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View Full Version : 14" Ibook Vs. 15" Powerbook (edited)



tania2412
25th August 2005, 03:54 PM
Just a general question about the 14" iBook v the 15" Powerbook (both with DVD burners)...

Obviously the Powerbook has more grunt, but what I wanna know is if there's anything that you can do on a Powerbook that you can't, theoretically, on an iBook. I realise things wont be as fast on an iBook, but do both of them have firewire/USB/network...all those physical things the same? I've looked on the website but it doesnt list ALL the features of each. Hope that makes sense.

OziMac
25th August 2005, 03:58 PM
Hi Tania

Bit of an important clarification: your topic refers to the 14" Powerbook - as there is no 14" Powerbook, do you mean the 12" or 15 Powerbook? They are very different beasts (and correspondingly different value propositions). The 15" Powerbook has got a PCMCIA card slot and a firewire 800 port, but you probably wouldn't really use either (I never did). :)

But to answer your question generally, no, there is little to nothing you can't do on an iBook that you can do on a Powerbook (except perhaps run Motion 2.0 - but why you'd want to run Motion on an iBook, I have no idea :)).

tania2412
25th August 2005, 04:01 PM
is a firewire 800 port what i'd plug the firewire cable from my ipod into or is that a different thing altogether...cos I'd like to use firewire to transfer stuff and dload video footage

OziMac
25th August 2005, 04:08 PM
Nope - sorry for not clarifying that earlier.

There are two types of firewire port - firewire 400 (often just referred to as 'firewire'), which is on most Macs and some PCs; and firewire 800, which is twice as fast, but has only appeared on Powermacs and Powerbooks since 2002/2003, and for which there aren't really that many peripherals.

Unless you have some firewire 800 peripherals (which are pretty hard to find anyway) you won't be disadvantaged by not having a firewire 800 port - in fact you may be better off, since unlike USB and USB 2.0, the ports are differently shaped.

Almost all digital camcorders use firewire (or iLink as Sony like to call it) to connect to computers - the only difference is that they might use the small 4-pin firewire connectors, whereas Macs/iPods use 6-pin firewire connectors - but this is easy resolved by getting a 4-to-6-pin firewire adapter/cable. :)

hawker
25th August 2005, 04:09 PM
Originally posted by tania2412@Aug 25 2005, 03:31 PM
is a firewire 800 port what i'd plug the firewire cable from my ipod into or is that a different thing altogether...cos I'd like to use firewire to transfer stuff and dload video footage
You can get a third party iPod firewire 800 cable, I have no idea what the advantages are (other than you can plug a firewire 400 device in at the same time as your iPod?

Squozen
25th August 2005, 04:16 PM
Apple certainly do list all the features for their notebooks - check the 'Tech Specs' link.

http://www.apple.com/au/ibook/specs.html

vs

http://www.apple.com/au/powerbook/specs.html

jamesatfish
25th August 2005, 04:17 PM
Tania,

There are a few differences that may also be worth mentioning depending on what you intend using the laptop for:

*Networking - the iBook has only 100Mbit Ethernet; the PowerBook has Gigabit Ethernet. Important if you want to share files with other similarly equipped computers/networks, otherwise probably not so important. Same physical ports though and both will connect to most (current) wired or wireless networking equipment.

*Screen - the PowerBook's widescreen ratio can be most helpful for (oddly) playing back DVDs, or for iMovie / iDVD type products that display a video picture with a number of controls to the left/right hand side.

*External Video - as a standard, the PowerBook lets you use a 2nd monitor as an additional work space, rather than the iBook which out of the box only supports two monitors with the same mirrored image. I do believe there is a patch for the iBook that allows you to do the same as in the PowerBook, but I don't have any personal experience with that.

*Backlit Keyboard - some may see this as a gimmick, but if you use the laptop in darkened environments for long periods (eg on a long-haul flight), there is a lot of value in being able to really dim down the screen backlight and still be able to see the keys on the keyboard.

tania2412
25th August 2005, 04:19 PM
ah that makes sense...cool :)
also, say I bought one with 512RAM and then decided I wanted to upgrade to 1GB a bit later on, is that easy to do...I'm guessing it would have to be done by an Apple service centre or something to retain warranty blah blah blah
what I mean is, by buying 512MB I want to make sure I'm not limiting that if i needed more later.

hawker
25th August 2005, 04:20 PM
Originally posted by jamesatfish@Aug 25 2005, 03:47 PM
*Backlit Keyboard - some may see this as a gimmick, but if you use the laptop in darkened environments for long periods (eg on a long-haul flight), there is a lot of value in being able to really dim down the screen backlight and still be able to see the keys on the keyboard.
Only if you don't know the layout of the keyboard... Which most people now know back to front, in some cases, dare I say it, better than ABC's... Good old qwerty!

hawker
25th August 2005, 04:21 PM
Originally posted by tania2412@Aug 25 2005, 03:49 PM
also, say I bought one with 512RAM and then decided I wanted to upgrade to 1GB a bit later on, is that easy to do...I'm guessing it would have to be done by an Apple service centre or something to retain warranty blah blah blah
Extra ram is self install. So, no you don't need to take it to an apple service tech. Just making sure you read the manual on the Apple web site.

tania2412
25th August 2005, 04:27 PM
I've heard people say that 1GB RAM should be the minimum you'd want to run Tiger on...is that the case?

I guess if I'm editing video footage and like to play around in Photoshop, the most I can afford would be the way to go.

hawker
25th August 2005, 04:29 PM
Originally posted by tania2412@Aug 25 2005, 03:57 PM
I've heard people say that 1GB RAM should be the minimum you'd want to run Tiger on...is that the case?
Not true. The min is 256MB of ram. You really want 512mb, cos thats where it lush in operations. And 768MB to 1GB is just extra padding. If you're working with photoshop and video editing you probably wanna go 512mb +!

OziMac
25th August 2005, 04:35 PM
Tania - if you were to get an iBook or a Powerbook, you'd be well served to spend about $120 on a 512MB PC2700 SO-DIMM stick to bring you up to a level from which you can really make the most of Photoshop and whatever you use for video editing (Final Cut Express/Pro tears iMovie to shreds!) :)

spargo
25th August 2005, 04:37 PM
Hi tania2412,

great to see you're doing your research.. the PB vs iBook comparison is one that many people have come in here trying to make for themselves, so if you have a spare hour, have a look through the back-catalogue (8 Pages of topics!) of the Notebooks forum (http://forums.appletalk.com.au/index.php?showforum=23), where you'll find plenty of good previous discussions on the two models.

You may even find answers to questions that you never thought of asking!

I went with the PowerBook, which I recently upgraded with an extra 1 Gig of RAM. This was made all the easier because when I brought it, I made sure that the stock-standard 512mb of memory came in one single stick taking up one of the available slots, and not two 256mb sticks taking up both - costs a little extra but leaves you space to upgrade with more later, without wasting RAM..

Good luck!

tania2412
25th August 2005, 04:39 PM
[edit: i think the above post just answered my question...thanks!]

so a 512MB PC2700 SO-DIMM stick is a way of adding RAM to existing RAM yeah?

sorry - i probably sound like a completely newbie but as much as I wanna make the move to mac it all sounds a bit daunting sometimes.

hawker
25th August 2005, 04:42 PM
Originally posted by tania2412@Aug 25 2005, 04:09 PM
so a 512MB PC2700 SO-DIMM stick is a way of adding RAM to existing RAM yeah?
They come standard with 512MB. if you add another 512MB stick (you get one expansion slot to add more RAM), you'll have a total of 1GB.

Later you might decide, I want to add a 1GB stick in. SO you take one 512MB stick out, add in the 1GB stick and now you have 1.5GB of Ram.

Disko
25th August 2005, 04:43 PM
Originally posted by tania2412@Aug 25 2005, 04:09 PM
sorry - i probably sound like a completely newbie but as much as I wanna make the move to mac it all sounds a bit daunting sometimes.
Don't apologise - its what the site is here for. :)

This way you can get the advice from actual people, and not a salesperson frothing at the mouth.

hawker
25th August 2005, 04:44 PM
Originally posted by Disko@Aug 25 2005, 04:13 PM
This way you can get the advice from actual people, and not a salesperson frothing at the mouth.
Should I be insulted Disko? I am a sales person!

OziMac
25th August 2005, 04:45 PM
Not at all Tania - hopefully we can give you as straightforward help as possible, to make it less daunting :)

So, to recap - both the iBook and 15" Powerbook come with 512MB pre-installed and one empty RAM slot.

You can leave it as is, and you'll get pretty decent performance for your Photoshop/video tasks.

Or you can buy an extra 512MB PC2700 SO-DIMM stick, install it yourself (very easy, instructions in the manual - or they can do it at the shop) to bring you up to 1GB and you'll be able to make the most of Photoshop and your video :)

tania2412
25th August 2005, 04:51 PM
no offence to lurking sales people but when I bought my iPod I asked about the new 4G models and the main sales person at the only mac dealership in town had no idea what I was talking about...and they weren't that far away either

so yeah I'd much rather ask questions here than take em to her!

hawker
25th August 2005, 04:53 PM
Originally posted by tania2412@Aug 25 2005, 04:21 PM
no offence to lurking sales people but when I bought my iPod I asked about the new 4G models and the main sales person at the only mac dealership in town had no idea what I was talking about...and they weren't that far away either
Yeah. That is not umcommon. Most mac stores are turning into Harvey Norman wannabes. They try to pretend so hard, but they still suck.

spargo
25th August 2005, 08:10 PM
Originally posted by OziMac@Aug 25 2005, 07:45 AM
So, to recap - both the iBook and 15" Powerbook come with 512MB pre-installed and one empty RAM slot.

You can leave it as is, and you'll get pretty decent performance for your Photoshop/video tasks.

Or you can buy an extra 512MB PC2700 SO-DIMM stick, install it yourself (very easy, instructions in the manual - or they can do it at the shop) to bring you up to 1GB and you'll be able to make the most of Photoshop and your video :)
Can we just clarify this.

When I brought my machine (A 15" PB, previous model, 1.5GhZ, which is 1 year old today!!) the 15" PowerBooks came with 2x256Mb sticks of RAM as standard.. meaning there was no spare slot. You'll read in an earlier post I made in this thread that I opted to pay a little extra and go for a single stick of 512Mb instead, leaving a spare slot.

Do the latest models of the 15" come with one 512Mb stick of RAM, therefore leaving a spare slot? If yes, this makes a lot of sense and I am glad to be wrong. If no, then my advice stands.

I may have been misinforming people over the last few months since they updated the model!!

Help! Resellers? Anyone who can be bothered checking the on-line spec sheet? (i'm at work, so on-line shopping isn't a good look!)

OziMac
25th August 2005, 08:35 PM
Spargo - as far as I'm aware, the latest 15" Powerbooks come with 512MB in one slot and one slot free - check out the default build options on the Apple Store :)

spargo
25th August 2005, 08:42 PM
Originally posted by OziMac@Aug 25 2005, 11:35 AM
Spargo - as far as I'm aware, the latest 15" Powerbooks come with 512MB in one slot and one slot free - check out the default build options on the Apple Store :)
Thanks boss.. That's a change for the better as far as the off-the-shelf config goes..

I won't Edit my previous post, but yes, I stand proudly corrected.


And there you go tania2412.. All you need to know about deciding between the two - if there's anything else, you know where to come.

I'm sure we'll see you back here after you get it home and go, "whoa!! where the hell has the Start botton gone!!", and, "why doesn't my Mac crash, is this normal?" ;)

Nong23
26th August 2005, 11:02 PM
Just been reading through this on my new powerbook ;)

Tania seems like you have a decision set! If i were you I would go for the 15" powerbook, I think by memory it also has a bus speed of 167mhz versus 133mhz on the ibook, and while this may not be the only factor, the powerbook does "feel" faster and more smooth running the same programs as per the ibook. I also prefer the powerbook keyboard, just a more chunky feel to it, but thats hugely personal preference :)

I'm also a first time switcher, but Tiger is just brilliant, it hasn't missed a beat for me thus far, not a single one. Be sure to check out the pinned topic on Tips for OSX, and remember to use the apple key instead of using control for many of the common keyboard shortcut tasks, you'll be fine :)

This forum is practically half the experience too, awesome bunch of people!

EDIT: here's the url for my powerbook and ibook threads, it covers a fair bit of basic mac newbie stuff as well, even though they are a bit dated :)
http://forums.appletalk.com.au/index.php?showtopic=9314
http://forums.appletalk.com.au/index.php?showtopic=3279

cheers,

Nong23

tania2412
29th August 2005, 08:44 AM
thanx everyone...now comes the task of convincing my husband that apple is the way to go for our next computer...i don't envisage getting one ASAP (unless I suddenly win a competition or something!) but ur advice has been very helpful :)

jerrah
29th August 2005, 12:26 PM
I know this is a little off but I have a work provided 15" Powerbook 1.67 and it's quite nice to use, but I find when I go home (with my powerbook), that my Mac mini with a 17" Tft screen and the Apple pro keyboard is nicer to use.

Depends if you require to be portable. I need to be portable for my work, but desktop is 'nicer' to use. (And seems faster for some reason 1.42 vs 1.67 both with laptop hard drives)

Before I got the work powerbook I was thinking about getting a 12" ibook or a 12" powerbook, but I'm glad I have the mini at home.