Welcome to the MacNN Forums.

If this is your first visit, be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above. You may have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed. To start viewing messages, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.

You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > 12" Powerbook Battery Life

12" Powerbook Battery Life
Thread Tools
bo989
Fresh-Faced Recruit
Join Date: Aug 2004
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 21, 2004, 12:58 AM
 
Hi guys. I've been lurking on this board for a while now, and this is my first post. I'm going to be purchasing a 12" Powerbook with the following specs:

- Rev. C
- 1.33 ghz
- 768 MB RAM
- 80 GB 5400 RPM Hard Drive

But I'm VERY concerned about battery life. I'll be mainly using the Powerbook to take notes at law school and would like to avoid plugging it in as much as possible. I'm not sure how many of my classrooms have plugs at every desk, and I'd rather not fight my classmates for the plugs that are available. My questions are:

1) What sort of battery life are other 12" Rev. C Powerbook users getting when using it for basic tasks like word processing and Internet (through Airport Express)? What about when doing something more intensive, like watching a DVD?

2) Should I give up the extra speed and horsepower of the Powerbook for the extra battery life of a 12" iBook? What is the difference in battery life between the two computers?

3) Is buying a second battery a practical solution? Can batteries only be charged while in the laptop?

It would be awesome if you guys could give me some advice to help me decide. Though I'll only be using it for typing and surfing during the day, I still like the fact that the Powerbook will handle games on weekends and will last longer before an upgrade is necessary. Will I need to give up these advantages in order to get the battery life I'm looking for?

Thanks for the consideration, everyone.
     
t4r1q
Junior Member
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Hamilton, Ontario
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 21, 2004, 01:41 AM
 
I got almost the same machine (save the hard drive) a month ago for school in September and also to replace my desktop PC.

1. You can expect 4-5 hours for less intensive tasks while taking advantage of battery saving techniques (lower brightness, mute volume, lower hard drive spindown time, etc.) For gaming and watching DVDs, I'd guesstimate around 2-3hrs of battery life.

2. It's true that iBooks have longer battery life over PowerBooks, but its only a 15-30min difference in real life circumstances.

3. A few people have purchased two batteries and use them for long trips or whatever. If you can't get to an outlet and really need to use it, a second battery may be the answer. The battery can only be charged while in the laptop, but it's really easy to remove and install.
     
bo989  (op)
Fresh-Faced Recruit
Join Date: Aug 2004
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 21, 2004, 09:40 AM
 
Thanks for the info t4r1q

4-5 hours sounds great. But it does sound a lot different from what I've been reading in other threads. I trust your estimate more, though, since you're working with a machine so similar to mine.

I do have a few follow-up questions:

1) How would one manage to keep two batteries charged if they can only be charged in the laptop?

2) Should I just bite the bullet and get the iBook instead? Will an iBook last me 3 years? Will it be able to handle the new OS Tiger that everyone is talking about? Will my Powerbook even be able to handle that? Can the iBook play games like Halo?

Thanks again for the response.

Does anyone else have any real-world numbers they can share?
     
wowok1234
Fresh-Faced Recruit
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Good ol' Chicago
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 21, 2004, 10:41 AM
 
Keep in mind that the video card (radeon 9200) in the iBook won't support Core Image in Tiger, which lets the video card handle image manipulation instead of the CPU. The Geforce FX 5200, however, will.

Pros of getting an iBook 12":
durable
longer battery life
great wireless reception
cheaper

Pros of getting a PowerBook 12":
smaller than iBook (4.6 lb vs 4.9 lb)
Built in Airport and bluetooth
twice the standard hard drive space
faster processor and faster video card
ability to do monitor spanning without hacks
bit more future proof

I have an iBook G4 800 and it's been great, and it usually lasts around 4 to 5 hours depending on what i'm doing, but i need a little more speed.
     
Jawbreaker
Fresh-Faced Recruit
Join Date: May 2001
Location: New Haven, CT
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 21, 2004, 10:43 AM
 
I just upgraded from a Rev. A 12" to a Rev. C and couldn't be happier. For more passive tasks the battery life is around four hours, sometimes more if I turn the screen brightness down - it's really quite nice.

If money is not an issue I would strongly recommend choosing the PowerBook over an iBook, simply as a matter of making a more future-proof purchase. The iBooks will run Tiger just fine, but the GPU in the Rev. C PowerBooks is fully supported for CoreImage and CoreVideo.
     
bo989  (op)
Fresh-Faced Recruit
Join Date: Aug 2004
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 23, 2004, 01:22 AM
 
Thanks for all the replies guys! 4 hours of battery life sounds pretty fantastic compared to most Wintel machines.

I have a few more follow-up questions:

1) What exactly is CoreVideo and CoreImage? Will iBook users be at a significant disadvantage when Tiger comes out?

2) Will the 5400 RPM drive significantly impact battery life?

3) Any more real-life battery stats for 12" Powerbook Rev C. users?

Thanks again guys.
     
pgolf
Junior Member
Join Date: Sep 2003
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 23, 2004, 02:32 AM
 
I have a rev. C Superdrive with the 5400RPM Hard dirve, and 512Mb of memory. Surfing and word processing, with the LCD down to 3 bars I can get close to 5 hrs. Normals to heavy usage, between 3.5-4 hrs.

DVD playback with the following settings: BT and APE off, LCD at 8 bars and 3/4 volume using the internal speakers. I was able to watch Gladiator, 2:17, from beginning to the last line of credits with 22-25 mins to spare.
     
sniffer
Professional Poster
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Norway (I eat whales)
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 23, 2004, 07:09 AM
 
Originally posted by bo989:
1) What exactly is CoreVideo and CoreImage? Will iBook users be at a significant disadvantage when Tiger comes out?
Read more about core here: http://www.apple.com/macosx/tiger/core.html
I highly doubt it'll be a "significant disadvantage", but you might regret not buying a PB when or if you install Tiger down the road. I know from personal experience I bought a iBook just months before Quartz Extreme was announced, it felt like a disappointment realizing I bought the last non-QE enabled Apple ever made. Now that Core already has been pre-announced a half year in advance I would recommend people to take a serious look at the PB if they are in the marked for one. However, the mentioned iBook works very well with OS X despite lack of QE support. The only issue with that machine is the slow CPU (G3)/bus/ram that makes the double buffered scrolling a little itchy. But it being QE enabled or not will not make a different in regards to scrolling and also I know for a fact that this old comp will work with Tiger with no problems. So how does this apply to you? If you go for the iBook, it'll certainly last you, but you might miss having support for the newest GPU stuff that'll certainly be impressive. We really don't know today where Core Video/Image will take us, but it'll most definitive put the Mac platform on the performance map in a way we never have seen before, and it will even apply with todays G4 based Macs (if the video card is supported). The PB is a safe card. But if you feel it doesn't make a difference for you, you'll be safe with going for an iBook and there will be no problems with it either.

(edit: typos......)
( Last edited by sniffer; Aug 23, 2004 at 07:25 AM. )

Sniffer gone old-school sig
     
escher
Grizzled Veteran
Join Date: Mar 2000
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 23, 2004, 09:58 AM
 
I really don't understand why Core Image and any other upcoming graphics technologies are relevant to using a PowerBook in law school. The basic functions required for law school are (1) a solid word processor for taking notes and writing, (2) solid battery life, and (3) a solid web browser for accessing Lexis and Westlaw. All three of these are present in the 12-inch PowerBook. Graphics capability is irrelevant to law school.

Do a search! There was another thread about using a PowerBook or iBook in law school less than two weeks ago. Bottom line: the only disadvantage to using a 'Book in law school is that some exam software packages, e.g. ExamSoft, are Windows only.

I used a PowerBook 2400c during my first year and an iBook during my remaining years of law school. I never had any issues, especially since I preferred to handwrite my exams anyway. Plus, handwriting exams is good practice for the bar exam, which is still written by hand in most states.

Edit: The thread regarding PowerBooks in law school that I referred to above is conveniently titled Law School. It should answer any additional questions on the topic.

Escher
"The only laptop computer that's useful is the one you have with you."
Until we get a 3 lbs sub-PowerBook, the 12-inch PowerBook will do.
     
StevenWRX
Forum Regular
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Houston, TX
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 23, 2004, 10:43 AM
 
when i had my rev b 12", i always got about 3.5-4 hours of normal use...
-Rev. C PowerBook 17" 1.5GHz
-iPod Mini 4gb Silver (Rev. B)
-Gaming Rig: AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+ Manchester, Asus A8N-E, 2 Gig Corsair XMS, nVidia GeForce 7900GT PCI-E, Seagate 320gb Barracuda HDD, Samsung 16X Dual Layer w/ LightScribe, Thermaltake Tsunami, Antec 550W True Power 2.0, Saitek Eclipse Keyboard, Logitech MX518 Gaming Mouse, Samsung 19" 931B.
     
bo989  (op)
Fresh-Faced Recruit
Join Date: Aug 2004
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 23, 2004, 11:20 AM
 
Originally posted by escher:
I really don't understand why Core Image and any other upcoming graphics technologies are relevant to using a PowerBook in law school. The basic functions required for law school are (1) a solid word processor for taking notes and writing, (2) solid battery life, and (3) a solid web browser for accessing Lexis and Westlaw. All three of these are present in the 12-inch PowerBook. Graphics capability is irrelevant to law school.

Do a search! There was another thread about using a PowerBook or iBook in law school less than two weeks ago. Bottom line: the only disadvantage to using a 'Book in law school is that some exam software packages, e.g. ExamSoft, are Windows only.

I used a PowerBook 2400c during my first year and an iBook during my remaining years of law school. I never had any issues, especially since I preferred to handwrite my exams anyway. Plus, handwriting exams is good practice for the bar exam, which is still written by hand in most states.

Edit: The thread regarding PowerBooks in law school that I referred to above is conveniently titled Law School. It should answer any additional questions on the topic.

Escher
Escher. I did do a search and read that thread before starting my own. I didn't feel it answered my questions, mainly because my questions are focused so strongly on battery life. Also, I am a bit of a power user and I will be using my laptop outside of class. So, it's performance on tasks other than word processing and surfing are important to me. I don't just view computers as tools to get the job done.
     
bo989  (op)
Fresh-Faced Recruit
Join Date: Aug 2004
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 23, 2004, 11:23 AM
 
Thanks again for the replies. I'll be going to the campus computer store today and may make my decision. Contributions to the thread are still appreciated, though!
     
McFarmer
Junior Member
Join Date: Jun 2004
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 23, 2004, 06:15 PM
 
bo989,

Battery life is really good on the 12" PowerBook. I've the maxed out version with a 80GB 5400rpm drive and 1.25GB of RAM and still get easily 3.5 to 4 hours of usage on one charge. This was a pleasant surprise.

One thing is important though:

The biggest drawback of the 12" PowerBook IMHO is the screen. It is OK, but the resolution (1024x768) and the quality is nothing to write home about. You will soon wish for a bigger or better quality screen.
The iBook, which has basically the same screen, can only do mirroring, this was said, but it does not have DVI at all, but only VGA output. So all you get is a fuzzy image at (1024x768) if you intend to get an external LCD monitor. There are hacks to increase the resolution, but it will always be a fuzzy VGA image.

The PowerBook instead, even the 12", can easily handle up to 1920x1200 pixels on a crisp 23" LCD displays in fantastic DVI quality.

If you ever intend to get an external monitor to add to your 'Book's screen, then the iBook is the wrong choice.
     
sniffer
Professional Poster
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Norway (I eat whales)
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 24, 2004, 07:46 AM
 
Agree about the screen quality. However it depends on usage. For typing and surfing you've got a crisp screen with good white color balance. For graphical work, you'll need a good external screen because the angle on the built in is not good enough. I'll guess for video editing on the go and similar, it might be sufficient with the built in. Despite the not-so-impressive screen, the PB12" rev C. as a whole is simply a brilliant package IMHO. No regrets here.

Sniffer gone old-school sig
     
fiveyearwinter
Fresh-Faced Recruit
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Erie
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 24, 2004, 07:48 AM
 
I guess screens aren't a big factor with me. I adore my 12" after having it 4 days and I've never cared much for high resolution or vibrant color if it meant having to pay more or have a bigger laptop.

Sometimes I just wish the backlight was a lot more powerful, but the resolution is fine for my needs.
Statement 1: Statement 2 is false.
Statement 2: Statement 1 is true.
     
escher
Grizzled Veteran
Join Date: Mar 2000
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 24, 2004, 09:29 AM
 
Originally posted by bo989:
Escher. I did do a search and read that thread before starting my own. I didn't feel it answered my questions, mainly because my questions are focused so strongly on battery life. Also, I am a bit of a power user and I will be using my laptop outside of class. So, it's performance on tasks other than word processing and surfing are important to me. I don't just view computers as tools to get the job done.
Didn't mean to be critical, bo989. The title of your thread makes it clear that you are interested in battery life, but then you bring up law school without explaining your "power" needs in detail.

Since you're "a bit of a power user," the 12-inch will be ideal. I would think that the iBook's battery life is only marginally better. Either way, anything larger than 12" will be needlessly clumsy and heavy for law school use. So you are looking at the right systems.

As others have mentioned, DVI-out will let you connect an external monitor for "power" work. During law school, I wasn't able to afford an external keyboard, monitor and mouse. My wife bought me a 12-inch PowerBook as a graduation present, and I added a Bluetooth keyboard, mouse and an external LCD. I consider myself a power user as well, and finally moving to the Rev.C 12-inch PowerBook from my old iBook G3/500 was a real revelation. The 12-inch PB with external LCD offers the best of both worlds. If I could do law school over again, that is the combination I would pick.

Escher
"The only laptop computer that's useful is the one you have with you."
Until we get a 3 lbs sub-PowerBook, the 12-inch PowerBook will do.
     
escher
Grizzled Veteran
Join Date: Mar 2000
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 24, 2004, 09:33 AM
 
PS, bo989: If your search didn't already reveal the 12-inch PowerBook owners UNITE thread, you should make sure to read through it. You'll find some good real-life 12-inch PowerBook comments in there.

Escher
"The only laptop computer that's useful is the one you have with you."
Until we get a 3 lbs sub-PowerBook, the 12-inch PowerBook will do.
     
bo989  (op)
Fresh-Faced Recruit
Join Date: Aug 2004
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Aug 25, 2004, 02:33 PM
 
Thanks for all the replies! They were very helpful. I've actually decided to go with the iBook, simply because moving to a new city has severely drained my finances and I'll be saving about $400CAD with the iBook. I figure, if i like the Mac (this is my first one, by the way) I'll splurge for a 15" Powerbook or something like that when I graduate. Who knows, maybe I'll even turn in my PC Desktop for a Dual G6 (or whatever they'll have released in three years )
     
   
Thread Tools
 
Forum Links
Forum Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts
BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Top
Privacy Policy
All times are GMT -4. The time now is 03:49 AM.
All contents of these forums © 1995-2017 MacNN. All rights reserved.
Branding + Design: www.gesamtbild.com
vBulletin v.3.8.8 © 2000-2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.,