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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I bought my first Mac ever back in January (700mhz G4 iMac) and it runs quite well for what its used for as a home machine. My wife (who had been, and still is, using a PowerBook 1400c for years before I met her, and was ultimately the one who brought me over from the darkside) doesn't like the lack of portability. Her birthday is coming up, and I'm thinking of getting her an iBook.

However, still being a bit new with macs, I'm not entirely sure how big the difference really was between the G3 and the G4 (I've never used a G3). I'd wanted to play around with one, but, as I am currently in South East Asia, the only Apple store I've found didn't have any iBooks or PowerBooks in stock.

So my question is basically: is there that much difference between a 700mhz G3 and a 700mhz G4? Would it be a mistake to buy into a G3 system right before they're taken off the market? Are there any issues with running OSX10.2 on a G3?
 

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I have heard that G4's runs OSX a little better but on the other hand the iBook have the Radeon Mobility VRAM which runs OSX well. I have no problems running OSX with my iBook. I have also heard that G4 is only good while running programs that utalize G4 technology but I am unsure. I would imagine if you were into programing or graphics etc you would want the G4, for the average user I would say an nice iBook 700 with the 16mb VRAM would be great.
 

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As far as pure performance is concened, this link might give you some ideas about how a G4 ranks relative to other Macs.
http://ladd.dyndns.org/xbench/

Note: the site seems to shut down once or twice a day...so if you can't get through, try later.

Mind you, benchmarking is just one way of measuring things. You also should ask yourself what you use you computer for. If your main use is word-processing, Internet and email, then a G3 will suit you fine. If you're planning to edit video or use Photoshop, then a G4 would likely earn its keep for you. Either way, you'll be fine.

And there are no issues with running a G3 on 10.2 (that I ever encountered, at least).
 

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Generally the G4 is faster than the G3 in MacOS X as MacOS X has been optimized to make good use of the G4's Altivec (or Velocity Engine as Apple calls it).

Here's a review of the G4 867 Powerbook which has a comparison to the G3 800 iBook in the chart at the bottom of the page.
http://www.macworld.com/2003/04/reviews/12inchpowerbook/

Of course, if you're wife isn't playing Quake or doing photoshop, a G3 may be adequate. I thought a G4 helped in iTunes CD ripping, but I'm not sure if that's what they mean by MP3 encoding in the review.
 

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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Kosh:
I thought a G4 helped in iTunes CD ripping, but I'm not sure if that's what they mean by MP3 encoding in the review.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I think RAM is what makes a difference when ripping CDs. I traded my iBook 500 for a PB 400 because I wanted to do more graphics intensive work (mainly video editing) and, well.. because I had a great deal for the PB. The PB really started shining when I boosted the RAM to 768 MB.

But let's not forget that, in a portable and at equal clock speed, the G3 has its advantages over the G4, namely:

PRICE, HEAT & POWER USAGE (all a lot lower than with a G4)

What I really miss, too, is the crisp screen, and extreme portability of the 12" iBook.

Bottom line: for a not-too-graphics-oriented user (the iLife apps all work perfectly on the iBook), the iBook is probably the best value in the portable market (even without considering the advantages of the OS itself :D ).
 

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Kosh wrote:
I thought a G4 helped in iTunes CD ripping, but I'm not sure if that's what they mean by MP3 encoding in the review.

iTunes CD ripping involves MP3 encoding, but you can convert audio files to MP3 files in iTunes using "Convert Selection to MP3" in the "Advanced" menu. After reading the blurb at the bottom of the chart, it sounds like they just converted an audio file that was already on the hard drive.

MP3 encoding is a rather CPU-intensive task, and adding more memory to a system won't speed it up. When encoding audio, the encoder scans through the file sequentially, and writes output sequentially. Thus, very little of the original or the encoded file needs to be in memory at once.
 

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Unless we know what your wife is doing with her portable, it is hard to really give you good advice.

But my instinct is to suggest the 800MHz G3 iBook with combo drive, 12" screen, and add a 512 RAM chip.

Having the 32 meg video card is nice.
 

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I wanted an up to date portable, and was considering iBooks and PowerBooks. I got the PowerBook, and prefer it because one of my apps nominally requires G4 (Cubase), the responsiveness with an external monitor hooked up at high resolution is reported to be many times better than an iBook with the monitor spanning hack, and the keyboard has a nicer feel to it. If you use Apple's iLife suite, the G4 makes a big difference in speed for some things there. The question is, how much money is that worth? Again, depends on your usage pattern.

One more comment: ask not what she does with her computer now; ask what she would like to do in the future.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for everyone's input. My wife uses it mostly as a home user. That is, email, web surfing, some games (like The Sims, which aren't graphic intensive) keeping her life organised, etc.

The thing is, though, on her last birthday I got her a digital camera because she's always been into Photography. On our old Wintel system she used MGI PhotoSuite. When I bought our Mac earlier this year, she found iPhoto and never looked back.

Nah, if she was really into some serious applications, it would be a PowerBook or nothing. But since she's more of a casual user, I'm really debating whether a low-end G3 system will have staying power for a good number of years, or if a low-end G4 is more cost-effective in the long run.

But heck, for some things that require mobility she still prefers using that old PowerBook 1400 she's had since 1997 over a P4 Compaq notebook we've got in the house.

I think I just answered my own question. She's used that PowerBook for 6 years now, and the only thing that ever gave her trouble was the battery (popped in a new battery 2 years ago, and still works like new). That Compaq presario notebook, I bought 2 years ago, and within 14 months, the combo drive was busted, a lot of the keyboard keys had come loose, and the screen had dimmed considerably. Not to mention the fact that Windows crashes an average of 4 or 5 times a day on that thing. That computer was the reason I came over to Macs in the first place (and I am never, EVER, going back). I'm not comparing Windows with Mac, but rather, that, I suppose, in the end, a Mac has good longevity, regardless of what system it is. If that PowerBook 1400 can still be useful now, I'm sure we can squeeze a good number of years from a G3 iBook.

Thanks to all who helped!
 
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