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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > 12.1" iBook 900 MHz vs. 12.1" AluBook 867 MHz

12.1" iBook 900 MHz vs. 12.1" AluBook 867 MHz
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Apr 22, 2003, 01:06 PM
 
Does anyone know of the performance difference between an iBook 900 MHz G3 w/ 640 MB RAM and an AluBook 867 MHz G4 w/ 640 MB RAM? For a while I was considering the AluBook but a 900 MHz iBook could hold me over until next year's PPC 970 17" AluBook. With the Cornell student discount I could get the iBook fully loaded for $1,500 (no applecare) while a loaded alubook is over $2,000. Same size screen, same amount of RAM and HD. Airport vs. Airport Extreme makes little difference since Cornell's campus is all 802.11b anyway. Is it worth an extra $500 for the slick design, the Bluetooth, the G4 and the Airport Extreme?

The keyboard on the 12.1" alubook is much nicer, I think, than the iBooks. Bluetooth is useless for me now. So I guess it really comes down to a 900 MHz G3 vs. an 867 MHz G4. Can anyone guess at the comparison?
     
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Apr 22, 2003, 01:20 PM
 
Vector Processing Unit. aka, velocity engine, altivec.

If your programs use it, the PB will beat the iBook. If they don't, the iBook will at the very least keep pace (or even outperform). OS X is altivec savy.

L2 cache.
12"PB, 256, iBook, 512. This will make a difference in favor of iBook.

System Bus.
12"PB, 133, iBook, 100. This will make a difference in favor of PB.

Hope that helps.
     
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Apr 22, 2003, 01:24 PM
 
Can't say enough about the keyboard on the 12" Powerbook. That makes it worth it over everything else.
     
mcs37  (op)
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Apr 22, 2003, 01:27 PM
 
Originally posted by cambro:
If your programs use it, the PB will beat the iBook. If they don't, the iBook will at the very least keep pace (or even outperform). OS X is altivec savy.
Using it as a student, I plan to do lots of word processing, iChat'ing, email, web browsing, and DVD playing (my Family Guy DVD's came in yesterday; as Quagmire says, "oh riiiight"). Perhaps some Photoshopping and music burning. Seeing as I don't own a digital camcorder I won't be doing any video editing. I would like good performance with DVD watching, though. Also better battery life than the PB would be great. Also better sleep---PB sleep seems to eat away battery life much faster than the old iBook sleep. My assumption is that the G3 draws less power so therefore preserves battery life better. Good Airport reception is key, and it would be great if it had gigabit networking for the future but I think it only has 100BaseT max.

No serious gaming; Warcraft 3 would be the most. How well would a 900 MHz G3 with 640 MB RAM and the Mobility Radeon 7500 perform with Warcraft 3?

I have to admit the PB is much sexier than the iBook, but I don't have any BT devices right now nor do I know of any place on campus with 802.11g. If I get similar performance with better battery life with a 12.1 or 14" iBook I'll go for the iBook.
     
mcs37  (op)
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Apr 22, 2003, 01:29 PM
 
Originally posted by PeterKG:
Can't say enough about the keyboard on the 12" Powerbook. That makes it worth it over everything else.
That's a good point, probably the most important point of them all. I found the 12" keyboard to be vastly superior to any other laptop keyboard I've ever used. It gives all laptops a run for their money! But is it worth $500?
     
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Apr 22, 2003, 01:49 PM
 
Originally posted by mcs37:
That's a good point, probably the most important point of them all. I found the 12" keyboard to be vastly superior to any other laptop keyboard I've ever used. It gives all laptops a run for their money! But is it worth $500?
the SuperDrive, BlueTooth, Alu Case & Airport Extreme is worth the extra $500 over the iBook 800 or 900.
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Apr 22, 2003, 01:55 PM
 
keep in mind that you might not use bluetooth now, but it is the way for the future I promise you. Japan already uses alot of bluetooth and for good reason. It is the usb of wireless. So eventually you will need it. Also now that the drivers are better for the nvidia 420 you will get alot better performance off that than the radeon 7500
     
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Apr 22, 2003, 01:55 PM
 
Originally posted by mcs37:
I found the 12" keyboard to be vastly superior to any other laptop keyboard I've ever used. It gives all laptops a run for their money! But is it worth $500?
mcs37: I don't think a (marginally) better keyboard is worth $500 if you don't need the G4. My iBook/500/CD (and its keyboard) has been just fine for the two years I have used it to take notes in class, write papers, do legal research online, communicate via e-mail and the Web, and manage my digital photos. From personal experience, an iBook is plenty for a student. One benfit of the slightly larger and heavier iBook is that it is more rugged than the PowerBook. The iBook's plastic shell does not bend like the PowerBook's aluminum enclosure.

OTOH, the PowerBook's ability to run an external monitor at highter than its native 1024x768 resolution with the lid closed (not mirroring) is a big plus that might make the extra expense worthwhile. That's one of the reasons I'll be replacing my iBook with a Rev.B 12-inch PowerBook later this year.

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Until we get a 3 lbs sub-PowerBook, the 12-inch PowerBook will do.
     
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Apr 22, 2003, 02:13 PM
 
This is a tough one given your position. Either way you go MAX OUT THE RAM!!! X loves the stuff.

Also, as esher points out, one important thing to keep in mind is that the 12" PB will allow you to push a second monitor very easily. I don't think the iBook can do that. Maybe you won't have much use for that, but I definitely find myself using a second montior every now and then for extra working space. Comes in very handy sometimes.

Anyway, either way you'll be getting a great book.
     
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Apr 22, 2003, 03:00 PM
 
If you are just planning on surfing, emailing, chatting, etc... I would recommend the iBook. I am in the same debate and I am going with the iBook. It doesn't run as hot, will run fast enough for apps you are running. The iBook is a tried and true design. The 12" from the sounds of the forums, needs to work out a few kinks. I think it's a beautiful laptop, don't get me wrong, but almost all Rev A computers have their fair share of problems. That will be the computer to buy next time around. More processor, L3 cache, prolly more video memory and the kinks will be worked out more.

My two cents.
     
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May 25, 2003, 12:02 PM
 
     
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May 25, 2003, 12:48 PM
 
having extensively used both an iBook/800 and the 12" Powerbook, I would strongly recommend getting the iBook 900 for the needs listed -- ESPECIALLY if the stated goal is to merely tide oneself over until the PPC 970 machines show up.

Speed is a wash in the listed uses.

battery life, heat, are in favor of the iBook by far.

the Powerbook keyboard IS incredible, but it really is a luxury item -- the iBook keyboard does just fine.
     
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May 25, 2003, 01:24 PM
 
Dont want to hijack the thread, but this is the best place to ask:

Im going to work for a company this summer as a programmer, so ill do a lot of programming, maybe most of it is @ home. I will need to be able to use Photoshop for making a theme for a site or making a wallpaper everymonth, or winamp skin and such. NO 150 MB files.

Apart from this i do everything that mcs37 does. Will the PB be fast than the iBook in OSX?

thanks
     
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May 25, 2003, 07:11 PM
 
Dont' forgot that the 12" PB has a faster system bus, and AGP port than the iBook, + OpenGL/OSX and probably quicktime use the alitvec engine of the G4.
Basicly, 4 average/home use get the iBook, for antything Pro or less than casual use of, get the 12" PB; with the 12" PB you get on top of the iBooks spec-
133/266 FSB
Proper/complete External monitor support
Nvidia GF420GoMX
4X AGP
Blue tooth built in
SuperDrive if you want/can afford it
Better keyboard
Better looking & ever so slightly smaller
DDR Ram
Airport Extreme.
Although I think the !2" Alu Book should have deffiently had a L3 Cache, and maybe faster Vid card/larger memory/(32 Radeon 9000 or 64MB 440) and/or faster processor. (1 gig with level 3 cache).
I haven't used an iBook, but I'm sure there good laptops, but my 12" AluBook is great.
     
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May 25, 2003, 10:58 PM
 
Why are the laptops so expensive at Cornell? Here at Berkeley, the 12" PB with superdrive is only $1599 with student discount. For $2299 we can get a 15" PB superdrive with Applecare included.

If I were you, I'd get the 12" PB. If you can wait for Rev. B, that would be ideal. But if you get an iBook, everytime you walk by a 12" PB, you're going to think, "I should have gotten the 12" PB".
     
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May 25, 2003, 11:06 PM
 
Originally posted by elysian:
"I should have gotten the 12" PB".
Or he will think: "God am I glad that I saved that $500 by going with the iBook..."
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May 26, 2003, 02:01 AM
 
Your theory that PowerBooks drain their batteries faster than iBooks because they have G4's is completely wrong.

Nevertheless, I think you've already decided on the iBook. You don't need AirPort Extreme, and you don't care about Bluetooth. Nothing you're doing will significantly benefit from the 12-inch PowerBook's G4.
     
   
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