Charles Moore's Mailbag

Pismo, Lombard, and WallStreet CPU Upgrades; Quiet Hard Drives; Panther Upgrades; and More

Charles Moore - 2004.03.01 - Tip Jar

PowerBook Pismo/Baucom Computers question

From Brian Rumsey

Hi Charles,

I've enjoyed reading your columns on LEM and other places for quite a while. I also did some writing for LEM myself a few years ago.

Recently my father was looking to buy a PowerBook. After reviewing your columns and many other sources, I determined that a Pismo would be a good choice. I had dealt with Baucom Computers a couple years ago and had a good experience with him, so that's who I recommended.

My father's experience has been far from good. It took Baucom quite a while to ship the Pismo. It arrived last week and seems to have a faulty DVD drive, because anytime he inserts a CD, the computer freezes. If he boots with a CD inserted, no freeze occurs, but the CD doesn't mount either. I've read that the DVD drive is a trouble spot in Pismos, so I suspect that the drive in this machine is bad. FYI, it's a Pismo 500 with 256 MB RAM and Mac OS 9.2.2. He has had trouble getting in touch with Baucom.

I have sent you this email for a couple reasons. First, I was wondering if you would agree that the DVD drive has failed?

Second, I was wondering if you have any experience with Baucom Computers? I have seen that you list his prices sometimes. Have any of your other readers reported troubles with him recently? I'm hoping that this situation will still resolve itself well. I will update you again and if there is no good resolution, I hope you might offer a warning to your readers.

Thank you,
Brian Rumsey

Hi Brian,

I agree that it's likely your father's Pismo has one of the bum Pismo DVD drives. There were two OEM suppliers of these drives. One was dependable and the other wasn't. It's a bit of a crap-shoot.

As for Baucom, I've purchased some items from them and found David good to deal with. He can be a bit slow to answer emails (I suspect that he has a day job), but he's ethical. He replaced a used PowerBook battery I purchased that turned out to be no good.

Charles

Editor's note: As we post this article, the Baucom website in unavailable.

'Book Upgrades - Good Article

From Tom Meade

Thanks for the info [WallStreet and Pismo Processor Upgrades: Do They Make Economic Sense?], Charles.

Are you saving the Lombard for another time or are there no upgrades to speak of?

Thanks very much.

Tom Meade

PowerBook Lombard G3 Question

From Christopher

I recently purchased a Lombard (333mhz, 384mb) for $300.

I already have a 1ghz TiBook, which is my main machine, but I've already had to send it off for warranty repairs twice. I was lucky enough to borrow a spare iBook from a friend while that machine was out for repairs, but he has since sold that machine.

I didn't want to be caught without a 'Book, so I got a great deal on the Lombard and added an Orange Micro OrangeLink FireWire card to it. I wiped the drive and installed OS X 10.3.2 on it and am rather pleased with it's performance for basic tasks like word processing, Web surfing, etc.. (Itt takes forever to boot, but after that it's really quite peppy.)

However, the main thing I use my PowerBook for is music production, which a 333mhz G3 ia just not up to. The upgradability of the PowerBook G3 Pismo and WallStreet has been a frequent topic in your columns, so I was wondering if there are any processor upgrades available for my Lombard.

Thanks!

Christopher

Hi Tom and Christopher,

There are no Lombard upgrades available that I'm aware of. PowerLogix has discontinued theirs.

However, Gary Dailey of Daystar says he is considering the possibility of offering a Lombard upgrade.

Charles

Two PowerBook Hard Drives

From Angie

Hello, Sir Charles.

I need to upgrade both my Lombard and WallStreet HDD's. I want "whisper quiet" with capacities of preferably 60+ gigs. Of course, reliability is always an important aspect when buying hdd's, but I also consider dBA levels to be extremely important - especially on my PowerBook. For me, GBs and RPMs take a backseat. With that being said....

Most of the in-depth reviews I have found are for desktop drives. The few current reviews I read concerning laptop drives have conflicting information. To complicate matters, I've heard that the numbers published by some manufacturers are not always accurate or reliable.

The brands I've considered are Hitachi (TravelStar w/fluid dynamic bearings), Fujitsu, Seagate, and Toshiba. I know Seagate is known for their quiet line of Barracudas, but I've not heard much about the 2.5" Momentus.

Can you make any recommendations or give an opinion on which drive is considered the quietest? (It need not be from the four mentioned above.)

Thanks for your time!
Angie

Hi Angie,

Bearings are the bigest factor in hard drive noise. My frame of reference is limited to my own computers and those of relatives and friends, and it's difficult to generalize.

Those Hitachi fluid dynamic bearings have a reputation for quiet running. I have no experience at all with Seagate laptop drives.

Quiet performance when a drive is new is also no guarantee it will stay that way. The Toshiba drive I put in my WallStreet was whisper quiet when new, but it gradually bacame cacophonous over the first year of use. OTOH, the OEM Toshiba drive in my Pismo is still delightfully quiet after nearly 3-1/2 years of use.

I've found that Fujitsu drives tend to get noisy, but that is an anecdotal observation.

Probably the Hitachi (or Seagate?) drives are a good bet.

Charles

PowerBook Upgrades, Bootleg and Otherwise

From Vernon Woolsey

Greetings,

Where you ever able to upgrade your series II (512k cache) 233 WallStreet daughtercard with a 292 or other, say iMac processor? So far my series II 233 'Book has handled all I could throw at it until X.

I'd appreciate any additional experiences and resources on economical processor upgrades.

Regards,
Vernon Woolsey

Hi Vernon,

I replaced my WallStreet's processor, which failed, but with another 233 MHz/512k unit. I'm still running only OS 9 on that machine.

I don't think any iMac processor would work. Probably a 266 MHz or 300 MHz would. There might be issues with the 250 MHz or 292 MHz due to the system bus disparity.

Another option worth checking out is the 500 MHz Allegro WallStreet upgrade offered by Wegener Media for $239.99.

Charles

Panther Upgrade

From Fluffy Monkey Ear

Hi.

I was wondering how you feel about the upgrades rather than the full install. I have the full version of Jaguar and would like to get Panthe.. Would it be OK to get the upgrade disks, or should I go with the full install?

Thanx

Hi FME,

Same disks whether you opt to upgrade your Jaguar installation or go with a clean install. I did the former with my iBook and the latter with my Pismo. Worked fine either way.

Charles

Color Classic Help

From Alvin

Hi, thank you for your time. I have a CC I want to revive, but I need to have its ROM and do emulation on a PC to create the installers and disk tools. I really need your help, and if you happen to have a CC and use CopyROM, please send the ROM via email so I can revive this CC. In all honesty I really do have a CC, this is the serial no SG344380C2C.

Hoping for your kind consideration.

God bless,
Alvin Chan
Philippines

Hi Alvin,

Sorry, but I've never had a Color Classic. Perhaps someone in readerland can help.

Charles

Editor's note: The motherboard in the Color Classic simply slides out and can easily be replaced by a CC, Colour Classic II, Performa/LC 550, or Performa/LC 575 motherboard, which would eliminate the problem of cloning the ROM. The CC II and 550 motherboards offer twice the MHz speed and a higher RAM ceiling than the stock Color Classic. The 575 board gives you a 33 MHz '040 CPU with over twice the power of the CC II and 550 motherboards.

Probably the best online resources for modifying the Color Classic are The Macintosh Colo(u)r Classic FAQ and the Colo(u)r Classic Forum, which is moderated by Stuart Bell.


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Charles Moore has been a freelance journalist since 1987 and began writing for Mac websites in May 1998. His The Road Warrior column was a regular feature on MacOpinion, he is news editor at Applelinks.com and a columnist at MacPrices.net. If you find his articles helpful, please consider making a donation to his tip jar.

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