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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > 12" or 15"?

12" or 15"?
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Paco500
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Mar 29, 2005, 01:00 PM
 
So I have a prett enviable delima. I'm trying to decide between the 12" and 15". Money is not really an issue, it's being bought for me, and no, I can't use the savings by bying a 12" to get a mac mini- I just get a laptop.

If I get the 15" it will be the top of the line, with 128MB video card, SuperDrive and 100GB HD. So it seems obvious. But...

I travel a lot for work. A lot. And I'll be bringing the PB. Unfortunately, I will be bringing the PB just for personal reasons- movies on the plane, browing from the hotel, video iChats with the family. I have to bring a Dell D600 for work- roughly eqvilent size/weight with the 15". So weight/size savings of the 12" is a big plus.

On the other had, I play WoW. I could use the Dell for this, but it would mean installing a game on company property, not ideal. I also have a Verizon EVDO PC Card- wireless broadband, works w/ the 15" not the 12" (no slot). Unless, of course there is somesort of external PC card device I've never heard of. And that backlit keyboard is so sweet.

So anyway, I'm leaning, reluctantly, towards the 15"- and all the arguments are obvious- so all you 12" fans out there- give me the arguments for the little guy.

BTW- I having the same delima over an iPod mini vs. iPod Photo 30GB. Wrong forum, I know, but it's so rare cool things like this happen to me, I'm bragging a bit.
     
wowway1
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Mar 29, 2005, 01:16 PM
 
haha, sounds exactly like me.

I bought a refreshed 15" at my local apple store Saturday. excellent machine, super deal. It's a last generation 1.5ghz with upgraded 128mb video. Runs circles around the 1ghz 17" I once had.

WoW runs great on this, and I wouldn't recommend anything less. Get one, soon

And if you want a video ipod, check my thread in the marketplace and buy mine, it's like new!
     
U n i o n 0015
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Mar 29, 2005, 01:18 PM
 
I went from a 15" Titanium to a 12" Aluminum. It's not like the Ti wasn't doing the job or I had a hankering for a new toy--I wanted more portablility than the 15" could give me.

The 12" is an amazingly featured computer that is TINY. The dimensions are similar to a sheet of paper. I love that. I like just grabbing it and walking out the door or sitting on the couch with it. Perceptually, it's easier to lug around than the 15", which to me felt like a desktop replacement laptop.

My dad has a 15" AlBook and it is amazing. It boils down to what is portability for you. For me, even a 15" was too big. For you, maybe not so.

Either way, you can't go wrong! (Though the video card in the 12" is weak).
12" 1.5GHz Aluminum PowerBook G4
15" 1GHz Titanium PowerBook G4
     
Ixion
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Mar 29, 2005, 01:26 PM
 
The drivers on the nVidia graphics chipsets are not up to snuff, friend. On that alone, I'd buy the 15" without too much thought.
Don't get me wrong, though. I absolutely love my 12" Powerbook. It's a beautiful little machine. The portability of this little guy is fantastic. It's fairly light, compact, low profile. Pulling it out of my messenger bag is quite the surprise for most people around me, as they often comment, "I wish I had a computer that small."
It does everything I need it to do, and I do stress the word need, as most of the things I want to do are out of the question. Of course, we're looking at two different graphics chipsets, comparing my Geforce 420 Go and a Geforce Fx 5200 Go, and the difference of 32mb video ram, but it still doesn't make up for the poor drivers. I've got some buddies that work for nVidia in CA, and they've confirmed my suspicions abut the drivers...
As far as gaming is concerned, one of my only wants on my Powerbook, it's limited to shooters that are pre-2001 like Quake 3 and Unreal Tournament, and even those two run at barely acceptable levels. Diablo II, a Blizzard title, can't run in OpenGL at acceptable levels, so I'm forced to run it in Software mode, and that barely cuts the butter. Older titles such as Age of Empires, Starcraft, Civilization III and the like run just fine...
Just get the 15". You'll be more than pleased.
Michael J Burling
Systems:
Rev.A 12" PowerBook G4 (867MHz//1.12GB 266MHz//100GB HDD @ 5400rpm//Re-writable//Tiger)
Rev.B 13" White MacBook (1.83GHz Core 2//512MB 667MHz//60GB HDD @ 5400rpm//Re-Writable//Tiger)
     
gzeus
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Mar 29, 2005, 01:41 PM
 
Originally posted by Paco500:
I also have a Verizon EVDO PC Card- wireless broadband, works w/ the 15" not the 12" (no slot). Unless, of course there is somesort of external PC card device I've never heard of.
And that device is called ... the dell d600. You can just turn on internet sharing on your dell and feed the connection through an ethernet cable to your little powerbook.


So anyway, I'm leaning, reluctantly, towards the 15"- and all the arguments are obvious- so all you 12" fans out there- give me the arguments for the little guy.
I say forget about the little guy. I still don't understand why apple isn't able to fit a pc card slot on these guys - my fujitsu lifebook (10.4" screen, 3.5 lbs) has 2 of them, and it's a 4 year old computer. You're going to be carrying 2 computers, so the extra 1.5 lbs isn't going to be that much of a difference. I've used both and find the 12" screen cramped whereas the 15" feels huge.
     
Paco500  (op)
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Mar 29, 2005, 07:01 PM
 
Originally posted by gzeus:
And that device is called ... the dell d600. You can just turn on internet sharing on your dell and feed the connection through an ethernet cable to your little powerbook.
Yeah, I suppose that is the obvious answer, and I'm a dope for not thinking of it. However, I think the 15" is going to the way to go.

Thanks for all the input- unless anyone else has a compelling argument for the 12" not yet shared.
     
tekno_geek911
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Mar 29, 2005, 08:05 PM
 
I loved the 12" PowerBook when I had it(all 5 times lol)...The size was perfect but the screen was pretty lousy,im not talking about resolution...It just looked washed out(SuperCal can fix this) and had a horrible viewing angle.
I love the 12" PowerBook's size/design more than the 15" but I love the widescreen and added features of the 15" PowerBook. If you already have a desktop computer and need a portable computer that will fit practically anywhere go for the 12",if you need a desktop replacement with a beautiful widescreen and awesome features go for the 15". I wish I can have them both.
::12" PowerBook G4 | 1.33GHz | 1.25GB | 60GB | APX | OS X 10.4.1::
::30GB iPod Photo::
     
iREZ
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Mar 30, 2005, 12:14 AM
 
I love my 12" PB but if you want a full featured computer...then go for the 15". I do miss a PC slot or FW 800 but I still love my machine.
NOW YOU SEE ME! 2.4 MBP and 2.0 MBP (running ubuntu)
     
Randman
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Mar 30, 2005, 01:25 AM
 
Get a 17.

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Goatbert
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Mar 30, 2005, 01:28 AM
 
If you ask me this 100% depends on your situation. I bought a 12" PowerBook because I needed a full featured machine that wouldn't be lagging behind, could manage both macs and PCs, and had to be really, really portable. I don't need FW800, I don't need a PC card, everything I need is inside the PB already, except a network switch, and I found a USB powered 4 port network switch I can use with the airport express isn't an option.

I love it. But if you feel you need something a bit more, then go for the 15".

-Jeff
"Beaker" - P4 3.2GHz, 1GB PC3200 RAM, 80GB Raptor C:, 600GB RAID5 D:, DW1820A 16x DVD Burner, Lite On 16x Reader, GeForce 6800 AGP 128MB, SB Audigy 2 ZS.
"Snuffy" - 1.42GHz Mac Mini, 1GB RAM, 80GB HDD, SuperDrive, BT, Airport Extreme, L90D+ Flat Panel w/ DVI.
"Pepe" - 12" 1.5GHz PowerBook G4, 1.25GB RAM, 80GB HDD, 8x SuperDrive.
     
tekno_geek911
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Mar 30, 2005, 02:02 AM
 
Originally posted by Randman:
Get a 17.
I agree, I dream of the 17"....Truly a work of art.
::12" PowerBook G4 | 1.33GHz | 1.25GB | 60GB | APX | OS X 10.4.1::
::30GB iPod Photo::
     
tictactoe
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Mar 30, 2005, 02:26 AM
 
I purchased the 12", then returned it for the 15" and am very happy I did so.
     
Paco500  (op)
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Mar 30, 2005, 10:10 AM
 
Originally posted by Randman:
Get a 17.
Great computer, but as much of it's time will be spent on a coach-sized airplane tray or being carried through an airport, it's not reall in the running. And as I don't use digital audio- nor to I forsee the need in the future, the screen size alone is not enough to sway me.
     
spiff72
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Mar 30, 2005, 12:01 PM
 
I personally, am looking to get a powerbook, and I am leaning toward the 17 because of the higher res screen, increased size screen, and the fact that it's overall dims aren't much bigger than the 15.

From a cost perspective, if you load up a 15 with 1GB, 100GB HD, and 128MB vid card, you end up just about $130 below the cost of the 17". To me this is a no-brainer, since I don't do much traveling, and it will probably be in my lap on the couch most of the time. (NOTE: These prices are based on the Apple Education store's pricing).
     
Randman
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Mar 30, 2005, 12:46 PM
 
Originally posted by Paco500:
Great computer, but as much of it's time will be spent on a coach-sized airplane tray or being carried through an airport, it's not reall in the running. And as I don't use digital audio- nor to I forsee the need in the future, the screen size alone is not enough to sway me.
On many coach planes, even a 12 is too big as the person in front of you is practically in your lap. Just last week, I flew from Albuquerque to Phoenix to Los Angeles to Singapore with my 17 and all went well.

If you need ultra-portability, get the 12. If not, consider the 17 over the 15. The features are the same and the extra screen size is worth it. Carrying it in a good case isn't a problem.

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Paco500  (op)
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Apr 1, 2005, 05:32 PM
 
Bit the bullet and ordered a 15", 1.67, 128MB, 80GB Drive, stock RAM. I have a 1GB stick I'll put in as soon as it arrives, for the glorious total of 1.5GB. It will probably take 2+ weeks to arrive as I got it as a CTO from CDW (I get good corporate discounts through my company, almost $200 less than had I gone w/ Apple.)

So now, the big question, AppleCare, safeware, or both?
     
Randman
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Apr 1, 2005, 10:44 PM
 
Wait for A/C before the year is up.

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driven
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Apr 2, 2005, 01:57 AM
 
Originally posted by Paco500:
Great computer, but as much of it's time will be spent on a coach-sized airplane tray or being carried through an airport, it's not reall in the running. And as I don't use digital audio- nor to I forsee the need in the future, the screen size alone is not enough to sway me.
Agree. I have a hard time getting a 15" laptop to open up and be usable in coach class. Forget about ANY 17" laptop.

* -- A Toshiba or HP 17" laptop would probably break the seatback tray table if you TRIED to deploy them there.
- MacBook Pro 15" Core i7 2.3Ghz / 256SSD (Work laptop)
- iMac 3.2Ghz 1TB
     
EVDOguy
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May 23, 2005, 12:35 PM
 
If you need to use a EVDO card, you cannot use a PowerBook 12 inch, you need a 15 or 17.

There is a EVDO USB device that we are tracking at our site (not yet shipping), that may be the answer for PowerBook 12 inch users.

EVDOguy
EVDO Info :: EVDO Forums
     
Lesterm10
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May 23, 2005, 07:48 PM
 
If you are really seriously thinking about playing games on the PB, and you REALLY need to surf using the EVDO, then the choice is only 1, the 15 inch. If however, you think, "I can go away from games, and I don't really need to use EVDO, I can just wait till I hit a hotspot" then the 12 inch is the choice. It's smaller footprint, and since you travel alot, the footprint and size will be worthwhile, especially on planes and amtrak. The screen on the 12 inch is a bit small, but if the PB isn't your primary computer, then you will be fine in handling the small screen, you'll love the small size overall of the 12 inch PB.

BUT you really have to think if you really need WoW and games and EVDO, then don't even think about the 12 inch.
Dell Dimension XPS Gen 4 | P4 3.6 Ghz | 2GB of Memory | 160GB HDD | 80GB HDD | Dual Layer DVD-RW | DVD-ROM Drive | ATI Radeon X850 XT PE | Internal 10 in 1 Media Card Reader | Sony HX73 17 inch Silver LCD Monitor | Logitech DiNovo Bluetooth Keyboard and Mouse

Apple Powerbook 12" rev. D | 1.5 Ghz G4 | 1.256GB of Memory | 80GB HDD | SuperDrive
     
wilsonng
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May 24, 2005, 06:49 PM
 
Originally Posted by Lesterm10
If you are really seriously thinking about playing games on the PB, and you REALLY need to surf using the EVDO, then the choice is only 1, the 15 inch. If however, you think, "I can go away from games, and I don't really need to use EVDO, I can just wait till I hit a hotspot" then the 12 inch is the choice. It's smaller footprint, and since you travel alot, the footprint and size will be worthwhile, especially on planes and amtrak. The screen on the 12 inch is a bit small, but if the PB isn't your primary computer, then you will be fine in handling the small screen, you'll love the small size overall of the 12 inch PB.

BUT you really have to think if you really need WoW and games and EVDO, then don't even think about the 12 inch.
Yes, the 12" screen is a bit small but it is easily remedied by connecting it to an external monitor. I use the 12" screen while I'm on the road but I always connect it to an external monitor when I'm at home or in the office.
     
   
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