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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > 15" vs 17" PB

15" vs 17" PB
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apb15
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Jul 15, 2004, 10:02 PM
 
Hi,
I have pretty much set my mind on purchasing a Powerbook. I vwould primarily use it as a desktop replacement and so have set my mind on the 15" PB. I found the 17" a bit too big if I wanted to carry it around.
However I have read some articles indicating that the 15" PB is not as good as the 12" or the 17". I think one reason cited was that it had fewer revs and also the screen resolution was not that great for a 15" monitor.
I was originally considering an iBook as the white case looks more durable. However I feel the PBs are beautiful machines and will last longer.

So my question is are there any other pros/cons for the 15" vs the 17" besides the obvious size/portability issue.

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Al
     
olePigeon
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Jul 15, 2004, 11:04 PM
 
Originally posted by apb15:
Hi,
I have pretty much set my mind on purchasing a Powerbook. I vwould primarily use it as a desktop replacement and so have set my mind on the 15" PB. I found the 17" a bit too big if I wanted to carry it around.
However I have read some articles indicating that the 15" PB is not as good as the 12" or the 17". I think one reason cited was that it had fewer revs and also the screen resolution was not that great for a 15" monitor.
I was originally considering an iBook as the white case looks more durable. However I feel the PBs are beautiful machines and will last longer.

So my question is are there any other pros/cons for the 15" vs the 17" besides the obvious size/portability issue.

---
Al
Just price, I think. Extra 2" isn't gonna kill ya. I ordered the 15" myself, still waiting for it to get here.
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Blue Flame
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Jul 15, 2004, 11:36 PM
 
I have the 17", and while it's not quite as easily toted as a 15" (I have a 15" TiBook as well), it is not a problem to move it at all. i take it to school and work daily without a problem.
     
jimf_81
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Jul 15, 2004, 11:43 PM
 
I was having the same quandry as you. In fact I had ordered a 15" PB, but it never wanted to ship, so I upgraded to the 17" and it was shipping an hour later.

The 17 I have works flawlessly as a desk top replacement (along with bluetooth keyboard and mouse).

In terms of portability, I don't think there is a big difference between the 15 and the 17 except for finding a decent case or backpack to carry it around in.

I use a Spire backpack (spireusa.com), and I can vouch for it. You should check out the sticky about cases though.
     
wuzup101
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Jul 15, 2004, 11:49 PM
 
It's really a personal prefrence vs cost type of thing. Both of them are "portable" enough for every once and a while, and as stated above... some people carry their 17" everywhere. They do weigh a bit over 6lbs... but really who cares. They are very thin and easily stowed in one of many laptop bags. Take your pic based on what you want to achieve. I personally bought a 15" because I couldn't see spending the extra cash for the 17" when I don't really need the extra monitor space. You may find that you're willing to!
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PConvert
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Jul 16, 2004, 12:46 AM
 
I had this debate myself a couple weeks ago.

So I went to compUSA and played with the 15" and 17".


The things that made me choose the 17" over the 15 were:

1) When folded up, the 17" is very portable - a little larger than a small copybook

2) The widescreen display is beautiful. Warcraft 3 and UT 2004 shimmer with widescreen glory - also is great to watch widescreen format movies.

3) 17" is just not all that bigger than the 15, and you get a killer display. It's not ultra portable - but neither is the 15. If portability is your primary objective, go for the 12".


Either computer will make you happy, but the 17" truly feels like a computer on a desk - and doens't get too hot in your lap The 15" can reach some uncomfortable temperatures!


It's your descision though, go for it.
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Macpilot
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Jul 16, 2004, 03:04 AM
 
Well, I just sold my 17" and ordered the 15", primarily because of riding in coach seats on the airlines does not work well with the 17". And because I wanted one of the new models with 128 vid Ram.

But boy am I going to miss the 17". The display is just awesome.

Most carry-on rollerboard bags will allow the 12, 15 and even the 17 to just slide in the outer pocket (at least put the PB in a sleeve though).

Thinking about the 20" or 23" new Cinema display to complement my soon to arrive 15" Powerbook.

You really can't go wrong with either machine. You either need the extra screen space, or you don't. Just get a good case or sleeve for it.

I just ordered the Radtech MacTruck case. It looks tight.
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simonjames
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Jul 16, 2004, 06:56 AM
 
if you're thinking of replacing a desktop then you have to consider how important screen real estate is to you

as a 17" owner I am biased - the 17" is pure sex - all of my friends and co-workers are green with envy

definitely get a sleeve whatever you buy as it will protect your PB better than a bag

enjoy!!
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Maflynn
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Jul 16, 2004, 07:15 AM
 
You need to ask yourself what is the primary purpose of this laptop.

If you travel a lot, the the 12" or 15" PB would be better; lugging the 17" around airports will quickly grow old.

Secondly as one poster mentioned, is the size, its a little ungainly when working on it in an airline seats.

Thirdly you are going to get some level of WOW from other passerbys this maybe just as simple as stares but I've heard people complain here that total strangers actually interrupt you and want to know some info on the 17" this too may grow old.

As a desktop replacement the 17" is well suited for this, the heat dissapation is the best just because of the size of the computer. ITs really a great PB, but you it has to fit your needs and working habits.

Finally you need to visit an Apple store or a compusa and try all three out, you may find the 12" resolution to small to read for long periods of time. I myself opted for the 15" its not as unwiedly as the 17" and I can see the display on my aging 40 year old eyes gawd that sounds old


Good Luck
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apb15  (op)
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Jul 16, 2004, 07:41 AM
 
Well thanks for all your replies. I think I should play around with both machines and decide on the portability issue. Cost does not seem to be an issue on this debate as with the edu discount there is just a $100 difference between the two ( taking into account that for the 15" apple charges you an additional $80 for 1 512MB SO-DIMM wheras this is the default in the 17")

Has anyone had any problems with the durability of the aluminium casing?
     
kafoochy
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Jul 16, 2004, 09:58 AM
 
In your original post you mentioned a slight worry about the 15" having fewer revisions. Although this may be true, it is based off of the 12" and 17" Rev. A Aluminum PBs and was up to Rev. B standards when it came out. This didn't mean that the Rev. A's didn't have problems. Apple replaced my Rev. A with a new 1.5Ghz Rev. B because it couldn't fix the first one. That said, I'd also suggest the 17" as a desktop replacement. When I originally bought the 15", the price difference was greater and as a college student I couldn't afford the difference. The 17" is sexier in my mind, also thinner, the location of the optical drive looks cooler, it is cooler to the touch in my opinion and unless you're traveling with it all the time, isn't really that much bigger or heavier than the 15". I take my 15" with me to work every day. It is perfectly fine to carry. It can get a little heavy when I bike to work with it on my back, but you probably won't be doing that too often.
Having two Aluminum powerbooks since last fall, haven't had any problems. The aluminum seems to show dirt, hand oils, etc more than other laptops but if you keep it clean it isn't an issue. Some people have mentioned that palm sweat can corrode the aluminum and leave small black pits, but I sweat more than anyone I know and I have yet to notice anything. I've gotten my fair share of scratches on the underbelly of this wonderful beast, but that is to be expected. I feel like there isn't a whole lot you can worry about with the aluminum right now. If you want a professional Apple laptop running OS X, its going to be aluminum. Just buy AppleCare as well. This I strongly recommend.
     
pdot
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Jul 16, 2004, 02:10 PM
 
If you really care about mobility and screen space, then you can get a 12" PB and an ext LCD. A wireless keyboard and mouse will be a great addition. I think this is a great solution for those that do a lot of work at their desk, but who also need to bring their laptop with them on a regular basis (e.g. work, school, home).

But if you're into computer gaming or high CPU needs, then there's no replacement for the top of the line models.
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hiltmon
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Jul 16, 2004, 02:39 PM
 
When I was looking for a new powerbook, I found the 17" just too big to carry around and use on trains and aircraft. My experience is that the 15" has all the performance I need, a big enough screen for laptop use (I write software) and I use an Apple 23" display, keyboard and mouse when working at home.

For me the equivalent DELL to the 15" was thicker, heaps heavier, had a worse battery life and cost more. I would also recommend getting a sleeve for the PB, the Titanium book had external hinges that got batterd without it, and the AIbook ports get filled with bag-fluff.
     
HvyMtlMdns
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Jul 16, 2004, 03:06 PM
 
I have one of the original 17" PowerBooks, having ordered it when they were first announced. It has been well over a year since the purchase and I have not had one single regret about this machine. It has been far and away the best Mac I have ever owned! The screen is simply beautiful. When I sold my PowerMac several months ago, the 17 became my temporary desktop replacement. The size of screen & resolution made using it in that capacity easy. The case has held up great under daily trips to and from work in a backpack (with padded compartment), though it barely fits. The weight was never really an issue as I had upgraded from a clamshell iBook to this PowerBook. If I remember correctly, the weights were virtually the same. The processor is still quite zippy (for a 1 GHz G4) and runs all of my applications with ease. AirPort reception is quite good and all of the other ports work well. As far as travelling with the 17, it is a bit large for coach, but the looks I get while watching a DVD on a 2 1/2 hour flight are priceless. I was even able to do a three-way headphone split on one flight so that my two friends and I could all watch a movie. It was like our own private first class. I plan on hanging on to this laptop for a while, probably until a Rev. B. PB G5. And yes, I would get another 17" model (if available).

As for the 15" AL PB, my parents bought one as soon as they arrived in the stores. They are very happy with it! My mother, who really doesn't care for computers has actually said she enjoys using it. Having upgraded from an old Dell desktop that crashed regularly, I'm not that surprised.

Both are great machines and I think you will be happy with the purchase of either. Good luck with your decision.
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SEkker
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Jul 16, 2004, 03:13 PM
 
I'm also in favor of the 17" if cost is no object. The only complaint I heard was about the 17" being too big in airplanes, something I have not found to be the case.

I've had to make the comparison between a TiPB and a PB17 on coach seating, and I do not find any significant difference in usability -- if you have room for a TiPB, you have room for the PB17. Even on the 767s, where room is at a premium, I could use my PB17 if the seat next to me was empty. If the seat was full, the TiPB was also too large. BTW, Dell 15" machines are especially poor on airplanes due to the poor hinge design (the displays are too tall, much higher than the PB17). I have to admit, I'm 6'2" and 200 lbs, so if you are thinner, maybe you'll need less room on a plane to use a powerbook.

But for me, my conclusion was; if you need a PB to fly, get a PB12".

I tried several bags that worked with my TiPB, but none seemed wide enough for my PB17. So I purchased one of the wider bags.
     
dweebert
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Jul 16, 2004, 03:22 PM
 
As some of you have experience with both the 15" and 17", I am wondering whether the 17" appears to run cooler at the same speed. It would seem to me that there would be more air inside the 17" to absorb heat generated.

I am wondering because I currently have a 15" Titanium 'Book, and there are rumblings here at work about getting me a new Powerbook. Since the difference in price is about $300 Canadian, either would likely be an option.

I don't have too much of an opinion on screen real estate or (to a large degree) the weight, but I do find it rather annoying when the *extremely* loud fan of my TiBook comes on during a long code build.
     
rtbarry
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Jul 16, 2004, 03:46 PM
 
Originally posted by dweebert:
As some of you have experience with both the 15" and 17"...
I was a 17" owner for about 6 months, including use as desktop replacement, and when traveling. I traded with another colleague to get a 15". The 15" is just as capable, in a smaller package. No discernable diff's in heat or otherwise.

So travel was much easier. Aside from using on the plane, just finding an attractive, usable bag to hold the 17" was a challenge.

As for desktop replacement, I dock into a flat panel (alum 23" now)... but in the absence of that, the 17" screen is awesome if you are a developer or graphic artist or anyone else who works wiht lots of palettes.

That said, the scale tips to the 15" IMHO. Good luck!
     
PLin
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Jul 17, 2004, 12:51 AM
 
I bought the original 17-inch 1GHz, and I sold it to get the 15-inch 1.25GHz. Although the 15-inch was a bit more portable, when the newest PowerBooks were released, I sold the 15-inch to go back to the 17-inch for the extra screen real estate.

I was never able to get very good battery life on the 15-inch for some reason. I had to carry a spare battery. I know that Apple bumped the battery capacity on the 15-inch in the newest models, so maybe that makes a difference.

The battery life on the 17-inch is incredible considering the size of the screen. As mentioned above, the only hassle is using it on the tray table when flying coach.

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Milk&Cookies
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Jul 18, 2004, 05:11 AM
 
Regarding your question about durability of the aluminum casing on the Powerbook >>

I live in Singapore and own a Rev A 12-inch Powerbook. Have been using it extensively for work for about a year and a half. It gets so hot in the palm rest area that my palms tend to sweat, and now the palm rest area is corroded, with black dots (like little bubbles) appearing. Initially thought it was dirt, and discovered with a magnifying glass that it wasn't.

There're some minor scratches on the casing itself, but they're nothing compared to Tibooks.

Hope this gives you an idea.




Originally posted by apb15:
Well thanks for all your replies. I think I should play around with both machines and decide on the portability issue. Cost does not seem to be an issue on this debate as with the edu discount there is just a $100 difference between the two ( taking into account that for the 15" apple charges you an additional $80 for 1 512MB SO-DIMM wheras this is the default in the 17")

Has anyone had any problems with the durability of the aluminium casing?
     
   
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