prepping for a new ibook

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
ok, so I've decided to buy a new 12" ibook from amazon, and I wonder what you guys would recommend to go with it...



I will mostly do word processing in a variety of software, some photo storage and light editing, collecting data in files for research projects, cd burning, light .wav editing. Since I'll be out and about a lot, I need it to be portable.



So far, I've decided to max the RAM to 1.5 GB (seems to be the general recom for OSX), but to buy the standard 40 GB HDD. Re: why not order a bigger HDD, what I'm really afraid is that I may get a bum laptop with f.ex. a bad pixel or some other problem, and then I'll be unable to return it immediately on account of it being a BTO. Same reason why I'll wait a month or so before adding Apple Care - though I'll definitely do it after some 30-90 days. Besides, I figure given my needs I don't need more than 40 GB for the next 3-4 years (and then maybe I'll buy the next ibook anyway), besides if I really need more space, I can always buy an external HDD.



I've also decided to buy an external firewire HDD for backup purposes (I'll get it once the ibook arrives). A sleeve for the ibook + messenger bag (I need to be mobile). Not buying an extra battery for now, as I'm sure 5 hours is enough. I'll also likely buy an external DVD burner.



I'd like to get a Mighty Mouse, but I'll wait until they go bluetooth, meanwhile I've got several nice notebook mices.



Finally, I'll get a book about OSX (prolly David Pogue's lastest on Tiger) to get me up to speed switching from the PC world (this will be my first Mac).



I've been reading quite a bit about the poor quality of the ibook keyboard experience compared to the PB keyboard and my work involves a lot of typing, so I've been wondering if it makes sense to buy an external keyboard for when I'm working at home... and perhaps even an external monitor (I know you can download a spanning hack) what do you think?



Of course, I'll look through the "essential software" lists floating on the net, and see what makes sense for me.



What else would you recommend/do if you were to get a new 12" ibook in a couple of weeks? Thanks in advance.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 18
    idaveidave Posts: 1,283member
    If I was going to use an iBook as my only computer at a desk, I'd get a Griffin iCurve to put it on, bringing it up to eye level.



    http://www.griffintechnology.com/products/icurve/



    There's nothing really wrong with the iBook keyboard but if you're using it with an iCurve, I'd recommend the MacAlly IceKey.



    http://www.macally.com/spec/usb/inpu...ce/icekey.html
  • Reply 2 of 18
    If you're only doing "light" work as you said, 1GB will definitely be sufficient. No need to go with 1.5GB.
  • Reply 3 of 18
    Quote:

    Originally posted by skatman

    If you're only doing "light" work as you said, 1GB will definitely be sufficient. No need to go with 1.5GB.



    OK, here's a likely scenario: I'm burning a cd (v. frequent), at the same time since I don't like to just sit around, I'm working on my projects, i.e. I have a word-processing software open, note-taking software open, safari open with 10-12 tabs, email open, I'm typing, surfing, cutting and pasting jpgs, articles from the web, downloading pages etc.



    I don't know if the above is considered light or not, seems to me pretty light, because I regard as heavy: editing sound/video files while simultaneously running other programs.



    I take it that therefore you are right, and 1 GB RAM is enough for my needs... still, I might go for 1.5 simply because the price difference between the two is negligible, so why not... anyway that's how it seems at this point.
  • Reply 4 of 18
    ptrashptrash Posts: 296member
    Not buying an extra battery for now, as I'm sure 5 hours is enough.



    5 hrs, are you joking? Get an extra battery. No, get two if you expect to use it while travelling.
  • Reply 5 of 18
    If the price difference betweem 1G and 1.5G is negligeble then 1.5G is a no brainer... just in case you'll want to get into the "heavy stuff" later on.
  • Reply 6 of 18
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Ptrash

    5 hrs, are you joking? Get an extra battery. No, get two if you expect to use it while travelling.



    It's true of the iBooks.
  • Reply 7 of 18
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Ptrash

    Not buying an extra battery for now, as I'm sure 5 hours is enough.



    5 hrs, are you joking? Get an extra battery. No, get two if you expect to use it while travelling.




    I hear you, but you start adding 2 more batteries, and all of a sudden you're no longer travelling light... I'm kind of sold on the mobile part of mobile computing... so if I'm in an airplane, I'll try to hook up to the onboard power, and use the battery only when there are no alternatives... thing is, these days the ac is handily nearby almost everywhere... though true enough, if I'm in the middle of the Guatemalan jungle, things may get dicy.
  • Reply 8 of 18
    I maybe not understanding this correctly, but you say that you want to travel light, yet you opt for small HD because you say you can always get an external?

    Also, I checked the memory upgrade option at apple and 1.5 GB upgrade is 3 times the price of 1G upgrade! That's not negligleble. $300 extra vs. $100 is more than 10% difference of the final iBook price... that's not negligble.



    I maybe missing something here, but I don't see the logic.
  • Reply 9 of 18
    mrmistermrmister Posts: 1,095member
    "I checked the memory upgrade option at apple and 1.5 GB upgrade is 3 times the price of 1G upgrade!"



    Don't ever buy extra RAM direct from Apple. End of story.
  • Reply 10 of 18
    Quote:

    Originally posted by skatman

    I maybe not understanding this correctly, but you say that you want to travel light, yet you opt for small HD because you say you can always get an external?

    Also, I checked the memory upgrade option at apple and 1.5 GB upgrade is 3 times the price of 1G upgrade! That's not negligleble. $300 extra vs. $100 is more than 10% difference of the final iBook price... that's not negligble.



    I maybe missing something here, but I don't see the logic.




    Re: memory prices... no chance I'd buy it from apple. A 1GB stick costs around $100 these days if you shop around. It is also exceedingly easy to install yourself. I'm happy to pay $100 for 1.5GB in my ibook.



    Re: external HDD... this is a conditional, i.e. IF I need more than 40 GB THEN, I can always put the extra data on the external, though I don't anticipate that need for the 3-4 years I project as the lifespan of my new ibook (before I buy a new model). For my situation the reason to get an external HDD is for backup purposes, not to store extra data... and so that has nothing to do with the small size of the HDD in my ibook. And that implies having the backed up data on a different HDD - which per force necessitates having an external HDD, no choice in the matter. Additional issue: I believe there is a slightly greater reliability of smaller HDD (fewer plates, lesser density), and I think that is an important consideration for the HDD in your laptop (though I guess that could be argued with).



    However, I remain humbly open to all suggestions: if you think I'm wrong in any of my choices, I'm more than interested in knowing about it... Thank you so much everyone who so far has been so kind as to respond... and please keep the suggestions/critiques coming!
  • Reply 11 of 18
    idaveidave Posts: 1,283member
    I take it you don't plan to use iTunes and store much music (photos or video) on your Mac. I own 300 CDs I've ripped and lots more music purchased from iTMS as well as tons of digital photos, so a 40GB hard drive would never do it for me.



    I've successfully torn open my iBook twice to upgrade its hard drive (went from 15 to 48 to 80GB) but would never recommend anyone else try it, unless they're courageous.
  • Reply 12 of 18
    Quote:

    Originally posted by iDave

    I take it you don't plan to use iTunes and store much music (photos or video) on your Mac. I own 300 CDs I've ripped and lots more music purchased from iTMS as well as tons of digital photos, so a 40GB hard drive would never do it for me.



    I've successfully torn open my iBook twice to upgrade its hard drive (went from 15 to 48 to 80GB) but would never recommend anyone else try it, unless they're courageous.




    These are interesting points. Wrt. putting music on the ipod, I rather figure I'll just have to rip to an external HDD anyway... here's why: I hate lossy compression (I can hear it), and so I'm stuck with Apple lossless, which is obviously not very efficient. Also, I own about 2500 CDs, so no way can I possibly put all that in Apple lossless format on even the 100GB HDD, so that's a lost cause <i>anyway</i>. So, it really makes no difference if I have a 40GB or 100GB, it's not like having the extra 60GB makes a lick of difference to the way *I* listen to music... so, it's all going onto an external HDD, regardless. Re: photos - after I accumulate 10-15GB, I like to burn them onto a CD (or DVD, if I get an external burner), to archive anyway... so, again, makes no difference to me if my ibook has a 40GB or 100GB HDD, since I regularly archive.



    Re: video... really not an issue at all. If I'm doing, say, a short film, I'll need offline storage anyway, as even 100GB is nothing. Meanwhile, I see no reason to store videos on my ibook HDD at all. So, bottom line, at this point I really don't see the need for more than 40GB HDD on my ibook... 'course, I could be totally wrong and maybe I'm not foreseeing future needs etc. But anyhow, those are the thoughts behind my reasoning wrt. going with the 40 GB HDD.
  • Reply 13 of 18
    Quote:

    Originally posted by FineWine

    [...]So, bottom line, at this point I really don't see the need for more than 40GB HDD on my ibook... 'course, I could be totally wrong and maybe I'm not foreseeing future needs etc. But anyhow, those are the thoughts behind my reasoning wrt. going with the 40 GB HDD.



    Hmmm... today I spoke with a friend and mentiond that I'm looking to buy the 40GB HDD. His response: you should buy as big a HDD as you can. The reason is NOT that you'll run out of space for you data with a 40GB HDD, rather, because the way OSX works, you need 50% of the HDD free for optimal performance (speed). If you have less than that, your computer will slow down dramatically. So, effectively, it means your 40GB HDD will be fast as long as you don't fill it up to more than 20GB. Given that OSX + a few programs effectively brings you to 12-15GB, you really would only have 5GB left. Sure, you could go ahead and fill up the rest, but you'll end up with a very slow computer. So, go for the biggest you can, f.ex., at 100GB you can fill it up to 50GB and still have a very fast computer.



    My question to the knowledgeable folks here: is what he says correct or not? TIA.
  • Reply 14 of 18
    regreg Posts: 832member
    Mine was about 80 - 85 % when it started to slow down. That was on a 60GB back with 10.2. When it got to 90 % applications would open the close with the beach ball going way to much. I don't know if anything has changed since then but I would also go with the biggest HD that you can get.



    reg
  • Reply 15 of 18
    Quote:

    Originally posted by FineWine

    Hmmm... today I spoke with a friend and mentiond that I'm looking to buy the 40GB HDD. His response: you should buy as big a HDD as you can. The reason is NOT that you'll run out of space for you data with a 40GB HDD, rather, because the way OSX works, you need 50% of the HDD free for optimal performance (speed).

    My question to the knowledgeable folks here: is what he says correct or not? TIA.




    I certainly hope your friend didn't tell you that OSX works better if you jump out of a 4th floor window. =)



    Just like any modern OS which uses swapfiles, buffers, etc... it needs some free space on disk. Usually 1-2 GB is sufficient. Certainly not 20 GB and not even 5 GB, considering your "light use" of the machine.
  • Reply 16 of 18
    Quote:

    Originally posted by skatman

    I certainly hope your friend didn't tell you that OSX works better if you jump out of a 4th floor window. =)



    Just like any modern OS which uses swapfiles, buffers, etc... it needs some free space on disk. Usually 1-2 GB is sufficient. Certainly not 20 GB and not even 5 GB, considering your "light use" of the machine.




    OK, seems like the "50% free" requirement for optimum speed is prolly excessive. According to the other poster in this thread, his machine ran slower when filled to 80%-85%, which for 40GB, would mean you need to leave about 8GB free. You say no more than 5GB. Well, we're making progress! So, if OSX takes up around 6GB, and a handful of programs, say another 6GB, that still leaves 23GB for data before the computer would start slowing down. K, that seems plenty for my needs over the next 3-4 years.
  • Reply 17 of 18
    aplnubaplnub Posts: 2,584member
    Must have essentials:



    I would buy my ram from crucial.com. I got the 1 GB stick for my 12". (See sig.) 5 minute easy install.



    Order the biggest HDD you can. Well, the 80 GB seems good for me and is the smartest buy. If you ever have to open that thing up, you will cry. Re-read iDave's post and realize he is being nice about the experience. It is silly to skimp on this part.



    Wireless bluetooth mouse. I love my mighty mouse and it is hard for me to use my BT mouse on my iBook.



    Spoiled Rotten:



    I like my iCurve but I rarely use it because I have an iMac G5 at home. But if my iBook was my only computer, yeah, get an iCurve.



    Keyboard.



    You really are serious about maintaing a complete working backup of your iBook:



    SuperDuper (see signature). Absolutely the best backup program I have used. (No offense to CarbonCopyCloner because it was nice too).



    Apple should be ashamed for NOT giving the option:



    I want a superdrive so bad but there is no way I am opening my iBook up after seeing just how many screws there are. No way!
  • Reply 18 of 18
    Quote:

    Originally posted by aplnub

    Must have essentials:





    Order the biggest HDD you can. Well, the 80 GB seems good for me and is the smartest buy. If you ever have to open that thing up, you will cry. Re-read iDave's post and realize he is being nice about the experience. It is silly to skimp on this part.



    Apple should be ashamed for NOT giving the option:



    I want a superdrive so bad but there is no way I am opening my iBook up after seeing just how many screws there are. No way!




    Re: HDD - I'm not skimping on account of cheapness, rather, the fact that any BTO cannot be returned w/o a restocking fee... what if I get one with a couple of bad pixels which Apple refuses to fix (there's a minimum they want you to have before they'll do anything)... I want to have the option of just returning a lemon. Plus, I want to buy from Amazon, and can you do BTO w/ Amazon? Still, I'll give this another thought.



    Wrt. the superdrive... yeah, bummer. If Apple offered it as a BTO, I'd get it, it's a no-brainer to me. I know you can get it installed by an outside company, but I believe it's something like $300-$400... too rich for my blood. Oh well, I guess they might get them come January and the new Mactel iBooks arrive as the rumor goes. But for me, I want the current iBook, and I'm leery of buying a first iteration of something like an Intel Mac... too afraid of rev A bugs.



    Anyhow, Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
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