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Old January 30th, 2004, 03:58 AM   #1
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power book g4 good enough?

Hi all,
my very first post in this branch.
Iím going to buy a mac soon and I want you to help me choosing it...
For more or less the same price i could get a portable g4 (1,25 GHz 1 Gig ram) or a definitely more powerful g5.
I would use it for writing (thats why Iíd like the portability) and for editing footage shot during my trips, using FCP or Avid. Iím interested in the picture correction effects but I donít need 3d or other Ďspecialí ones needing long renderings.
Do you think that i will regret not having a g5?
FCP or Avid?
Thanks
pietro
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Old January 30th, 2004, 09:51 AM   #2
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Ciao Pietro,

I got the powerbook 1.25GHz, 512 MB, running FCP4. Can't compare with the G5, all I can say, on my G4, FCP 4 works fine, minor details aside and I am happy (especially coming from a sluggish 400MHz Mac). On a G5 renders might be quicker and you might have more RealTime effects. What I gather from reading the other post is that you never can have enough RAM. If I can run on 512MB, your 1GB should be a joy.

oliver.
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Old May 2nd, 2005, 12:14 PM   #3
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Mmmh,
I'm using this old post again because I haven't bought anything yet. Still thinking about getting a powerbook and still wondering what I could do with the money I'm spending for that.
Any suggestion?
ciao
pietro
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Old May 2nd, 2005, 01:42 PM   #4
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Personally I would evaluate my need for a laptop independently. If you need it because you travel (for example) then you don't have much choice. Aside from that, I would not buy a Powerbook if the main use is video, 3d or any other high end application. Don't get me wrong, the G4 is still a surprisingly robust processor and I have a 1ghz 15" powerbook, a 1.25ghz tower, and a 733mhz tower on extended loan to a friend. But they just aren't in the same class as the G5's.

I don't see them catching up anytime soon either, unfortunately. Nobody is expecting a G5 laptop to ship in 2005. And even when (if?) it does arrive I doubt it will be dual processor so there will still be a big speed gap.

We don't know what to expect yet from FCP 5, or how it will perform on a powerbook. But all the other high end software is getting optimized for dual processor G5's (which will evidently soon be dual - dual cored processors). So unless you absolutely need the portability and are willing to compromise (possibly a lot) on performance then I think a laptop is a bad choice.

The reality is, you need both a laptop and desktop these days because the performance gap continues to widen. Perhaps you should consider an iBook or a used laptop in addition to a G5?
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Old May 2nd, 2005, 05:09 PM   #5
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If you need something portable there isn't really much choice, it's iBook or Powerbook. I would very seriously consider what you need. I have both a desktop and a laptop but the desktop came first.
You can't carry the G5 on a trip with you and the Powerbook isn't going to be as fast. But fastest isn't always the right answer or we'd all be driving Ferrari's.
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Old May 5th, 2005, 02:56 AM   #6
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Boyd, Rhett, thanks a lot for your words. I guess I agree with you about the need of having both a laptop and a desktop these days, the problem is the moneyÖ Iím tempted to go the laptop way hoping that a powerbook will at least let me start learning the basics of editing (Oliver says that his powerbook runs FCP4), and eventually go for the G5 if and when Iím in the need of speed and performance. At this point I should really try to save some money buying the laptop so my question is: what do I need to start playing with FCP4? How cheap can my laptop be? A 12Ē powerbook costs one thousand euros less than a 17Ē.. but will it work? How about running an older version of FCP?
Thanks again
pietro
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Old May 5th, 2005, 09:11 AM   #7
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I wouldn't want my editing suite to be so easily stolen or damaged. I keep editing stuff at home on a desktop, and take the pc laptop around for business.
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Old May 5th, 2005, 02:59 PM   #8
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For what it's worth, I run Final Cut Express on a Mac Mini 1.42GHz with 512MB RAM. My biggest problem was disk space. Added a 240GB firewire drive & I'm doing fine, thanks.

I suspect an iBook with 512MB RAM would do nearly as well (definitely "good enough"). Use the money left over for an external FireWire Drive. Unless your projects are small or you are an exteremly good housekeeper, space will some become an issue without one!
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Old May 5th, 2005, 03:28 PM   #9
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The biggest problem with a Powerbook isn't as much the processor power, it's the screen real-estate. I would love to have the 12in but it's screen is so tiny it wouldn't be very good for editing. You could do it, but it would be tiresome. I use the 15in for editing all the time and it does fine. If I need more screen space I just plug in my external digital monitor and there I have it.
The key issues you will find using a Powerbook for editing are 1. smaller screen (buy an extra external monitor if you need to) 2. smaller internal storage (buy a big firewire hard drive) 3. easily stolen (buy insurance and never let it leave your sight) 4. Not quite as fast as a Dual G5 (but a whole lot easier to carry with you) 5. Not as expandable. (no PCI slots or internal RAIDs)

Also the differences between a 12 and 15 are enough to make me upsize,
things like Gigabit ethernet, firewire 800, direct DVI out (not thru an adaptor) more RAM, better graphics card options, backlit keyboard and the likes.
There are trade offs to a Powerbook but it all depends on what you want to do with it. I think if you want something portable that you can use and learn on (you can even use it for plenty of work too), it's a great machine. When you get the funds (and the need) go buy a big fast G5 and use it as your workhorse.

Good luck deciding!
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Old May 5th, 2005, 08:27 PM   #10
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I love having a laptop (Sony Vaio PC), but I'd agree that this is probably a bad time to be buying a G4 Powerbook. If/when Apple finally figures out how to get a G5 processor (or a dual-core G4?) into a laptop, the value of the current Powerbooks is going to drop like a rock, and then you'll be wanting both a better laptop and probably a nice desktop to boot. So it arguably makes more sense to buy a G5 desktop now, which should be functional for a quite a while, and wait to see what happens with future Powerbooks.

Or you could come on over to "the dark side," where for the price of an outdated Powerbook you can get an awesome PC laptop which can handle everything including real-time HDV editing, plus offer more options in terms of screen size, hard drives, etc. Today's best PC laptops are full desktop replacement systems for all but the most demanding tasks, and are a much better value than the Powerbooks. (Unless you really want to run Apple software, in which case it obviously doesn't matter.)
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Old May 5th, 2005, 09:36 PM   #11
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Not to get into the old Mac vs Windows argument, but Apple prices never plummet. They decline in value as new models come out, but compared to used Windows PCs, Mac's tend to really hold their value.

I shopped for a used Mac for quite some time, but the prices for two and three year old machines were more than I was willing to pay. Then came the Mini. I sold my Vaio notebook (true story) and used the proceeds to help pay for my Mini. I don't travel as much as I used to, so I don't really miss the notebook. But you'd have a real fight on your hands if you tried to take my Mac from me. It's my first Mac, I've had it for about 8 weeks & I am totally sold on the platform!
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Old May 5th, 2005, 09:48 PM   #12
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Okay, whether or not prices on today's Powerbooks drop precipitously, they're still going to look seriously out of date when better options finally become available. So buy a Powerbook now and there's a good chance you'll really want a newer one sometime relatively soon, whereas the G5s clearly have some staying power for the future. That makes the G5s a better long-term investment in my book.

As for whether Macs hold their value better, that's a two-sided coin. Apple has had some infamous price cuts which made some models drop hundreds of dollars in value a few days after people bought them, because much better new models were released at the same price as the old ones. And the fact that Macs don't drop in price much otherwise is part of what makes it so expensive to use the Mac platform over the long term. I can take a five-year-old PC and upgrade it to today's technology for a few hundred dollars, which makes the old PC almost worthless but makes my long-term costs quite reasonable. This is in fact the main reason I gave up on Macs in favor of PCs a few years back, even though I too liked the Mac platform. Maybe someday I'll buy a Mac Mini or something just for kicks, but I'd much rather see Apple convert their software to run on standard PC hardware and stop selling over-priced computers. Different strokes for different folks...
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