View Full Version : Powerbook 12" Decision

19th June 2005, 07:42 PM
Hey guys,

After months of lurking, and my previous post discussing the 14" ibook, and now that its after exams i have FINALLY come to the decision to buy the 12" powerbook SD. A lotta people suggested the 12" ibook but combined with a fair bit of scouring around the net ( and I have a mate in my lectures who recently bought a RevC (essentially the same appearance/feel as the revD) that I had a play with) - I was Sold from then onwards :)

I'm a uni student so I thought i'd go the 12", and I wanted to get one before the move to x86 by apple! Its just that exclusiveness factor of the current line that pushes it over the edge for me! The EDU price also applies i think so the price is around 2400AUD.

Is a G4 based update due anytime soon on the current chassis? Also I was wondering what worthwhile options (if any from the 12 "SD base spec) is worthy? I'd have loved to add anothe 512mb ram to make it 1gb but it only has that one slot so It'd just go to 768. I may upgrade to 1.25gb later on :)

I was wondering, (iluvmymactoo especially :) ), is there anythign else that isn't in your review I might need to know? I'll be using MSOffice the most, and I prefer firefox as my main browser. For my mail, I'm not sure whether to use the Mail2 feature or just stick to thunderbird. Both appear very good! Anyone who has used Office, from a switcher perspective will it be difficult (or what am i to look for) when primarily typing in Msword?

I'm a first time switcher as well, and the powerbook wil be used primarily for my notes, web surfing, the odd MOH:AA, all my pictures, and playing dvd's and movies. I might do some editing and dvd burning later on down the track if i pick up my own digital camera or camcorder. I've had a look at the ARS article regarding switching, and the anandtech one, it seems pretty straight forward! I'll be connecting an external drive with all my media on it also!

Also, if anyone has bought any, and considering an earlier post, what are the build times on a BTO or standard PB12"? Is it possible I could obtain it within a week of ordering? I have never ordered anything directly from apple, my ipod was from computers now.

I've also got a question about the DVI (or in general, the video output) of the 12" to an external monitor. I plan to buy a 17" LCD to put on my desk , and use it as i frequently have to have a full text journal article, or case, or an online resource open while i type up my notes and I'd love to have a big screen. How does the PB 12" fare? I know the native res is 1024X768, but can the FX5200 with its drivers and Tiger output a higher res to an external monitor? How is the quality of this with the mini-dvi output?

Also in terms of a bag, I'm currently really leaning towards the recent-ish STM Loft small. I've seen a review of the Loft Medium on the internet, does anyone have any experiences with this bag? I basically need somethign small to carry the laptop, a mouse, the power supply and another pocket for things such as notes or exercise books, a calculator etc. I really like the look of the loft too, the other option was a Baby Brink from STM, but I feel the loft is much nicer, plus from the reviews it has a bigger main secondary pocket.

The two outlets to get the bag other than computers now, are these two:

http://www.longblack.com.au/product_info.p...products_id=828 (http://www.longblack.com.au/product_info.php?cPath=60_62&products_id=828)
$75AUD including delivery ;

and this place which has it for $49AUD(!!!) with delivery (??!?) :blink:
http://www.digitalhome.com.au/MobileEntert..._Bag,_Small/928 (http://www.digitalhome.com.au/MobileEntertainment/CarryBags/STM/Loft_Shoulder_Bag,_Small/928)

Has anyone ever dealt with these guys before? That $49 is almost too good to be true!

If all goes to plan, I'd love to write a mini review of some sort (quite similiar to anand tech's article, with pictures and all ) on the powermac from a first time switcher for appletalk, and if its good enough get it on the site ;) I;m on holidays for a month now so I'll have a lot of spare time + it can be the burn in for the powerbook ;) I really owe it to you guys for getting me involved in the mac world :)

Apologies for the long post, I just wanted to give as much background as possible!


19th June 2005, 09:19 PM
Firstly I have a 12" iBook so obviously I'm not speaking from first hand experience but I'll do what I can until someone with a Powerbook fills in the gaps. :)

The Powerbook line was only recently updated so I wouldn't expect an update anytime soon.
The base spec if pretty decent & BT is standard across the PowerBook line.
Best off getting the memory after purchase. I've seen 512MB SODIMMS for as low as $90 now.

Going from Word PC ot Mac should pose no problems & from experience I actually think Office 2004 is better than 2003 for PC.
I came from Firefox (PC) & opt'd for Camino...
...& then finally moved to Safari with Tiger.

The delivery times on the Apple wesbite tend to be pretty spot on however if you want to clarify just give them a ring direct.

Although the iBook isn't meant to support screen spanning out of the box I've enabled it via the Screen Spanning Doctor...
...& successfully had it working @ home with my 21" IBM CRT @ different resolutions.
Seemed a bit laggy @ higher resolutions however bear in mind the iBook only has a 32MB 9200 & was never designed for spanning. (Only mirroring)
Quality was reasonable.

I have the STM Alley Bag...
http://www.laptopbags.com.au/product.php?i...ry=SHOULDER_BAG (http://www.laptopbags.com.au/product.php?id=DP-0515-1&category=LAPTOPBAGS&subcategory=SHOULDER_BAG)
...which should have enough space for what you're after however the Loft does look very nice! B)

All in all I think you'll be happy with the PowerBook as my little iBook does the job nicely & the PowerBook is the next step up. Although i did upgrade to 512MB of memory & a 5,400RPM HDD.

Personally I'd save a bit of money & get an external DVD burner for less but if you want DVD burning on the go then far enough. Good luck! :)

19th June 2005, 09:45 PM
Dr Kildare ;)

Thanks heaps for that mate! I'll go check out that alley bag too!

Hmmm atm the apple site has N/A on their shipping times, so I guess I'd better give them a ring :)

Kildare, how does the 512mb handle your applications with the ibook? The powerbook has slightly faster memory and a bus speed, but comes standard with the 512mb PC2700. My only options are to go 768 or 1.25gb, but if for the meantime 512 is enough for the apps I'll use I'll stick with it for now :)

I'll probably be getting an optical scroll mouse, anyone have any suggestions? I quite like the logitech MX310 ->


I was thinking of using their application switching button thing for F9 in expose :)



19th June 2005, 09:56 PM
I have a 12" powerbook (I bought the combo drive and a external DVD DL burner), the powerbook is great in classes (also a uni student), from my experience with stock 512mb Ram, it is definitely worth getting the extra ram. I regularly run down to 10-25 mb of free ram (based off islayer's sysstat widget, I am at 50mb at the moment) on my system and it can get chuggy at times.

I use office mainly at uni because of the fact most of the uni's documents and slides are in MS office formats and I haven't found anything yet that is really good enough to replace the office suite. I switched in March to Apple from a windows lifestyle, let me tell you that you haven't experienced Office until you use it on a mac. I (and my siblings who also use my mac occasionally) that office is better on the mac platform compared to the windows version but I mainly use the basic features.

Screen real estate wise it depends on what you use, sure the 12" screen gets crowded but that is normal for a small screen, I haven't really every used a computer with a resolution larger that 1024X768 so I can't comment, I have driven an old 14.1" CRT monitor along with the laptop's main screen, sometimes the eye candy got a bit jerky but that isn't really a concern.

Good luck with the purchase, and I hope you enjoy switching to mac as much as I did!

19th June 2005, 10:21 PM
512MB is definately a step up from 256MB but I couldn't really comment above that.
Physical memory usage is still fairly high though although Unix handles stuff a bit differently.

I use an MX510 when I hook it up @ home which is a great mouse so the MX310 should be fine.
Make sure you grab the latest drivers from Logitech to fiddle with all the settings too.

I'm travelling atm & haven't used a mouse for awhile now.
I was always anti-trackpad but now I'm grown quite used to it.

19th June 2005, 10:36 PM
Considering your needs a 12" PowerBook will more than adequately suit your needs.

I have an extra 1GB ram in mine and of course had it CTO (customised to order) to include the 100GB HDD. It has never missed a beat and I use Adobe CS2 and Painter IX on it.

For a bag I highly recommend the STM Drift Small (http://www.appletalk.com.au/articles/index.php?article=5645) together with STM's newest laptop protector sleeve the Rebound (http://www.standardtm.com.au/rebound)

Let us know how you get along :)

19th June 2005, 11:02 PM
I've a 2003 (Ti) 867 MHz 15" Powerbook at home, and a 2005 1.5 GHz 12" Powerbook at work. Would take the 12" every time - the form factor is awesome. The *only* time I prefer the 15" is when watching movies (surprise), but as I don't do that at work that's never a problem :-)

Also, I must note I use an external 18" LCD at work - the 12" screen does get cramped at the desk (i.e. with ten things going at once). Once I'm out and about, and generally focusing on only a couple of active tasks, the smaller screen is fine. I'm also a fan of desktop pagers (http://desktopmanager.berlios.de/index.php) - I've been using a pager of one type or another for over a decade, on everything from 12" notebooks to dual 20" CRTs, and find a pager useful in every case.

As for a bag: I've a sleeve thingy for the 12", lovely. Looks like one of those "executive notepads" when you're walking around, not quite the same as a "mug me" computer bag.

19th June 2005, 11:06 PM
i rekon go Kensington pilot pocket bluetooth mouse! perfect match with your bluetooth enabled powerbook! and go get yourself an extra 512mb stick of ram while your at it! :) it really does help :D

20th June 2005, 03:48 AM
Is a G4 based update due anytime soon on the current chassis? Also I was wondering what worthwhile options (if any from the 12 "SD base spec) is worthy? I'd have loved to add anothe 512mb ram to make it 1gb but it only has that one slot so It'd just go to 768. I may upgrade to 1.25gb later on :)
There was an upgrade announced at WWDC and it would definitely be worth waiting for: Two RAM slots on the 12". This would basically mean that the machine would come with a single 512MB stick so it would only cost about $120 to upgrade to 1GB, or $220 to upgrade to 1.5GB. Even less if you bought it overseas.

20th June 2005, 08:11 AM
Originally posted by suryo@Jun 20 2005, 03:48 AM
There was an upgrade announced at WWDC and it would definitely be worth waiting for: Two RAM slots on the 12".
When was this announced? I sure didn't hear it, and what do you mean it would be worth waiting for, Apple don't normally announce things like this before they are actually ready to implement the changes? This could be just the thing to tip me over the edge and make me go get a Powerbook, i hope its true!

20th June 2005, 09:13 AM
There was no such announcement..

20th June 2005, 09:54 AM
Yeah, i didn't think so :(

20th June 2005, 05:22 PM
Sorry, my bad. I was absolutely sure I'd read somewhere that this was the case but extensive googling has revealed nothing of the kind. I must have finally lost it. :huh: :blink: :unsure:

20th June 2005, 05:29 PM
Don't worry, i think i'll forgive you :P

20th June 2005, 07:08 PM
Thanks heaps for the reply guys!

Kildare, how is the mx510!? And what are the drivers like, I presume I have to install them like you said, is that to use the extra buttons?

How does one install drivers on a mac? is it just using the dmg format drag and drop or isthere a special directory and such to do so!

I was also wondering, and i think i asked this in my old ibook query, what media player and codec packis the best? I primarily would just watch things like topgear (divX/xvid) and dvd's on it, Apple has its own dvd player for that, how is that?

CD-DVD Burning isn't SUCh a huge issue, but i've heard the program TOAST is quite good? Is Toast freeware?!

hmmmm iluvmymactoo I'd love the 1.25gb ram but it jets the price up soemthing chronic, I might just get a 1gb so dimm when the prices come down and upgrade it later on.

Even with the 2 ram slots if thats all the upgrade will be, I might as well get the 1gb and have 1.25 :)

Are there any speculations though about the next powerbook though, do you think it will infact be an intel on the next revision?

Cheers guys,


20th June 2005, 08:08 PM
MX510 is great however its an overkill for a laptop. I bought it as a gaming mouse for my PC.
Although you don't need the Logitech drivers for the basic mouse functions the drivers let you fiddle with the settings & assignments.
They have an install / uninstall option & add a "Logitech Control Centre" to the system preferences.

After stuffing around with various codec & came across VLC...
...on these forums & haven't looked back. It plays everything as well as offering a region free dvd player. B)

Toast is good. Not freeware though.

Not sure about the next Powerbook update however I get the impression it will be one of the first classes to move over to the Intel line in 2006.

I definately recommend having a look through the "Essential Apps" thread here...

20th June 2005, 08:41 PM
Awesome, I'll get Toast somehow :)

VLC is just the codec pack is it!? I'd liek to have theone player to play everything, perhaps a divX player or mplayer (oh please not windows media player :P)

I have also another question in regards to email, how does Mail 2 (anyone who has it?) compare to Thunderbird? I use it on my pc now and its practically perfect, so simple, quick to load! I'd much rather use the one prog obviously, i think for browsing I'd probably go firefox though!



20th June 2005, 09:22 PM
VLC is a complete package, it has the codecs and can play videos in the application itself. And the only time you'll have to go to Windows Media Player is to play .wma or .wmv files.

21st June 2005, 02:20 AM
Mail 2 is brilliant, lean and fast. Some users have complained about the UI design but I've gotten used to it - the toolbar just needs a bit of customisation to look right. It looks a hell of a lot better than Thunderbird any day.

It's not quite as fully featured as Thunderbird or Entourage but there are certainly enough features to keep most users happy. It works seamlessly with IMAP accounts, adaptive junk mail filtering works well, Smart Folders are great (implementation is a bit basic though), handling of attached images and the slideshow feature are nothing short of brilliant.

I also think you will find yourself choosing Safari over Firefox eventually. Safari 2 launches in about a second, loads pages fast and has some great features. The Safari implementation of the Tabs and Bookmarks bars seem more logical (to me anyway) than those of Firefox. It also looks nicer and just seems to work well all the time.

21st June 2005, 09:11 PM
Hmmmmmmm thanks suryo!

I was just clueless, does Safari actually have a separate stop and reload button? Its just a small thing but one of the few little things that I like about firefox over Safari 2.

I'll use it someday on a mac if i can head down to computers now or something , is it compatible though with practically every site?

I've also had a look at the bags! I saw the Loft Medium, I quite like it! Does anyone know what the power cable is like on a mac laptop? Is it hte asme for the powerbook/ibook!? Will it fit in a reasonably small space in a bag like the loft with, say, an optical usb mouse? In terms of accessories thats about all I'd put in it :)



26th June 2005, 01:26 PM
Hey guys,

Just an update I've put a proposal in off the apple EDU website for a powerbook 12" SD and the Mini-DVI/S-Video cable. The apple store consultant said over the phone its about 3-5 days shipping time overall from the placement of the order. The proposal was put in after hours though so I'll have to give them a call monday morning first thing and place the order officially :D

I'm damn excited!



26th June 2005, 08:48 PM
Originally posted by Nong23@Jun 26 2005, 01:26 PM
Hey guys,

Just an update I've put a proposal in off the apple EDU website for a powerbook 12" SD and the Mini-DVI/S-Video cable. The apple store consultant said over the phone its about 3-5 days shipping time overall from the placement of the order. The proposal was put in after hours though so I'll have to give them a call monday morning first thing and place the order officially :D

I'm damn excited!


Ok I'll bite, what exactly do you mean by "proposal" it's not like Apple negotiate prices.

27th June 2005, 09:02 PM
Hey guys,

iluvmymactoo -> A proposal is just like a request for an order so to speak and it gets sent to you via email, after you do it on the internet. I think what happens is that you quote the reference number to the phone operator when you call them and they haev it all there on screen from your proposal. Kind of like a notepad or preliminary to an order.

Good news - I ordered the PB12" SD, and a mini-dvi -> video adapter and its ALREADY SHIPPED! I ordered in the morning today, and apple has sent me two mails since saying its been processed and has shipped!

Any idea how long it will take? I'm in Melbourne metro eastern suburbs? I just wanna know so I can be at home :)

I'm excited as though! Anyone who has bought a new PB, whats it like when you first turn it on? Any registration/customisation etc?

Step two is the bag + mouse. Atm its still looking like the loft small and the MX310 mouse.

cheers guys,


27th June 2005, 09:19 PM
If it shipped today, it will be in Melbourne tomorrow, so chances are we'll hear from you when you're posting to this forum on your new toy!

I'd call Apple in the morning and ask them to get confirmation from the courier (Star Track Express) as to when it will be delivered.

EDIT: BTW, treasure the first boot-up of the machine. It's a groovey intro.

27th June 2005, 11:50 PM
I had my iBook delivered to Melb metro by StarTrack Express.

Once you've got the tracking number from Apple then jump on http://www.star-track.com.au/ to see where its at.

They usually don't ship out until late morning so you should have it sometime during the afternoon.

27th June 2005, 11:55 PM
Awesome Dr Kildare!

I checked Startrack and its there :D Just in SYD atm, should be arriving tomorrow!

I also purchased the STM Loft Small online from www.digitalhome.com.au for $74AUD. Hopefully that should be arriving! I'd love to do a review of it when I'm officially an apple man :D

mwot whats the bootup like!? What does one have to do !? I can't wait! :P:D



28th June 2005, 09:53 PM
GOT IT :D Arrived around noon today, so all in all it took them about 30 hours from a phone order to delivery!

The boot sequence and introductionw as awesome mwot ;) I've registered it and all, what i plan to do is use wired ethernet at home, and wireless at university :)

Just waiting on the bag atm, the powerbook is awesomeee!! :) Just a question about the power supplies, the battery is fully charged and the ring is green, so is it safe to just continue using DC power, like it won't overcharge, discharge or ruin the battery in any way will it!? I plan to use DC power as much as i can!

I'm currently on airport using the home network and all is working well, just downloaded the updates for all the progs and rebooted too :)

I'm getting used to the shortcuts, mainly commandQ for quit, command F for finder. I've got to get office sometime tomorrow, and probably that mo use as well :) so far so good!

I'll post some pics up soon!



28th June 2005, 11:40 PM
Was getting worried when you didn't post for so long. :P

I run my iBook on DC 80% of the time however it is recommended to kick it over to battery power once & awhile.

Just make sure you calibrate the battery first!

More battery & general Powerbook support info here...

30th June 2005, 12:04 PM
Thanks Kildare!

I picked up my bag and mouse, I gotta small belkin traveller optical 3 button it fits the bill adn wasn't too expensive!

I also picked up the small loft, once i get office I'll try and do a mini review of some sort of it! Its a nice bag, just the right amount of compartments and they've used their space pretty well! I can fit my power adapter, mouse, laptop in there, plus its gotta full size compartment thats covered for a few exercise books and that, so its pretty perfect!

I'm lovin the powerbook so far :D



30th June 2005, 12:30 PM
Good work! enjoy :D

I got one of these in silver for my 15" Powerbook

Crumpler (http://www.crumpler.com.au/cartIndex.php?prodId=95&prodType=Bag&catId=5)

30th June 2005, 09:30 PM
Grippon thats an awesome idea, I think i might grab a sleeve of some sort just incase i have to quickly take the powerbook somewhere!

I've installed my first application on the mac also!

I had .dmg file of toast 6 (kudos to Kildare for the suggestion :) ) and a disk image type thing was mounted on the desktop. From loading that, there was an icon of Toast 6, all I did was drag that into the applications part of Finder and it appears to have installed. Is this the correct way of installing apps in that format?

It seems to work properly!



1st July 2005, 02:25 PM
In a word... Yes! :P

1st July 2005, 02:33 PM
Mac style B)

3rd July 2005, 06:06 PM

I've just installed also Stuffit Expander and MS Office 2004, all in a jiffy! May i ask what is the purpose of mounting a disk image as an installer? Is it primarily to keep installers off the hard drive , compared to XP whereby the installer will usually install some temp files etc?

Is it also default that most things will install correctly to applications if i drag it there, and this is the default setting anyway is it not!?

So far so good, Ed01 Word on a Mac is pretty cool! I'm using the normal formatting toolbar as opposed to the palette, but it works just fine! Just have to get used to the option/apple keys in place of using control!



5th July 2005, 09:47 PM
Nongs23 .dmg files or Disk Image files are virtual drives of any size sort of like .iso files. Disk Images can also be compressed like zip files. Installing software on OS X most of the time does not need an installer, you are basically copying the file from one drive (the dmg) to another (normally into your Applications folder.