The 'Book Review

SuperDrive Upgrades, PowerBook Setup App, Apple Quality, Mobility Radeon 9800, and More

This Week's PowerBook and iBook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2004.07.30

This week's PowerBook, iBook, and iPod news

Other World Offers Full Line of SuperDrive Upgrades

Other World Computing (OWC) has announced a full line of CD-R/RW+DVD±R/RW SuperDrive upgrades for most Apple Power Mac G3s, G4s, and G5s, the Apple G4 Cube, and select PowerBooks.

Internal 8x-speed SuperDrives for most Power Mac models start at $99, with many special software and media bundle options available to choose from. Internal 2x and 4x SuperDrive upgrades for Titanium PowerBook G4 15" 400 MHz to 1 GHz models are available from $179.95, and internal 2x and 4x SuperDrive upgrades for the PowerMac G4 Cube start at $329.95.

"With our full line of internal SuperDrive upgrade kits, it's easy to add high-speed DVD and CD burning capability to most any existing Apple model," said Larry O'Connor, president of OWC. "And the best part is we are able to provide compatibility with all of the popular software applications including Apple iDVD, Apple DVD Studio, Apple DiscBurner, Apple iTunes, Roxio Toast, CharisMac Discribe, NTI Dragonburn, and others."

In addition to the internal upgrades, OWC also offers external solutions such as the OWC Mercury Pro 8x DVR-107 DVD(R/RW FireWire/USB SuperDrive solution for $179.95 and the OWC Neptune 4x DVR-107 FireWire-only solution for $159.95. Both the Mercury Pro DVR-107 and the Neptune DVR-107 are plug-and-play-compatible with virtually any Macintosh or PC system with an available FireWire and/or USB port (for Mercury solution only). Also, both include Dantz Retrospect backup and restore software, NTI Dragonburn, five pieces of DVD-R media and 25 pieces of CD-R media.

"Our SuperDrive solutions have had very positive reviews from the press and from customers alike, with the Mercury Pro DVD/CD recording solution receiving an Editor's Choice designation in the August 2004 edition of MacAddict and rating of four mice out of five from Macworld," O'Connor said. "These high-quality upgrades make burning CDs and DVDs quick and easy, and whether a customer needs an internal upgrade or an external solution, OWC is able to quite literally bring older computers 'up to speed' better than ever before."

All OWC internal and external SuperDrives come with a one-year warranty and step-by-step instructions for easy installation. OWC also offers a trade-in rebate of up to $79 for the return of a properly functioning Apple CD-ROM, CD-RW, DVD-ROM or DVD-RW drive replaced by a new OWC internal SuperDrive upgrade.

More information on pricing, ordering and availability for OWC SuperDrives can be found online or by calling 1-800-275-4576.

PowerBook Setup App: I Want This Utility!

O'Reillynet's Derrick Story says:

"As part of my preparation for a new book I'm working on, I did some research on the process Apple is currently using to get new owners up and running as fast as possible. Last night I looked over a friend's shoulder during the unveiling of a sleek 15" PowerBook, and I noticed something I don't remember from before.

"The Set Up Assistant presented a screen that asked, "Do you already have a Mac?" If you click on the "yes" radio button, it walks you through the process off connecting the existing Mac to the new one via FireWire Target Mode. The assistant then lets you choose the information you want to transfer to the new computer. This utility dramatically reduced set up time. The only gotcha was that Apple doesn't provide you with the FireWire cable, so hopefully existing Mac owners have one dangling around the house."

Quality of Apple Products

PowerPage's Jay Cwener asks:

"Is it just bad luck or has the quality of Apple products is gone down? My last four Apple products all had issues..."

[Three of those products were PowerBook G4s]

Notebook as Desktop Replacement Trend Slows's David Tzeng and Steve Shen report:

"The trend towards replacing desktop computers with notebooks has slowed, and global shipments of desktops are likely to grow 7-10% this year, as opposed to the previously estimated 3%, according to a manager at a major Taiwanese PC makers.

"Taiwan makers also lowered the growth projection for worldwide notebook shipments for 2004 to 20-25%, down from the previously forecast 25-30%, the manager added."

Iomega Micro Mini 512 MB USB 2.0 Drive

Iomega Mini DriveGo crazy with the ultra-small Iomega Micro Mini USB drive featuring three changeable covers in exciting colors, a neck chain, and a key clip. You can take all your music, photos, and games with you wherever you go. This tiny, lightweight USB drive fits in even the smallest places and is about the same size as your thumbnail.

Although it's one of the smallest portable USB drives, the versatile Iomega Micro Mini USB drive can easily handle sharing digital photos, MP3s, and video clips with friends - and even homework - making it a great way to move files from one computer to the next. Simply plug it into any computer's USB port and take your files anywhere you go.

Iomega Mini DriveYou can download OpenOffice.org1.1.0, Active Disk software onto your Iomega Micro Mini USB 2.0 drive for free, so your presentations, business spreadsheets, drawings, and word processing applications go with you and run from your Iomega device - whether that computer has your applications installed, or not. OpenOffice.org1.1.0 will also read and save your Microsoft Office documents as well.

The Iomega Micro Mini USB 2.0 drive was designed specifically for portability and ease of file sharing. Simply plug your Iomega Micro Mini into a USB port, drag and drop your files, and you're good to go. Now you can carry around your megabytes without the mega hassles.

Technical Information

  • PC or Mac compatible
  • Plug-and-play
  • No adapters, cables, power supply, or batteries required
  • No installation software required
  • No drivers required for Windows 2000 and above or Mac OS 9.0 and above
  • Computer automatically detects it as an external drive
  • High speed USB 2.0 transfer rates
  • Active Disk Powered to take software applications on the go
  • 3-year limited warranty

Micro Mini 512 MB USB 2.0 suggested retail price is $129.95.

Buy select Micro Mini USB 2.0 drives and get up to $20 cash back.

PowerSleevz Case

PowerSleevz CaseThis formfitting, deluxe sleeve case insulates your PowerBook G4 or dual-USB iBook from life's little hazards.

PowerSleevz notebook cases elegantly protect the exterior finish of your computer from all of life's little bumps and grinds. Made from a heavier-gauge version of ScreensavRz fabric, the case stretches on like a glove, hugging every curve. Extremely lightweight, flexible and durable, like the popular ScreensavRz, the case weighs just 40 grams!

This case folds up small enough to easily fit in your pocket! Protects exterior painted finish of PowerBook G4 and the iBook's polished plastic from your larger case's zippers and hardware, or anything else lurking out there. A great, hassle-free tote when you just need to take the 'Book. Elegant debossed "PowerBook" or "iBook" text on one panel.


  • Super light, formfitting protective sleeve.
  • Made from our exclusive Optex fabric. Clean and polish anything with it, including the screen!
  • Breathable, yet repels liquids.
  • Offers significant protection - PowerSleev'd notebooks have survived incredible perils.
  • Fits your 'Book like a glove.
  • Enhances your grip when carrying.
  • Debossed "PowerBook" or "iBook" logo on one side.

Material: Optex - synthetic super-microfiber (>1 million fibers/sq. inch)
Sizes: 34 x 24 x 2.5 cm (PB G4), 29 x 23 x 3.5 cm (12" iBook),
32 x 26 x 3.5 cm (14" iBook)
Cross-sectional thickness: 0.8 mm
Weight: 40g, 34g, 41g (specific to above sizes)

PowerSleevz Case 14" iBook, $24.95

Check out my review at Mac Opinion.

ATI Releases Mobility Radeon 9800

The Mobility Radeon 9800 series is the world's fastest and most powerful mobile virtual processing unit (VPU)*, setting a new standard in graphics performance and visual realism.

With 8 pipelines, higher clock speeds, and breakthrough image enhancement technology, the Mobility Radeon 9800 series ushers in a whole new gaming experience for the notebook user.

The World's Fastest VPU
Mobility Radeon 9800 delivers higher frame rates that surpass any previous mobile graphics processor with up to two times the performance.
Breakthrough Image Quality
The Mobility Radeon 9800 defines a totally new High-Definition Gaming experience for the avid gamer by maximizing performance and image quality in higher detail and at higher resolutions than ever before with the new and revolutionary 3Dc image enhancement technology.
World's Most Advanced 3D Architecture
The Mobility Radeon 9800 delivers the most beautifully rendered high-definition 3D animation for the ultimate in intense, interactive game play.
Cutting Edge Video Technology
The Mobility Radeon 9800 gives you sophisticated video processing, filtering and acceleration features that make multimedia applications more efficient, inspiring and fun.
POWERPLAY Technology for the Longest Battery Life
You can view a full-length DVD movie, play intense games at the highest settings, or deliver a video rich multimedia presentation without searching for a power outlet. After all, being effectively mobile means you are always up and running.


Premium 3D Performance

  • 8 parallel pixel pipelines
  • 4 programmable vertex shader pipelines
  • 0.13 micron low-k fabrication process
  • 256-bit quad-channel memory interface
  • AGP 4X/8X support


  • Support for Microsoft DirectX 9.0 programmable vertex and pixel shaders in hardware
  • Direct X 9.0 Extended Pixel Shaders
    • 2nd generation F-buffer technology accelerates multi-pass pixel shader programs with unlimited instructions
    • 32 temporary and constant registers
    • Facing register for two-sided lighting
    • 128-bit, 64-bit & 32-bit per pixel floating point color formats
    • Multiple Render Target (MRT) support
  • Complete feature set also supported in OpenGL via extensions


  • 2x/4x/6x Anti-Aliasing modes
    • Sparse multi-sample algorithm with gamma correction, programmable sample patterns, and centroid sampling
    • Lossless Color Compression at all resolutions
    • Temporal Anti-Aliasing
  • 2x/4x/8x/16x Anisotropic Filtering modes
    • Up to 128-tap texture filtering
    • Adaptive algorithm with bilinear (performance) and trilinear (quality) options


  • Seamless integration of pixel shaders with video in real time
  • FULLSTREAM video deblocking technology for Real, DivX, and WMV9 formats
  • VIDEOSOAP noise removal filtering for captured video
  • MPEG1/2/4 decode and encode acceleration
    • DXVA Support
    • Hardware Motion Compensation, iDCT, DCT and color spaceconversion
  • All-format DTV/HDTV decoding
  • YPrPb component output for direct drive of HDTV displays
  • Adaptive Per-Pixel De-Interlacing and Frame Rate Conversion (temporal filtering)


  • High quality 4:1 Normal Map Compression
  • Works with any two-channel data format HYPER Z HD
  • 3-level Hierarchical Z-Buffer with Early Z Test
  • Lossless Z-Buffer Compression (up to 48:1)
  • Fast Z-Buffer Clear
  • Z Cache optimized for real-time shadow rendering
  • Optimized for performance at high display resolutions, including widescreen HDTV resolutions

Additional features

  • Dual integrated display controllers
  • Dual integrated 10 bit per channel 400 MHz DACs
  • Integrated 165 MHz TMDS transmitter
  • Integrated 230 MHz LVDS transmitter
  • Integrated TV Output support up to 1024 x 768 resolution
  • Windows Logo Program compliant

Motorola Touts Razor Thin Metal Mobile

The Register's Tony Smith reports:

"Motorola launched its sleekest clamshell phone yet yesterday, pitching the aluminium-clad V3 at the PowerBook crowd and other "lifestyle" users who "want something different and are prepared to pay for it", the company said.

"The V3 is certainly impressive to look at. Its brushed metal casing looks and feels better than plastic, and its 2.2in 176 x 220 main display is crisp and clear. There's a secondary external 96 x 80 display and a 640 x 480 digicam with 4x digital zoom. The large keypad is metal too and backlit in electroluminescent blue."

PC Mag: Dell Inspiron 700m Review

PC Magazine writes: "We like the idea of a widescreen display in a 4-pound notebook. Get the extended battery and you have yourself a fine traveling companion."

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) and the titanium vs. aluminum 15" PowerBook G4 at 1 GHz.

Wegener Media

Small Dog Electronics

Baucom Computers


Apple Store

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

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