: I'll NEVER own another desktop.



    There.







    You have no idea how nice it is to have all the things that I love about using a Mac (iTunes, Safari, the Adobe stuff, Sherlock, iLife, iCal, writing, photos, cool shareware titles, etc.) with me, anytime and anywhere I want. I find myself using Photoshop and Illustrator more now than I ever did before. If I take a weekend trip somewhere - which I love to do - the PowerBook, and everything on it, is there with me.



    Two things: today's PowerBook (and iBooks) are top-notch, solid machines that I truly consider a "desktop replacement". I'm not sitting here doing without or "taking a hit" for choosing to go mobile. I'm doing everything I could before, just in a wider choice of locations. Secondly, wireless Internet access is spreading EVERYWHERE it seems. There are two little cafe/coffeeshops here in my little town that offer free, broadband wireless access. So does the big park/pavillion downtown by the river. Nothing like sitting on bench on a nice day and getting your e-mail, 20 feet from the Tennessee River and boats going by.







    All those years of using desktops, and only being able to have access to the things I wanted while at home, in my room or den, at my desk, sitting up straight in a chair, blah, blah, blah.



    Ugh.



    From silly, obvious things like surfing and e-mailing from the couch or front porch to more practical, "real world" uses like taking my PowerBook with me to meet with a freelance client, showing them progress on a project, demo some on-the-spot ideas and alternate approaches, etc. I can sit and make changes or show other concepts while that person is there. I couldn't do that with a 25lb. iMac or tower.



    For what it's worth, I submit a MASSIVE vote for PowerBook. Or iBook. Either one. They're both great.



    I just know that for the rest of my Mac-using life, I'll simply buy PowerBooks (or iBooks?) every 3-4 years (give or take) from here on out.



    In fact, if I won a G5 in a contest, I'd sell it in a heartbeat and not think twice. I have no desire whatsover to be chained to a desk ever again, I don't give a damn how righteous the G5 may be. I'd sell it and use the money to get my PowerBook to 2GB RAM, or a trip somewhere or a whole bunch of songs from the iTMS. Or maybe a 20" Cinema Display.
  • Reply 8 of 38
    I've never owned a desktop before, but I'm on my 4th laptop. If you're a student, I think it's a no brainer to get a laptop. Honestly, the only desktop element I miss is the faster 7200 rpm hard drives...but since the drive themselves are becoming more affordable 4200 rpm drives will be a thing of the past soon enough.
  • Reply 9 of 38
    torifiletorifile Posts: 4,024member
    If you're taking notes in class, don't futz with crap like Word. Get OmniOutliner. I can't recommend it enough.

































    Oh and get the powerbook. With the ed discount, it's the best deal in the Apple lineup. (IMHO)
  • Reply 10 of 38
    i say pbook.



    ok, this is going to sound awful, and i'm normally the last person that would suggest this, so... dont kill me i got to demo a tablet pc last semester, and, as far as note-taking, it was incredible. the writing recog was excellent, and having all my notes in one place was great. i preferred writing on the screen rather than typing so i could draw diagrams if i needed to. now with that said, it would have been awful to only have the tablet. since you said you wanna do a little video, go with the pbook. if you ever get to demo a tablet or you find a cheap one (which wont happen) try it out. anyways, i dont want this thread to turn into the apple tbalet debate, so dont argue... i just wanted to tell pfresh that.



    p.s. pbook with an isight to record lectures would be kick ass
  • Reply 11 of 38
    lucaluca Posts: 3,833member
    I personally have a desktop but in you're situation I might go with a laptop instead. Mainly because it seems like you have quite a bit of money to drop on this purchase. With me, I don't play games (except on dedicated video game systems), so I don't need incredible performance in OS X. And I never do anything very demanding, so my dual 450 MHz G4 is plenty fine for me, even though it's a bit slow at times.



    To get a laptop of equivalent speed, however, would cost me a bit more than this desktop cost. Quite a bit more in fact. I would predict, based on what I've used, that my dual 450 is about equivalent to a 667 MHz PowerBook G4, which is still going for over $1000 most places. My desktop was closer to $600.



    I have owned an iBook in the past, an 800 MHz G3. I really have to recommend against owning any G3 iBook after using it, because they are just too slow. It was the only laptop I could afford at the time, but had I known how bad the performance would be even during everyday tasks, I would have held out for something better.



    Okay, I should get to bed now as I have typed at length without a very clear focus, deleting and redoing things. Last word: get a 15" PowerBook, they are awesome. And don't count out a refurbished Titanium model, because they are also very good if you're willing to live with the trade-offs.
  • Reply 12 of 38
    I'll add my vote to the PB side, too. I have both a PC desktop, and a laptop (was PC, now a TiBook 15"). I type all my lecture notes on the laptop during the lectures - which's very useful as my handwriting's pretty much illegible. The desktop I use when I'm in my flat, and as it's a PC I get all the benifits of cheap purchase costs (it originally cost about £250 for the basic computer), as well as cheap upgrade costs. Of course, as you already have th PC desktop the latter will be a lot more important than the former. Plus if you ever want to, you have the full range of PC games (cf. the more limited Mac games).



    I actually bought the laptop first, and was using that on its' own for a bit. However, it proved unreliable (this's a Time one), so when it had to go back for 2 weeks to be repaired I bought the desktop.



    Depending on which course you're studying, different bits of software and hardware will be advantageous. TextEdit can handle the basic lecture notes fine. If you need equations, look at MathMagic for an easy way to enter them quickly without learning Latex. For drawings: well, I'm still working this out. A graphics tablet would be very useful here. I'm unsure about the software to use as I'm new to the Mac still



    Finally, I'll second pscates about the portability being real nice. But disagree when he says a desktop isn't at all useful: it serves nicely as a base station, file server, and general second computer (along with a laptop).
  • Reply 13 of 38
    Well I wouldn't necessarily say I have a lot to blow on this computer. I have somewhere between $2000 and $2500 that I've saved up for a computer purchase. I have considered a third option entirely after reading all of your posts. Maybe I should buy a Powerbook and just keep my current PC (maybe wipe the drives clean first) and use it as a base station kind of thing. I don't know. All of your opinions have been very helpful though. Thanks.
  • Reply 14 of 38
    i say desktop.



    you get more milleage and it will last you past college until you can afford another computer. a desktop/cheap laptop would be the ideal combo.
  • Reply 15 of 38
    That was another option I considered. Getting a cheap Dell laptop (they have one for like $650), and then getting a low end G5 desktop. Not sure what I'm going to do though.
  • Reply 16 of 38
    I would completely forget about getting a desktop if you're going to college. Whether you actually bring your powerbook around with you or not isn't the big argument.



    1) Powerbook takes up much less desk space

    2) College dorm rooms are tiny

    3) you can take the Powerbook home easily during breaks.



    I had a desktop for Freshman year, and it was a pain. It took up the whole desk. Then I got (In March 2001) the original TiBook 500. It was great. I could move it off the desk when I needed to read books. In the middle of Junior year I upgraded to the 1Ghz TiBook which I still have.



    I'm graduating in June and then moving to Tampa. At this point it makes more sense to get a desktop, though I think I'll also pick up a cheap iBook for those times when I need to be mobile.
  • Reply 17 of 38
    While I will agree that dorm rooms are tiny and space is best conserved, there is an increased danger with the Powerbook. It's a lot easier to steal than a Powermac. That's been another worry in the back of my head. Also, I'm still concerned with future support from Apple for the G4. I'm probably paranoid though. Oh well.
  • Reply 18 of 38
    sh0ewaxsh0ewax Posts: 114member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by pfresh85

    ... there is an increased danger with the Powerbook. It's a lot easier to steal than a Powermac. That's been another worry in the back of my head.



    Buy one of those locks that goes into the "Lock Slot." They aren't too expensive, and fairly easy to operate.



    As for the support, I'll leave that up to the pros.



    Sh0e
  • Reply 19 of 38
    murbotmurbot Posts: 5,261member
    If I was in school, there is no way I would have a desktop. Having the freedom to move around and do you work in various locations would be INCREDIBLE. There have been some great posts so far in this thread. Just read them until they really sink in, and then order yourself a PowerBook.



  • Reply 20 of 38
    gongon Posts: 2,437member
    This is what I'd do in your situation (I'm actually in the process of setting up something similar...):



    12" iBook G4, Airport Extreme, extra memory - 1200$

    Samsung SyncMaster 193T - 700$

    10/100Mb switch with 802.11g - 100$

    New graphics card with DVI to your old PC - 100$

    Good quality DVD+-RW drive to your old PC - 150$

    ---

    2250$



    Now you have an iBook to lug around and the old PC works as a DVD burner and a file server to the iBook. One 19" TFT display is connected to both computers at the same time (it has analog input for the iBook, and DVI for the PC), you just have to press a button for it to switch.



    Much more versatile than any single-computer setup. You can now backup all your stuff across computers, and continue working even if one of them breaks down. The whole setup eats very little desk space, and you can run the iBook in dual screen mode after you use the commonly available hack.



    Note that the DVI graphics card price is overestimated so that the new card would turn your PC into an okay gaming platform. You can get cheaper ones as well.
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