The 'Book Review

Tiger on an iBook, PowerBook Wish List, Higher Capacity Battery for 12" PowerBook G4, Fastest Laptop Drive Ever, and More

This Week's PowerBook and iBook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2005.05.13

This Week's PowerBook, iBook, and Notebook News

General Apple and Mac desktop news is covered in The Mac News Review. iPod news is covered in The iNews Review.

Tiger Talk

News & Opinion

Reviews

New Products

Tech Trends

Bargain 'Books

Tiger Talk

Upgrading an iBook to Tiger

A. P. Lawrence says:

"I upgraded my Mac iBook last night. Although it is up and running now, the upgrade was difficult and problematical.

"First, I didn't like that there is insufficient feedback as to what is happening. Several times during the "Install" phase, and especially at the very beginning of it, I thought the machine was frozen. Only by putting my ear to the keyboard could I tell that the upgrade to Tiger was proceeding,"

PowerLogix G3 and G4 Upgrades Are Tiger-friendly

PR: Anyone who already owns or is planning to purchase a PowerLogix G3 or G4 upgrade will not have to worry whether it is compatible with Apple Computer's latest operating system OS X Tiger. The answer is an emphatic yes.

Other World Computing (OWC) is happy to offer completely Tiger-friendly PowerLogix upgrades via its website.

"We don't want people to worry that if they are using a PowerLogix processor they can't upgrade to Tiger, because they can," said Larry O'Connor, president of OWC. "PowerLogix processors, whether already installed or being considered, will not only work with but enhance the performance of Apple's latest operating system."

PowerLogix's G4 upgrades are available in speeds of 1 Gigahertz (GHz) to Dual G4/1.8 GHz and priced as low as $179. Upgrades are compatible with PowerMac G4 AGP Graphics (a.k.a. Sawtooth), Gigabit Ethernet, Digital Audio, Quicksilver and Cube Apple models.

PowerLogix's G3 ZIF upgrades are available in speeds of 1 GHz and 1.1 GHz with 1 MB 1:1 L2 Cache from $229, and are compatible with PowerMac G3 Beige, G3 Blue&White and G4 'Yikes' PCI Apple models.

A PowerLogix Pismo G3/900 MHz Upgrade with 1 MB 1:1 L2 Cache is offered for $349.

Cache enabling software is required for ZIF, Pismo, Lombard, Wallstreet and PCI upgrades and is available free of charge at <http://www.macsales.com/PLTIGER>

News & Opinion

PowerPage's PowerBook Wish List

PowerPage's Jason D O'Grady says:

"We're having so much fun with our iPod and iTunes Wishlist features that the next logical progression is PowerBooks. This article discusses some of features we'd like to see in the next PowerBook."

Items on Jason's list that particularly resonate with me are:

  • Upgradeable processor or board
  • More sturdy and smoother opening hinges
  • Page up and down keys
  • Easier access hard drive for replacement or upgrade

OWC SuperDrive Upgrade for PB G4 Now Retrospect-certified

PR: Other World Computing (OWC)'s Mercury SuperDrives not only are fast but are Dantz/EMC-certified and supported for Dantz Retrospect backup.

"These drives read and write fast, and our customers can have every confidence that their most critical audio, video, data - and now backup - needs can be handled with this Retrospect certification," said Larry O'Connor, president of OWC.

The OWC Mercury PBG4 internal SuperDrive offers burn speeds of up to 8x DVD, 2.4x DVD Dual Layer and 24X CD. And, with the Dantz certification, consumers can be confident it will be 100 percent compatible with Dantz software and supported for burning music, data and video with nearly any Apple/Mac DVD or CD authoring application.

For PowerBook G4 Titanium models that shipped with a CD-RW or better, and any PowerBook G4 12", 15", or 17" aluminum model, bundles are available that include the drive, Dantz Retrospect, NTI Dragonburn and 10 pieces of 8X DVD media for $169.95.

"People are busy. They don't want to wait hours for the latest family movie to burn," O'Connor said. "This latest Mercury PBG4 DVD- and CD-burner replaces the stock drive to burn fast without requiring anything extra to carry around."

OWC sells a full line of internal and external SuperDrive solutions for most Mac models, offering a top speed for DVD burning of up to 16X, from $69.99. The drives can be used with Apple iApps, Roxio Toast, as well as most any other burning application.

Reviews

NuPower High Capacity Battery for 12" PowerBook Reviewed

PowerBook Zone's Simon Helton says:

"When I heard that Newer Technology had created a replacement battery for the 12" PowerBook, to be sold through Other World Computing, I was excited at the possibility of longer battery life. While iBook and PowerBook battery life is definitely above average, there's always room for improvement, and being able to go longer between charges for only a few dollars more than Apple's battery sounded tempting. OWC was generous enough to send over a battery for me to try out, and after using it for a couple weeks now, I've given it about as thorough a test as can be done without comparing how it ages over several years to the Apple-brand battery."

New Products

LapCop 3.0 Helps Recover Your Stolen Mac

PR: To help recover your iBook or PowerBook in case it gets stolen, we have developed LapCop. LapCop is an innovative security application that sends an alert mail in case your Mac is stolen, allowing you to recover it.

System requirements:

  • Mac OS X 10.4
  • Tiger compatible

LapCop sells for $25.

Xbrand Adjustable Height Laptop Stand with 360° Rotation

Xbrand Adjustable Height Laptop StandPR: You will be surprised by the remarkable increase in comfort when you raise your display and bring it closer to your eyes with the Xbrand Laptop Stand. You will also improve the cooling of your computer and benefit from a more comfortable and productive keyboard and mouse. This easily-adjustable laptop stand offers four height/tilt positions so every user can configure it to reduce the head, neck, and back strain commonly associated with laptop computer use.

In the lowest position, the laptop retainer ledge folds down if you need to access a CD or diskette drive on the front edge of your laptop. It even rotates 360° on hidden rollers for multi-user viewing. Requires an external keyboard and mouse (not included). The USB model serves as an integrated port replicator by providing four very accessible USB 2.0 high-speed ports.

Laptop Stand Applications

In your home office:

Admit it. Your home office is a little cluttered, and doesn't seem quite big enough for you to work with your laptop and your papers and bills. Take back wasted space with a premium Xbrand Adjustable Height Laptop Standlaptop stand from Kinesis!. The small footprint Xbrand Laptop Stand gives you back space that you sorely need, especially if you get a tiny MiniType keyboard and wireless mouse. Or make even more room and increase your comfort and productivity by getting an ergonomic keyboard and an adjustable keyboard tray.

If you often travel and take your laptop with you, consider getting the Kinesis NoteStand laptop stand. It is very thin, very light, and very elegant. And it also does a great job of elevating the screen and bringing it closer to your eyes, as well as keeping your laptop cool and protecting it from those dreaded liquid spills.

For your kitchen laptop:

If you are like many computer users, you have a laptop in or near the kitchen and sometimes it ends up on the counter for checking email or recipes. Have you spilled anything on it yet? This is a great place to use a laptop stand. If you are going to spill something, do it on your separate keyboard or mouse, not directly on your expensive laptop! If you are just browsing and not typing, you won't even need a separate keyboard, but you may want to get one of our wireless mice.

At work and on the road:

If you are one of those many people who now use a laptop at work as your primary computer, you definitely need a laptop stand. The USB model of the Xbrand Laptop Stand is an ideal choice for comfort, productivity, and flexibility. You may also want to consider our affordable generic port replicator or one of our wireless mice.

If you need to travel with your laptop and only have the budget for one laptop stand, by all means get the NoteStand. It does a great job in the office, but due to its thinness and light weight, it really shines when you are traveling and need a laptop stand in your hotel room or off-site office.

Laptop Stand Features:

  • Dynamically raises laptop display while converting system into a complete desktop replacement.
  • One Touch Height Adjustment: A simple touch of the actuator button raises or lowers your laptop display to the optimum viewing position - 4 positions in all.
  • 360° Swivel: Swivel your laptop to share documents, web sites, spreadsheets, presentations, movies, all your information and great ideas. It's also a great way to quickly access your computer's rear facing ports and side loading drives.
  • Promotes Laptop Cooling: Laptops are hot, but this Laptop Stand is definitely cool. Designed to promote increased airflow and convection cooling it can improve your laptop's performance, battery life and even it's longevity.
  • Integrated 4-port USB 2.0 Hub (AC120LC-USB only): Let's you swiftly and simply connect and disconnect external peripherals with a single high speed cable connection.
  • Grab and Go Contoured Sides: Sculpted for computing on the go, contoured sides let you to quickly and firmly grasp your laptop while removing it from and returning it to the Stand.
  • Folding Retainer: The simple slide of a switch lowers the Folding Retainer to allow easy access to front loading drives, battery bays or function buttons.
  • Non Slip, Non Skid Contact Surface: Rubber pads grab your laptop at the corners to hold it firmly in place.

The Laptop Stand is physically compatible with all laptops.

The USB hub is compatible with Windows 98SE, ME, 2000, XP, and Mac OS 9.0 or higher.

  • Laptop Stand - AC120LC: $69.99
  • Laptop Stand with 4 Port USB Hub - AC120LC-USB: $119.99

XT-Stand Folding Laptop Stand

PR: The XT-Stand is extremely lightweight with a flexible design that accommodates 12" to 19" notebooks - and yet it is the smallest adjustable notebook folding stand on the market.

The XT-Stand's 4-point support design increases the angle between your laptop and desk. This space allows the CPU to dissipate heat easily, thus saving power. This is a fundamental solution for preventing laptop overheating.

The stand is constructed of high quality stainless steel with a titanium alloy coating and uses rubber pads on the feet to reduce slippage.

The rear of the laptop is raised so that the screen of the laptop is more aligned with the human eye. This eliminates reflection and minimizes eye strain.

Price: $59.95 (Shipping and applicable taxes extra)

Tech Trends

Hitachi Boosts Notebook Drive Performance to Desktop Replacement Level

PR: Hitachi Global Storage Technologies has set a new notebook performance record, announcing today worldwide availability of the fastest 2.5" hard drive for mobile applications. The 7200 RPM Travelstar 7K100 is first to market with desktop-class performance on a 2.5" hard drive for notebook systems such as Dell's Inspiron XPS Gen 2 system.

With 100 gigabytes(2) of storage capacity, the Travelstar 7K100 is bigger, faster, and stronger than its award-winning predecessor, creating an industrial-strength notebook hard drive. Hitachi's second-generation 7200 RPM 2.5" product offers a 67% storage-capacity increase and a 33% performance improvement (sustained data transfer rate) over the previous generation. In addition, a 50% improvement in operating shock tolerance gives users greater system reliability and data integrity. Within its class, the 7K100 features industry-leading 300 Gs and 1000 Gs operating and nonoperating shock specifications, respectively.

"Hitachi created the 7200 RPM notebook hard drive segment in 2003 to give mobile users a performance rush; based on strong demand, we are now bringing an even more powerful product to the market," said Bill Healy, senior vice president, product strategy and marketing, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies. "We've learned much about the 7200 RPM notebook hard drives over the past several years and have applied that experience to create the quintessential performance product."

Users of notebook systems that employ the Travelstar 7K100 as the leading-edge storage component will experience a marked performance improvement in a variety of computing activities: Windows XP startup, application loading, copying files and general HDD usage (playing an MP3 file, viewing pictures, browsing the Internet, etc.). Hitachi's benchmark testing of the 7K100 during these activities shows a 25% faster performance over the fastest competitive 2.5" 5400 RPM drive on the market (comparisons were made to 5400 RPM drives as no competitive 7200 RPM 2.5" drives were available for testing at time of announcement).

The heightened level of performance, higher capacity and ruggedness on the 7K100 are intended to give greater mobility to power users who have traditionally looked to desktop systems for premium functionality. These include PC gamers, graphic arts designers, digital video editors, computer-aided-design engineers, as well as general users who demand the latest and best that notebook technology has to offer.

The Travelstar 7K100 significantly outperforms competitive notebook hard drives as well as some 3.5" desktop drives. In fact, Hitachi benchmark testings have shown as much as a 7-percent faster performance rate when compared against 7200 RPM desktop drives with a 2-megabyte cache.

"The leadership attributes that define the Travelstar 7K100 are indicative of the deep R&D resources we apply to our entire 2.5" hard drive product line," Healy added.

As the architect for the performance-focused 7200 RPM 2.5" hard drive segment, Hitachi has been working to grow the market and seed acceptance among users. Since mid-2003 when the category was launched, Hitachi has seen a notable shift toward higher-performing notebook systems due to a growing sophistication in the user base and to the aggressive movement to wireless computing. In response, Hitachi is actively planning to support this growth trend and expects to significantly expand its production of 7200 RPM 2.5" drives by the end of 2005.

"Notebook computer manufacturers are sensitive to the growing demand for more disk drive performance and capacity, and the Hitachi 7K100 responds to that demand," said John Donovan, vice president, TrendFOCUS. "While the 7200 RPM segment for notebooks is still a relatively small one, Hitachi's continued technology advancements will do much to accelerate the growth of this category."

To provide a broader set of options for customers, Hitachi has increased the number of capacity points in its 7200 RPM offering to 60, 80 and 100 GB. The Travelstar 7K100 PATA model is now shipping to customers worldwide in all capacities. Hitachi will also deliver a SATA version with 1.5 Gbits/second interface transfer rate in July. In addition, an enhanced availability (E7K100) model, offering 24x7 availability for blade server applications, will follow later this summer. All Travelstar 7K100 models are ROHS compliant.

Hitachi, Fujitsu Tout 100 GB Notebook Drives

IDG News Service's Martyn Williams reports:

"Hitachi Global Storage Technologies and Fujitsu have both begun shipping new notebook hard drives that offer more storage capacity and better performance over previous models, they said this week.

"Both drives, Hitachi's Travelstar 7K100 series and Fujitsu's MHV2100BH, are 2.5-inch types and are available with a maximum capacity of 100GB."

Widescreen Notebooks to Become Mainstream in 2006

DigiTimes.com's David Tzeng and Rodney Chan report:

"With brand-name PC vendors increasing their orders for widescreen notebooks, the segment is set to dominate the market by the first half of next year, according to sources with notebook makers in Taiwan.

"Widescreen models may account for 80-90% of the notebook market in the first half of 2006, up from 30-40% at present, the sources said.

"Dell, Hewlett Packard (HP), Acer, Apple and Asustek are increasing the proportion of widescreen models in their notebook lineups for 2006, the sources said....

"Widescreen notebook-use panels will become cheaper than standard-size panels by the first quarter of 2006, according to the panel makers."

Notebook Computer Battery Relatively Universal

Knight Ridder Newspapers Craig Crossman reports:

"Backing up has become a way of life these days. We back up the contents of our computer's hard drives (you do back it up, don't you?). A UPS (uninterruptible power supply) keeps us going in case of a power outage. We archive our digital photos to CD and DVD, and we might even print out an important document just in case the word processor goes on the blink.

"But when it comes to backup power for a notebook computer, too many of us still rely on having an AC power source available if we need it....

"If you find yourself playing notebook roulette, the answer might lie in a new battery that works on most any notebook computer."

Bargain 'Books

Bargain 'Books are used unless otherwise indicated. New and refurbished units have a one-year Apple warranty and are eligible for AppleCare.

There are two different versions of WallStreet running at 233 MHz, the cacheless MainStreet version and the later Series II with a level 2 cache. It's not always possible to determine from the vendor's listing which is being offered, so we've included links within this paragraph to the two models. The same goes for the PowerBook G4/667 (VGA) and G4/667 (DVI), the titanium vs. aluminum 15" PowerBook G4 at 1 GHz, and 1.25 GHz to 1.5 GHz 15" PowerBooks.

Wegener Media

  • iBook 300, 96/6/CD-ROM, blueberry/tangerine, $279.99
  • Order with AirPort Card installed, add $89.99
  • Upgrade to 320 MB RAM, add $39.50

TechRestore

PowerBook Guy

Small Dog Electronics

  • new 12" iBook G4/1 GHz, 256/40/CD-ROM, AirPort Extreme, $849
  • new 12" PowerBook G4/1.33 GHz, 256/60/SuperDrive, Bluetooth, AirPort Extreme, PC2700 SO DIMM 256 MB DDR 333, Airport Express Base Station, Kensington Pocketmouse Bluetooth, $1,599

Apple Store

For more deals on current or recently discontinued models, see our Best PowerBook G4 Deals, Best iBook G4 Deals, Best PowerBook G3 Deals, and Best iBook G3 Deals.

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