New Powerbooks Today

2 minute read

After a little hiatus this weekend, I’m back. So is Apple with exciting news. They’ve updated their Powerbook line of computers. Don’t get too excited though, they’re still G4s. However, it’s a nice solid revision. The bus speed is the same, but there’s a whole host of new statistics.

For the 17″:

  • 1.67 GHz G4
  • 512 MB RAM
  • 100 GB hard drive
  • 8x SuperDrive
  • ATI Mobility Radeon 9700 (128 MB) dual-link DVI
  • $2,699

For the 15″:

  • 1.67 or 1.5 GHz G4
  • 512 MB RAM
  • 80 GB hard drive
  • 8X SuperDrive or Combo drive
  • ATI Mobility Radeon 9700 (64 MB)
  • $2,299 or $1,999 respectively

Finally, the 12″:

  • 1.5 GHz G4
  • 512 MB RAM
  • 60 or 80 GB hard drive
  • 8X SuperDrive or Combo drive
  • Nvidia GeForce FX GO 5200 (64 MB)
  • $1,699 or $1,499 respectively

More detailed stats are available at Apple’s website as always.

With the only real change being a price drop and a little faster CPU from the former model, I can still be proud of the 1.33 GHz G4 Powerbook I type this on. But what about the increased RAM? Why did I ignore that in comparing to my Powerbook?

It’s worthy to note all the Powerbooks come with at least 512 MB of RAM. This is a good thing. However, I still can’t take that into effect. Little publicized as of yet is the fact that the 12″ still has a single accessible slot and the soldered RAM is still only 256 MB. That means your single slot is taken up with a fairly puny 256 MB stick no matter what. Should you choose to upgrade the RAM on your own (for example, by putting in a 1 GB stick), that stick becomes completely useless. That’s a rather big waste.

However, the addition of Bluetooth 2.0 bodes well for these new Powerbooks and opens the way for all kinds of new peripherals. Only time will tell what they will be.

Update: Some clarification of my comments regarding the RAM have been requested. When you upgrade the RAM on a Powerbook 12″, you have to put whatever you buy into the one accessible slot. The standard configuration currently places a 256 MB stick into that slot by default. You must remove it to insert the new RAM. The new amount of RAM (256 MB plus whatever the size of the stick you choose) will definitely be useful. However, that 256 MB you removed is now destined for a shelf, or maybe if you’re enterprising, eBay. In my case, my Powerbook came with only the soldered 256 MB of RAM. I bought a 1 GB stick and brought the machine up to 1.25 GB. Now, if I were to get one of today’s Powerbook 12″ models, it would come with 512 MB of RAM. I’d have to remove 256 MB in order to add the 1 GB and still end up with only 1.25 GB of RAM and a stick that I essentially couldn’t do anything with. It would have been far better if Apple had made the soldered amount 512 MB and left the only slot free. However, more starting RAM is a step in the right direction and they should be commended for at least that.