View Full Version : Have desktop, need laptop - what to buy?

05-06-2005, 11:03 AM
I am new to this whole forum-ing thing, but you all had such good comments for the dude trying to pick between an iBook and a PowerBook for school, I thought I'd ask my slight variation on his question:

I have an iMac G4 800 Mhz 15" flat panel that I bought in early 2004 (just before they switched the iMac to AirPort Extreme capability and phased out the AirPort card, damn them!), and I love it. However, soon I'm starting graduate school in Information Science, and I just know I'm going to want a laptop. I had a PC laptop in college, and though I loathe the thing, its laptoppiness was indispensable to me (when it still worked).

So, here's my question: given my circumstances, should I be looking at iBooks or PowerBooks? I'm pretty sure I want a SuperDrive (my program includes a fair amount of opportunity for doing digital media stuff, which I intend to take advantage of), so it'd either be a 14" iBook or a 12" or 15" PowerBook. Obviously, the ideal would be the 15" PowerBook, but I am also a poor graduate student, who looks at the $2300 price tag (with Apple Care) and starts choking to death. And I'm sort of worried I'd feel cramped on the 12" screen, especially with the media stuff. But then, I gather you can hook the PowerBooks up to a bigger monitor, even if you get the little one? The iBook looks like it might be just the thing, but I have heard iffy things about their displays, and some of the nifty toys on the PowerBook admittedly appeal to me...though, enough to sacrifice 2" or $800? I don't know.

And then, of course, there's the fact that I already have a perfectly wonderfully functional desktop computer -- so maybe I don't need all the muscle of a PowerBook?

I would so appreciate any thoughts you folks might have. Thanks!

05-06-2005, 02:47 PM
Some quick thoughts:

I believe the 12 inch iBook and Powerbook share the same screen. The 14" iBook screen is not as nice as the 15" Powerbook screen. But if you have a sharp eye and can use Apple's calibration software it's not bad.

Adding a monitor to a laptop is a great way to go. In order to do so effectively on an iBook you need to run an unauthorized hack to enable screen spanning.

You may be able to get an educational discount. Enquire at your school or click the Education button at store.apple.com (near upper left corner).

Selling your iMac might help you make up some of the cost.

And check out the iCurve:


05-06-2005, 04:56 PM
I have an iMac G4 800 Mhz 15" flat panel that I bought in early 2004 (just before they switched the iMac to AirPort Extreme capability and phased out the AirPort card, damn them!), and I love it.


never to regret purchase-timing again...

05-09-2005, 09:49 AM
Thank you both for your comments -- that rumors site is quite interesting!

I went to my local Apple store over the weekend, and after running a sales dude through his paces on how well he knew the differences between models, I'm leaning towards the 12" PowerBook with SuperDrive. Basically, I really don't have any intention of getting rid of my iMac, because I adore it, and because I feel like there are different things that laptops and desktops are good for, and it would be lovely to take advantage of both. And the 12" PowerBook, well, it's only $100 more than the 14" iBook with my student discount, and for that I get the same screen resolution (only it looks sharper to me, probably because it's smaller), a faster processor, 20GB of hard drive space, 256MB more RAM, a video out, greater portability (it's so light!), and a computer that just feels more solidly built to me (though I understand there are heated debates on this topic). Besides that, I found out from that lovely rumors site that the iBook's about to be updated anyway, so I'd probably just be buying another soon-to-be-outdated computer. Can't have that!

So, thanks again...I probably won't buy it for another month or two, though, so if anyone has any more comments...