Building notes, projects, and occasional rants

The new powerbooks

As I mentioned previously, I would like to upgrade my TiBook that I’m using for almost 4 years now. And this seems the last chance to do it before the switch to Intel processors.

According to the roadmap, a Intel Powerbook is not expected until the second half of 2006.

So the question is: can I wait to upgrade my main work computer, that I use everyday, and that is starting to show it’s age? Also, is the upgrade worth it?

First the options:

  1. stick with the current Powerbook, and buy a 17” iMac desktop and put it at the place I work the most time;
  2. go with the new 15”;
  3. upgrade to the new 17”.


  1. I work mostly on three places: at home in Figueira da Foz, 1 to 2 days a week; at home in Lisbon, 4 nights a week; and at work, 4 days a week;
  2. I’m not CPU intensive, I’m multi-task intensive though. I usually have, Safari,, Psi, NetNewsWire, ecto, iTunes, Skype, iChat running;
  3. I would like to start using XCode more. I haven’t used it due to lack of CPU power.

Option 1 is interesting: it’s the least expensive and I would get a great desktop computer. I would not know where to put it though. Take it to work might work, but it feels awkward somehow. The other real option would be to leave it at home in Lisbon, but more often than now, I don’t spend that much time working, more fun and writing. So I don’t think so.

Option 2 and 3 are more likely, but first let’s see what’s not that good about both of them:

  1. they fall short of my expectations about a dual-core G4 chip. I know they where my expectations, but still;
  2. they packed more pixels on the same space: is it too tiny to use on a regular basis now? I could not find any mention of DPIs on-line or in the PDFs provided by Apple.

Now what do these two new powerbooks will get me:

  • bigger and faster hard-drive (thinking about the 5400 rpm, I could not find the hit on the battery life that the 7200 rpm option would be);
  • upgraded 802.11 connectivity and reception: the TyBooks are notorious due the the poor reception they have;
  • integrated bluethooth: very important to me;
  • more screen pixels: still to be seen if this is a good thing;
  • double the CPU power, better and faster RAM technology, with possibility of upgrading to 2Gb when the prices are sane;
  • better graphics card, with a boat-load of VRAM;
  • digital audio (in and out): not that important for me;
  • DVD burner, dual layer;
  • USB2 and Firewire 800: the first one important, the second not that important. But the dual firewire, one 400 and the other 800 is nice to have;
  • improved battery life.

So thinking about the 15”, that’s a lot of upgrades for my $2000. All in all, I think that it’s a worthy upgrade to the new powerbooks.

Between the 15” and the 17”, these are the things that I would gain:

  • 50% more hard-drive space;
  • 36% more pixels;
  • 0,6Kg extra.

The extra weight is not an issue for me. The 50% is also not an issue, I can always upgrade the 15” hard-drive later on.

So it boils down to pixels. And I really don’t know. I need to see the screen to answer one question: between the 15” and the 17”, which one has the bigger characters?

So what’s the plan? Yes, I will buy one of them. I would like to buy it in Portugal, but I don’t know if we will get them soon enough. The latest iBooks took almost 2 months since the initial announcement until you could find one in Portugal.

So until then, until I can go into FNAC and pull one from the shelf, I think I’ll use the trip to the London Perl Workshop, usually in mid-November, to see them at the London Apple Store, and make my decision there.