Powerbook G5's... When o' when... What's your plan?
May 27, 2005 12:18 PM   Subscribe

Anyone else on the verge of making the switch to Mac land (or upgrading)? Everywhere i've seen rumored they are saying 2nd Q for the G5 powerbooks... What do you guys think? I'd rather not repeat my mistake of getting the Canon Rebel right before the new one came out (d'oh!).. So I'm thinking about waiting for the G5 to appear and either get the low end one or a used (or new) G4 assuming the prices drop. Given that being a gadgetfreak if you're always waiting for the next big thing you'll never end up buying anything... but seems like it could be soon hmmm?
posted by joshgray to Computers & Internet (23 answers total)
WWDC is in less than two weeks. At least wait until then.
posted by zsazsa at 12:25 PM on May 27, 2005

I just missed the Tiger jump by buying a Powerbook in March. At the time, I was told that a G5 in a powerbook was a long ways off. If it isn't, I'll cry a little.

That said, this powerbook has changed my work habits, life, etc. for the better. I'm glad I have it, rather than a bag of hopes and dreams.
posted by rfordh at 12:35 PM on May 27, 2005

yea dont hold yr breath on a G5 powerbook. it runs too hot and sucks too much juice right now for it to be put in a laptop.
posted by ShawnString at 12:40 PM on May 27, 2005

Second zsazsa's point. Wait until WWDC. Few really know what's coming down the road, but new products are always announced at these scheduled events.
posted by AlexReynolds at 12:52 PM on May 27, 2005

I also think G5 powerbooks aren't going to happen anytime soon. If you are thinking about buying a Mac but don't know if you should wait or not, the Mac Rumors Buyers Guide is a pretty good source for information. It suggests when to wait and when to buy based on how frequently a produce line gets updated.
posted by chunking express at 12:52 PM on May 27, 2005

The prevailing wisdom is G5 PowerBooks ain't coming soon. You'll see a dual-core G4 PowerBook before a G5, I reckon.
posted by basicchannel at 12:57 PM on May 27, 2005

Same thing I said last time:

My earliest bet would be WWDC in mid-June, though they probably wouldn't be shipping until like August. Latest would be MacWorld 2006 next January. NB This is pure guesswork, nobody really knows.

(NB the G5 isn't all that compared to a G4 at the same clock speed, except in a small subset of tasks. The iMac G5s often benchmark as slower than the eMac G4s)

it runs too hot and sucks too much juice right now for it to be put in a laptop

People have been saying exactly that for two years, and there's no reason for it to still be true.
posted by cillit bang at 1:33 PM on May 27, 2005

Indeed, as ShawnString said, the power consumption and heat output of G5s is massive. (Consider: the towers have 9 fans, and the high-end models are water-cooled.) This makes the G5 very unsuitable for laptops. Hence, unlikely to appear.
posted by Zarkonnen at 1:35 PM on May 27, 2005

It all comes down to the die process, which is not all that secret.

Original G5s were a 130nm process, current ones are a 90nm process. The next step, 65nm, is nowhere near quantity production. (Think sometime in 2006.)

Shrinking the process is the primary way you reduce heat/power usage from an existing processor design.

So, either Apple is going to wait until 2006 for G5 PowerBooks, or end up with a very hot, low battery life, unpleasant machine. My personal opinion is that they're going to wait, since the 90nm parts have been available for a while now--if they had decided to do a 90nm G5 PowerBook, we'd already have it.

I'm not up to date on the timeline for dual-core G4s, but that's another possibility.

Basically, just keep an eye on release dates, buy when you need it, and be happy. :)
posted by trevyn at 2:02 PM on May 27, 2005

I'm in the same spot right now. I am at least waiting for WWDC to see what the latest thing is--and hope prices drop a bit.
posted by 6:1 at 2:59 PM on May 27, 2005

The new datapoint since the last thread is the PPE in the Playstation 3/XBox, which is essentially a rethought G5. There's a fair chance Apple will use a version of it too.
posted by cillit bang at 3:07 PM on May 27, 2005

Just adding another "absolutely not anytime soon" to the pile, from one who reads rumour sites and hangs out with a big e-group of Mac fanatics. And yea, we may get an update on Apple's thinking on the matter at WWDC.

Just got a 12" G4 PB 2 weeks ago and loving it, by the way :) If anyone needs a cheapish dual processor G4 desktop, drop me a line [/shameless promotion]
posted by cyrusdogstar at 3:40 PM on May 27, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks for the replies folks..!

cyrusdogstar, et al.. How often do you use your 12" on the go? How confined does it feel? Can you do any work on it, whatever your work may be (programming.... photo's...etc..)..?
posted by joshgray at 5:29 PM on May 27, 2005

I use it every day during my commute, which is broken into a 15 minute commuter train ride and a 20 minute light rail ride (times two, of course).

Doesn't feel confined at all; 1024x768 is not as small as it seems, especially on a nice PowerBook screen, and Exposé works wonders. You can easily install multiple desktops too, which gives you more effective space, although I don't bother (they're more useful in Linux where you don't have Exposé).

For a few reasons, I mostly read PDFs on the train, but I have on occasion done some coding and I managed my iPhoto library during a long Amtrak trip a week ago as well, which actually worked quite well (protip: when porting over iPhoto libraries from another Mac, do NOT just select the root iPhoto folder and choose Import--you'll end up with a bunch of duplicates). And my fiancé has written entire novels solely on her 12" iBook during our commutes.

I specifically got a 12" for the portability, and I'm definitely not regretting it--again, the combo of OSX and PowerBook display quality really helps to negate any drawbacks of a small screen.
posted by cyrusdogstar at 6:26 PM on May 27, 2005

About now, the smallest Apple heat sink for the G5 processor -- the heat sink in the G5 iMacs and Xserves -- is about the size of a King Size Hershey bar and weighs about as much as a King Size Hershey bar made out of some heavy-assed metal.

Photos here, I'm thinking particularly of the "CPU cooling block" one.

It's a lot smaller than the heat sinks you find in the Aluminum G5 towers, but would still make for a much fatter PowerBook, so I don't think Apple would use it.

Of course, these iMacs and Xserves have been out a while and they may well have refined and thinned out the heat sink since then, but I wouldn't count on it any time soon.
posted by britain at 7:29 PM on May 27, 2005

Based on current rumors and speculation, you're more likely to see some sort of Intel CPU in a PowerBook before you ever see a G5 in one. Still, can't hurt to wait until after WWDC.
posted by alms at 7:41 PM on May 27, 2005

The Intel thing is bunk, they have that exact damn rumour every two years or so. This is at least the third or fourth time it's come up. As before, the general wisdom from those in the know in the Mac world is "no way". That's not to say Apple may not use Intel CPUs somewhere, but not in actual Macs.

See John Gruber's latest post which discusses the subject.

I get the impression you're using the Intel thing as a sort of "hell will freeze over first", but just in case...=)
posted by cyrusdogstar at 7:55 PM on May 27, 2005

If you need a laptop now, then buy one that suites your needs.

Even if they announce G5 notebooks in 3 weeks (which is highly suspect with all the IBM bashing that Apple has been doing and the Apple loving that Intel has been doing lately) it still won't be on shelves for months, require a waiting list, or be so much more expensive than a perfectly good G4.
posted by furtive at 8:01 PM on May 27, 2005

Seconding all that jazz about the G5 not coming any anytime soon, and adding my own two cents:

The next Powerbook upgrade will be a major one. I don't think that there're many little things that Apple can add to the current line to make them better. They're damn good as it is. I think that next upgrade will be dual-core, but that is honestly just speculation. It doesn't seem likely that those will be out anytime this summer, but that's not exactly my point.

The point that I'm trying to get to is that Apple has been refining the current Powerbook design for a while now. They've got pretty much all the kinks worked out. I got a 12" Powerbook in April, and it's the well-designed machine that I expected. If there is a Powerbook upgrade, it'll be major, and that means that Apple will have to start refining it's design to accommodate the dual-core. I'd suggest getting a Powerbook now; they've been through enough revisions and they're probably the best designed hardware that Apple's ever produced.
posted by bitpart at 11:29 PM on May 27, 2005

Heresy from a poweruser: if you are going with a 12" screen, save $500-700 and buy an iBook G4 unless you *really* need the drop-protection feature in the new PBooks or that extra bit of oomph the extra processor speed gives you.

Use the dough you save to max out RAM and HD space. For 90 percent of anything most people do on a laptop, the iBook is more than fine.
posted by realcountrymusic at 6:26 AM on May 28, 2005

But the PowerBook is shiny!!!

On a more serious note, I'll throw out more common Mac-purchasing knowledge--DON'T buy extra RAM from Apple. Get the minimum stock memory configuration (a bigger HDD is fine though) and then buy more memory yourself (from, say, crucial.com) and put it in, it's very easy. Apple totally gouges on their RAM prices for some reason.
posted by cyrusdogstar at 6:46 AM on May 28, 2005

Response by poster: realcountrymusic.. About getting the 12" ibook over the PB... I was told the major drawback of the ibook is you are stuck with the 1024x768 on external displays.. Did you do the driver hack to get around this?
posted by joshgray at 7:05 AM on May 28, 2005

i never use it with an external monitor, other than to do powerpoint presentations that are always fine on any projector at 1024x768. If it is going to be your only machine, that might be a serious consideration i guess.
posted by realcountrymusic at 8:52 AM on May 28, 2005

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