My first mac. Which one? ibook / powerbook?

in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014

I was planning on buying my first mac at the beginning of April. I'm deffinately going to get a notebook, but I'm not sure which one yet. I was hoping to get some opinions from some die-hard mac users.

I'm a college student majoring in computer science, and our campus is 802.11b wired. I sold my old laptop to my dad a couple of months ago and now I realize how much I miss not being tied down.

I'm currently considering the 12.1" iBook or a low end PowerBook

Ok. So here are my thoughts:

I'm going to be using the computer on campus and in coffee shops mostly, so here's what I need from it:
  • Be small enough to fit in my backpack and not weigh me down when riding a bike to school

  • Be durable enough to withstand life in my backpack

  • Have at least 3 hours of battery life

  • Have a DVD-Rom drive (CD-RW isn't important)

  • Work on the 802.11b at Starbucks, Campus, and Home

Here's what I'll do with 90% of my time, in no particular order:
  • Web

  • MS Word

  • email

  • IM's

  • Programming

  • Photoshop

  • iTunes, iPhoto, iTools (I suspect I'll get a digital camcorder by the end of the year, so maybe even iMovie)

Here's what I like about the iBook:
  • PRICE!

  • smaller / lighter than PowerBook

  • It has the best keyboard of any notebook its size on the market.

Here are some of my concerns about the iBook:
  • Only 1 firewire port (I'm getting an ipod and possibly a firewire HD.. Are there firewire hubs?)

  • Is the G3 fast enough???

  • Is the ATI Rage 128 good enough for basic games? (I'm not really a gamer, but in case of boredom or a long flight, I'd like to be able to play some games)

Here's what I like about the PowerBook:

  • Speeeed

  • 1" Thin

  • Screen size / resolution

  • awesome 3d graphics card

Here are some of my concerns about the PowerBook:
  • Price. I'd be confined to the two lower models

  • larger / heavier

  • Fragility. (I've heard that people who pick up the 'book by the corner may damage the optical drive. Will the book withstand my student lifestyle?)

  • Only 1 firewire port (I'm getting an ipod and possibly a firewire HD.. Are there firewire hubs?)

If I go with a low end iBook, how much difference in speed is there between the models with the 66MHz bus and the 100MHz bus?

How do the speakers on the two notebooks differ?

Also, does anyone suspect (with credible edvidence) that Apple will upgrade either 'books in the next 1.5 months? The stats / prices on the 'books have stagnated, and I've noticed that my local CompUSA is trying their best to clear the 'books out. Do they know something I don't? I'm just afraid that I'm going to buy my phat new notebook and Apple is going to turn around and upgrade the specs / lower the prices, and my notebook won't be so "phat" anymore. But I don't want to have to wait a century to buy it, either. I promised myself I would wait 'till after MWTokyo to buy anything, and that has been excruciating enough.

Well there it is. All my info. If I can think of anything else, I'll post it up here. Please let me know your opinions on the two 'books.

Thanks in advance for your responses. I really appreciate it.

[ 03-24-2002: Message edited by: douthat ]</p>


  • Reply 1 of 12
    serranoserrano Posts: 1,806member
    ibook, there is a huge difference between the 66 and 100 mhz model... although just about all who have tried have had success overclocking their 500/66 to 600/100... though you can kiss your waranty goodbye
  • Reply 2 of 12
    kd5mdkkd5mdk Posts: 81member
    If you're just gaming to kill some time, I'd say play EV:Nova or the like. Doesn't impose a heavy graphics hit at all.

    There are firewire hubs, but you probably won't need one. I have a PowerBook, a Hard Drive, a CD-RW and will get an iPod sometime soon. Since Firewire supports passthrough on most devices, I can daisy-chain them all together off the one port. I expect you can do the same. In fact, my CD-RW is bus powered even though it's the second device in the chain. (The hard drive has a power adapter)

    The G3 is just as fast as the G4 in everything except AltiVec enhanced programs, which are fairly few.
  • Reply 3 of 12
    applenutapplenut Posts: 5,768member
    [quote]Originally posted by KD5MDK:


    The G3 is just as fast as the G4 in everything except AltiVec enhanced programs, which are fairly few.</strong><hr></blockquote>

    G4 also has a better FPU and I wouldn't say altivec apps are few. the apps that can actually benefit from altivec for the most part are altivec optimized. even OS X has altivec optimizations. altivec comes into play with all of apple's iApps as well
  • Reply 4 of 12
    torifiletorifile Posts: 4,024member
    Well, I went from the iBook to the powerbook and I must say that the powerbook is definitely a more capable machine and will last me longer than the ibook. Of course, the ibook is durable. So durable that I never went anywhere without it. The powerbook, I'm not so sure about. It may not be able to handle all the abuse the ibook took. Both the powerbook and ibook will be able to use the wireless network at your university. I'd say avoid starbucks because their coffee sucks, but that's just a personal opinion . But it would work there too. As far as gaming goes, you should check out the requirements for some of the games you want to play. Something like Giants or Black and White will not play on the ibook, but starcraft, the sims, diablo, etc will. Unreal and Quake are both pretty good as well.

    Personally, I'd go with the powerbook if you can find one that's comparably priced to the ibook and they are out there. MacMall has a bunch of the 550g4 on special for $1894 (no combo drive). Not much more than an ibook. Just something to think about.
  • Reply 5 of 12
    Janitor - Thanks for the info. This being my first mac, I wouldn't want to void my warranty I'll stay away from the 66MHz FSB units.

    Torifile - Thanks a bunch. I agree about Starbucks, but I'm a coffee fiend and sometimes I can't wait, so I sell my soul and go inside <img src="graemlins/embarrassed.gif" border="0" alt="[Embarrassed]" />

    Anyway, if I were to play any games, they would probably be more along the lines of starcraft or unreal, so I'll probably stick with the durable ibook. I checked out MacMall, and I like this setup alot: <a href=""; target="_blank"></A>;

    ... Throw in an airport card and an iPod, and I'd be a happy camper.

    Thanks for the posts, keep it up.
  • Reply 6 of 12
    So was the site down for the last couple of days, or was my isp just being dumb?

    Also, any more opinions by anyone?
  • Reply 7 of 12
    emaneman Posts: 7,204member
    [quote]Originally posted by douthat:

    <strong>So was the site down for the last couple of days, or was my isp just being dumb?

    Also, any more opinions by anyone?</strong><hr></blockquote>

    AI was down.
  • Reply 8 of 12
    taqtaq Posts: 76member

    I checked out the setup your thinking of getting. My main concern is hard drive space. If you're getting an external then it's okay, otherwise, get the big hard drive. Also, don't get the Airport card from Apple. You can usually get buy them from OtherWorld Computing for about $47....that's about half the price. They're new cards. They just happen to have been pulled from old systems that weren't using them. They're also a great company to order from. I have an iBook and I love it. I get everything I need from it. Photoshop is a little slow, but then again, when I do that kind of stuff, I use my phlat screen iMac and everything is Disney. Well, 'nuff said.
  • Reply 9 of 12
    prestonpreston Posts: 219member
    You're nuts to risk a band new apple in your backpack on a bike ride

    just nuts

    buy the ibook 600. I love mine. You need 100Mhz bus, but not G4, unless you are in design or editing. I'm in design, but I still bought iBook because its super small, super cheap, and PB didnt have combo at the time. Games run fine on the iBook, just dont expect high res.

  • Reply 10 of 12
    jbljbl Posts: 555member
    [quote] You're nuts to risk a band new apple in your backpack on a bike ride

    just nuts <hr></blockquote>

    Why? I do this all the time for years. First with my Wallstreet, now with my TiBook. The Wallstreet actually fell out of my backpack once and skidded across the street. Got a few scratches but it worked fine. (I secured it better after that.) I have dropped the TiBook a couple times. Once the latch broke (Apple fixed it for free), but it always works fine.

    This is not to say you shouldn't back things up, but, in my experience more people loose their 'books having them stolen in special bags that say "I have something expensive inside--steal me," than having them broken inproperly packed in a backpack.
  • Reply 11 of 12
    Yep. Because of durability concerns, I would choose the iBook. With the rez set @ 640x480, and other settings pretty high on Quake 3, you can easily push at least 40 fps. So in gaming, as long as you don't expect to play games heavily, it should do nicely. Photoshop will run a bit slower, but in most respects, I think you would be covered. Also considering the pricepoint, the iBook really does well. Good luck and welcome to Macintosh.
  • Reply 12 of 12
    newnew Posts: 3,244member
    If you're gonna do serious work (photoshop or illustrator) in OSX, then the Tibook will run laps around the ibook... OSX is really a G4 OS... I do alot of work on my ibook 500 in X, and my cube 450 (with a new fast HD) is soo much faster than the ibook... Working with the ibook in more than 2 "big" apps. is like swimming in butter...

    I belive this is the real motivation behind going for a fast G4 in the new imac... It has to run X perfectly... and it does... I bet they'll go G4 in the ibook as well, as soon as they can bump the Tibook to 1 Ghz...

    (However, if you stick with OS 9, the ibook will be more than sufficient. But you wouldn't want to do that would you?)
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