The 'Book Review

Leopard 'Book Compatability, Gold Plated MacBook Pro, Wegener's 550 MHz G4 Pismo Upgrade, and More

This Week's Mac Notebook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2007.10.26

This Week's MacBook, PowerBook, and iBook News

The big news this week is Leopard, which began reaching customers on Thursday. Lots of OS X 10.5 coverage in this week's Mac News Review. On the notebook front, it's been a bit slow, but we have info on which 'Books are compatible and what to expect, a gold plated MacBook Pro, the value of the 17" PowerBook, Wegener's 550 MHz G4 Pismo upgrade, and a guide to antique and collectable 'Books.

All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

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

Bargain 'Books

Leopard and Apple Portables: What Will Work, What Will Not, and What to Expect

PB Central"Apple officially announced yesterday that Mac OS X Leopard will be released on Friday, October 26. Over the years, I've usually been content to hold off on upgrading to new releases of the Mac OS, especially major version upgrades, to see how the dust settles, so to speak but this time I'm going to have trouble waiting very long.

"The biggest apprehension I have is about Leopard's overhead demands on my not exactly cutting-edge hardware - my current newest Mac being a 1.33 GHz PowerBook G4 - a model introduced just over four years ago. Some users of beta versions of Leopard are reporting that it's the fastest version of OS X yet, which is encouraging, but I imagine they are running the OS on Macintel hardware with ample video support, and I presume that there's a good reason why Apple has set the official Leopard support threshold at an 867 MHz G4 (check out Leopard's system requirements in detail in the Appendix at the end of this article). Happily, my 1.33 GHz machine is comfortably above that, but I'm still wondering how lively Leopard is going to be on any G4 unit. Also, Leopard's DVD Player feature requires a 1.6 GHz processor or faster for improved de-interlacing, and iChat: Photo Booth and backdrop effects all require an Intel Core Duo or faster processor, while Developer tools require at least 1 GB of memory and an additional 3 GB of available disk space (at least I'm covered on that last one), so support for all but the very fastest of the G4 PowerBooks is qualified by several exclusions."

The Campest MacBook Pro in the Universe

Register Hardware's Tony Smith reports:

"Money no object? Then how about a 24-carat gold-plated MacBook Pro for your next laptop computer? US Mac dealer Power Max has begun offering just that."

gold plated MacBook Pro

The 17" PowerBook as a Budget 'Book Alternative

MacOpinion"Lately. I've been recommending the 12" aluminum PowerBook as a best buy in a low-end Apple laptop with enough muscle to still serve as a production workhorse computer. Prices for used 12-inchers have dropped into the $500 - $800 range depending upon model and condition, which makes these machines a relative bargain, and they are still of course the only reasonably contemporary alternative in a subnotebook Mac. If the projected 867 MHz G4 threshold holds for official OS 10.5 Leopard support, all 12' PowerBooks will be included (just), which helps make this unit an ideal low-budget portable.

"However, if you have a few more dollars to spend, and or are less interested in light weight and compact dimensions for easy carrying as opposed to desktop substitute priorities, the larger aluminum PowerBooks are worthy of consideration too. Prices for some 15" models and lately even the early revision big 17" PowerBooks have now dropped well below $1,000, making them an attractive option as well for the budget-minded notebook user."

Wegener Media G4/550 MHz Upgrade for Pismo Reviewed

PB Central"The Pismo PowerBook, now closing in on eight years since its introduction at Macworld Expo Tokyo in March, 2000, has enjoyed an exceptionally long useful service life thanks to its superb engineering, reasonably rugged construction, and the availability of G4 processor upgrades of up to 550 MHz. The Pismo is probably my favorite PowerBook model ever. I have two of them, both upgraded to 550 MHz G4, with SuperDrive DVD-burning expansion bay modules and larger capacity hard drives.

"While the clock speed of these 550 MHz upgrades is not dramatically greater than the stock 400 MHz and 500 MHz Power PC 750 G3 processors that the Pismos shipped with, the modest boost is welcome and the real news is the G4's AltiVec vector engine and 1 MB of fast 250 MHz L2 caching, which combine to provide a nice performance boost, especially when using AltiVec-optimized programs like Photoshop, plus support for applications that require a G4 as a minimum processing requirement.

"Several vendors sell 550 MHz G4 Pismo processor upgrades, including Daystar, FastMac and Wegener Media, whose product is the subject of this review.

"Wegeners' Pismo upgrade is the least expensive one available at $199.00 + an $80.00 core deposit which will be refunded when you return your old processor card."

The Compleat Buyer's and User's Guide to Antique and Collectable Mac Notebooks

MacOpinionBack in the spring I posted my 2007 "Compleat Guides" to Low End and High End Apple notebooks on Mac Opinion's The Road Warrior. Determining the cutoff threshold between high end and low end is always shooting at a moving target, and especially with the proliferation of iBook and more recently MacBook models, the ranks of mid to even high performance sub -$1,000 low-end machines have swollen substantially, with the early to middle aluminum PowerBooks and refurbished MacBooks currently spanning the threshold.

With the base, 2.0 GHz MacBook selling for $1,099, and handily outperforming all Power PC Mac portables save you can buy a brand new, very powerful 'Book, for not that much above our arbitrary $1,000 "low end" mark, and then there are a bunch of Apple Certified Refurbished MacBooks selling for well-under $1,000. This is one of the biggest changes since the original Compleat Guides were first published in 1999, at which time the cheapest new PowerBook you could buy was the 233 MHz WallStreet LE for $2,195.

I thought about dropping the borderline between low end and high end to $800 for these editions, but I decided to stick with a threshold of $1,000 for continuity, and because it is a nice, round number. Instead, I introduced a third category: "Antique and Collectable Macintosh Laptops." These are Apple portables that are no longer up to snuff as work machines, and with the release of OS 10.5 Leopard their ranks are about to swell substantially

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.

PowerBook, iBook, and MacBook profiles linked in our Portable Mac Index.

Apple Store

Pretty slim pickings in 15" MacBook Pros this week - just the $2,199 2.4 GHz model available, but the $849 1.83 GHz MacBook Core 2 Duo is back. cm

  • refurb 1.83 GHz Core 2 MacBook, white, 512/60/Combo, $849
  • refurb 2.0 GHz Core 2 MacBook, white, 1 GB/80/Combo, $949
  • refurb 2.16 GHz Core 2 MacBook, white, 1 GB/120/SD, $1,099
  • refurb 2.16 GHz Core 2 MacBook, lack, 1 GB/160/SD, $1,299
  • refurb 15" 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, $2,199
  • refurb 17" 2.16 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/120/SD, $1,999
  • refurb 17" 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, $2,399
  • refurb 17" hi-res 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, $2,599

TechRestore

TechRestore is offering a $25 discount to 'Book Review readers off any PowerBook or iBook in stock. Just enter the code CWM during checkout when ordering online. The coupon code is valid from now through 2007.12.31.

  • 12" PowerBook G4/867, 256/40/Combo, $529.99 less $25 = $504.99
  • 15" PowerBook G4/400, 256/20/Combo, $549.99 less $25 = $524.99
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 512/80/Combo, $849.99 less $25 = $824.99
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 512/80/SD, $979.99 less $25 = $954.99
  • 15" 1.83 GHz Core Duo MacBook Pro, 512/80/SD, $1,199.99 less $25 = $1,174.99
  • 15" 2.0 GHz Core Duo MacBook Pro, 1 GB/80/SD, $1,299.99 less $25 = $1,274.99
  • 15" 2.0 GHz Core Duo MacBook Pro, 1 GB/100/SD, $1,349.99 less $25 = $1,324.99
  • 15" 2.16 GHz Core Duo MacBook Pro, 2 GB/100/SD, $1,399.99 less $25 = $1,374.99
  • 17" PowerBook G4/1 GHz, 512/60/SD, APX, $999.99 less $25 = $974.99

Wegener Media - 12" iBook G3 - 14" WallStreet - 15" MacBook Pro - 17" MacBook Pro

  • 12" iBook G3/500, 128/10/CD, $169.99
  • 12" iBook G3/600, 128/15/CD, $249.99
  • 12" iBook G3/700, 128/20/Combo, $329.99
  • 12" iBook G3/800, 128/30/CD, $299.99
  • WallStreet PowerBook G3/233, 128/2/floppy, $99.99
  • WallStreet PowerBook G3/233, 128/2/CD, $119.99
  • WallStreet PowerBook G3/266, 288/2/CD, $159.99
  • 15" 1.83 GHz MacBook Pro, 512/80/SD, $1,179.99
  • 15" 2.0 GHz MacBook Pro, 512/80/SD, $1,239.99
  • 15" 2.0 GHz MacBook Pro, 1 G/100/SD, $1,299.99
  • 17" 2.16 GHz MacBook Pro, 1/100/SD, $1,629.99
  • 17" 2.16 GHz MacBook Pro, 1/120/SD, $1,689.99
  • 17" 2.16 GHz MacBook Pro, 1/160/SD, $1,729.99
  • 17" 2.16 GHz MacBook Pro, 1/250/SD, $1,829.99

Power Max

$75 RAM rebate, free shipping, and free MP3 sunglasses.

  • open box 2.0 GHz Core 2 MacBook, white, 1 GB/80/Combo, $1,029
  • open box 2.16 GHz Core 2 MacBook, black, 1 GB/160/SD, warranty started, AppleCare eligible, $1,419
  • open box 2.16 GHz Core 2 MacBook, black, 1 GB/160/SD, $1,449
  • open box 2.0 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 512/80/SD, warranty started, AppleCare eligible, $1,539
  • open box 15" 2.16 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 1 GB/120/SD, warranty started, $1,699
  • open box 15" 2.2 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/120/SD, $1,949
  • open box 15" 2.2 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, $2,029
  • open box 15" 2.33 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/120/SD, $2,149
  • open box 17" 2.33 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, $2,549
  • new 17" 2.33 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, $2,688
  • open box 17" 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, $2,749
  • open box 17" 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, warranty started, $2699

ExperCom

  • 12" iBook G3/700, 128/20/CD, AP, small crack, $249
  • 14" iBook G4/933 MHz, 128/40/Combo, APX, $499
  • 14" iBook G4/1 GHz, 128/60/SD, $579
  • 15" PowerBook G4/500, 128/20/Combo, Scratch/Dent, $299
  • 15" PowerBook G4/550, 128/30/Combo, $349
  • 15" PowerBook G4/667, 512/30/SD, AP, $549
  • 15" PowerBook G4/867, 1 GB/60/Combo, $499
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1 GHz, 256/60/SD, AP, $599
  • 17" PowerBook G4/1 GHz, 1 GB/60/SD, $799
  • 17" PowerBook G4/1.33 GHz, 512/80/SD, scratched, $849
  • 17" PowerBook G4/1.33 GHz, 512/80/SD, small dent, $899
  • 17" PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 512/80/SD, $1,049

Baucom Computers

  • 12" iBook G3/700, 256/20/Combo, $299
  • 12" iBook G3/700, 384/20/Combo, $309
  • Add AirPort for $69
  • 12" iBook G4/1.0 GHz, 512/30/Combo, $475
  • 12" iBook G4/1.0 GHz, 512/30/Combo, AirPort, $509
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.25 GHz, 512/60/Combo, $595
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.25 GHz, 512/60/SD, $675
  • Add AirPort for $69
  •  

PowerBook Guy

  • 12" iBook G3/500, 128/10/CD, $199.95
  • 12" iBook G3/500, 256/20/CD-RW, $239.95
  • 12" iBook G3/600, 128/20/CD, $219.95
  • 12" iBook G3/700, 256/20/Combo, $349.95
  • 12" iBook G3/800, 256/30/CD, $259.95
  • 12" iBook G4/1 GHz, 512/30/Combo Drive, $479.95
  • Pismo PowerBook G3/400, 192/6/Zip, $279.95
  • 14" iBook G4/1 GHz, 512/40/Combo, $529.95
  • 15" PowerBook G4/500, 256/20/DVD, $449.95
  • 15" PowerBook G4/800, 256/40/Combo, $599.95
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 512/80/SD, APX, BT, $949.95

For more deals on current or recently discontinued models, see our MacBook deals, 15" MacBook Pro deals, 17" MacBook Pro deals, 12" PowerBook G4 deals, 15" and 17" PowerBook G4 deals, titanium PowerBook G4 deals, iBook G4 deals, PowerBook G3 deals, and iBook G3 deals.

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