View Full Version : ibook buying advice please

31st March 2005, 02:15 AM
Hey all, am sure glad I found these forums. Anyway, its time for me to switch, its gonna be an ibook but i need help deciding between 12'' and 14''? and if its the 14'' with DVD burner or not? i so cant make a choice...

Anyways, Im a uni student with a year to go, then Im going to travel a little later and thought I might as well take it with me. Why not?

I use my dell desktop for the net, mp3s, some office stuff, i'd do the same with ibook. My dell is ancient now like 5 years + old...lol. it still does the job, but slowly and needs lots of maintenance and i cant store much stuff.

this means the ibook will replace my desktop too. Is the 12" too small? would I even use a DVD burner? My brother bought a brand new dell 6 months ago and hasn't used the dvd burner once.

Your thoughts please, cos I dont wanna end up making the wrong $1500-2000 choice.

Cheers ;)

31st March 2005, 04:47 AM
Get the 12" upgraded with a bigger HD and put in an extra 512MB of 3rd party RAM. If you have any change, spend it on a Firewire HD for backup. It will be fine for what you do and it's much more portable than the 14" if you want to travel with it.

If your eyesight is reasonable, the 12" screen is just fine. It's got the same resolution as the 14" so you don't get any extra screen real-estate with the larger screen.

If you're not sure whether or not you'll use a DVD burner, you probably won't. If you decide you want one later, you can always put together an external one for under $250.

EDIT: Congrats on the decision to switch. You won't regret it. :)

31st March 2005, 06:34 AM
If you're interested I'm selling my 12" 1ghz iBook:


31st March 2005, 06:47 AM
I tend to agree. The 12" iBook in my opnion is more portable which is very handy when you're buying a lappie. The screen size is fine to work with. Since getting back to Macs a few years ago I've only ever owned 12" lappies.

You can actually purchase a Pioneer external DVD burner HERE (http://umart.net/au/product_info.php?cPath=90_39&products_id=100803) for around $180 and put into an EXTERNAL CASE (http://umart.net/au/product_info.php?cPath=21_105&products_id=2207)

I don't have a Superdrive (DVD burner) in my PowerBook for basically two reasons:-
1. A lappie internal dvd burner only burns at 8x speed whereas an external can burn up to 16x
2. I won't need to burn a dvd when I'm out and about with my PowerBook, so an external one is fine.

For what you do with your Dell the iBook will be more than adequate. You will have a lot of bundled software with it when you buy it, including Appleworks (kind of like an Office Suite), but as a Student you can purchase MS Office for Mac very inexpensively from
Student Software Australia (http://www.softwaretime.com.au/product/product_list.shtml?category=010-005&sid=&page_id=1)

The iBook has 256Mb ram built in so when you order it make sure you get at least an additional 512 added (it's actually not too expensive on student price with Apple Australia) that way you'll have 768 total which is very adequate for the tasks you want to do.

31st March 2005, 08:36 AM
I would go with a 12" as well because it is so portable. I reckon it is even more robust than the 12" Powerbook (you should see the dints in my old mans - still works sweet though :).

Because it is replacing your desktop as well, use the extra money you save buying the 12" over the 14" to a decent 17" LCD for your desk. Then get the display spanning hack/script for the iBook so you can utilise both screens proberly (ibooks only mirror by default). I don't have the link on me atm but the other guys will. I use the spanning hack on my ibook and never had a problem with it and saves $$$$$$.

I agree with all the other guys here 512Mb of RAM is an absolute minimum - Don't leave home without it :)

31st March 2005, 08:45 AM
would I even use a DVD burner?

Valid question. A suppose a lot of people have DVD burners but don't really make the most of it. There are a few common scenarios where you might find the DVD burner useful:

- You do some video editing and you want to footage in DVD format, and you don't have access to another computer with a DVD burner.
- You work with other really big files
- You are connected to broadband 24/7 and regularly need to "backup" stuff you've downloaded.

You might find that you'd be better of not getting a DVD burner now, and wait to see if you need one. By that time you may be able to pick up an external unit for a good price.

31st March 2005, 09:31 AM
DVD burner: My boss had the same dilemma when I was tech-support-ing his laptop buy, it actually worked out cheaper to get the iBook with the combo drive, and get an external DVD burner later. ilovemymactoo got it in one - super drives only burn at 4x, while an external can do 16x. You can pick up a nice LG external 16x burner with USB 2.0 and Firewire for about $180 at any sydney computer fair (12x is about $160).

31st March 2005, 09:41 AM
I agree with what people have said about the Superdrives.

I have a desktop with a DVD burner.

My iBook I bought for portability and the 12" iBook was much better than my supposedly slim/light HP laptop that I had previously.

If you're not afraid of lifting the keyboard, unplugging the airport card, unscrewing the RAM shield plate, a third party RAM upgrade would save you some money.

I run 768MB of memory and its perfect. Although I'm tempted to get more memory when I eventually upgrade to a powerbook.

I'll also plug my 1GHz 12" ibook for sale on the forums 1GHz 12" ibook "buy me" :) ('http://forums.appletalk.com.au/index.php?showtopic=6004')

An ibook is a good start for a switcher and great value for money. I can say this as I am a recent switcher as well.

31st March 2005, 09:43 AM
Welcome bdanielb

As a 15" PB owner who travels regularly (and takes it with me), i'd back you and others here by saying that the 12" is a great deal more portable for throwing into backpacks and taking with you - they are lifesavers for storing photos and video, for having wireless web access at many places around Europe and Asia, and for arriving in a new city and needing web access to get jobs/look for somewhere to live etc.. Don't get me wrong a 15" (or a 14" for that matter) is great to have, but the 12"ers in each model are a lot smaller and make it that little bit easier for transporting - i have a thin profile case for mine, and it only just squeezes into my day pack for when flying etc.

I got the Superdrive in mine because I use big files all the time, and because I like to have the option of burning off presentations and projects to give to clients, and these often require a DVD because of size. However the point about an external add-on, for use when back at home/in the office is very smart and worth considering. I backup all my iPhoto and iTunes stuff every month, and this is easily done with the Superdrive DVD burner while on the road - but, it could be done just as easily when at home with an external - the choice is yours, but it sounds like you may have already decided it.

The idea about spanning across to a 17" screen while at home is also pretty smart - right now i'm spanned over to a spare 17" CRT monitor so i have some more space while using iDVD and iMovie for editing some holiday movie footage & photos, and even on a 15" it is worthwhile if you can do it.. I'm definitely doing this when i eventually come back to Oz..

Last thing - the more RAM the merrier!! ;)

31st March 2005, 10:10 AM
Just picked up a 12" iBook yesterday & have been impressed thus far - apart from a few dead pixels...

Stock standard options here although I'll probably get an extra 256MB of RAM sometime this week.
Only ~$60

31st March 2005, 11:11 AM
I used to have a 14" powerbook (the g3 models) with 1024*768 screen. I have had for the last two years or so a 12" iBook with 1024*768 screen, and if I had to do it all again I'd take the 12" every time.

The screen is easy to read, and doesn't feel small at all when you are in front of it. However, everything is so much sharper when compared to a 14" screen due to the greater pixel density, it is wonderful.

I just wish mine was a g4!

As for the DVD burner. They're nice (I have one in my PC), but I would much rather stay with the 12" screen. So if you really find that you need or want a dvd burner, maybe pick up an external firewire one at a later date? They really are one of those peripherals that you only use once in a while, so having it tied to a desk might not be too much of an issue.


31st March 2005, 11:44 AM
This is slightly off-topic, but I kinda wish that the 12' PowerBook lived up to Apple's description of it as Ultra-compact, Full-featured (http://www.apple.com/powerbook/index12.html). With the iBooks, there's only a slight difference in CPU speed and screen size, but with the PowerBook range, the 12' seems like the crippled dwarf of the family.
I realize that there's not a lot of room to work with, but surely couldn't Apple's lauded workshop elves work their magic and squeeze a PC Card/CardBus slot in somewhere? After that, adding a backlit keyboard would be a piece of cake. Those improvements alone would justify the premium between a 12' iBook and PowerBook. And if the Apple elves are feeling cocky, they could attempt adding a FireWire 800 port.

31st March 2005, 11:53 AM
just get the 12" like i have...2 - 3 inches more wont make a difference at all unless you plan on a 17" then that will make some difference i guess

31st March 2005, 02:58 PM
wow... thanks for all the replies. very helpful indeed.

so Ive decided based on the advice above that i will forego the dvd burner (maybe an external when the need arises), get at least 60gb, extra ram (add it myself) and get apple to add bluetooth.

Id actually be willing to buy an ibook off the forums on here... but from what i know adding bluetooth to an ibook is a bit dodgy? (i dont wanna use a bluetooth usb key).

most people have say the 12" so im kinda leaning that way, but is 12" just too small for everyday all the time use? Id usually sit at the pc +- 4 hours a day. the best thing for me to do is to use one I guess.

does anyone know where i can rent/borrow one for a few days (cheap)? maybe Ill head into the apple store and annoy them for a bit...hehe ;) thanks for asll your help and advice.....

31st March 2005, 03:03 PM
Originally posted by bdanielb@Mar 31 2005, 02:58 PM
..... but is 12" just too small for everyday all the time use? Id usually sit at the pc +- 4 hours a day. the best thing for me to do is to use one I guess.

Like I say I use a 12" PowerBook and I do digital art and writing. It takes a little getting use to but you should be fine with it.

31st March 2005, 03:23 PM
Originally posted by bdanielb@Mar 31 2005, 02:58 PM
most people have say the 12" so im kinda leaning that way, but is 12" just too small for everyday all the time use? Id usually sit at the pc +- 4 hours a day. the best thing for me to do is to use one I guess.

does anyone know where i can rent/borrow one for a few days (cheap)? maybe Ill head into the apple store and annoy them for a bit...hehe ;) thanks for asll your help and advice.....
Yeah im tackling a similar question at the moment, whether to get the highly portable 12 or the more versatile 15 inch Powerbook. At this point im undecided and my choice seems to change on a weekly basis! (Its looking like 12s are the flavour at the moment, with 15s coming back in stock but 12s still hard to source).

Anyway, back on topic - Im not sure where you can use/borrow/rent an iBook from though if you want to see them in action and make comparisons, I suggest you go to a DJs store. I found the DJs in both Perth and Adelaide had demo models of each form running on display so its a good way to compare styles, sizes, screens, weight, etc. Contrasting this with the AppleCentre and Next Byte stores I went to, they had no Mac notebooks on display :thumbdn:

Good luck with your choice :)

31st March 2005, 07:12 PM
Was in Myer today - they seem to have a good range on display.

31st March 2005, 09:44 PM

I was in your position to be honest i was originally going to buy a 12 pb g4 or an ibook and i was totally set on buying the pbg4 12 inch . After reading about it and reading the forums mainly, i decided it would be better if i see it in real life it looks very very cute however when i looked at the 15 i was like OMG this is like cool..lol i really guess its up to whether you dont plan on buying another laptop 9 yrs down the track or something. Or you could always link it up to an external monitor the 12 either way it sort of compensates the differences.

So just look and see, if your on a budget compare the ibook 14 and the 12 and see what is the best "value for money"

so yeh seriosuly go in there turn on all the laptops that appeal to u and see what u really want and if u can afford wait to save up then do so ..

thats wat i did, geting the pb g4 15 with SD

as for ur dvd burning scenario i think the external one is the best
if your not planning on using it that often.

u know dont worry what ever you buy its gonna be the best!


just get an apple! lol

31st March 2005, 10:50 PM
I agonised over getting a 12 or 14 inch iBook. In hind-sight I wish I had saved my pennies for another pay and got a 15 inch PB

If you are that sensitive about a bit more weight having to lug around, you need to get a dose of harden-up. Having a decent work horse thats get a devent vid card for the odd 3d game is excuse enough for me to be selling th 14inch iBook and getting a powerbook as soon as the next salary sacrafice thingy come up at work....

3rd April 2005, 07:00 AM
I've recently bought a 12" iBook and I'm very happy with it.
I note with interest that you are considering the Bluetooth option and mention
something about it being "dodgy"?
I didn't originally get the Bluetooth option, but I'm looking at Bluetooth mobiles/PDAs at the moment and wondered if you know any details about adding the Bluetooth module eg. How? Who? Price? Also, what rumours have you heard re: dodgy? I too want to avoid the USB "sticking out the side" Bluetooth attachment.
Also, I agree with what everyone else has said - 12" screen is adequate and portable.

3rd April 2005, 03:59 PM
hi Sabosman

thanks for your reply. it seems like I will be getting a 12" as soon as tiger is released... mine will be with bluetooth tho.

As far as I know, the only way to get bluetooth into the ibook is to fully take it apart. Ram can be increased easily by simply undoing 2-3 or 3 things (i think it s under the key board) and this will not void warranty.

BUT if you want to install bluetooth you have to take the whole ibook apart, and I mean everything. there was a website that showed a step by step guide with photos (cant remember the addy). It basically worked by getting a BT dongle and attaching to a usb port using some wires and soldering iron thing, but all inside the machine cause there is a little spot where it can fit. Not only will this void your warranty but you could stuff something up. so far this is the only solution i have found.

I havent asked apple yet, but an authorised reseller mite be able to do something????