Previous 1 2 Next 21 Replies Latest reply: Aug 12, 2008 6:01 PM by cornelius
Im not sure Level 1 (0 points)
Hi there,

I've been looking at the MacBook 2.1GHz new from Apple. A friend who has had quite a lot of experience with Apple computers and laptops mentioned something about the PowerBook (1.something GHz) being better than the MacBook above. Is this correct? I will be using it for internet browsing, word processing, music, videos & movies and a little bit of Photoshop. He said he used one and even though the processor speed is slower on paper- it's overall much better.

Thats just from one person, he could be wrong.

Any advice from an even more experienced person?


Message was edited by: Im not sure

Dell 3100
  • eww Level 9 (52,975 points)
    A 2.1 GHz MacBook will be significantly faster than any Powerbook and will come with a new-computer warranty, unlike any Powerbook. The Powerbook is a professional-level model; the MacBook is a consumer model (the MacBook Pro is the Powerbook's professional successor). A Powerbook may or may not come with the latest OS and may or may not come with the installer discs for the OS and applications that were bundled with it originally. A MacBook will come with all the latest installer discs. The MacBook's display is smaller (13.3") and has fewer pixels in it (1280 x 854) than the Powerbook's (15.2", 1280 x 854 or 1440 x 960, depending on the model.)
  • eww Level 9 (52,975 points)
    Correction: The MacBook's display resoution is 1280 x 800, not 1280 x 854.
  • cornelius Level 6 (17,825 points)
    Im not sure:

    eww's statement of contrasting the two computers is on target. From a purely practical point of view, for the uses to which you intend to put your computer a PowerBook G4 will be more practical.
    • It will have sufficient features to meet your needs more than adequately.
    • Since you will be purchasing in the after-market you can save some money.

    Here are some additional consideratons:
    • You will want to look at later release PowerBooks with at least a 1 GB processor.
    • If you are interested in working with photos and videos you may find the 15" more suitable.
    • 17" models give you an even larger display, but are somewhat awkward for mobility.
    • Check with seller to be sure that software that was released with computer are included in the sale.

    Once you have located a computer in which you think you are interested, post back here with specs and ask for comments.

    Good luck

  • dolbinau Level 4 (1,440 points)
    He said he used one and even though the processor speed is slower on paper- it's overall much better.

    Thats just from one person, he could be wrong.

    Well, I'd personally never buy a second hand PowerBook G4 over an intel Mac if you can afford it. The G4 is significantly, significantly slower than the Core 2 Duos found in the Macbook. Unless you are getting a particularly good deal I'd go for the MacBook. Photoshop CS3, iMovie etc.. especially will be noticeably faster on an intel Mac. Not just for your current uses - but any future uses you may have. The MacBook will be useful for many more years than the G4 PowerBooks IMO.
  • S.U. Level 6 (8,360 points)
    One thing to consider is the display. The MacBook only comes with the glossy display, which is said to be less true to color than the matte display. Most people doing Photoshop tend to prefer the matte over the glossy, particularly if editing to make prints. To get a matte display on an Intel machine, you would have to go to a MacBook Pro. If you can, look at matte vs. glossy displays side by side at an Apple Store to see which you prefer. Many people are also
    bothered by the reflections on a glossy display, even though the picture is spectacular.

    I believe the glossy display is new with the Intel machines, but I am not positive. I'm thinking the PowerBooks would all come with a matte display, but someone who really knows needs to confirm that.

    Happy hunting!
  • cornelius Level 6 (17,825 points)
    Not just for your current uses - but any future uses you may have. The MacBook will be useful for many more years than the G4 PowerBooks IMO.

    That may well be so. However, it is difficult to anticpate future needs, and if one's needs are modest a PB G4 can serve for many years. I am running a 8-year old Pismo with an upgraded processor. I do my banking, investing, writing, surfing the net, photos, music, spreadsheepts, accounts running PC software in VPC, etc. etc. etc. Have I thought of getting newer technology? Every other day. Can I afford it? I can. Even a PB G4 with 1 GB processor or more will be a quantum leap. Why not do it? Because I don't need it. It would be nice, but my humble Pismo is quite adequate to the job, even at its ripe old age.

    How far in advance can one anticipate changes these days? If one spent a more modest sum now, one may be able to save toward the newer technology in three or four years. By then I, myself, may be ready to buy a new Mac; maybe.


  • eww Level 9 (52,975 points)
    Yes, all Powerbooks have antiglare matte displays.
  • Pismo 900 Level 4 (1,110 points)
    It all depends on your needs. I, for being someone who always wants/has the latest and greatest, don't yet want to move to the Intel-based Macs because I find the G4s to still serve my needs. Also, which I've said many times in some of these threads, still use some OS9-native apps that are critical to my work, and therefore need Classic mode.

    I eventually down the road, will buy a new Mac so that I can gain performance in such things as Final Cut Studio (which I ordered but never installed yet, waiting for that Intel-based Mac purchase, or a G5 desktop), and what not.

    And if you have PowerPC-native applications, those will runs lower on an Intel-based Mac because they run in emulation mode under Rosetta. For some, buying a new Mac does not compute because in order to get optimal performance, you spend more money by having to get the updated versions of software.

    Other things to consider are a PowerBook's dedicated graphics card versus the MacBook's integrated graphics card which steals memory from your system. Also, not have a choice over what display you want. MacBooks only have the glossy screen. PowerBooks have the matte. (MacBook Pros have the choice of both. If you want, you can upgrade your PowerBook via third party at TechRestore, to a glossy screen later on).

    You can run Motion on a PowerBook G4 (not as fast, but works) whereas on a more powerful (opinion) MacBook, you can't at all. I believe there is a hack, but it wasn't designed to run on a MacBook.

    Since I already have a PowerBook, the last one off the line, so the "most powerful," that's as far as I can go with the G4 chip. If I did get an Intel-based Mac, I probably would go, in the interim, for a refurished MacBook from the Apple Store online. For $799, that's a good deal.

    Then, there's the plethora of ports on a PowerBook G4 that you won't get on a MacBook. You get FireWire 800, a modem port (in the off chance you find yourself needing one), a PCMCIA slot which can do "anything" currently, S-Video port, gigabit ethernet, and...? A backlit keyboard! If you got the latest and greatest, a high-resolution 1440x960 screen.

    Those things alone "beat" a MacBook out of the water. Never mind processor performance.

    Again, it's all about preference. Maybe you like silver vs. white. Aluminum vs. plastic. Definitely, using a PowerBook G4, people would consider you a pro since it looks like a MacBook Pro, its equal ("equal") counterpart. A MacBook is like an iBook, el cheapo.

    Hey, if you want to argue, and Cornelius might jump on this one, the PowerBook "Pismo" has attributes that would beat a MacBook any day! =)
  • Pismo 900 Level 4 (1,110 points)
    MacBooks will one day become outdated just as the PowerBook G4s are and have become. If we were talking about PowerBook G3s, before the Intel-based Macs came out, people would have said, "Buy a PowerBook G4 because it will serve you now and well into the future." If we were talking about the PowerBook Duos or older machines, one would have said, "Buy a PowerBook 'Pismo' because it will last long and well into the future."

    Buy a MacBook today, it is outdated tomorrow, as I told my friend. Her iBook, which was relatively new when she bought it, bit the dust. She is planning on buying a new MacBook in a month, and I was telling her to go with the $199 upgrade to the higher end MacBook (white ones).

    She said anything now is better than what she had, and it will eventually become outdated. I'm sure if she buys now, in the Summer, there will be a new round of updates, and her new purchase is already old.

    Technology is about getting what fits your needs at the time. You can't look into the future, because in the future, there will always be a new model down the line. Guaranteed (even if Apple changes the name of its line).

    So with the PowerBook vs. MacBook, thing, if a PowerBook suits your needs in the here and now and you can save a bunch of money in the first place, go for it. Buy an "expensive" MacBook today, it serves your needs an more, but the "more" you end up paying for and later, that "more" is useless when you find a newer machine that has what you want and you figure you shouldn't have spent all that money and saved it for a future purchase.
  • a brody Level 9 (65,390 points)
    You mentioned one key word here that is probably why the Powerbook was mentioned as a better computer: Photoshop! Unfortunately Photoshop is not yet fully Intel native. The fastest Powerbooks are comparable in speed for Photoshop to the fastest MacBooks. MacBook Pros may be faster, but other driver based incompatibilities may exist for plugins:

    Music, Protools is not fully Leopard compatible, and buying a new Mac, you won't have the option of installing Tiger. So depending on the music applications used, if Leopard compatibility is not available, buying a used or refurbished Mac from pre-October 26, 2007 may be necessary until an upgrade is available. Some MacBook and MacBook Pros are able to run Tiger, but not the present lineup. Here's my FAQ on used and refurbished Macs and how to buy one*:

    Videos and movies for the most part everything is Leopard compatible.

    - * Links to my pages may give me compensation.
  • cornelius Level 6 (17,825 points)
    a brody:

    Thanks for making some good points, of which I was not aware, in the comparing the PB G4 and the MacBook.

  • cornelius Level 6 (17,825 points)
    Pismo 900:

    Going for the latest and best of any consumer commodity is an exercise in frustration these days. My wife recently bought a new Saab 93 as our 2001 95 had over 150,000 miles. She discovered that the 95 rides better, handles better and has better gas mileage. Go figure.

    New computers a not much different. It does not take long for the glitter to fade. And buying for the future, as you noted, can be counter productive. I agree with you: buy for your present needs. By the time the future comes you can get a future computer, or else one of today's latest and greatest at a much lesser price.

    When I bought my Pismo, it was Apple's hottest product. It was miles ahead of the the Lombard, and, today still has features that most modern Mac laptops do not have: the PC card slot is absent on most models, two firewire ports, two USB ports, two expansion bays which allows two batteries, or optical drive, or an additional HDD etc. The ease of access inside the Pismo makes it much more user serviceable than later Mac laptops. Compare that to an iBook!

    The trick is for the user to be able to make a good needs assessment, to shop carefully, and maintain the computer well. One of these days my Pismo will likely fall apart into dust. Meanwhile I am saving up for the ultimate Mac

  • Pismo 900 Level 4 (1,110 points)
    Well, as you know, my first-ever laptop was a Pismo. I wanted a portable, but at the time, money was not in the budget, and I was never going to get a Titanium or Aluminum for the price I did. (Half a thousand). So I was able to do what I needed on that black beauty. Was able to do things my acquaintances and a few colleagues couldn't do.

    Like have two batteries in at one time. Or, a floppy disk drive (yeah, laugh) whenever I needed it. Or, a ZIP drive. Etc. And I stood out in the crowd because while everyone had a white iBook, or a silver PowerBook, I was using this weird-looking black laptop that was an? Apple.

    It took me awhile before I upgraded (because my needs were no longer being met by the Pismo) to a PowerBook G4, this time, an Aluminum 12-inch. And this was in-store at retail, but already outdated. I could have gotten a MacBook Pro at the time, and that was what the CompUSA folks suggested for my needs (even the Apple rep in the store), but I felt I was going to be served well for the specs and the good price.

    I look back and think had I splurged more for the MacBook Pro on the shelf at the time, it would now be an old thing, since the model has been upgraded I believe, three times already! Did I need the processing power yet? No. Is my 12-incher riding into the sunset? Not yet.

    Where's my Pismo? I sold it. (Eek!) =)

    When this newest laptop of mine, the DLSD 1.67GHz PowerBook G4 starts showing age, then I'll be going for a MacBook Pro. But not before I have to. Kind of like you and your Pismo too.

    (And I think the 12-inch PowerBook is still one of Apple's hottest products. In another forum, I pointed out how much they still go for on eBay. Still near $800 to $1000+ for the high-end model).

    P.S. I don't think your Pismo will fall apart since you seem to take care of it very well.
  • PBookie Level 2 (215 points)
    Hi all,
    I couldn't resist jumping in here to mention a fact that seems to have been overlooked so far in this discussion.
    You can not buy a PowerBook that has an Apple Warranty, nor have an active extended Apple Care Warranty on any but the very latest PowerBooks.

    For those who suffered the various problems such as dead lower ram slot, poor quality screen, bad sound, etc, this coverage has been invaluable.

    If the MacBook/MBP have no other advantage, this is sufficient reason for many to purchase one the newer Books.

    I have heard few positives, and lots of negatives about MacBook, but these past few days I have had the joy of using what appears to be a greatly updated version of one of my beloved Pismos and I must say I have fallen hook, line, and sinker for this little beauty!
    I am talking about the BlackBook Merom 2.2GHz. It's fast, it's smooth, it runs Leopard as if it were tailored for it, and has the first keyboard on an Apple Book that I can honestly say I like as well as the ones on the Wallstreet or Pismo.
    It is just too bad Apple didn't see fit to give it an 800 Firewire port.

    So (for what it is worth) there is another side of the story you might consider.
    happy hunting!

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