Is the power of the new 12 inch powerbook enough for (mechanical or aerospace) engineering courses in post seconday? What about the 17 inch imac? Are the lcd screens on the apple imac and 12" powerbook good for graphic work?
The 12" PB and G4 iBooks (12" and 14") are as good as any monitor that provides 1024x768 resolution.
Now is that good enough for post secondary engineering work? Well that would depend on the apps you plan to run.
My sugestion would be to consider any 12" Pb and/or G4 iBook over a 17" PB. If you buy a second monitor (anything above 17") you are still saving thousands of dollars over the 17" ibook (and that equates to some serious toys).
While I LOVE the Apple displays as second monitors I cannot justify the cost (or for that matter any standalone LCD monitor) when you get as good or better quality picture from decent CRT monitors.
PS. If you go with the G4 iBook pay attention to the threads for how to do monitor spanning.
I seriously think that hight end LCD are better than some CRT. The problem is Apple's LCD are kinda over priced right now, go with a Formac, they are as good but dont have the same aspect ratio.
Buying a new mac is a very hard experience if you havent planned exactly for what you want to use the mac for. Once you know it, you can pick the one that suite your needs. In your case, if you only want to use it for school you should ask yourself if you want portability or not. Laptop are great but if you are going to do your homework in your room most of the time, it doesnt justify the cost.
So think hard about what you really plan to do with the computer and then about your budget. Chances are that there is a mac to meet your needs.
The problem with LCD technology is that the pixel size is not variable (as it is with CRT's)... try putting your LCD monitor to a lower resolution... you either get a big black band around your screen or the screen becomes fuzzy as the video card tries to anti-alias things to fill the screen.
Don't get me wrong LCD's are great, but I think that high end CRT's offer better quality of picture at a MUCH lower price.
LCD's will eventually be cheaper to manufacture than CRT's and cheaper to maintain, package and ship. So we will see LCD's everywhere for very cheap prices. But until they invent an LCD with variable size pixels... CRT's will offer better quality resolution.