Switcher: Getting a 12" or 15" PowerBook: a couple of questions

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
Hey,

After getting a MacMini, I've decided to take the plunge and make a PowerBook my primary computer.



I am torn between the 12" and 15" PowerBooks. I believe I understand the primary differences between the two other than the size: The 15" has more ports, a faster processer (1.6 v 1.5), faster ethernet, and a lighted keyboard. Am I missing anything?



Since I am used to a 17" HP notebook currently, and want to get something more portable, I'm leaning toward the 12" PowerBook and ultimate getting a 17" monitor (for when I am at work). A couple questions:



[1]Are docking ports available (?or necessary) for the PowerBooks?

[2] Did I miss any differences between the 12" and 15"?

[3] What's the difference in battery life for the 12" vs the 15"?

[4] Can the RAM be upgraded by the user (or does it have to go to an apple store)?

[5] Finally, any advice as to where I should buy my PowerBook: (1)locally at an Apple store or CompUSA, (2) From apple.com, or (3) from another online retailer?



Thanks for your thoughts/advice/support as I make the transition!

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
    cj171cj171 Posts: 144member
    1. no docking port necessary

    4. ram is easily upgraded if you've got a small screwdriver
  • Reply 2 of 13
    webwillywebwilly Posts: 11member
    Hey,

    Well done on making the switch.

    Here are a few points you might want to consider:

    1) the video card is better on the 15" model, with the option of a 128mb card on the SD model.

    2) battery life is better on the 12", you get 3.5-4 hrs compared to the 15" 2.5-3 hrs.

    3) the widescreen is useful, you've probably noticed that mac apps eat up desktop space pretty quickly so you'll need plenty of room for all that iCandy.

    4) RAM on both models can be upgraded by the user with freely available sodimm chips, no need to pay apple's ransom or go to the applestore

    5) I always buy my macs refurbed from apple - same warranty but much better price

    6) don't know about docking stations but you could get a usb hub and use it like a dock by connecting everything and then leaving it behind when you leave the desk

    7) Moving from your current machine to the 15" you'll see an instant increase in portability without the need to go all the way down to the 12"

    Hope that some of this is useful to you.
  • Reply 3 of 13
    keotkeot Posts: 116member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Argelius

    [1]Are docking ports available (?or necessary) for the PowerBooks?

    [2] Did I miss any differences between the 12" and 15"?

    [3] What's the difference in battery life for the 12" vs the 15"?

    [4] Can the RAM be upgraded by the user (or does it have to go to an apple store)?

    [5] Finally, any advice as to where I should buy my PowerBook: (1)locally at an Apple store or CompUSA, (2) From apple.com, or (3) from another online retailer?


    1. I am unaware of any docking systems for PowerBooks. Look here for what ports surround the case.

    2. No Firewire 800 port, no PC card slot, no access to the second memory slot, no individual DVI or S-Video ports meaning you'll have to carry converter cables around if you want to use them. No 128MiB VRAM or 1.67GHz processor options. No gigabit ethernet.

    3. No idea, but I would guess that the 12" would have a slightly longer battery life (5 hours verses 4 and a bit.)

    4. On the bottom of my 15" PowerBook is a user-accessible door to upgrade the memory. Instructions on how to do so are in the manual. I think you can change both slots on the 15", but you can only access one of the slots on the 12" model.

    5. If you can't get a student discount, I'd go to the Apple store to have a play yourself and get instant satisfaction. Retailers aren't allowed to drop their prices significantly below Apple's, but they sometimes include some accessories that you may like for the same price.

    Hope that helps. If you search Google, you should be able to find PDF's of the instruction manuals for both of the models, which may answer some of your questions better than I can. Ask away if you want more.



    Given that you're used to a 17" HP laptop, I'd be inclined to go for the 15" PowerBook. The size is bigger than you'd like, but if you drop further down to the 12" model you'll miss the resolution. Screen resolutions on Apple's PowerBook line always aim for 100-dpi, which is a lot less than most other PC manufacturers. I presume they chose it because it is an 'ideal' resolution. The screens are outstanding though, very crisp and great colours.



    Hope that helps!
  • Reply 4 of 13
    argeliusargelius Posts: 309member
    Thanks, all.

    I am sure before I make the purchase I'll be back with more questions...
  • Reply 5 of 13
    wingnutwingnut Posts: 197member
    Might I ask why you want to make a notebook your primary machine? Generally speaking, desktops are better, both in performance and ergonomics (extended use on laptops isn't the best for your eyes/posture). For the price of a 15" PB, you can grab a Powermac, maybe even a Dual G5. I picked up my DP G5 PM for $1499 refurbed. Just a thought.
  • Reply 6 of 13
    argeliusargelius Posts: 309member
    You definitely make good points about the disadvantage of a notebook over a desktop computer. However, for my situation, a notebook serves me well, since I like bringing it back and forth between work and home...
  • Reply 7 of 13
    argeliusargelius Posts: 309member
    One other question:

    What's the difference between the "Aluminum" and "Titanium" powerbooks? I assume one is the newer model...
  • Reply 8 of 13
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Argelius

    One other question:

    What's the difference between the "Aluminum" and "Titanium" powerbooks? I assume one is the newer model...




    Aluminium are the current ones .
  • Reply 9 of 13
    argeliusargelius Posts: 309member
    Thanks! That's what I thought I remembered.

    In a few hours, I'm going to go visit my friendly and very cool Apple store and (hopefully) decide if I want the 12" or 15". Then to decide where to buy... Given my problem with delayed gratification, I suspect I'll end up getting one there...
  • Reply 10 of 13
    argeliusargelius Posts: 309member
    Okay. I went to the Apple store and am torn between the 12 and the 15" PowerBooks. I know this is a decision only I can make...



    [1]I'm thinking of getting the 12" and buy an external monitor. Having never had an Apple before, I'm not sure what I need to look for in buying an external monitor. Anything I should know?



    [2]Also, if I plan to use the 12" with an external monitor and keyboard (while at work), if everything is hooked up, does the notebook need to be open for it to work with the external display and keyboard/mouse? Just trying to picture the set up at my desk...



    [3] If I want to buy one online (to save on sales tax), anyone recommend a retailer?



    finally,

    [4] Since I plan on upgrading the memory to 1GB, where to people recommend getting it?





    Thanks a ton.
  • Reply 11 of 13
    davey-nbdavey-nb Posts: 32member
    I've spent days playing with the Powerbooks at the Regent Street store and I love the 12" size for portability. I think any misgivings you have about screen real estate will be countered by the compact versatility of this great machine.
  • Reply 12 of 13
    t-bonet-bone Posts: 20member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Argelius



    [1]I'm thinking of getting the 12" and buy an external monitor. Having never had an Apple before, I'm not sure what I need to look for in buying an external monitor. Anything I should know?



    [2]Also, if I plan to use the 12" with an external monitor and keyboard (while at work), if everything is hooked up, does the notebook need to be open for it to work with the external display and keyboard/mouse? Just trying to picture the set up at my desk...



    [3] If I want to buy one online (to save on sales tax), anyone recommend a retailer?



    [4] Since I plan on upgrading the memory to 1GB, where to people recommend getting it?





    1. External monitor adapters are already included with your system (Mini-DVI to DVI, and Mini-DVI to VGA). If you need to hook up to a TV, then you need to buy a Mini-DVI to S-Video or Composite Video separately. If you can afford it, get an LCD monitor that supports DVI.



    2. Closed lid operation is normal for the current hardware lineup. Please note if you plan on buying a refurbished model, the first generation aluminum 12" (rev A) does not support closed lid operation. I think the current 12" aluminum model is rev C, or third generation.



    3. Not sure of a good online retailer in the US, but I've purchased my PowerBook from the online Apple store here in Japan. My experience with AppleCare has been outstanding and had my PowerBook repaired twice in the past 2 1/2 years each with a 3-day turnaround (including weekends). Make sure you purchase AppleCare with your PowerBook. You will need it with any portable purchase.



    4. I defer this to my US-based AppleInsider colleagues online.
  • Reply 13 of 13
    Argelius



    Your reasoning mirrors much of my current thinking. I've been trying to decide between the 12 inch PB, 15 inch PB, and 12 inch iBook.



    Before the Intel announcemnt it was always a given that I would be getting a 15 inch PB in August for school. However, lately I've made a tactical change.



    I like the idea of having a little bit less of an investment in the actual computer portion of my setup by getting a 12inch PB. If Apple happens to release a ridiculous PB in 2006 I can likely flip my 12 inch baby at a reasonable loss.



    However, what really gets me excited is the prospect of connecting a 20 inch Apple LCD to a 12 inch PB. That's what pays the bills. It will give me the ultimate in portability coupled with an amazing stationary setup. It doesn't cost any more than getting the top of the line 15 inch model.



    12 inch Powerbook, 20 inch LCD, wireless mouse, wireless keyboard, iSight perched up top, and some speakers to be determined. Clean lines, very few cords, and I can instantly be on my way with my 12 incher.



    Not a bad way to start off with my first portable! Hopefully Apple gives the line a little bump before September.
Sign In or Register to comment.