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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > I'm about to buy an iBook, but I need some help first!

I'm about to buy an iBook, but I need some help first!
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tictactoe
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Jan 14, 2005, 01:14 AM
 
I was actually leaning towards the PB, but I realized that the extra power is probably unnecessary. Just to be sure, I'll ask you guys if the iBook will satisfy my needs.

I need something that is capable of word processing (I will be taking it to school with me), spreadsheets, internet browsing, music, movies (outputted to a TV/Monitor/no editing), chatting and maybe some very light gaming. The iBook 1.2ghz with 768mb-1.25gigs of ram should be enough right? I plan on getting the 12" model for easier portability and I have a 17" LCD I can connect it to at home.

Assuming the iBook is good enough for my needs, here is what I need help with:

I've used some iBooks at the local Apple store and I have one major complaint: the keyboard feels REALLY flimsy. I'm thinking that they are like that because they get beat up on a daily basis, but the Powerbook keyboards felt really solid. I talked to one of the employees there and he said the difference is most likely due to the fact that the PB keyboard is screwed/bolted down, while the iBook keyboard is removable for memory upgrades.

Do those of you with the iBook find the keyboard to be acceptable for lots of typing?

As for the specs I'm planning on getting:

1.2ghz
256ram (upgrade it via 3rd party)
60gig hard drive
Airport Extreme
Bluetooth
Combo drive

Can I connect it to a TV? My TV takes S-Video and all the other good stuff.

How is the battery life (on average) on the 12"?
     
MARINEOSX
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Jan 14, 2005, 01:41 AM
 
well I will tell you that what you are talking about doing, the iBook sounds like it would be plenty for you. I would say that the keyboard is fine and seems as sturdy and to me more comfortable than some of the PC conterparts. I will say that the more ram that you get the better. I play games ocasionaly as well and they include titles like warcraft 3 and mystIV along with a few others sim city and the sims are a big one too. I have not had any problems with them and my 933Mhz does just fine. I do lots of typing via email and messenger and for work and have no prolems. on thing that makes it softer is a cover for the keys they work great and are comfortable. Some times I do some video editing and have multiple programs open and doing other things all at the same time and it works great. However the power books are amazing in my opinion. Hope this helps a little
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afireinside
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Jan 14, 2005, 02:28 PM
 
I have a 12" ibook G4 1.2ghz with 1.25 gigs of ram and I love it. It runs warcraft3 great and WoW and ut2k4 are playable aswell. I've never had any problens with 5-6 apps open at once either. It should be perfect for what you want.

About the keyboard, I love it. It took a while to get used to the smaller size comming from a Logitech Eliet keyboard on my PC but now I actually perfer the ibook for typing.
     
Briareus
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Jan 15, 2005, 03:27 AM
 
and yes, you can connect it to a TV but you'll be needing a converter cable to get to s-video (I believe they're like $19 from Apple)
     
brettcamp
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Jan 15, 2005, 03:51 AM
 
I had the 12" iBook 1 GB and let me tell ya, comparing it to the old iBook keyboard (on my 600), the current one is like comparing a Camry to a Yugo. I think it's perfectly acceptable for lots of typing. That said, I now have the 12" Powerbook, and your sources are giving you the straight dope: we're talking the BMW of laptop keyboards here. It does feel a lot more solid and responsive than the current iBook's keyboard, easily the best laptop keyboard I've ever used. That said, even though I'm a writer, the iBook keyboard isn't so flimsy that I'd pay much more to get the Powerbook's -- maybe $50 at most. it certainly wouldn't justify the current price difference between the two machines.
Besides, since you said you have an external 17" monitor to hook your iBook to, you'll probably be using an external keyboard a good deal of the time anyway, right?
     
d0GGii
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Jan 15, 2005, 04:15 PM
 
i need a good usb keyboard
anyone?
     
ghporter
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Jan 15, 2005, 05:15 PM
 
Keyboards on computers in any store are going to get really beat up. The keyboard on my iBook is at least as good as any other laptop keyboard I've ever used.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
rezrez
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Jan 15, 2005, 10:21 PM
 
Originally posted by Briareus:
and yes, you can connect it to a TV but you'll be needing a converter cable to get to s-video (I believe they're like $19 from Apple)
Can you be more specific on this?? I am curiuos how to hook up my ibook as well.

Thanks...

Is it a USB, Firewire... connection??
12" Ibook 1.2Ghz 512MB Ram 30G
     
ccsccs7
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Jan 15, 2005, 10:30 PM
 
Originally posted by rezrez:
Can you be more specific on this?? I am curiuos how to hook up my ibook as well.

Thanks...

Is it a USB, Firewire... connection??
There is an adpter for the video out port (mini-VGA) for either TV ($19—Apple Video Adapter) or VGA (included with the iBook).
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Briareus
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Jan 16, 2005, 12:44 AM
 
     
rezrez
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Jan 16, 2005, 12:59 AM
 
Thanks.. I'll be sure to buy that!!
12" Ibook 1.2Ghz 512MB Ram 30G
     
brettcamp
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Jan 16, 2005, 02:10 AM
 
Originally posted by d0GGii:
i need a good usb keyboard
anyone?
You should ask in the Peripherals forum, after checking out the many earlier threads on this subject there. I use a Matias Tactile pro and love it.
     
jamil5454
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Jan 16, 2005, 11:36 PM
 
While 1.25gb of RAM is nice, the iBook's slow notebook hard disk and G4 would contradict the need for that much RAM. In other words, anything that uses that much RAM will most likely bog down the computer before you start using all the available RAM. 768mb will be plenty for your needs and should be more in line with the specs of the machine. Unless you're doing anything that specifically uses a lot of memory, 1.25gb is overkill. I wish I would have known this before I bought the 1gb stick for my iBook.
     
dt_
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Jan 17, 2005, 01:37 AM
 
Originally posted by jamil5454:
While 1.25gb of RAM is nice, the iBook's slow notebook hard disk and G4 would contradict the need for that much RAM. In other words, anything that uses that much RAM will most likely bog down the computer before you start using all the available RAM. 768mb will be plenty for your needs and should be more in line with the specs of the machine. Unless you're doing anything that specifically uses a lot of memory, 1.25gb is overkill. I wish I would have known this before I bought the 1gb stick for my iBook.
Ummm... is that supposed to be a joke?
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ghporter
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Jan 17, 2005, 12:49 PM
 
Originally posted by dt_:
Ummm... is that supposed to be a joke?
No joke. The iBook comes with a slower hard drive than what is supplied with a PowerBook. Notebook hard drives with higher rotational speeds are only just becoming available at reasonable prices, so there are still a plethora of drives at 5400RPM or lower (4200RPM). In this case, when you consider all the other factors, the hard drive's potential for data transfer is the bottleneck in iBook performance. While more RAM won't hurt, going over 1GB is overkill-and expensive overkill at that.

A better option would be to get a really fast hard drive installed. It's more expensive, and quite a lot of work to install, but the payoff is that the bottleneck is no longer so tight. For example, you can get an Hitachi Travelstar 7K60 (60GB, 7600RPM, ATA100) drive from Buy.com for under $170. But note that, though it runs at 7600RPM, it is still an ATA100 drive-that means the data transfer rate is 100MB/s max. And it's about $60 more than Hitachi's "universal" 60GB Travelstar that runs at 4200RPM.

If you can't get data into or out of storage quickly, then more RAM won't help that much.

On the other hand, OS X handles RAM and storage quite well, and that helps things run pretty fast overall.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
Goldfinger
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Jan 17, 2005, 01:24 PM
 
Originally posted by GHPorter:
A better option would be to get a really fast hard drive installed. It's more expensive, and quite a lot of work to install, but the payoff is that the bottleneck is no longer so tight. For example, you can get an Hitachi Travelstar 7K60 (60GB, 7600RPM, ATA100) drive from Buy.com for under $170. But note that, though it runs at 7600RPM, it is still an ATA100 drive-that means the data transfer rate is 100MB/s max. And it's about $60 more than Hitachi's "universal" 60GB Travelstar that runs at 4200RPM.
Even those 7200rpm drives can't saturate a ATA-100 so that doesn't matter. There aren't many drives that can saturate a ATA-100.

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ghporter
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Jan 17, 2005, 02:49 PM
 
Originally posted by Goldfinger:
Even those 7200rpm drives can't saturate a ATA-100 so that doesn't matter. There aren't many drives that can saturate a ATA-100.
There is "saturate" and then there is "effectively utilize." A 7200RPM drive will use more of the available ATA100 bandwidth than a 4200RPM drive will. Less of a bottleneck is better than just leaving the bottleneck alone.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
   
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