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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > Why my next computer probably won't be another Powerbook

Why my next computer probably won't be another Powerbook
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flypenfly
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Dec 5, 2004, 10:34 PM
 
My current system is a 1.33ghz G4 15" with 1gb of ram and a 7200rpm hard drive.


I love OS X and just how everything works although occaisionally I have a mis click and close a window I didn't mean to because I'm still getting used to the non maximized window concept.

That said, I would love to go ALL os X with my desktop system too if it weren't for the price of G5 machines and my gaming needs.

Powerbook hardware however does not impress me.

Sure, I love Jonathon Ive design and the aluminum finish on my powerbook is quite glorious and there is of course the brand cache' of whipping out a sleek apple laptop when people around me are slugging HP and Toshiba ginormous machines.

Yet, for my work (mostly graphic/web design), it come up short. Even with a gig of ram, running Illustrator, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Flash, and a few web browser windows is slow compared to the instant responses I'm used to. Its the 1 or 2 or 3 second annoying lag that really cuts into my workflow.

Next, come on, what's with the resolution, I realize after Tiger we might possibly get a resolution independent system but argh this gives me a lot of aggravation when my last non apple laptop had SXGA+ This is the second biggest drawback to my workflow.

Airport reception, I work in a lot of places and most of them have wifi. Those ugly HP laptops kick my powerbook's ass in reception and I don't want an external antenna. I realize its a problem with the faraday cage like design of the powerbook but argh, even a retractable (stowable internally) design would have been great.

Battery life, 2.5 hours is just not enough when competitors are getting 4 or 5 with similar LCD and power settings. This is one of the primary reasons an apple laptop won't be next.

I figure unless Apple can address at least the battery and screen resolution in time for my next upgrade, I can't justify getting another powerbook when it cuts into my capabilities so much.

My biggest hope is to able to keep running OS X via PearPC (the pace at which this thing is maturing is quite astonishing, check out the newest .4 builds, amazing) with probably a Sony laptop (since IBM is leaving) since I like the aesthetics of the Vaio series.

I hope to be able to continue my patronage of apple system but I just don't see it happening with the G5 being an underperformer compared to Centrino solutions due when the G5 arrives. Also a mobile G5 will probably such balls or be the same as the current G4 in terms of battery life. I hope I'm proven wrong.
     
El Magnificante
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Dec 5, 2004, 11:16 PM
 
If your "workflow" and "capabilities" demand that you use a PC wouldn't you be using one now?
     
flypenfly  (op)
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Dec 5, 2004, 11:19 PM
 
Well for one thing, I was able to pick up my machine for much much less than the market rate.

The other thing, I had a Ti before and it made me hooked on OS X. I just think the future for mac portables looks kind of bleak although I do realize its kind of early to call without the G5 mobile variant even fully spec'd out yet.
     
macaddict0001
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Dec 5, 2004, 11:47 PM
 
Originally Posted by flypenfly:
I figure unless Apple can address at least the battery and screen resolution in time for my next upgrade, I can't justify getting another powerbook when it cuts into my capabilities so much.
You can get another battery to swap out with your battery, and as for the resolution you could get the 17 inch model.
     
Wiskedjak
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Dec 5, 2004, 11:52 PM
 
Originally posted by macaddict0001:
You can get another battery to swap out with your battery, and as for the resolution you could get the 17 inch model.
Why is it solutions to Apple design problems always involve spending more money? For the same price as a 15" PB, you can get PC laptops with much better battery life and screen resolution. Why should one have to pay more to get equal performance from an Apple?
     
flypenfly  (op)
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Dec 5, 2004, 11:54 PM
 
You can get another battery to swap out with your battery, and as for the resolution you could get the 17 inch model.



Yeah but I don't want to carry ANOTHER battery on top of what I already use when a centrino machine will let me do without another battery.

As for the 17" I don't want something that big or heavy and can't fit well on a coach seat on any airline.
     
El Magnificante
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Dec 6, 2004, 12:18 AM
 
Originally posted by flypenfly:
Well for one thing, I was able to pick up my machine for much much less than the market rate.

Based on the tone of your first post I am surprised that money is even an issue to you.

Were I unable to use my current computer at my competency level I would replace it because my workflow and capabilities (and most importantly, my clients) demand it.
     
flypenfly  (op)
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Dec 6, 2004, 01:20 AM
 
I'm sorry I gave that impression, I thought the thing about how G5's are priced and such would show I am cost conscious.
     
mgl
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Dec 6, 2004, 08:53 AM
 
Originally posted by flypenfly:
I'm sorry I gave that impression, I thought the thing about how G5's are priced and such would show I am cost conscious.
Well then, since you're cost conscious, I'm sure you're aware that the cost of replacing your Mac Illustrator, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, and Flash licenses with Windows licenses is a barrier to switching.
     
flypenfly  (op)
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Dec 6, 2004, 10:58 AM
 
Not as much really. I own the last gen versions of those programs on PC since I was PC first so it will be the cost of upgrade, not a totally trivial cost but not nearly as much as a full purchase.


Anyways, my point is that I don't want to switch, I just wish Apple made competitive high end laptops like they do lower end laptops. And with PearPC, I might not have to switch if they can keep the pace in bringing speeds back up. Although I'll probably end up using the PC version of DW since its infinitely better than the OS X version.
     
pipflypip
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Dec 6, 2004, 11:29 AM
 
I have been using PBs for almost a decade now, and my current is an Al 1.5. Although I love it, I can certainly see the point in the original post, especially the battery life issue and the poor WiFi reception. To that I must add the impossible weight of the machine. Togther, these three shortcomings make me, as well, consider making this PB my last one. I am thinking of a combination of a G5 at home and one of the ultra-slim feather-light PC notebooks.
     
JKT
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Dec 6, 2004, 12:27 PM
 
Bear in mind that the current PowerBooks are approaching their end-of-life (it is in fact overdue if the average life span of PB revisions is looked at) and were only a relatively minor update to the prior version. The next revision is likely to arrive early next year and may well offer some or all or more of what you would like to see. So, unless you are buying a new machine tomorrow or in the immediate future, how can you say what your next purchase is going to be? Six months down the line may well see something special... then again, it may not. If it doesn't, then your needs will dictate your purchase, nothing we say here will.
     
wuzup101
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Dec 6, 2004, 12:43 PM
 
Nobody is going to blame you if you switch in order to get more work done. Truth is, some people have to do this, there's nothing wrong with it. The powerbook is a solid machine, but you're right it does have some short commings. The screan issue is definitely one of my biggest gripes to. Luckly for me I already owned a nice 19" LCD to use in spanning mode to add some extra space. It's not an idea solution, as I would rather have a much higher resolution machine in my notebook; however, it gets the job done when I'm at my desk. Airport reception isn't as big of an issue for me; however, I do see how it could be for you. At my university all of our rooms that are equipt with wi-fi have pretty damn strong routers... I always have a great signal pretty much anywhere I go in those rooms. Battery life is another kicker. I wish I could get a solid 4hrs per usage. But truth is, though I take my powerbook with me every day to class, I have yet to run out of battery when I needed it - don't even come close. When I'm doing work in the library or whatnot I'm plugged in so I don't have to worry about it. Still, a longer life battery is something I'd love to see in the next powerbook revision.

Apple did get plenty of things right when they made this version of the powerbook... all we need to do is address some of these other easily solvable issues (esp the screan) and we should be good to go!
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flypenfly  (op)
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Dec 6, 2004, 01:25 PM
 
I've read the screen resolution issue is a problem with OS X and not the powerbook. The sony XBrite screens look mighty nice though.

But I guess my problem is that the future of mac laptops just doesn't look great from a comptetive analysis.

The G5 mobile variant just won't be able to keep up with Centrino solutions in power consumption or performance. I mean say with a carbon fiber shell they fix the airport problem and with a post tiger release they fix screen res, we're still stuck with subpar battery life and performance...

I mean, I hope I'm wrong but from what i've read on the G5 I don't think I am... sigh.

I would hate to go back to WinXP but 6 months down the line, I don't see another choice for my portable solution.
     
SEkker
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Dec 6, 2004, 02:26 PM
 
I'm glad this thread has resolved into constructive issues. From comments made in this thread, I see two separate issue being discussed. I am a firm believer that higher resolution screens would make a PB LESS useful to me, so I will not comment on that part of the thread.

First, the ibook line DOES compete well with the Centrino line in terms of battery life and wifi reception. If Apple would put decent (5400 or, even better, 7200 rpm) hard drives in them, they'd be competitive in performance, too. Centrino laptops do NOT have the same CPU power as their high-end counterparts, and they do not tend to be true desktop replacements for video editing and other demanding applications (for email and web browsing, my 4 year old 400 MHz G3 Pismo does these tasks under OS X just fine, so we're really talking truly demanding uses when 1-2 GHz CPUs are not fast enough). And I really doubt Apple plans to build a true subnotebook (i.e. another Duo-style machine); maybe a tablet, but not a Duo. The 12" form factor is actually a nice sweet spot in terms of functionality/size. Apple may refine the form factor to be even smaller, but I think they'll keep the optical drive, etc.

The upper end of the PC spectrum also boasts plenty of very large (typically 9+ lb) laptops with high performance and low battery life using Intel's mobile pentium or the Athlon mobil chips. Some are truly 'portables' rather than notebooks -- most of the competitors to the Apple PB17 fall into this category.

For most people, a dual-core G4-style CPU upgrade would give Apple a competitive edge for some time in speed with current Centrino-based PC laptops, while many power users seem to want a smaller version of the current iMac as the next generation powerbook. At the moment, I see the biggest gap in the Apple lineup is found in something that's truly competing with the Athlon mobile processor; this chip seems like the best CPU power/power consumption ratio currently on the planet.
     
Dr.Michael
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Dec 6, 2004, 03:15 PM
 
Originally posted by flypenfly:

Powerbook hardware however does not impress me.
...

Yet, for my work (mostly graphic/web design), it come up short. Even with a gig of ram, running Illustrator, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Flash, and a few web browser windows is slow compared to the instant responses I'm used to. Its the 1 or 2 or 3 second annoying lag that really cuts into my workflow.
Well, I can really understand what you mean.

I am a commandline junky (when I program with java). I press the keys faster than the terminal is able to display the letters that I type. Its not because I type 100 letters a second. Its the powerbook that renders even this easy task soooo slow. Under linux the reaction is instantaneous.

I really don't understand what this quartz rendering crap is worth if the result is like this.
     
iREZ
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Dec 6, 2004, 04:47 PM
 
I'll put up with all the hangups and all the low end hardware as long as I have my OS X. I'm sure you guys all did your homework before you forked over the cash so all I could say now is if you don't like it, don't buy it or sell the one you already bought for really cheap to me.
NOW YOU SEE ME! 2.4 MBP and 2.0 MBP (running ubuntu)
     
ideasculptor
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Dec 6, 2004, 08:37 PM
 
Originally posted by Dr.Michael:
Well, I can really understand what you mean.

I am a commandline junky (when I program with java). I press the keys faster than the terminal is able to display the letters that I type. Its not because I type 100 letters a second. Its the powerbook that renders even this easy task soooo slow. Under linux the reaction is instantaneous.

I really don't understand what this quartz rendering crap is worth if the result is like this.
There's something wrong with your machine, if that's the case. I work in the commandline all day every day on a 15" 1.25Ghz PB, and I DO type 100 words per minute and I don't have any problem with the terminal, or any other app, keeping up with my typing.

My gripe is that java executes ridiculously slowly compared to a linux or windows environment, as does the java compiler. Builds that take a second or less on a windows box take 6-10 seconds in OS X, and the subsequent application runs slower, too. I attribute some of this to the slow-ass hard drive in my laptop, but some of it appears to be an inherently slow java implementation. I'll know for sure when I get my 2.5Ghz powermac and I can compare workstation to workstation performance.

If you are really having problems rendering text as quickly as you type, you are either running a lot of needless eye candy in your interface (and I've got just about all of the standard os x eye candy ENABLED) or there is a problem with your box.

--sam
     
Dr.Michael
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Dec 7, 2004, 04:18 AM
 
Originally posted by ideasculptor:
I attribute some of this to the slow-ass hard drive in my laptop, but some of it appears to be an inherently slow java implementation. I'll know for sure when I get my 2.5Ghz powermac and I can compare workstation to workstation performance.

If you are really having problems rendering text as quickly as you type, you are either running a lot of needless eye candy in your interface (and I've got just about all of the standard os x eye candy ENABLED) or there is a problem with your box.

--sam
Hi sam,

the slowness of java is due to the apple implementation. I have checked this several times against my linux Thinkpad. The Powerbook runs easy c programs as fast as the Thinkpad. But java is definitely slower (I don't remember the factor, but its > 2).

My terminal problems arise in the following process:
Run an app
stop it, go back to bbedit, change code, save
go back to terminal, recall compiler
wait, wait, wait
recall app call
etc.

The command recall is very slow. Simply hit the arrow up key and it does not react at once. Even CPU usage should not affect this as long as there is a few percent left. And it is also not due to anti aliasing (The first thing that I disable - system wide). Part comes from the iTerm application that I use. Terminal is a bit faster.

But compare to linux and you understand what snappiness is.
     
sodamnregistered2
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Dec 7, 2004, 01:14 PM
 
Powerbooks are very nice, but far from the total solution.

A few things have made this so. First off, Macs are no longer the best way to do graphics. Sure, they are nice, but Adobe and Macromedia products run as well, and in some cases better on PC. Market forces have dictated this. Apple has Final Cut Pro, I can run Avid DV on a PC laptop.

Also, Apple is so focused on style, that they just don't build serious machines anymore, and if they did, they would cost as much as a used car.

For $2000 I got a Powerbook 1GHz and a 15" screen 60GB 5400rpm hard drive and a 1 year warranty.

For $1700 I got a Dell 5150 3GHz with a 15" screen and a 60GB 7200rpm hard drive and a 3 year warranty.

Both have firewire, USB2 and last 2.5 to 3 hours on a battery.

The Dell is a brick, it's heavy and it's ugly. But it flat blows my powerbook out of the water. I could prolly open and close and open Photoshop on the Dell in the time it takes Powerbook to just open Photoshop. The Apple screen res is 1280x854 vs the Dell's 1600x1200. The extra resolution is incredibly useful, especially in screen hog apps like Flash MX. My particular Dell has a dog of a video card, but, I do have the option of getting a Dell with pretty decent video cards, including workstation models with serious Open GL cards. Apple has nothing on this front.

When I had my Pismo G3 500MHz with 512MB RAM I was a world beater, PC laptops had nothing on that thing. Now, Powerbooks are nice props for commercials and a very nice computers overall, but as far as serious hard core work machines, the fact that Powerbooks just can't be modified into serious workstation level computers really hampers them as pro machines. The 1440 screen res on the 17" Powerbook is just a joke. Dell has 1920 res some laptops.
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ideasculptor
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Dec 7, 2004, 01:38 PM
 
I suppose it depends on what you prioritize. I travel tens of thousands of miles with my powerbook on a motorcycle. The thinness and lightness is important to me. Additionally, the last 3 PC laptops I've had (2 dell, 1 vpr matrix powerbook formfactor clone) vibrated themselves to death within a couple thousand miles. Screws would fall out, keyboards stopped working, hinges got loose, etc. The laptops still worked, but they looked like sh!t and were a pain to use. My powerbook is at about 30,000 miles, including a one month trip across Europe, and it still is as rock solid as the day I bought it. I've even dropped it twice, once with no problem, and the other required a trip back to apple, who fixed it for free, despite the fact that I acknowledged that I dropped it.

So no, its not as good a replacement for a desktop as some PC laptops which weigh several pounds more and are as much as an inch thicker, but it is close enough for me to use on my desktop for 10 hours every day. I suspect most of our complaints are due to the fact that the current powerbooks are way at the end of their design life. We are overdue for a major hardware upgrade, and I suspect that when we get it, powerbook owners will be back to worldbeater status. In the meantime, I've become such an avid OS X fan, after 5 years of 100% linux use, that it would take a lot more than a slow laptop to get me to go back to x86-land.

When you factor in build quality and form factor, are the powrbooks really such a bad deal? I just bought a 3Ghz pentium 4 laptop for my wife (long story as to why the x86 machine), and paid $1700 for a machine with a 15" widescreen, but which appears to require an extra 2 inches below the screen, meaning the laptop itself still has a 4:3 aspect ratio, making it HUGE. It is thin enough at the front edge, maybe only 1/4"-1/2" thicker than my powerbook, but the laptop is wedge shaped, and at the back, it is at least an INCH thicker than my powerbook. The battery life is flat out pathetic, getting no more than 2 hours of simple web-browsing unless you buy the optional, stronger battery, and its heat dissipation is a problem, too. The fan is on 100% of the time, and it is loud, too. Hear it across the room with the tv on loud. Factor in the weight of the machine, and compared to the powerbook, I'm not so sure it was that great of a deal. She only uses it for writing in different parts of the house, so extreme portability isn't required, but if they were, her laptop would suck!

I have never yet seen a laptop that is as well built, shares a similar form factor, and has as good battery life which doesn't also suffer on the performance front, usually by using a slower clock rate and a pentium-M processor. And lets not forget that all the widescreen pc copycats are copying an idea first produced on the powerbooks. I don't know what apple have up their sleeves for the next powerbook, but don't be surprised if it blows the pc competition away, at least on a design front.

When I need cutting edge desktop performance, I'll buy a desktop. What I really want is OS level built-in clustering so that when I'm working on my desktop, my unused laptop can be plugged into the network over gigE and the OS will automatically run background and low priority tasks on the external CPU. And provide nice OS level services for apps to leverage which will facilitate application level clustering. That would be some cool shiznit.

--sam
     
runejoha
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Dec 7, 2004, 02:10 PM
 
Originally posted by flypenfly:
My current system is a 1.33ghz G4 15" with 1gb of ram and a 7200rpm hard drive.


I love OS X and just how everything works although occaisionally I have a mis click and close a window I didn't mean to because I'm still getting used to the non maximized window concept.

That said, I would love to go ALL os X with my desktop system too if it weren't for the price of G5 machines and my gaming needs.

Powerbook hardware however does not impress me.

Sure, I love Jonathon Ive design and the aluminum finish on my powerbook is quite glorious and there is of course the brand cache' of whipping out a sleek apple laptop when people around me are slugging HP and Toshiba ginormous machines.

Yet, for my work (mostly graphic/web design), it come up short. Even with a gig of ram, running Illustrator, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Flash, and a few web browser windows is slow compared to the instant responses I'm used to. Its the 1 or 2 or 3 second annoying lag that really cuts into my workflow.

Next, come on, what's with the resolution, I realize after Tiger we might possibly get a resolution independent system but argh this gives me a lot of aggravation when my last non apple laptop had SXGA+ This is the second biggest drawback to my workflow.

Airport reception, I work in a lot of places and most of them have wifi. Those ugly HP laptops kick my powerbook's ass in reception and I don't want an external antenna. I realize its a problem with the faraday cage like design of the powerbook but argh, even a retractable (stowable internally) design would have been great.

Battery life, 2.5 hours is just not enough when competitors are getting 4 or 5 with similar LCD and power settings. This is one of the primary reasons an apple laptop won't be next.

I figure unless Apple can address at least the battery and screen resolution in time for my next upgrade, I can't justify getting another powerbook when it cuts into my capabilities so much.

My biggest hope is to able to keep running OS X via PearPC (the pace at which this thing is maturing is quite astonishing, check out the newest .4 builds, amazing) with probably a Sony laptop (since IBM is leaving) since I like the aesthetics of the Vaio series.

I hope to be able to continue my patronage of apple system but I just don't see it happening with the G5 being an underperformer compared to Centrino solutions due when the G5 arrives. Also a mobile G5 will probably such balls or be the same as the current G4 in terms of battery life. I hope I'm proven wrong.
Yes, the price for stability and usability is less programs, games, HW, not-as-good-HW etc. Apple is far from beeing perfect, but togheter with a desktop I like it, even thoug the battery life sucks MAJOR. When i start to travel more in my job I have to switch to a PC.
How can a boring thing such as a mac or a PC be so exciting??
     
ideasculptor
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Dec 7, 2004, 03:40 PM
 
There seem to be a lot of complaints about battery life around here, but I'm wondering how muc of that stems from comparing real world powerbook performance against manufacturer claims of pc notebook battery performance. My experience with a number of PC laptops over the years is that I've never had a laptop that had battery life as good as I see in my powerbook. Sure, I've owned more than a few that CLAIMED to get 4 or 5 hours, but not one of them could come anywhere near those numbers. I don't tend to watch DVDs or other drive and CPU intensive activities when unplugged, but my normal use pattern is a lot of wireless web browsing, a couple of terminals open with source code being edited in them, and running a compiler every 20-30 minutes or more, plus an email client. With that kind of load on my mac, I routinely see at least 2 hours of battery life, which is far better than I would see on my current PC laptop or the 2 I had previously, especially since apple were kind enough to send me a spare battery in the guise of a 'recall.' My Sony Vaio, which weighs nearly twice as much, gets barely more than an hour under the same use pattern.

Turn on bluetooth, charge an ipod, and play music and the battery life goes down. The same would happen on a wintel box.

I have been really pleased with the battery life of my powerbook. I wouldn't object to a removable optical drive that could be replaced with a spare battery when travelling, though, that's for sure. I rarely use the optical drive, and the more juice I can carry on a plane, the happier I am, not least because the battery life on my ipod is so poor that I can't fly from LA to London or Paris wihout needing a recharge from the laptop. I doubt I could listen to tunes all the way to Australia or New Zealand, even with a boost from the laptop, and I can't afford first class seats that have power sockets.

--sam
     
Filburt
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Dec 7, 2004, 04:35 PM
 
As JKT said, PowerBook G4s are approaching EOL (end of lifecycle), much like Power Mac G4s few years ago. Like Power Mac G4s, Apple is holding off certain innovations (e.g., higher resolution LCD, PCI Express GPU) to be rolled out with next generation PowerBook (whether it be dual-core G4 or mobile G5). Much as Power Mac G5s represented a huge leap from aging Power Mac G4 platform, I am sure next generation PowerBook will offer latest and greatest in notebook technologies.
( Last edited by Filburt; Dec 7, 2004 at 04:40 PM. )
     
Dr.Michael
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Dec 7, 2004, 05:35 PM
 
Originally posted by ideasculptor:
There seem to be a lot of complaints about battery life around here
--sam
I can say that my Thinkpad t41 claims to have 5 hours of battery life and it makes more than 4 under Windows. Under Linux without a working power management it is less (~3 hours).

Apple users like to complain about battery life. That may come from the fact that battery life has increased with the older models with a peak performance on the Pismo. This incredible machine lasted 4 hours with one battery and more than 7 with a second battery in the optical drive slot.

Apple has taken this away. The TiBooks started with roughly 4 hours. It is always bad to take something useful away. I would like the option of a second battery in my powerbook since I frequently fly or use the train for 5+ hours. But thats exactly one of the reasons why I am thinking to buy an iBook as my next machine.

So maybe this comes back to the orignal: My next machine might also not be a Powerbook ;o)
     
Wiskedjak
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Dec 7, 2004, 05:57 PM
 
I'm currently having a difficult time justifying the purchase of a 15" PB and battery life is the big sticking issue. The other issue is how hard Apple is pushing Applecare lately and how much more they charge for it than other laptop manufacturers. The fact that they charge so much for it, and push it so hard, tells me that there's a high degree of likelyhood that I'll be needing to use it which tells me that Apple doesn't think very highly of the product they produce.
     
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Dec 7, 2004, 07:47 PM
 
I don't know about that. All the extended warranties I've seen for laptops run between $220 and $300 bucks. At $350, it is definitely a bit expensive, espeically considering that it isn't on-site or overnight service, but it isn't extraordinarily expensive compared to the competition.

As for whether you'll need it...given the day to day abuse that a laptop in regular use will suffer, the odds aren't with you. I've never had a laptop that didn't stop functioning at least once in the first 3 years. Never! But then, I use my laptops as my primary computer, taking them to and from work every day, on vacation, etc. My laptops get at least 12 hours of use every day. I might skip an extended warranty on a desktop machine, since the only parts that are likely to break are moving parts for which there will be vastly superior replacements available, anyway. I'd rather spend $300 bucks on a hard drive with double the capacity of the original than spend $300 on an extended warranty which will replace the 160Gig drive with another 160Gig drive. It requires multiple failures to make an extended warranty on a desktop machine worthwhile.

Bear in mind that ALL warranties are priced by actuaries who have access to an awful lot of data about failure rates and modes for the hardware they are insuring. They are in the business of making money on the extended warranties. They are giving you odds you aren't likely to beat. Otherwise, they'd lose their job. If you can figure out whether you are the 'average' uses the actuaries are betting on, more abusive, or less abusive, you have a much better shot of accurately gauging whether you need a warranty. Since all powerbooks have the same warranty price, you have to figure out what the average powerbook user is like across the entire range. My guess is that because apple users tend to be, across the board, more geeky about their computers than their PC counterparts, that they probably use them harder. Also, most PC laptops tend to be supplemental to desktop systems, whereas most powerbook users seem to use them as their primary machine. As a result, I bet average use patterns for powerbooks are higher than for PC laptops, which explains the higher prices. It also means you probably need to use the hell out of your powerbook to justify the applecare purchase.

In almost all instances, I don't buy extended warranties, precisely because the actuaries know a lot more about these computers and their repair costs than I do. The price of a warranty is almost guaranteed to be higher than the cost of repairing the unit yourself if you are an average user. Laptops and motorcycles are the only products for which I buy warranties, because both have very high replacement costs should I happen to lose the bet, the warranty is affordable, if a bit expensive, and because I consider both to be essential to my quality of life, so I will want working replacements immediately rather than waiting until I can afford a replacement. I also know that I use both laptops and motorcycles much harder than the 'average' user, so I'm perhaps more likely to win the bet the actuaries are making with me. If you don't use your laptop every day, and you don't travel with it every day, the odds of needing the warranty are probably low enough to not make the price worthwhile. If you ride around on a vibrating motorcycle with a laptop in your luggage, you might want to rethink that.

--sam
     
SEkker
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Dec 7, 2004, 08:23 PM
 
I'd like to reemphasize my comments about battery life -- the last time I used an iBook (a 14" model), it gave me over 6 hours of real time even while running airport. That make and model compares very favorably with the old Pismos in terms of screen size and resolution, and it's noticably faster in real world use.

I would like to see some real world tests of a PC laptop that can best a 1.3 GHz G4 in performance while still getting 5+ hours of real world use, as can be purchased from Apple for ~$1500.
     
bookofjames
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Dec 7, 2004, 10:11 PM
 
I'm getting about 4 hours of use from my 1 year old 12" powerbook and I think that's good enough.
book-of-james.com

12" Rev B PwBk (Oct2003)
1GHz | 60GB HDD (4200rpm) | 1.25 GB RAM
     
Wiskedjak
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Dec 7, 2004, 11:20 PM
 
Originally posted by SEkker:
I'd like to reemphasize my comments about battery life -- the last time I used an iBook (a 14" model), it gave me over 6 hours of real time even while running airport.
G3 or G4 iBook? The G3's were great for battery life ... though I've never got more than 4 hours out of my iBook.
     
d0GGii
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Dec 7, 2004, 11:37 PM
 
just a few non-constructive questions:
When is the next generation of PowerBook coming out?

if i really want to get a powerbook should make the purchase now or wait for the new PowerBook sometime next year? Or simply just get an iBook for its cheaper price and see what happens when the new PowerBook comes out
     
balls
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Dec 8, 2004, 12:00 AM
 
Originally posted by Wiskedjak:
Why is it solutions to Apple design problems always involve spending more money? For the same price as a 15" PB, you can get PC laptops with much better battery life and screen resolution. Why should one have to pay more to get equal performance from an Apple?
That would be because Apple computers are premium machines. Machines where refinement and lifestyle are more important than raw speed. If you don't like that, perhaps a Dell would be better for you.
     
UnixMac
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Dec 8, 2004, 12:19 AM
 
Well,
I've been using my new powerbook for about 1 week now, and having owned both a dual 500mhz G4, and then a 1.0Ghz Powerbook Ti... then getting into my new G5 and this Powerbook, I'm quite impressed with the performance and the speed with Photoshop and MS Office on this powerbook.

Yes, it's not an Alienware 3.2Ghz Desktop replacement, but then it's a 5.8lbs, OS X portable Mac... and it fits my needs just right, and will continue to do so for at least 4 years.
Mac Pro 3.0, ATI 5770 1GB VRAM, 10GB, 2xVelociraptor boot RAID, 4.5TB RAID0 storage, 30" & 20" Apple displays.
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Apple user since 1981
     
macaddict0001
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Dec 8, 2004, 04:46 AM
 
check out your sig, now check out the sig guidelines.

Oh and about this thread i think that apple laptops have excellent battery life but anything can be improved.
     
urrl78
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Dec 8, 2004, 08:46 AM
 
I will be keeping my 17" until it breaks, but if I were on the market for a PC laptop it would probably be this:

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.d...tem=5145805989

Too bad it's only sold in Europe and has no bluetooth. I might consider buying it anyway and keep the 17" also; the best of both worlds.
     
USNA91
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Dec 8, 2004, 10:06 AM
 
I'll offer my newbie-centric viewpoint on all this....

I bought a 1.5GHz, 15", 7200 RPM, SuperDrive PB because I was sick to the teeth of having to deal with the incessant problems of Windows XP. I had been running on a fully-loaded HP laptop with a WXGA screen.

Aside from OS issues (99% of which are simply a matter of getting used to) the only real disappointment I have is the screen. First off, the resolution on my HP is 1680 x 1050, which, considering the screen is only .4 inch wider diagonally than the PB, is a damned sight better than the PB's 1280 x 854. I got suckered in because the screen looked OK at the store. I made the mistake of not taking my HP with me and comparing them side-by-side. Had I done so, I very well might have stayed with the HP.

But, here I am, almost $3500 later, and I'm not about to return this thing and get nailed with a 10% restocking fee (which, BTW, is utter BS, but that's another thread).

Aside from that, the battery life of my PB is comparable to the HP, the system is MUCH more stable (duh), and the unit is a good bit lighter and smaller than the HP.

Considering I don't do heavy graphics work or extreme multitasking, I find the system speed to be quite satisfactory and comparable to what I had before (just without the crashes).

Would I recommend a PB to someone? Yep. Sure would. I paid less for my PB and all it's software than I did for the HP and all it's stuff. Not MUCH less, but certainly not more, which is a common accusation from the PC crowd. Besides, all the negative reaction I've gotten from the PC crowd (some of it quite vitupritive, to say the least) has been fun!

For my needs, the PB is working almost perfectly. If Apple could just get off their ass and give us a patch to OS X that would allow us some better font smoothing, I'd be ecstatic. Other than that, all I need is to find the Mac version of MiniTab.

Overall, I'd give an out-of-the-box PB an 8.5 out of 10. If they fix the font smoothing, that goes up to 9.
     
UnixMac
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Dec 8, 2004, 01:14 PM
 
Originally posted by macaddict0001:
check out your sig, now check out the sig guidelines.

Oh and about this thread i think that apple laptops have excellent battery life but anything can be improved.
How are the 4 lines measured though? On a 12" PB? or on a 30" display?

that is the question...

anyway, I fixed it.... you happy?
Mac Pro 3.0, ATI 5770 1GB VRAM, 10GB, 2xVelociraptor boot RAID, 4.5TB RAID0 storage, 30" & 20" Apple displays.
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Apple user since 1981
     
UnixMac
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Dec 8, 2004, 01:18 PM
 
Originally posted by USNA91:
I'll offer my newbie-centric viewpoint on all this....

I bought a 1.5GHz, 15", 7200 RPM, SuperDrive PB because I was sick to the teeth of having to deal with the incessant problems of Windows XP. I had been running on a fully-loaded HP laptop with a WXGA screen.
sorry, did you mean 5400RPM drive? Cause the standard is 4200, and the upgrade is 5400.. right?

but anyway, I totally agree with you.
Mac Pro 3.0, ATI 5770 1GB VRAM, 10GB, 2xVelociraptor boot RAID, 4.5TB RAID0 storage, 30" & 20" Apple displays.
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iMac 17" Core Duo 1GB RAM, & 2 iPhones 8GB, and a Nano in a pear tree!
Apple user since 1981
     
JKT
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Dec 8, 2004, 01:42 PM
 
Originally posted by USNA91:
For my needs, the PB is working almost perfectly. If Apple could just get off their ass and give us a patch to OS X that would allow us some better font smoothing, I'd be ecstatic. Other than that, all I need is to find the Mac version of MiniTab.

Overall, I'd give an out-of-the-box PB an 8.5 out of 10. If they fix the font smoothing, that goes up to 9.
Did you ever calibrate your screen? I saw your other thread on this, but I forget if you had tried or not. Go to versiontracker.com or macupdate.com and download SuperCal. Use it to calibrate your screen and you will probably see some improvement to your font smoothing. I found the Apple default calibration for the PowerBook to be overly washed out, which had the additional effect of making fonts look thinner and wispier than they should.
     
USNA91
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Dec 8, 2004, 01:45 PM
 
Originally posted by UnixMac:
sorry, did you mean 5400RPM drive? Cause the standard is 4200, and the upgrade is 5400.. right?

but anyway, I totally agree with you.

Woops! Yes, you are correct.

I got my HDD's crossed. My PC has a 5400 RPM and I bought a 7200 RPM drive to replace it.

I'll be using it via a firewire connection to my Mac (since it doesn't seem to work via USB). Can I replace the drive in the Mac with this other one?
     
USNA91
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Dec 8, 2004, 01:47 PM
 
Originally posted by JKT:
Did you ever calibrate your screen? I saw your other thread on this, but I forget if you had tried or not. Go to versiontracker.com or macupdate.com and download SuperCal. Use it to calibrate your screen and you will probably see some improvement to your font smoothing. I found the Apple default calibration for the PowerBook to be overly washed out, which had the additional effect of making fonts look thinner and wispier than they should.

I tried calibration, but I think either it didn't help or I did it wrong (I know.... It's idiot proof, but not SAILOR proof! )

I AM going to try that SuperCal, though! Right now! Thanks!




ETA: Well, maybe it helped a bit, but it still gives me the impression I need to put on my glasses. A lot depends upon the font and the background color. Black on grey is the worst....
( Last edited by USNA91; Dec 8, 2004 at 03:45 PM. )
     
macaddict0001
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Dec 8, 2004, 04:52 PM
 
You can change the font smoothing preferences by opening system preferences then clicking on the appearence button then at the bottom there is an option for it, you probably want to set the turn off font smoothing for fonts smaller than... to four.
     
hayesk
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Dec 8, 2004, 05:59 PM
 
FYI, I get 3.5 - 4 hours on my PB's battery. I have a 15" 1GHz model.

And as far as screen goes, sorry, but more pixels doesn't mean better for everyone. I don't want to position my head 2" from the screen in order to differentiate such tiny pixels. 1280x854 is perfect. I hope they don't change it.

Another solution if you want more, is get an external monitor. Do you really need all of those pixels all of the time?

Regardless, if you want to switch to PC, then do it. Just be aware of all the crap that comes with it. And when Apple's laptops get faster, switch back. Or, just stick it out for a while. It's not like the 15" is the last laptop Apple will ever produce.

Also, buy more RAM. With all those programs open at once, it's no wonder it takes so long to switch. At work, my P4 2.4GHz PC has 1GB of RAM and I have Outlook, Word, Excel, and Firefox open at the same time. Sometimes it takes more than five seconds to switch apps. Sometimes it's instant, but sometimes one of them decides it's gonna take control of the UI and thrash at the disk for a while and I can't do anything but wait.
     
hayesk
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Dec 8, 2004, 06:03 PM
 
Originally posted by flypenfly:
My biggest hope is to able to keep running OS X via PearPC
And you claim a three second lag when switching apps cuts into your workflow?!? Pardon me if I chuckle.
     
phowson
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Dec 8, 2004, 06:25 PM
 
In re battery life:
How old is your battery? I have a 1GHz 15" Ti PB and When it dipped down below an hour battery life I replaced the battery and now get upwards of 3.5 hours with normal use and about 3 hours if I watch a DVD on the plane.

As far as performance issues go:
What else do you have running on your machine?

I am a freelance commercial photographer and I use my PB exclusively. When I'm editing photos I hook up to a 20" Sony CRT but I have also done some editing on the road and I have no complaints about performance. This is working with 8.2 and 16.7 megapixel images in Canon RAW format in photoshop CS. Maybe it's because I can remember when the IIFX was the hottest machine around and running an unsharp mask on a 1024x768 image meant it was time for a coffee break while Photoshop churned.

If you want to address speed, I think you should be complaining not so much about specific computer models, but about hard drives. For about 90% of graphic arts work (including photography and film production) the bottleneck is the drive speed which is why at my office I work off of a 1 TB 5 drive array, not for size, but because that's the only way to get my money's worth out of the firewire.

Bottom line though: maybe it's time for you to step back from the keyboard and take a deep breath. I have a feeling that you are making mountains out of molehills here. After all, any client who is giving you work with mission critical deadlines that rely on a 1-3 second margin of error should be paying you enough money to buy a fully loaded G5, a 30" LCD monitor, a 3TB XRAID, and a truck with generators for mobility.
     
slffl
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Dec 8, 2004, 07:35 PM
 
Where are you getting this 'wireless reception problem' from? The antenna is on the side of the screen, not burried deep within an aluminum shell.

Anyway, I'm calling troll. I have used a PC and Powerbook side by side 8hrs a day, for 2 years now, and in every case I can do everything just as fast and most of the time faster on the mac.
"I'm the commander - see, I don't need to explain - I don't need to explain why I say things. That's the interesting thing about being the President. Maybe somebody needs to explain to me why they say something, but I don't feel like I owe anybody an explanation."

- Dictator George W. Bush, Washington Post, 11-19-02
     
flypenfly  (op)
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Dec 8, 2004, 08:36 PM
 
Sorry for the dose of reality.

"Where are you getting this 'wireless reception problem' from? The antenna is on the side of the screen, not burried deep within an aluminum shell.

Anyway, I'm calling troll. I have used a PC and Powerbook side by side 8hrs a day, for 2 years now, and in every case I can do everything just as fast and most of the time faster on the mac."

At least try to quantify your statement.

"What else do you have running on your machine? "

WHat do you mean? I appreciate that things are "faster" now than they were back in the days of the good ole Motorola 68030. Yet things should be competitive with contemporary machines not just an improvement over the past.

About the delays, I guess I work in spurts but constant computing interuptions when you're in the groove of things with more than reasonably tricked out hardware is quite annoying to some people's flow. These slight delays even though they are slight accumulate quite a bit and just interrupt the way you work.

Battery life between the TiBook and latest gen AlBooks seem to different. My battery is holding its max charge according to cap meter.
     
ideasculptor
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Dec 8, 2004, 09:51 PM
 
Any chance you are running apps written in Java? I tried running eclipse (Java IDE written in Java) on Mac OS X, just to see what some of the other developers on my team were raving about (I prefer the command line and vi), but it was obnoxiously slow, at least until I installed a whole bunch of RAM. Compared to a desktop P4 with 2 gigs and a 7200rpm hard drive, the powerbook wasn't even close. Java on OS X is definitely slow, so if you run a lot of things written in Java, your powerbook would definitely feel like a dinosaur.

--sam
     
K++
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Dec 8, 2004, 10:33 PM
 
Originally posted by Dr.Michael:
Well, I can really understand what you mean.

I am a commandline junky (when I program with java). I press the keys faster than the terminal is able to display the letters that I type. Its not because I type 100 letters a second. Its the powerbook that renders even this easy task soooo slow. Under linux the reaction is instantaneous.

I really don't understand what this quartz rendering crap is worth if the result is like this.
LInux is ugly as hell and draws straight to the screen. It is an awful UI system. The speed of text entry in Terminal has nothing to do with Quartz being slow or your powerbook being slow. That is directly a result of Terminal.app sucking, this is well known, if you were using xterm then your complaint would be gone and it's rendered with Quartz powered X11.app.
     
K++
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Dec 8, 2004, 10:36 PM
 
Originally posted by ideasculptor:
There's something wrong with your machine, if that's the case. I work in the commandline all day every day on a 15" 1.25Ghz PB, and I DO type 100 words per minute and I don't have any problem with the terminal, or any other app, keeping up with my typing.

My gripe is that java executes ridiculously slowly compared to a linux or windows environment, as does the java compiler. Builds that take a second or less on a windows box take 6-10 seconds in OS X, and the subsequent application runs slower, too. I attribute some of this to the slow-ass hard drive in my laptop, but some of it appears to be an inherently slow java implementation. I'll know for sure when I get my 2.5Ghz powermac and I can compare workstation to workstation performance.

If you are really having problems rendering text as quickly as you type, you are either running a lot of needless eye candy in your interface (and I've got just about all of the standard os x eye candy ENABLED) or there is a problem with your box.

--sam
It's slower because the JVM is little-endian while macs/PowerPCs are big endian. The day apple makes it run native speed they will be gods amongst CS gods.
     
 
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