Worth upgrading from 600Mhz G3 to a 1Ghz G4 iBook?
September 28, 2004 8:12 PM   Subscribe

600MHz G3 iBook / 30GB / 256MB
1000MHz G4 iBook / 60GB / 512MB

Worth the upgrade? Or do I need to dig deeper into my wallet? I'd like better AVI playback and iMovie performance, as well as the ability to run GarageBand.
posted by scarabic to Computers & Internet (15 answers total)

VLC runs better on G4; so does garage band & imovie.

So, the question is, how much $$ is involved.
posted by filmgeek at 9:17 PM on September 28, 2004

Max out your RAM (256 megs is not enough!!) and consider buying an external firewire HD before shelling out for a new laptop.

With a laptop you're paying a premium for minaturization. If portability is your primary concern, buy a laptop. For anything else, a desktop will be cheaper, faster, and easier to upgrade.
posted by LimePi at 9:19 PM on September 28, 2004

I went from a 333 MHz Lombard to a 667 G4 with a Gig of RAM. I'm content, but not astounded.
posted by weston at 9:48 PM on September 28, 2004

I have a 1GHz iBook G4 with 768MB of RAM, and I'd say GarageBand, while 'usable', is not much good for any truly practical use. It's still not fast (or stable) enough (unless you like waiting). The iBook also, obviously, sucks when it comes to audio inputs, although this is solvable with some overpriced USB equipment.
posted by wackybrit at 9:56 PM on September 28, 2004

That's a reasonable machine. I picked up a slightly slower PowerBook 12 and it has no trouble with all the things you seem to want yours to do. 512 is a little thin in the memory department, though -- I've got 640M (the maximum I theoretically support, although I can actually cram a 1G stick in there if I want to) and I can feel the pinch. See if you can at least get it up to a gig of RAM. Memory is cheap if you don't buy it from Apple.

Apple seems to have a knack for picking ridiculously fucking slow hard drives, though. Earth to Apple: there is no such thing as a good Fujitsu drive. You might want to see if you can get an aftermarket upgrade, rather than springing for a big disk from the factory.
posted by majick at 10:00 PM on September 28, 2004

Here is golden advice that works with any computer: HIGHLY consider upgrading you're RAM, and try adding at least 512 more to your current one before upgrading. Silly mac kids.
posted by Keyser Soze at 3:08 AM on September 29, 2004

As soon as I can afford it I'll be making a similar upgrade but as folks say, max out the RAM as first resort. And I couldn't live withoout my 80Gb external drive, if only for the peace of mind.

You'll get the advantage of better video performance on the PB and if you're running stuff like GBnd & iMovie, plugging in an extra monitor - which the iBook can only mirror to - will give you more screen space.

Also, IIRC you can run the PB shut with an external keyboard, mouse & monitor which maybe handy when you're at home.

And if you really get into moviemaking & music the G4 processor will enable you to run Final Cut Pro et al.
posted by i_cola at 4:47 AM on September 29, 2004

wackybrit, I wouldn't consider Griffin's iMic overpriced for $40.
posted by blueshammer at 6:42 AM on September 29, 2004

When I said that 'I'll be making the same upgrade', I actually meant that I will be making a similar upgrade but going all out for the PowerBook. With that info my post might actually make some sense...
posted by i_cola at 7:11 AM on September 29, 2004

I own a 700mhz iBook with 640mb of RAM. I just bought a 1.33ghz PowerBook with 512mb of RAM for work. The new machine is nice, yes, but not enough so that I think the iBook is worth abandoning. If this hadn't been an essentially free upgrade for me, I'd feel it was money wasted.
posted by jdroth at 8:09 AM on September 29, 2004

Response by poster: Hm. Well, I guess I'm still undecided. If *anyone* with a laptop is happy with their GarageBand performance, please chime in. Perhaps that's just too much to hope for, here?

Perhaps I'm just curmudgeonly about this, but I don't see how a computer with 1GB of RAM will play an AVI better than one that already has 512MB. Comfortable RAM requirements are getting pretty ridiculous these days. A gig just to have elbow room? Sheesh. Well okay. I guess it will probably come down to money in the end. I don't plan on using GarageBand much, but I can't even launch it now because I don't have a G4.

Thanks for the advice, everyone. And special thanks, as always, to Keyser for the pat on the head along with the advice.
posted by scarabic at 12:32 PM on September 29, 2004

I run GarageBand on a iBook G4 800Mhz and I'm happy with the performance - perhaps I'm just too naive to know the difference, but it works well enough for me. I'm at best a casual user, but I don't want you to think that every person who's ever seen GarageBand on an iBook thinks that it stinks...

The biggest change you'll see in the trade-up you're talking about is what comes form the AltiVec processing in the G4 itself. That alone will give your laptop a spunkiness you'll find refreshing in any application that takes advantage of it. The jump from a 600Mhz G3 to a 1GB G4 will "feel" like more than the bare numbers alone imply.

On the RAM issue: while a G3 with only 256MBs of RAM sounds a little slim to me, I'd doubt that adding a big chunk of RAM is going to make that much difference. Don't skimp on RAM for the new machine, though, since it's apparently a factor in GarageBand's performance and 512MBs isn't what I'd call an overstuffed iBook.
posted by JollyWanker at 12:44 PM on September 29, 2004

And OMG Logic 7 just came out today. Forget GarageBand.
posted by xmutex at 1:47 PM on September 29, 2004

I've got a 600 mhz G3 ibook with a 20 GB drive that I just upgraded from 256 to 640 MB of RAM, and while I can see the difference, things that were slow before are just less slow now. YMMV.
posted by rorycberger at 4:29 PM on September 29, 2004

Response by poster: [!!!Buys Logic 7!!!]

hey wait... I don't have any money left for the laptop now!

posted by scarabic at 6:14 PM on September 29, 2004

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