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Lean and Mean: The PowerBook G3/400 Information And Performance Page

At the '99 WWDC (May 10th, 1999) Apple finally released the much anticipated new generation PowerBook. Currently available in either 333MHz or 400MHz varieties, Apple has made some significant changes and, a pleasant surprise, has left a few things unchanged. See "New, Removed, Unchanged" sidebar below for a summary. As is always the case before Apple releases a new machine, the net was awash with speculation about improvements and changes to the new PowerBook line. Most everyone agreed that USB would replace the serial port, which it did, but hopes of a 100MHz system bus and FireWire ports were dashed. Apple has continued its standardization on the crisp 14" TFT display. Although hopes for an ATI 128 graphics system didn't pan out, the SGRAM on the ATI RAGE LT Pro has been bolstered from 4MB to 8MB. While older G3 PowerBooks were limited to video mirroring, the new 'books can support dual monitor use, a boon to those of us desperate for screen real estate. Apple is also using an improved lithium ion battery which they claim will run for 5 hours, up from 3.5 hours on older G3 PowerBooks. Unlike the 333MHz model, the PowerBook G3/400 features a full 1MB backside cache. Unfortunately the cache on the 400MHz PowerBook operates at the same slow 2.5:1 ratio as the 333MHz model. This, of course, brings down the processor score but perhaps was a necessary measure to avoid excess heat. The hard drive on the 400MHz PowerBook is a descent 6GB and can be bumped up to a whopping 10GB for the truly demanding user.

Like its earlier incarnations, the new PowerBooks offer great built in connectivity options. The built in 10/100Base-T Ethernet connector offers transfer rates up to 100Mbps, handy for plugging to that high speed office network. For the home user there is an internal 56k modem with v.90 support. Lastly, there is the infrared port offering 4Mbps wireless networking. The two hot-swappable side bays allow you to plug in two batteries for up to 10 hours use, up from 7 on previous G3 PowerBooks. This estimate is based on the slightly improved battery and better power management in OS 8.6. The same bays which host the DVD drive can also take a Zip or floppy drive. The floppy drive is not standard on this machine and Apple has stated that they will not be offering one. You can expect third parties to fill the gap. Most noteworthy of the changes, of course is the new slim design, under two inches thick and 5.9lbs, almost 2lbs less than previous G3 PowerBooks. Below we provide you with benchmark information so you can see how the new PowerBooks stack up against the old.


SF Chronicle


New Removed Unchanged
Slim 1.7" Form Factor
Light Weight 5.9 Lbs.
2 USB Ports
5 Hour Battery Life
Dual Monitor Support
10/100Base-T Ethernet
Serial Port
ADB Port
1 PC Card Slot
14" Screen
66MHz System Bus
64MB Base RAM
Infrared Port
56k Modem
S-Video Out

MacBench Scores

Below you will find MacBench 5.0 scores comparing the PowerBook G3/400/1MB to several other PowerBook G3's We have formatted these scores to be relative to the former high end PowerBook G3/300 which we set at 100%. Original scores are from Apple's web site. For more information on MacBench click here.

[more benchmarks will be added shortly]


MacBench 5.0 Absolute Processor Scores
Machine Score
PowerBook G3/233/512k 665
PowerBook G3/266/1MB 882
PowerBook G3/300/1MB 991
PowerBook G3/333/512k 1017
PowerBook G3/400/1MB 1234


Model/MHz Processor Bus Speed
VRAM Expansion
 Modem  Monitor
G3/400 750 66 64
8MB 1 PC 6.0 IDE 2x DVD
56K Flex
10/100 BT Ethernet
14.1" TFT