The 'Book Review

Laptop Sales Growth, Future of the iBook, Pismo G4 Upgrade, CompuShell Protection, and More

This Week's PowerBook and iBook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2003.08.22

Except as noted, prices are in US dollars.

Dollar Value of Laptop Sales Edges Past Desktops for the First Time

The Washington Post's Mike Musgrove reports:

"In May, for the first time, the dollar value of laptop sales nudged past that of desktop computer sales - and it doesn't look to stop growing anytime soon. These signs of life in an otherwise sluggish market have manufacturers excited enough to show some signs of life of their own. While desktops haven't changed much over the past year, except for sporting lower price tags, this year's laptops look and work a lot differently than last year's...

"While nobody complains about laptops that run for too long on batteries, the most popular laptops right now are 'desktop replacements,' deskbound machines that use power-hungry chips originally designed for desktops....

"Heavier laptops allow for bigger screens, and sometimes wider ones as well. Though 14-inch screens were the dominant size for years, 15-inch screens became the norm this year. Then Apple broke a size barrier in the spring by introducing a 17-inch display - bigger than many desktop PC monitors."

Will the Next iBook Have a 200 MHz System Bus?

IBM has released an Application Note entitled Toward a 200 MHz System Bus for the PowerPC 750FX.

From a Mac portable enthusiast's perspective this is intriguing, since the PPC 750FX "Sahara" chip is what powers the current iBook models.

IBM's application note investigates the requirements for implementing a 200 MHz 60x bus using single or dual IBM PowerPC 750FX processors.

If Apple sticks with the 750 family of G3 chips for the iBook. a 200 MHz system bus would be an alternative to going with, hotter. more power-hungry G4 chips as a means of goosing performance.

The next generation, 750GX "Gobi" G3 chip is scheduled to ship late this year in clock speeds up to 1.2 GHz, which, combined with a 200 MHz system bus, would give the iBook a substantial boost in performance.

FastMac PowerBook Pismo G4 Processor Upgrades

People love their Pismos. I know I love mine. "Workhorse" is a word frequently heard to describe them. "Rugged" and "well-designed" are some others. But lately you might have found you've been spending more time tied to your desktop computer, because if you're using Apple's powerful Unix-based OS X and upgraded versions of your favorite software, your Pismo just doesn't run as fast as it used to. That's where FastMac can help. FastMac's G4 processor upgrade can once again release you from your deskbound existence by giving your PowerBook more power, more speed . . . more life.

Giving your Pismo a genuine Motorola G4 brain for around $250? Is that possible? Absolutely. All you have to do is send in your old processor board in working condition, and FastMac will do the rest, installing a new processor and a new, faster backside cache. Using your original board not only saves money,but also eliminates third party software issues some other upgrades can have. Before FastMac ships it back to you, they rigorously test your upgraded board to make sure it's delivering the best performance possible. And in no time, you'll be speeding down the information superhighway.

On some operations you'll see speeds double - even triple - that of your original processor. Screen redraws will be faster. Scrolling will be quicker, more responsive. Overall performance will increase. Programs that used to get bogged down will fly.


  • Motorola 500 MHz G4 7410 or Motorola 533 MHz G4 7410 running at 550 MHz
  • 1 MB backside cache
  • AltiVec velocity engine
  • Min. System: Mac OS 9.1
  • Supports Mac OS X
  • 1 year warranty


  • G4/500: $239.95
  • G4/550: $289.95

CompuShell Ultimate Full Time Protection for Your PowerBook

Integrated Products, Inc's CompuShell is a new concept in notebook computer protection - a precision-formed aluminum case with a beautiful clear or transparent color powder coat finish. Once you place your PowerBook inside, you never have to take it out in order to have full use of your computer. This facility minimizes potential for damage and wear every time you remove your computer from the case.

Other advantages include:

  • Attractive looks
  • Vault like protection and slam latch for one hand operation
  • Easy access to ports and drives.
  • Flip and go. In a few seconds you're ready to use your computer.
  • When fully opened, the CompuShell tilts the back up for a comfortable working position
  • The pads are spaced to allow maximum airflow for better cooling
  • Low profile fits nicely in a backpack or bag
  • Will help keep your PowerBook in like new condition.        
  • Works great for self defense.
  • Tilts computer for ergonomic comfort

Impact resistant CompuShell is available for the 12, 15, and 17 inch Power Book in three colors:

  • Translucent Candy Apple Red
  • Translucent Cobalt Blue
  • Translucent Power Book Silver


  • 12" CompuShell, $199.95
  • 15" CompuShell, $199.95
  • 17" CompuShell, $224.95

Antec Launches Notebook Cooler

Designed to draw a continual flow of cool air across the computer's hottest surface, Antec's Notebook Cooler fits directly Notebook Coolerunderneath a laptop. Its aluminum surface helps conduct heat away from the system and its 388 ventilation holes keep a steady distribution of airflow from two 70 mm fans.

The Notebook Cooler is lightweight (25 ounces) and slim (13" x 11.2" x 0.85"), so it can easily be transported along with a laptop in any standard carrying case. It comes with a 30" USB power cable and can be used with PCs or Macs. Additionally, the Notebook Cooler's pass-through USB connector allows the laptop's USB port to be kept free for other devices such as mice or PDAs.

"Anyone who's ever used a laptop knows that overheating is a major frustration. It not only causes system crashes, but also impacts overall system stability and life span," said Scott Richards, Antec vice president of sales and marketing. "Despite this, there weren't any high-quality products available to address the problem, so it was only natural that we extend our expertise in PC cooling to notebooks."

MCE Technologies Ships Portable FireWire DVD-Multi Drive

MCE Technologies, LLC (MCE) has announced the Lucid M2X Portable FireWire DVD-Multi Drive. The Lucid M2X is a compact, bus-powered drive capable of writing to five different types of recordable media, including CD-R, CD-RW, DVD-R, DVD-RW and DVD-RAM discs. DVD-Multi technology allows a DVD-RAM disc up to 9.4 GB in capacity to be inserted into the slot-loading Lucid M2X drive and be used as a virtual hard disk at the Mac OS desktop level, with data dynamically read and saved to the disc on the fly. The MCE Lucid M2X Portable FireWire DVD-Multi Drive is expected to ship August 21, 2003 with a suggested retail price of $389.

"Considering the low cost of DVD-RAM media, its ability to be rewritten 100,000 times, and its 30-year storage life, cartridgeless DVD-RAM is quickly becoming the most ideal way to store important data," said Arnie Ramirez, president of MCE.

The Lucid M2X DVD-Multi drive offers unprecedented flexibility by supporting five different types of recordable media, making it the most versatile portable data storage device around. It writes to 4.7 GB single-sided or 9.4 GB double-sided DVD-RAM media at up to 2x speed, to standard 4.7 GB DVD-R media at up to 2x speed, and to 4.7 GB DVD-RW media at up to 1x speed. In addition, it writes to standard 650 MB and 700 MB CD-R media at up to 16x speed, writes to standard CD-RW media at up to 8x speed, reads DVD-ROM discs at up to 8x speed, and reads standard CD-ROM discs at up to 24x speed.

The DVD-RAM recording function of the MCE Lucid M2X DVD-Multi drive is supported natively by Mac OS X at the desktop level without the need for additional drivers, and is also fully compatible with Dantz Retrospect backup software. The unit is also compatible with Apple's iTunes, Finder Burning, and DVD Player utilities.

The Lucid M2X DVD-Multi drive is extremely portable, weighing less than a pound. The drive is FireWire bus powered and compatible with Macs and PCs that have a FireWire port. The MCE Lucid M2X ships with a 9.4 GB double-sided DVD-RAM disc. ImageMixer DVD-authoring software for Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X, and compatible with both G4 and G3 based machines, is included with the drive. To facilitate faster and more efficient data DVD-R/RW and CD-R/RW recording, Roxio Toast Lite software is also included.

DC to DC Adapter for the Mac

Lind Electronics offers a DC to DC adapter so your 'Book can be powered by 12VDC to 28VDC power sources.

Bargain 'Books

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 (Gigabit Ethernet/2001) and G4/667 (DVI).


Small Dog Electronics

The PowerBook Guy

Baucom Computers

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

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