Buying Advice Needed

in General Discussion edited January 2014
I don't know where to start with this post. I was very disappointed with the PowerBook updates today - particularly the fact that the 12" PowerBook wasn't updated at all. I currently have a 20" iMac and LOVE the 1680x1050 resolution display. I've previously owned 12" and 15" PowerBooks. I sold the 12" and moved up to the 15". I found the 15" to be too heavy and too large to fit comfortably on the small school-sized desks that I deal with in academic work and a bit too big for my lap when I just wanted to use the system on the bus or a plane. Both the 12" and 15" gave me troubles with not having enough screen real-estate. As great as the iMac is, it's not mobile. I was planning on keeping the iMac for at least 2 more years while completing my masters degree, but was offered the opportunity to pursue my PhD starting next year and will most likely have an assistantship - thus the reason for needing a mobile system (presentations and such). Since I'm starting the program soon, I want to have the Mac I will finish the program with on my desk from the beginning. That means that the next system I own needs to last me 5-6 years.

The 15" PowerBook as I mentioned above is a bit heavy and large for a little guy like me. I've tried it before and I found it hard to lug around. It became more frustrating and ending up spending more time on my desk at home than on the road where I really need it.

The 12" PowerBook is perfect in terms of size and weight, but the screen is woefully inadequate and it's quite expensive considering the similarities with the 12" iBook.

I'm between these two setups (prices included educational discount):

SETUP 1: 12" PowerBook G4 (w/ AppleCare the total is: $2562.00)

1024x768 Resolution

1.5 GHz PowerPC G4


80 GB 5400 RPM Hard Drive

8X SuperDrive

NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200 64 MB

Apple 20" Cinema Display with 1680x1050 Resolution

SETUP 2: 15" PowerBook G4 (w/ AppleCare the total is: $2308.00)

1440x960 Resolution

1.67 GHz PowerPC G4


100 GB 7200 RPM Hard Drive

8X SuperDrive DL

ATI Radeon 9700 128 MB

Also has Firewire 800 and Backlit Keyboard

The "new" 15" PowerBook has a large enough screen resolution that I think it would be fine for writing and research. The 20" Cinema Display with 1680x1050 with the 12" PowerBook would give me the same resolution I've grown used to at home and 4.6 lbs portability on the road.

Considering the weight and size problems I had with the 15" before, I feel like I'm limited to a 12" PowerBook. If the 12" iBooks could hook up to a Cinema Display, I'd spring for one of those most likely. But they can't. And I like the idea of having a "pro" machine again.

BTW... please don't suggest keeping my 20" iMac and adding a 12" iBook to it. I don't want the hassle of maintaining and organizing TWO computers. I want ONE computer that allows me to work well at home and on the road.

Another question. Aperture (I'm into photography as well) looks like it won't run on the NVIDIA card that comes on the 12" PowerBook. What a shame. With a 20 or 23-inch cinema display, the specifications outside of the graphics would allow it to run beautifully. Any ideas on whether the software will even install on a system that's "below" the minimum requirements?

Thanks for any and all help you can provide with this decision-making process.
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