The Computer Blog

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Living with a PowerBook…

I’ve had the PowerBook a few days now. I like it but its Airport performance has been okay but not stellar. I wish the thing had a faster hard disk but Apple seems to saddle its notebooks with 4200 and 5200 rpm drives. You can bet at some point I’ll be swapping out the hard drive for something faster. It’s too bad they don’t have CPU upgrades for Powerbooks…

The most fun and interesting thing I’ve done was plunk down an extra hundred bucks for a DVI to ADC adapter and use the PowerBook to drive, at different times, my 17 inch Apple Studio display and my beautiful 20 inch Apple Cinema Display. It ran them both without a hitch. To use them, I simply hooked up the DVI to ADC adapter to my closed PowerBook, plugged in their power chords, and turned the whole setup on by pushing the power button on the display just like it was a desktop. On boot up, the PowerBook automatically senses and sets the proper resolution for the display. I didn’t have to touch a thing.

There are one or two little quirks about this set up. First, the PowerBook must be plugged in for am external monitor to work with it. Secondly, after the power button on the display lights, it goes out and there’s nothing on the screen to tell me that the PowerBook is still booting until OS X starts to load. Thirdly, since my network connection is via Airport Extreme, I have to have my wireless router turned on before I start up the PowerBook or I wind up logging out and back in to pick it up.

Using the PowerBook does largely liberate my dual 1 Ghz PowerMac from personal use, something I have mixed feelings about. The PowerBook is slower, and I have the 20 inch Apple Cinema Display hooked up to it and I’m using the PowerBook on my 17. The 17 inch Apple Studio display doesn’t hold a candle to the 20 inch Apple Cinema. As soon as I can, I’m going to sell the 17; but until I get it paid for, it’s tied up in a lien. With the 20 incher sitting where it is, I can still use it when I want to, it’s on the machine that can take the most advantage of it, and my wife may get to occasionally use it as well. I have a second PowerMac for video, graphics, and desktop publishing.

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