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Things That Go Bump In The Night: The October 2001 PowerBook G4/550 & G4/667 Information Page

10-19-01
The latest revision to the PowerBook line represents a significant change for Apple. Not because of the specs, as impressive as they are, but because of the manner in which they were released. Historically, Apple has timed product launches to coincide with Major expos; Macworld, Apple Expo Paris, or Seybold. The iBook launch last May broke this tradition, but was introduced to the press at a conference held in Cupertino. The speed bumped October PowerBooks, in stark contrast, simply showed up overnight at the Apple Store along with a distributed press release to make the launch "official." The quiet launch does a disservice to the new PowerBooks which have received a number of exciting improvements.

The most obvious change is the processor speed, now at 550MHz and 667MHz. Less obvious is the fact that the new PowerBooks are using an entirely different processor. While the previous generation used a 1MB backside cache running at half the processor speed, the new PowerBooks have a 256K "on chip" cache running at full processor speed. We will put both of the new PowerBooks through their paces and let you know how they stack up against their predecessors.

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The 550MHz PowerBook still has a 100MHz system bus, but the 667 model makes use of a 133MHz one for faster throughput. The on board Ethernet has been bumped from 10/100 Base-T up to 10/100/1000 Base-T which will be a boon for professionals working with large graphics or DV files.

Speaking of graphics, the aging 8MB ATI RAGE Mobility 128 graphics chip which sported 8MB SDRAM and resided on a 2x AGP bus, has finally been upgraded to the ATI Mobility Radeon. The Mobility Radeon has 16MB of faster DDR RAM and resides on a 4x AGP bus for improved throughput. Gamers should get far better frame rates out of the new chip.

Hard drive size has been increased from 10GB and 20GB in the G4/400 and G4/500 respectively to 20GB and 30GB in the G4/550 and G4/667. A 48GB drive is also available exclusively through the Apple Store under the "fastest" heading. The 48GB drive is not just larger, it is faster than the other drives, kicking out 5400 rotations per minute (RPM) to the others' 4200. Slot loading DVD-ROM drive is still standard issue, but you can now opt for a CD-RW as a BTO option through the Apple store. I think it is safe to assume that Apple is working feverishly to get a slot loading combination (DVD-ROM/CD-RW) drive into production, but this is not an option at the moment.

The 667 PowerBooks also include an installed AirPort card so you are ready for wireless access right out of the box. You will need a hardware or software base station of course. Our experience is that software base stations provide limited range when compared to a hardware base station.

For a complete side by side comparison of the three most recent generations of PowerBook, refer to our chart below. We have placed an order for both of the new 'Books and will post benchmarks on this page after we have run some real world tests.



PowerBooks Compared

Model/Mhz Bus Speed
(Mhz)
RAM
(MAX)
Graphics Support Expansion
Slots
Hard Drive
Optical Drive
 Connectivity & Communication  Screen Price Information

"Titanium" PowerBook G4/667/667/256k
DVD-ROM

(October 2001)

MSRP: $3,299

133 MHz

256 MB
(1GB Max)

16MB DDR
ATI Mobility Radeon 4x AGP

1 CardBus slot

48GB Ultra ATA 66

DVD-ROM - 6x [CD-RW BTO]

56k V.90 modem
10/100/1000 BT Ethernet
AirPort built in
Infrared Port
2 USB Port
1 FireWire Port

15.2" TFT Active Matrix Apple Store only
Reviews & Information

Reviews: | Go2Mac | PowerBookCentral | C/Net | O'Reilly |

Additional Info: | Apple | LowEndMac | PowerBookCentral | BareFeats |

 

"Titanium" PowerBook G4/667/667/256k
DVD-ROM

(October 2001)

MSRP: $2,999

133 MHz

256 MB
(1GB Max)

16MB DDR
ATI Mobility Radeon 4x AGP

1 CardBus slot

30GB Ultra ATA 66
(48GB BTO)

DVD-ROM - 6x [CD-RW BTO]

56k V.90 modem
10/100/1000 BT Ethernet
AirPort built in
Infrared Port
2 USB Port
1 FireWire Port

15.2" TFT Active Matrix Small Dog
Reviews & Information

Reviews: | Go2Mac | PowerBookCentral | C/Net | O'Reilly |

Additional Info: | Apple | LowEndMac | PowerBookCentral | BareFeats |

"Titanium" PowerBook G4/550/550/256k
DVD-ROM

(October 2001)

MSRP: $2,199

100 MHz

128 MB
(1GB Max)

16MB DDR
ATI Mobility Radeon 4x AGP

1 CardBus slot

20GB Ultra ATA 66
(30 & 48GB BTO)

DVD-ROM - 6x [CD-RW BTO]

56k V.90 modem
10/100/1000 BT Ethernet
AirPort slot
Infrared Port
2 USB Port
1 FireWire Port

15.2" TFT Active Matrix Small Dog
Reviews & Information

Reviews: | Go2Mac |

Additional Info: | Apple | LowEndMac | PowerBookCentral | BareFeats |

Older PowerBook Specs.
Model/Mhz Bus Speed
(Mhz)
RAM
(MAX)
Graphics Support Expansion
Slots
Hard Drive
Optical Drive
 Connectivity & Communication  Screen Price Information

"Titanium" PowerBook G4/500/250/1MB

(Winter 2001)

100 MHz

256 MB
(1GB Max)

8MB SDRAM

ATI Rage Mobility 128 - 2x AGP

1 CardBus slot

20GB Ultra ATA 66
(30GB BTO)

DVD-ROM

56k V.90 modem
10/100 BT Ethernet
AirPort slot
Infrared Port
2 USB Port
1 FireWire Port

15.2" TFT Active Matrix Small Dog
DealZone
Reviews & Information

| Reader Reviews | Titanium Central | LowEndMac | MacAddict| | Macworld UK | Macworld | MacInTouch | BareFeats | PR Newswire | PowerBook Central | The MacJunkie | Seattle Times | Business Week | Macworld UK | The PowerBook Zone (1) | The PowerBook Zone (2) | c|net MacWeek | Macintouch | PowerBook Zone | Apple | MacNN | SfGate | Mac-Upgrade | Right on Mac | PowerBook Source | PowerBook Source | About.com | MacOpinion | MacDirectory | MacCentral | MacUser UK | MacintoshGuy | LowEndMac | MacCentral | MacProf | BareFeats | TidBits | Macworld UK | MacDiscussion | AppleLust | MacOpinion | LowendMac | LowEndMac | Macworld | Macworld | EveryMac | MacAddict | MacOpinion | | Go2Mac | Macworld | Go2Mac | Go2Mac | ZD/Net | C/Net | PC Magazine | AppleLinks | Orlando Sentinel | Canada Computers | MacObserver | MacOpinion | LowEndMac | Go2Mac | Go2Mac | Macworld | MacJunkie | PowerBookZone | | | | | BusinessWeek | Houston Chronicle | MacJunkie | Macworld | MacOpinion | | IT | CreativePro | PC World | Applelinks | Applelinks | Applelinks | Applelinks | The PowerBook Source | MacOpinion | Applelinks | Applelinks | MacOpinion | MacOpinion | EveryMac | BusinessWeek | FCW | IMG | Macworld | ABCNews | DigitalProducer | BareFeats | IMG |

 

"Titanium" PowerBook G4/400/200/1MB

(Winter 2001)

100 MHz 128 MB
(1GB Max)

8MB SDRAM

ATI Rage Mobility 128 - 2x AGP

1 CardBus slot

10GB Ultra ATA 66
(30GB BTO)

DVD-ROM

56k V.90 modem
10/100 BT Ethernet
AirPort slot
Infrared Port
2 USB Port
1 FireWire Port

15.2" TFT Active Matrix MacSolutions
Small Dog
DealZone
Reviews & Information
Reader Reviews | Titanium Central | LowEndMac | MacAddict | Macworld UK | Macworld | MacInTouch | BareFeats | PR Newswire | PowerBook Central | The MacJunkie | Seattle Times | Business Week | Macworld UK | The PowerBook Zone (1) | The PowerBook Zone (2) | c|net | | Macintouch |PowerBook Zone | Apple | MacNN | SfGate | Mac-Upgrade | Right on Mac | PowerBook Source | PowerBook Source | About.com | MacOpinion | MacDirectory | MacCentral | MacUser UK | MacintoshGuy | LowEndMac | MacCentral MacProf | Macworld UK | TidBits | MacDiscussion | AppleLust | MacOpinion | LowendMac | LowEndMac | Macworld | LowEndMac | LowEndMac | Go2Mac | Macworld | EveryMac | LowEndMac | LowEndMac | MacAddict | MacOpinion | ComputerTimes || LowEndMac | Go2Mac | Go2Mac | Go2Mac || AppleLinks | Orlando Sentinel | Canada Computers | MacObserver | MacOpinion | LowEndMac | Go2Mac | Go2Mac | Macworld | MacJunkie | PowerBookZone | | | | BusinessWeek | Houston Chronicle | MacJunkie | MacOpinion | Go2Mac | Voelker | MacOpinion | MacOpinion | MacOpinion | EveryMac | BusinessWeek | FCW | IMG | Macworld | ABCNews | BareFeats | IMG | MacNETv2 |

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