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Old July 17th, 2005, 04:20 AM   #1
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15" powerbook to LCD

Okay guys, looks like I am going to be required to get a Mac for school. No biggie because I love mac and could benefit from the toolset. Now...Currently I have a Dell 17" LCD display with both VGA and DVI. My question is...the 15" powerbook has DVI-out and says you can hook up to external montiors. Is this only the cinema displays? Because I would love to have the 17" LCD in my dorm room and when I come back be able to hook up the powerbook. Will I be able to use DVI to DVI? Thanks

Riley
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Old July 17th, 2005, 08:39 AM   #2
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You will have no problem whatsoever plugging your DVI cable directly into the Powerbook, that's what the external display port is for. The external monitor will be a second screen that extends you desktop and give you additional room to arrange windows and tool pallettes.

One thing you might keep in mind however. Like any computer, when you plug a second monitor in, the graphics card must split its VRAM between the two screens. For most applications this won't be an issue. But with a program like Motion that puts heavy demands on the graphics card you could see some performance hit (it will already run very slowly on a powerbook). I believe there are options for different graphics cards on the 15" powerbook, although you might need to order a custom configuration from Apple's site. Just realize that you can't add VRAM or change the graphics card once you have the Powerbook, it's part of the logic board.

I really like my 15" powerbook and I'm sure you will too. However, there is a very important issue you need to be aware of. Please see the following thread, and I would strongly urge you to purchase the Applecare extended warranty because of this:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=45834
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Old July 17th, 2005, 09:44 AM   #3
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I planned on getting the 15" with 128 VRAM, superdrive, 1 gig ram, and apple care plan. I get quite a bit of student discounts. Is the ram problem only with the 15"?? Also...will I be able to close the powerbook screen and only use my dell 17" with say a wireless keyboard & mouse?

Last edited by Riley Harmon; July 17th, 2005 at 10:30 AM.
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Old July 17th, 2005, 10:26 AM   #4
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I am operating my powerbook with only 64mb of vram and until I got my G5 this week had an additional 20" cinema display running off of the powerbook as well.

There is a noticeable difference in the powerbook display once the 2nd display is hooked up. I didn't know that I would get as in depth with all of this when I purchased the powerbook or I would have definitely gotten much more vram as well as ram when I purchased. You would be wise to step it up as much as possible. You will have this computer for at least a couple years, and the applications are only getting more intense.
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Old July 17th, 2005, 10:31 AM   #5
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Should I go with a 12" instead...i mean this ram thing sounds effing serious
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Old July 17th, 2005, 12:43 PM   #6
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The 12" model is a nice little machine if it meets your needs, we have a couple of them at work. Personally, I don't want one though. The smaller 1024x768 screen is too limited.

I don't know what to tell you about those RAM issues with the 15" model. The people at the Apple store insist this is very rare and not anything that needs looking into by Apple. They agree that my 3 failures in a row are not encouraging however.

How much RAM do you feel you need? You could get the base model and put your own 1GB chips into the upper slot, like I did. Then if the lower slot fails you will still have 1GB usable memory. I find this is still plenty for FCP and maybe photoshop running together. However after several hours of intensive use my system starts slowing down and I usually reboot just to play things safe. I don't see this happen on my G5 desktop with 2.5GB RAM, but that's a whole different ball of wax.

I'd like to think that the 15" problems are limited to the first Aluminum generation, like mine, but keep reading about people with new machines experiencing the exact same thing. Let's hope Apple figures out what's happening here. AFAIK, this problem is specific the the 15" models although I haven't really researched the others myself.
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Old July 17th, 2005, 02:13 PM   #7
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Riley,

If it's any consolation, I've been using my 15" 1.5ghz daily for nearly a year. For the first half, I had 2 256 cards for RAM, and now I have a 1gig and a 256 in it and I haven't experienced any of the missing ram problems. From what I have read by looking around, and from Boyd's personal account, it appears that the problem is more with the older models. I love my powerbook and can't remember what life was like before I had it (blocking out bad memories haha).
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Old July 17th, 2005, 02:24 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nathan Chaszeyka
From what I have read by looking around, and from Boyd's personal account, it appears that the problem is more with the older models.
Another theory might be that it just takes awhile to manifest itself, so you would see more failures in older models while the newer ones "age" a bit.

Let's hope you're one of the lucky ones though!
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Old July 17th, 2005, 02:29 PM   #9
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this raises a question for me...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nathan Chaszeyka
Riley,

If it's any consolation, I've been using my 15" 1.5ghz daily for nearly a year. For the first half, I had 2 256 cards for RAM, and now I have a 1gig and a 256 in it and I haven't experienced any of the missing ram problems. From what I have read by looking around, and from Boyd's personal account, it appears that the problem is more with the older models. I love my powerbook and can't remember what life was like before I had it (blocking out bad memories haha).

I have been saving up some extra cash to throw in a gig of RAM in my first gen Aluminum PB - but I am not too familiar with some technical issues that I remember reading about in some models of earlier laptops. Currently I am running the stock 512 with 2x 256 chips. The issue I remember with some models of years past involved the need to have two chips of equal capacity if using chips in both slots.

I can't afford two 1 gig chips at this time, so I was going to just take out both 256 chips and put a 1 gig in the upper slot- leaving the lower one open for later. Can I just leave the 256 in the lower slot? and if so, does it register correctly even though it is not equal capacity to the 1 gig in the upper slot?

This may sound like a stupid question, but as I said, I remember it being an issue some years ago, and I haven't given it any thought since now that I am prepping the upgrade.
-Jon
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Old July 17th, 2005, 02:39 PM   #10
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is it going to void my warranty if i add my own ram? is it cheaper to have apple just install 1 dim of 1gig than me to buy my own?
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Old July 17th, 2005, 05:15 PM   #11
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Warranty and RAM

I was told on the phone and at one of the Apple stores that it does not void the warranty if you install your own. The warranty is void however if you do not ground yourself and fry the board. The apple website provides very clear instructions on how to properly install your own ram stick in the powerbook. It's definitely cheaper to buy your own and install it yourself, just make sure you do it right.

As far as mismating the sticks, I had never checked into that. I currently am running a 1 gig on the upper and a 256 on the lower without problems, but as Boyd points out it may take a while to manifest.
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Old July 17th, 2005, 05:26 PM   #12
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Yes, you can certainly install your own RAM as described right in your owners manual. Some people report odd problems with different brands but I have never seen any. Of course, you may experience the dreaded lower slot failure, but there's no evidence whatsoever that this is related to third party RAM.

My lower slot failed with the original Apple 256MB in it. But the memory checks out fine if moved to the upper slot. When it failed I had a total of 768MB RAM (256+512). Later I upgraded to 1.5GB (512+1GB), but switched back to 1.25GB (256+1GB) to put the original Apple RAM back into the questionable slot. Throughout all my problems, the 1GB DIMM I bought at CompUSA has worked fine. Apple has never suggested that the problems with my lower slot (Which they've "fixed" 3 times now) were related to my RAM purchase or installation.

For extensive discussion of these 15" Powerbook RAM issues you might want to visit Apple's tech support forum here:

http://discussions.info.apple.com/we...Kg.2@.59999ae4

See the links to discussions about lower slot failure earlier in this same thread.
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