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Cynicat
24th March 2005, 11:21 PM
Hey all :)

I'm currently working on a reasonably beefy PC workstation, but use Macs for work (film industry art dept... the no-budget end of the spectrum) whenever I can, and am seeing the benefit in getting a basic 2nd hand/reconditioned Mac laptop to cart around - basically as a glorified memory stick, album for reference images, and on-the-spot Photoshopper (general retouch, colouring, layout, etc - nothing too hefty, all the serious stuff would be done at home). I'd also use it to offload continuity photos from a digicam during the day, and do printouts through a little Kodak photodock (damn handy little thing that - it's proven more useful than the camera it came with!). My "boss" recently bought a new 14" iBook as his primary workstation, and loves it to bits, but I can't see myself needing anything that nifty just yet. We work as a team, so we'll always have his iBook on hand, but will occasionally spend several days living out of a van on location, far from our respective home offices but still needing to do basic work or mock up things for directors/DOPs (they rarely respond well when we say "Use your imagination"), and it could be handy to have a secondary workstation available in those situations. HDD size and CD burner aren't an issue, as my boss plans to get an external dual-layer DVD burner soon, and my 512mb flashcard has earned its weight in gold already LOL.

I can only really afford up to about $500, and was wondering what people's reccomendations would be for the best specs I should hope for - what would be powerful enough to do the basic stuff I'd need it for? Would something like an old clamshell iBook do the trick (though the 800x600 screenres sqicks me)? Or would I be better off saving my meagre funds and just getting a nice shiny newer iBook or Powerbook in the future (or that Fugi S5500 I've been lusting after for macro work...mmm)?

I've been looking at what's available at http://www.ittools.com.au, http://www.macsasnew.com.au, http://www.maccentre.com.au, http://www.macsandmore.com.au, and the Trading Post (saw an ad for a $99 G3 iBook from Mac House :blink: ) , as well as the trading forum here, but have just gotten myself confused lol and a little guidence would go a long way.

Cheers!

Cynicat

hawker
24th March 2005, 11:26 PM
Would recommend looking at a 12" iBook G3 maybe around the 600mhz speed. Should be able to get one for around $600 I would think.

Out of interest what program(s) or network do you work for?

lavo
24th March 2005, 11:55 PM
For aq little less than $500 you might be able to swing a 500Mhz Pismo Powerbook. Nice 14" screen and very expandable. If you can get a white iBook, like the 600 mentioned above, go for it. But if you can't, the 500 Pismo is a great laptop!

geektechnu
25th March 2005, 08:15 AM
Thought I'd just say that I love my iBook800 :)
Provides more than enough power for when I do a bit of web design when I'm on the road.

hawker
25th March 2005, 08:35 AM
Originally posted by lavo@Mar 24 2005, 11:55 PM
For aq little less than $500 you might be able to swing a 500Mhz Pismo Powerbook.
agreed

tempestas
25th March 2005, 09:28 AM
You find the occasional firewire G3 powerbook (500Mhz) on eBay or this forum. Well worth it if you can find one - biggest issue is likely to be battery as the replacements are not cheap (about $170 from memory) If you find such a machine then it should be good for a couple of years as a 2nd.

Easily to upgrade to 40/60Gb HDD and 512 Mb RAM - actually if you get a firewire I have 512Mb of RAM to sell.

Like others a G3 iBook would be 2nd choice.

Good luck

the_OM
25th March 2005, 09:36 AM
Go with a G4 buddy if you can, or maybe wait until you can. I've got a G3 800 iBook and a G4 1Ghz powerbook, and well the iBook is just a pain to use compared to a pbook.

Byrd
25th March 2005, 11:17 AM
You'll be hard pressed to find a snow iBook for $500. A Pismo is a great machine, much better screen than the iBook, and still has firewire, including a PCMCIA slot if you need wireless or USB 2.0 ports or something. Also, the RAM and HD are easily upgraded (when you have some available funds later on), unlike iBooks which is a pain requiring some hours and a strong heart :)

JB

Cynicat
25th March 2005, 12:23 PM
Hawker - We're freelance. Mostly music videos, short films, TVCs at the moment. Did some work on a couple of pilots/tele-movies last year. There's not a lot of work about at the moment, so you've got to take whatever you can get lol.

tempestas - hadn't even thought about the battery! *facepalm* I haven't used laptops much in the past, all sorts of things you've got to think about when your workstation isn't bolted to a desk LOL.

Byrd - Just doing a little research on the 500Mhz Pismo, looks like a damn fine little machine! The expandability of it really appeals to me (with my luck, it'll become my fathers' new pet project - he lives to upgrade, everything from 386's to my multimedia beast), it looks to have enough grunt to handle most applications with ease, and the DVD drive is great. Plus, it's black - my favorite colour ;) Mmm..shallow.

How do the G3 500Mhz white iBooks compare to the 500Mhz Pismo? Is there much noticable difference?

hawker
25th March 2005, 12:35 PM
Originally posted by Cynicat@Mar 25 2005, 12:23 PM
Hawker - We're freelance. Mostly music videos, short films, TVCs at the moment. Did some work on a couple of pilots/tele-movies last year. There's not a lot of work about at the moment, so you've got to take whatever you can get lol.
yeah tell me about it. My last gig was on Home and Away two years ago :(

Currawong
25th March 2005, 01:46 PM
My wife uses an iBook 500 - it has the longest uptime of any machine I've ever owned - 98 days, and now 84 days (had to be rebooted to take overseas). The slowest thing in them is the hard disk - $145 from somewhere like Umart will see you a 16mb-cached 40Gb HD to fix that.

If you can, find an 800Mhz iBook - they have the better graphics card, which will make all the difference with Mac OS X.

arty
25th March 2005, 02:06 PM
My housemate has the following for sale:

G3 PowerBook 400MHz (Pismo)
FireWire
512MB RAM
20GB HDD
Approx 2hr battery life
Airport ready (can supply card at extra cost)

$500 + shipping if not in Melb.

PM me for his contact details

Cynicat
25th March 2005, 02:30 PM
Originally posted by hawker@Mar 25 2005, 12:35 PM
yeah tell me about it. My last gig was on Home and Away two years ago :(
What blows is that often the stuff you get roped into doing for free is actually better than any paid gigs (case in point - Tropfest: we were half asleep for the whole shoot, and it bloody won :blink: )

arty - Thanks for the offer, but I think I need to do a little more looking around before committing, even $500 is a lot to someone in my precarious financial situation.

arty
25th March 2005, 03:35 PM
Originally posted by Cynicat@Mar 25 2005, 02:30 PM
arty - Thanks for the offer, but I think I need to do a little more looking around before committing, even $500 is a lot to someone in my precarious financial situation.
No problem. He had 2, one has been sold this afternoon, other is still available.

Byrd
25th March 2005, 06:25 PM
Originally posted by Cynicat@Mar 25 2005, 12:23 PM
How do the G3 500Mhz white iBooks compare to the 500Mhz Pismo? Is there much noticable difference?
Cynicat,

The Pismo 500 has a 100Mhz bus, as opposed to 66Mhz on the iBook 500, and they have the same graphics chipset (ATI Rage 8MB, not Quartz Extreme accelerated). In other words, the Pismo would likely be a better workhorse, but the iBook is much nicer to use - it's compact, not as bulky, and the ports are positioned on the side, not the rear.

I don't think you'd be able to get a Pismo 500Mhz for under $500 at the moment - moreso a 400Mhz model. However, with enough RAM, this will be enough for all the OS X goodies, including DivX playback and iMovie usage.

Otherwise, for a cheaper option, consider a Wallstreet 292/300Mhz machine - same great screen and size, but cheaper again.

JB