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Thought You Couldn't Upgrade Your G3 PowerBook? Think Again! Newer Tech's G3/466 Upgrade Card Reviewed

by Don Engstrom

Newer Tech's PowerBook upgrade cardA year ago, upgrade options for the iMac and G3 PowerBooks were nonexistent. Now, Newer Technology makes upgrades for both machines although the process for the PowerBook upgrade is a little more convoluted than ordering and installing your average upgrade card. Specifically, you need to order the card, remove your processor card, and return it to Newer for testing and retrofitting. Newer then returns your upgraded processor card for installation.This represents some serious downtime if you use your PowerBook on a daily basis. The specifics of this process are outlined on Newer's site. Is the upgrade worth the wait? Read on to find out...

Installation: We actually got to skip the back and forth shipping as Newer was able to provide us with a review unit. This was a good thing as we use our G3/266 PowerBook daily to maintain and update our sites. The box contained all of the items the user would need to remove and return their original processor. Newer foots the bill for FedEx overnight shipping in both directions.

Supported Models
Original PowerBook Newer Upgrade Speed

G3/466/ 233

G3/250 G3/458/152
G3/266 G3/466/233
G3/292 G3/458/152
G3/300 G3/466/233
G3/333 G3/466/233
G3/400 G3/466/233

While mucking about with PowerBook innards is definitely not for the timid, Newer provides excellent documentation to get you through the process. The manual includes a quick overview of the removal & install as well as clearly illustrated instructions for each step of the process. I only hit two minor snags when installing the card. The hard drive, which has to be removed on PowerBooks that don't have the "bronze" keyboard, snagged against the body on the way out. After identifying the holdup, I was able to pull the drive with a little gentle coaxing. The processor card itself fits in pretty tightly, necessitating some gently prying action to get it out. Use extreme caution during this step as it is easy to damage the card's circuitry.

After installing, you simply reset the PowerBook's power manager and boot your machine. For a refreshing change, there are no extensions or control panels to install, contributing, no doubt, to the stability we note below. Newer does provide a copy of their Gauge pro software so you can confirm your operating speed and temperature. Gauge Pro also lets you test your RAM.

For Great Prices On Upgrades Check The Vendors Below
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ebay Small Dog

Performance and Stability: As I mentioned above, we use our PowerBook on a daily basis, so Newer's card got a thorough workout over the course of several weeks. From the moment it was installed to the sad moment when we pulled it out for return it performed like a champ. As you would expect, the G3/466 made itself felt in a big way. Processor intensive tasks like 3D rendering, Photoshop filter operations, and log file analysis, all saw remarkable improvement. Even Spell Catcher's performance was greatly improved, with spelling corrections happening in the blink of an eye as opposed to their usual crawl at 266 MHz. We had some initial concerns about the heat a 466 MHz processor might generate in the PowerBook's cramped quarters, but numerous checks with Gauge Pro and other utilities revealed that the G3/466 performed at or below the temperature of our G3/266. The benchmark scores below speak for themselves.

Conclusions: There is a lot to like about Newer's upgrade card. Performance for processor intensive tasks is boosted nicely. Performance is rock solid, thanks to the fact that no drivers are required for this card. The downtime while you wait for your original processor card to be retrofitted is a drag but you will be amply rewarded for your patience. If you are looking to extend the life of your G3 PowerBook, look no farther. Newer is (for a limited time) bundling their FireWire 2 Go card with the upgrade, making for an attractive package. Post your comments on this card on our discussion board below.

Product: MAXpowr PB G3/466/233/1MB
Company: NewerTech
Rating: (5 possible)

Hits: Good preformance, excellent installation manual, bundled with FireWire 2 Go card (as of this writing)

Misses: Sending in your processor card for retrofitting means you will be without the use of your PowerBook for a while...

SRP: $599

MacBench 5.0 Results

The scores below are from MacBench 5.0. MacBench 5.0 is a subsystem-level benchmark that measures the performance of a Mac's processor, disk, and graphics subsystems to name a few. MacBench normalizes all scores relative to the base machine, a Power Macintosh G3/300. The base machine receives a score of 1000. For all MacBench tests, higher numbers indicate better performance.

PowerBook G3/466 upgrade card - processor score


PowerBook G3/466 upgrade card - FPU score


PowerBook G3/466 upgrade card - disk score


PowerBook G3/466 upgrade card - graphics score

"Real World" Tests

The tests below are from our newly revised suite of real world application tests. These tests feature a diverse selection of applications commonly used by the Mac community. The test suite was designed to render an accurate and well rounded picture of an upgrade's performance. Click here for detailed information on each test and our machine's configuration. All of the tests below (with the exception of the Quake III tests) were timed with a stopwatch. The times are then converted to percentages with the unaccelerated PowerBook set to 100%. Lower numbers indicate a better score.

PowerBook G3/466 upgrade card - scroll test


PowerBook G3/466 upgrade card - scroll test


PowerBook G3/466 upgrade card - scroll test


PowerBook G3/466 upgrade card - scroll test


PowerBook G3/466 upgrade card - scroll test


PowerBook G3/466 upgrade card - scroll test

PhotoShop 6.0 "Real World" Test results

PowerBook G3/466 upgrade card - scroll test


PowerBook G3/466 upgrade card - scroll test


PowerBook G3/466 upgrade card - scroll test


PowerBook G3/466 upgrade card - scroll test

Quake Tests

Higher scores are better

PowerBook G3/466 upgrade card - scroll test


PowerBook G3/466 upgrade card - scroll test

MAXpowr PB Card Stats



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