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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > G5 or 17" Powerbook

G5 or 17" Powerbook
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jyen
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Jan 9, 2004, 06:32 PM
 
I'm trying to decide between these two. My options are either a single or dual 1.8 G5 or 17" Powerbook.

I am currently a Cube owner and want to upgrade to a new machine. I plan to use it for digital photos, music (iPod), burning slideshow DVDs for family, and for promoting my artwork (I'm a painter). I am a little concerned about the fan noise in the G5 being a big change from the silent Cube.

I have always loved the 17" Powerbook. I love the design, but with the advent of the G5 I'm wondering if I'm buying too little for my money with the PB.

Any opinions?
     
Podolsky
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Jan 9, 2004, 06:39 PM
 
Not sure what Cube you have but you will be looking at least at 2X increase in power + all the advantages of portability. I think you will be looking at a very attractive upgrade all the way around. If you always liked the 17" you are especially predisposed to loving the move to this platform. It is a very exciting computer to own and use. It is very different than desktop computing and for me, more enjoyable. I won't be going back to a desktop anytime soon.
     
guigo
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Jan 9, 2004, 07:53 PM
 
Hi,

I think the first thing you must consider is what you need: extreme performance or excelent performance and portability.

Because a dual 1.8 G5 will be faster in every aspect, but the PB 17 1.33 also makes his job.....bluetooth inside, wi-fi built-in, superdrive, 64Mb video, etc, etc, etc

And you said you are a painter. Think about show your art in a 17" bright and well manufactured display? :-)

I'm a huge PB fan

My first G3 was a powerbook 300

My first G4 was a Titanium 667 Combo

My actual G4 is a 17 1.33 1GB ram Al

The next, only steve jobs knows, hhehehe

Go for it and be happy

best regards

Guigo
     
SEkker
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Jan 9, 2004, 11:19 PM
 
I think the G5 will be more than quiet enough for you.

But I love my PB17, it's an awesome machine and does everything you list. The DVD encoding and burning, and data storage, will be easier with the G5. At the moment, however, I do everything you list without a desktop machine.

My recommendation if you go with the PB is to spend some extra $$ on either the 80GB 5400 drive, or the 60GB 7200 (if it's available from Apple). My main disappointment with my revA PB17 is this slow, 4200 rpm 60 GB builtin drive. Really hampers DVD slideshow encoding speed.

You should assume the cost of an external FW HD as a part of the total cost of the PB, too.
     
jyen  (op)
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Jan 10, 2004, 09:35 AM
 
Originally posted by SEkker:
I think the G5 will be more than quiet enough for you.

But I love my PB17, it's an awesome machine and does everything you list. The DVD encoding and burning, and data storage, will be easier with the G5. At the moment, however, I do everything you list without a desktop machine.

My recommendation if you go with the PB is to spend some extra $$ on either the 80GB 5400 drive, or the 60GB 7200 (if it's available from Apple). My main disappointment with my revA PB17 is this slow, 4200 rpm 60 GB builtin drive. Really hampers DVD slideshow encoding speed.

You should assume the cost of an external FW HD as a part of the total cost of the PB, too.
Thanks, I think the hard drive speed was definitely something I wondered about. Is it really too slow at 4200? How long does it take to encode a DVD?
     
jyen  (op)
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Jan 10, 2004, 09:38 AM
 
Originally posted by Podolsky:
Not sure what Cube you have but you will be looking at least at 2X increase in power + all the advantages of portability. I think you will be looking at a very attractive upgrade all the way around. If you always liked the 17" you are especially predisposed to loving the move to this platform. It is a very exciting computer to own and use. It is very different than desktop computing and for me, more enjoyable. I won't be going back to a desktop anytime soon.
This is good point, no matter what I get I guess I'll be feeling like I got a speed increase.

Thanks again for your comments
     
jyen  (op)
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Jan 10, 2004, 09:41 AM
 
Originally posted by guigo:
Hi,

I think the first thing you must consider is what you need: extreme performance or excelent performance and portability.

Because a dual 1.8 G5 will be faster in every aspect, but the PB 17 1.33 also makes his job.....bluetooth inside, wi-fi built-in, superdrive, 64Mb video, etc, etc, etc

And you said you are a painter. Think about show your art in a 17" bright and well manufactured display? :-)

I'm a huge PB fan

My first G3 was a powerbook 300

My first G4 was a Titanium 667 Combo

My actual G4 is a 17 1.33 1GB ram Al

The next, only steve jobs knows, hhehehe

Go for it and be happy

best regards

Guigo
You know, I just had conversation with a friend of mine about showing my work to people on the laptop. We also lamented how Apple needs an iApp for young aspiring artists -- something like Garageband except for budding Monets.

Back to topic, since you've been a Powerbook user all along do you ever pine for the flexibility or the upgradability of a desktop?
     
effgee
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Jan 10, 2004, 09:58 AM
 
Since you're upgrading from a Cube, here's another thing to keep in mind when making your purchasing decision: How long do you plan on keeping the new computer?

If it needs to last for more than two years, I'd always recommend the desktop machine. Here's an example with two of my machines:

A few years ago, I bought a G4 desktop (dual processor 450). In the meantime, it has been upgraded with a new graphics card (Radeon 8500), a new processor (dual 1 GHz) and new hard drives - it still runs Panther like a charm. My TiBook 500 however (which is newer than the desktop machine!) definitely feels "dated" by now and can't really be used for "serious" work anymore.

IMHO - the longer you want/need to keep the machine, the more viable the desktop option will become.

     
SEkker
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Jan 10, 2004, 11:55 AM
 
Desktop machines are always going to have a better upgrade path over a PB. Typically RAM and the HD are the main options for these all-in-one machines.

But I have to say, the long-term value of a PB is still typically 3-4 years IMHO. My wife is using a Pismo, 400 MHz G3. It runs Panther very well now that is has 1 GB RAM and a 5400 rpm HD. Slideshows in iMovie are a little slow, granted, but work surprisingly well. I had a TiPB previously, and it's slow HD was the major limitation on running OS X (was fast in OS9).

I intend to keep this almost one year old PB17 as my main machine at least until the revB G5s come out, and then it'll probably go to upgrade the Pismo. That's 4-5 years of life out of a notebook computer, and included a major upgrade transition from OS9 to OS X,

The main advantage with the desktop is the ability to continuously tinker with it. Adding a HD, video card, etc., individually takes only a little time and modest $$. But for many individuals, the cost-effectiveness of these upgrades (CPU, videocard, etc) in total runs nearly the cost of a new machine. It's often financially better to optimize RAM, maybe do a HD upgrade, and sell the old machine used and put the money towards a new machine. xlr8yourmac.com does a great job of looking at the economics of upgrades.
     
effgee
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Jan 10, 2004, 12:26 PM
 
Originally posted by SEKker:
previously, and it's slow HD was the major limitation on running OS X
My TiBook had been upgraded with a (back then) IBM Travelstar 40BG/5400rpm drive - it's now my 12" (on-the-road) external backup drive. Of course, the machine still runs fine for surfing, email, text editing etc. - just can't do any real work (e.g. design/layout work for print) using current apps on it. I still love the little sucker, it's just that in my line of work you can't do serious work on a 4 yr. old laptop and be efficient.
Originally posted by SEKker:
the cost-effectiveness of these upgrades (CPU, videocard, etc) in total runs nearly the cost of a new machine.
Uhm, depends - the upgrade parts for my old G4 cost me less than $1500 - back then, I could not have bought a comparably fast/well-equipped used Quicksilver or MDD G4 for that money.

But generally SEKker is absolutely right - in many cases, getting a new machine is the way to go.

     
coloma
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Jan 10, 2004, 02:02 PM
 
I think the first thing you must consider is what you need: extreme performance or excelent performance and portability.
Exactly. I used a Powerbook (Lombard G3 400Mhz) as my sole computer for a few years, then in 2002 I decided I needed more expandability and bought a used DP500. I added SCSI and USB cards, and it was great not having to hook/unhook stuff all the time.

But I also need to take my work to client sites and got tired of copying files over to the Lombard in a mad rush right before an appointment. When I started doing database development, the effort got worse as I had to re-create client databases on both PowerMac and PowerBook.

So in November I sold the PowerMac and got a 17" Al (1GHz/1GB RAM) and I LOVE it. I only take it off-site once or twice a week but it is totally worth it to have only one machine to back up and keep up to date with software, and to have all the needed files and databases set up in one place. Yes, I could have gotten a faster machine for less money but it would not have increased productivity and decreased stress the way the PB has.

So it seems to me you have to decide whether portability is important for you, and if it is -- go for it and enjoy it!

p.s. regarding PowerBook longevity. A while back I upgraded the Lombard to a 40GB disk and 384MB RAM and installed MacOS 10.1.8. A bit slow but otherwise okay, and it has a SCSI port for my scanner, so I am keeping it as a scanner beast and as a spare. It is a 4.5 year old model, purchased Jan 2000 when the newer models came out, and will still be a useable home machine later this year when I finally break down and buy a firewire scanner.
     
Commodus
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Jan 10, 2004, 02:08 PM
 
I would only really get the 17" PowerBook if you value its portability or small footprint (when compared to a separate computer and display). Otherwise, I would much rather get a G5.

By the way: unless you're intending to scope out discontinued or refurbished models, I would definitely hold off for a couple of weeks to see what happens with the G5 tower revision (which is suspected as launching in late January). You don't want to spend the money and find out that you could have had a dual 2.2 GHz system for the price of the dual 1.8 just by holding a couple of weeks.
24-inch iMac Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz
     
jimf_81
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Jan 10, 2004, 07:43 PM
 
If you want to take the computer with you or have the ability to work away from home (or your room for that matter), go with the 17.

If you are only going to work in one place go with the G5's.
     
DesignByJack
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Jan 11, 2004, 06:22 AM
 
Yap, same here.. it really depends on your necessary need.. if for me I might get the PowerBook for now, because I have to travel a lot.. but I also eager to have G5 due to I had the hard time for doing the huge 6 meter banner on my G4 800 iMac.
     
guigo
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Jan 12, 2004, 12:38 AM
 
Originally posted by jyen:
You know, I just had conversation with a friend of mine about showing my work to people on the laptop. We also lamented how Apple needs an iApp for young aspiring artists -- something like Garageband except for budding Monets.

Back to topic, since you've been a Powerbook user all along do you ever pine for the flexibility or the upgradability of a desktop?

Hi,

Answering your question, no.

Just because I never need a desktop to do anything I can't do in my PB's

I don't use my computer to huge professional stuff, like editing movies, animation or something like that.

I'm a domestic, regular user....mp3, pictures, dvd, presentations, layouts.

Even if I need, I think PB will do the job. The question is, the PB can do almost everything, but does it slowly than a desktop.

For upgradibility, mac is not like PC, where, for exemple, change the motherboard is something normal. Today, almost every mac, (except for memory and HD) dies with factory configuration.

I have a external desk FW HD Lacie D2 120GB and a portable Lacie Mobile FW HD 80GB, for backup.

After read what you plan with your computer, in my opinion, If you buy a 17, with enough ram, you'll be happy

Best regards

Guigo
     
slffl
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Jan 12, 2004, 08:04 PM
 
The 17" is IMO the single greatest piece of computer hardware ever made. You will no doubt be satisfied with it, and especially if you have a wi-fi network or bluetooth devices.
     
beachmark
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Jan 12, 2004, 10:01 PM
 
My 2 cents:

Upgrade your cube and buy a new 17inch.

I got my cube upgraded and now its performance is second to none. Increased processor speed, another hd, maxed out Ram and a dvd burner makes it the nicest computer I ever had. Not for a million i wil llet it go. And I am nothe only one, take a look at www.cuberonwer.com to read more similar stories.

My G4 is my loyal mobile companion.

Twice a week I sync the two and it is super.
g.r.e.e.t.i.n.g.s
mark ®
hanging out in san francisco - wellington - cape town (or in between)
Powerbook 17 inch MacOS 10.4.3Eng • Palm E2 • Motorola Razr • iPod Flash 1Gb • iPod mini 2nd-4Gb
     
   
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