The 'Book Review

15" AlBook Display Repair Extension, PowerBook G3 Backup Battery, 100 GB Notebook Drive, Kill-a-Watt, and More

This Week's PowerBook and iBook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2004.10.01

Apple Announces 15" PowerBook G4 Display Repair Extension Program

A limited number of 15" PowerBook G4 computers exhibit a display issue which may cause faint white spots to appear on the screen over time. The 15" PowerBook G4 Repair Extension Program is a worldwide program covering replacement of LCDs that exhibit these white spots. Your PowerBook G4 serial number must fall between one of two serial number ranges:

  • V7334xxxxxx to V7345xxxxxx
  • QT331xxxxxx to QT339xxxxxx

These computers were manufactured from July 2003 through November 2003. PowerBooks with the serial numbers listed above may be referred to as:

  • PowerBook G4 15" Aluminum (1 GHz G4 or 1.25 GHz G4)
  • PowerBook G4 Titanium (867 MHz G4 or 1 GHz G4)

To determine whether your 15" PowerBook G4 exhibits "white spots", follow instructions on the Website. If your computer exhibits white spots, please call your local Apple contact center, or drop by your local Apple retail store or Apple Authorized Service Provider ("AASP").

If you're not sure whether your 15" PowerBook G4 exhibits "white spots", call your local Apple contact center, or drop by your local Apple retail store or AASP.

The PowerBook serial number is located on the side of the battery well in the top left corner.

  1. After you have saved your documents and quit open applications, shut down your PowerBook.
  2. Remove your battery from the PowerBook.
  3. The serial number sticker can be found inside the battery well in the top left-hand corner.

The program only applies to 15" PowerBook G4 computers with serial numbers in the above-mentioned ranges that exhibit faint white spots on the LCD display.

The 15" PowerBook G4 Display Repair Extension Program begins immediately, and covers affected PowerBooks for two years after the first retail sale of the unit. Apple will continue to evaluate the repair data and will provide further repair extensions as needed. This program does not extend the standard warranty coverage.

The repairs outlined in this program, including shipping charges, will be covered by Apple.

If you paid for an eligible repair before the 15" PowerBook G4 Display Repair Extension Program began, Apple will reimburse you for the cost of the repair. To be reimbursed, call the Apple contact center in your country.

This program only covers 15" PowerBooks with serial numbers falling in the above-mentioned ranges and that exhibit faint white spots on the display. For any other display issue, please call your local Apple contact center, or drop by your local Apple retail store or AASP.

If your remanufactured PowerBook G4 15" display shows white spots, please call your local Apple contact center, or drop by your local Apple retail store or AASP.

The toll-free U.S. Apple contact center number is 1-800-275-2273. If you do not live in the U.S., see Apple's international contact list for your local Apple technical support phone number. This is a worldwide program.

PowerBook G3 Series: Backup Battery Purpose and Life

An Apple Knowledge Base article says:

How long can the internal backup battery in my PowerBook G3 Series or PowerBook (FireWire) maintain the date and time settings?

The main function of the backup battery is to maintain the contents of RAM (random-access memory) and the date and time while you swap out the main battery.

Important: This should only be done while the PowerBook is turned off or in sleep mode.

A fully charged internal backup battery allows you to leave a G3 Series PowerBook in sleep mode for approximately 4 minutes before it shuts down. This should be adequate time to remove and replace a main battery.

The original PowerBook G3 Series has the ability to use two expansion bay devices and run from the AC adapter with no main battery installed.

Note: The PowerBook G3 (Bronze keyboard)and PowerBook (FireWire) do not have this capability.

If you choose to store or transport the PowerBook without a main battery installed, a fully charged backup battery by itself maintains date and time, as well as other PRAM (parameter RAM) settings, for approximately 5 hours after shutdown.

Storing and transporting the PowerBook with a main battery installed greatly increases the amount of time that these settings are maintained in nonvolatile memory.

If you find that the computer is not holding the date and time, try resetting the Power Manager, as described in article 14449: "PowerBook: Resetting Power Manager".

If the date and time are not held after a shutdown, it is likely that the backup battery is either discharged or needs replacement. Follow these steps to charge the backup battery:

  1. Remove the main batteries.
  2. Reset the Power Manager as described in article 14449: "PowerBook: Resetting Power Manager".
  3. Connect the AC power adapter for 4 hours to fully charge the backup battery. If discharged main batteries are installed in the computer, recharging the backup battery may take up to 48 hours to completely charge.

If the date and time are still not held after a shutdown, have the backup battery replaced by an Apple Authorized Service Provider.

For additional information on testing the internal PowerBook battery, refer to article 30017: "PowerBook: Testing Backup Battery"

New Mac Upgrade and Repair Guides from PB FixIt

PB FixIt has announced six new members of the groundbreaking FixIt Guide Series. The new Guides mark a dramatic improvement on the do-it-yourself Mac laptop repair series that has revolutionized the repair industry.

FixIt Guides are now available for all iBook G3, PowerBook G3, and PowerBook G4 models. Each FixIt Guide contains detailed disassembly instructions that walk the reader through the process of easily accessing and replacing damaged laptop components. The Guides make laptop disassembly so simple, even novices can perform advanced repairs with ease.

Key features of the new FixIt Guides:

  • Available for all iBook G3, PowerBook G3, and PowerBook G4 models
  • Customized instructions for each part
  • New, user-friendly layout
  • Professional, close-up pictures of each step
  • Printable screw guides to keep track of screws
  • Free online at <>

Instead of blindly telling you to disassemble your entire computer, the FixIt Guides offer custom instructions for each part. Simply choose your laptop and the part to install, and the Guides tell you exactly what to do- you only remove what you need. The Guide knows which part you're installing, so it doesn't instruct you to remove any unnecessary components.

The FixIt Guide Series makes it easy for you to do the repair yourself. The end users who've tested the Guides rave about how easy they make laptop repair, even with no prior experience. Finally, Mac repair for the masses!

FixIt Guides are now available for these twelve models:

PowerBook G3

  • PowerBook G3 Wallstreet (233 - 300 MHz)
  • PowerBook G3 Lombard (333 - 400 MHz)
  • PowerBook G3 Pismo (400 - 500 MHz)

iBook G3

  • iBook G3 Clamshell (300 - 466 MHz)
  • iBook G3 iceBook 12" (500 - 900 MHz)
  • iBook G3 iceBook 14" (600 - 900 MHz)

PowerBook G4

  • PowerBook G4 Ti Mercury (400 - 500 MHz)
  • PowerBook G4 Ti Onyx (550 - 667 MHz)
  • PowerBook G4 Ti DVI (667 MHz - 1 GHz)
  • PowerBook G4 Al 12" (867 MHz - 1.33 GHz)
  • PowerBook G4 Al 15" (1 - 1.5 GHz)
  • PowerBook G4 Al 17" (1 - 1.5 GHz)

All twelve FixIt Guides are available immediately for free on PB FixIt's website:

PB FixIt is dedicated to bringing high quality, hard to find laptop parts to Macintosh zealots everywhere. For more information, visit <> or call 1-866-61-FIXIT

For my review of the PBFixIt guides, see Road Warrior Review: PB FixIt PowerBook Teardown Guides.

Freescale Discloses High Performance Dual Core Processor Architecture

The next PowerBook processor?

Manufactured on 90 nm SOI technology, the MPC8641D Dual Core processor offers breakthrough performance with two e600 PowerPC cores and integrated high-speed connectivity Freescale Semiconductor, Inc.'s MPC8641D Dual Core processor is based on the e600 PowerPC system-on-chip (SoC) platform, Freescale's new MPC8641D Dual Core processor is engineered to deliver exceptional performance, connectivity and integration for networking, telecom, military, storage and pervasive computing applications.

Freescale's high-performance MPC8641D device integrates two e600 cores and high-speed interfaces to achieve significant performance gains and system-level cost savings. Each e600 PowerPC core is designed to deliver greater than 1.5 GHz performance, doubling instruction throughput when combined. Two 1 MB L2 caches (four times more L2 cache than available from the current generation of single-core MPC74xx PowerPC processors) and dual AltiVec vector processing engines provide additional performance acceleration. The MPC8641D device is designed to offer all this performance within a power range that is expected to be 15-25 Watts (typical).

The MPC8641D processor embeds four Ethernet media access controllers (MACs) that support 10/100 Mbps and 1 Gbps Ethernet, accelerating the identification and retrieval of protocols carried over Ethernet, including IPv4, IPv6, Transmission Control Protocol (TCP), User Datagram Protocol (UDP) and Virtual Local Area Network (VLAN). The MPC8641D also enables local legacy peripheral-to-host connectivity with support for PCI Express interfaces.

In addition to unveiling the MPC8641D processor, Freescale disclosed development of two additional processors based on the e600 PowerPC core: the highly integrated MPC8641 processor, a pin-for-pin compatible single core implementation of the dual core device; and the MPC7448 discrete processor, a higher-performance, lower-power successor to the popular MPC7447A PowerPC device, announced in February 2004. Pin-for-pin compatible with the MPC7447A, the MPC7448 processor offers 1 MB of L2 cache and is expected to exceed 1.5 GHz.

Each of these PowerPC products is designed to be manufactured on Freescale's advanced 90 nanometer (nm) silicon-on-insulator (SOI) copper interconnect technology. The advent of these three devices - the dual core MPC8641D, the single core MPC8641, and the MPC7448 - will provide system developers with flexible options for their high-performance processing needs while offering easy, software-compatible upgrades from existing Freescale processors containing PowerPC cores.

Freescale will disclose additional architectural details of the MPC8641D processor at the Fall Processor Forum on October 5 and at the Network Systems Design Conference on October 21. Both events will be held in San Jose, California.

To learn more about PowerPC processor products from Freescale Semiconductor, visit <>.

Seagate Seeks System Builder Support for 100 GB Notebook Drive

The Register's Tony Smith reports:

"Seagate has begun shipping the 100 GB 2.5" notebook hard drive it launched back in June and is pitching the part at system builders keen to enter the mobile market using barebone laptops.

"The Momentus 5400.2 runs its two 50 GB platters at 5400 rpm to help conserve power...

"Seagate is also preparing version of the drive that runs at 7200 rpm.

Vantec NexStar 2.5" USB 2.0 External Hard Drive Enclosure

Vantec Thermal Technologies' NexStar 2.5" USB 2.0 External Hard Drive Enclosure is a compact unit at an affordable price - $16.99 from

MIT Scientists Work to Power Your Laptop with Spinach

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Plextor Introduces 4x Double-Layer, Dual-Format 16x DVD±R/RW Burner

Plextor Corp. has announced the new PX-716 series DVD±R/RW drive. With high-speed 16x DVD+R and 16x DVD-R recording, the PX-716 gives users the ability to create, edit, and share customized DVDs and CDs in less time than ever before.

The drive achieves fast 16x CAV performance on recommended 8x DVD+R media, and burns a 4.7 GB DVD in less than six minutes. Available in both internal (ATAPI) and external (USB/FireWire) versions, the new drive also supports dual-layer DVD media, enabling users to burn up to four hours of high-quality MPEG-2 video on a single 8.5 GB DVD disc in approximately 28 minutes.

The PX-716 features Intelligent Recording, a combination of technologies designed to achieve high-quality recordings across a broad spectrum of media with varying grades of quality:

  • Intelligent Tilt: Precise laser and three-dimensional tilt control to reduce jitter and achieve optimal recording and reading on uneven disc surfaces.
  • PoweRec: A sophisticated write strategy providing superior quality recording at maximum speed for certified media.
  • Autostrategy: A technology that determines the standard deviation of any blank disc and automatically optimizes the write strategy for unknown media, enabling high-quality disc recording. Autostrategy technology is the culmination of five years of research and development by Taiyo Yuden, a leading Japanese supplier of quality CD and DVD recording media.

"Plextor constantly develops and introduces features that differentiate our DVD and CD drives from competitive products," said Howard Wing, vice president of sales and marketing for Plextor. "The combination of Taiyo Yuden Autostrategy technology and Plextor's proven expertise of high-quality disc recording has yielded outstanding results. We have successfully demonstrated that the PX-716 with Autostrategy is capable of providing high-quality writing over a broad spectrum of media. This remarkable feature will appeal to anyone who purchases unbranded media to save money, but has been disappointed by low-quality recordings in the past."

Plextor PX-716A DVD±R/RW Drive

The Plextor PX-716 is a highly versatile DVD/CD burner specifically designed to deliver high-quality recording performance. The 9-in-1 drive supports 4x DVD+R Double-Layer, 16x DVD+R, and 16x DVD-R Writing; 8x DVD+RW and 4x DVD-RW Rewriting; and 16x max DVD-Reading; as well as high-speed 48x CD-R Writing, 24x CD-RW Rewriting, and 48x max CD-Reading. The PX-716 has an 8 MB buffer and features Buffer Underrun Proof Technology to prevent buffer underrun errors and allow multitasking.

The internal PX-716A drive features an ATA/ATAPI-5 (EIDE) interface for broad based PC-compatibility. A short drive length of 6.7" accommodates small form-factor PCs, while a replaceable black front bezel allows a user to change the appearance of the drive to match a computer. Burst data transfer rates for the internal drive are 16.7/sec for PIO Mode-4, 16.7/sec for DMA-2, and 66.7/sec for Ultra DMA33.

Plextor PX-716UF DVD±R/RW Drive

The external PX-716UF includes a dual interface that supports both Hi-Speed USB 2.0 and full-speed compliant IEEE-1394 FireWire, enabling a Plextor customer to easily share a single external high-performance DVD/CD recorder among multiple Apple Macintosh and Microsoft Windows-based personal computer systems. Burst data transfer rates of 480 Mbps (USB 2.0) or 400 Mbps (FireWire) allow a user to burn a 4.7 GB DVD+R disc in approximately six minutes.

Lossless Linking/Zero Link technology enables users to perform basic editing tasks directly on the DVD disc, so there is no need to reload DVD content back to a PC to make minor changes, and no need to re-burn an entire DVD after making small edits. The PX-716 also includes PlexTools Professional software, which is capable of determining good discs from bad discs before beginning the burn process. In addition the software enables a unique combination of user-controllable CD recording and CD/DVD media test features, including:

  • GigaRec allows high capacity storage up to 1 GB on a 700 MB CD disc.
  • SecureRecording offers password protection for CD discs.
  • Q-Check for CD media checks and graphs the results of written disc quality, including C1/C2 errors, track and focus errors, and beta/jitter errors.
  • Q-Check Time Analyzer (TA) for DVD media checks and graphs the results of written disc quality including PI/PO.
  • Silent Mode enables users to vary tray load/unload speed, spin up/down speed and write/read speeds.
  • VariRec allows adjustment of the laser power to produce the highest quality audio recording possible.

Plextor Software Bundle for Windows: Roxio Easy Media Center 7, Basic DVD Edition and Roxio PhotoSuite 7

Plextor's bundled software package offers ease-of-use and extensive functionality for Windows platforms. The PlexWriter PX-716 ships with Easy Media Center 7, Basic DVD Edition. Roxio's number-one selling DVD/CD-recording software lets users create movie DVDs, data DVDs, music CDs, photo slide shows synchronized with music, data CDs, and backup copies of personal discs.

The PlexWriter PX-716 drive also includes Roxio PhotoSuite 7 for capturing, organizing, editing, and sharing digital photos; and a 30-day trial version of Dantz Retrospect data backup software. For Macintosh users, Toast Lite versions 5 & 6 are also included for the PX-716UF.

The Plextor PX-716 DVD±R/RW drive is scheduled for shipment to distributors and resellers in North and South America on October 15, 2004. The internal PX-716A drive has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $149.00 USD. The external PX-716UF is $239.00 USD. All retail packages include a one-year full warranty.

Other World Computing Introduces 400 GB Mercury Elite Storage Solutions

Other World Computing (OWC) has expanded its popular line of Mercury Elite external storage solutions with the introduction of a 400 Gigabyte ( GB) model priced at $539.99 for a FireWire 400+USB 2.0 combo version, $559.99 for a FireWire 800/400-only version and $579.99 for a FireWire 800/400+USB 2.0 version.

Additionally, OWC has reduced prices on all of the company's Mercury Elite 80- to 250 GB external storage solutions by up to 20 percent. Prices now start at $139.99.

All 400 GB Mercury Elite drives spin at 7200 RPM and feature an 8 Megabyte ( MB) data buffer. Designed to combine high-speed Oxford bridge solutions and the fastest drive mechanisms available, the new 400 GB Mercury Elite solutions provide data transfer rates from 60 Megabytes per second ( MBps) for the FireWire 800 solutions to more than 40 MBps for the FireWire/USB combo solutions.

"Like every OWC product, these new Mercury Elite drives are not only designed to provide the utmost customer satisfaction, but they're built to last," said Larry O'Connor, president of OWC. "Using only the highest quality components for the Mercury Elite line ensures the very best in reliability and performance. What makes these Mercury Elite drives even more noteworthy, though, is that we're able to offer them at fantastic prices too."

Each Mercury Elite drive measures 1.5- x 9.0- x 5.5", weighs less than three pounds, ships with Intech HD SpeedTools, Dantz Retrospect backup and restore software, all necessary cables and an external power adapter, and comes with a two-year OWC warranty. The drives are compatible with Mac OS 8.6 through 9.22, all versions of Apple OS X, Linux, and Windows ME, 2000 and XP.

Kill-A-Watt, the Electricity Detector to Reduce Your Power Bill

Kill-A-WattKill-A-Watt, the electricity detector and electricity monitor, can reduce your monthly electric bill and help you save a lot of money.

Electricity bills can be murder. But now you can cut down on costs and find out what machines are actually worth keeping plugged in. Simply connect your appliances to the Kill-A-Watt and it will assess how efficient they really are.

Large LCD display will count consumption by the Kilowatt-hour, same as your local utility. You can figure out your electrical expenses by the day, week, month or year. Check the quality of your power by monitoring Voltage, Line Frequency, and Power Factor.

Now you'll know if it is time for a new refrigerator or if that old air conditioner is saving you money. Don't be another casualty. With the amazing Kill-A-Watt, you'll have wasteful devices pushing up daisies.

  • Operating Voltage: 115 VAC
  • Max Voltage: 125 VAC
  • Max Current: 15 A
  • Max Power: 1875 VA
  • Weight: 5 oz.
  • Dimensions: 5 1/8" x 1 5/8" x 2 3/8"
  • Regular price: $59.99
  • Sale price: $27.50

Ortlieb Sling-It Laptop Bag

Ortlieb Sling-It Laptop Bag Sling-It is the most extravagant and feature rich Ortlieb shoulder bag with a flap, padded and coated inner organizer with Velcro closure for safe laptop transport, two inner zipper pockets, snap hook for key, broad padded shoulder strap.

A removable waist strap allows safe biking, keeping the bag securely on the back.

Price: $105 to $115

Crystalmini Swarovski Crystals Apple iPod mini

Crystalmini is the first custom made, handcrafted, Swarovski Crystals Apple iPod mini in the fashion music world.

There are about 1,000 Swarovski Crystals to match your 1,000 songs in the custom made limited edition of the best selling portable MP3 player in the world.

Crystalmini"One Crystal per song to represent every song you love."

This is a one of a kind crystal digital music player that is crystallized from front to back with fine Swarovski Crystals. It is carefully designed and crafted. Every fine crystal is placed mindfully with accuracy to allow easy navigation on the innovative scrolling wheel.

The magic word is crystal. A raw material, which even the most ancient cultures ascribed beneficial, valuable, indeed miraculous properties. This fascinating material transformed the world of fashion and beauty into a seductively sparkling universe. It inspired the human race and enriched both art and culture.

All made with a human touch and Handcrafted in Brooklyn, USA.

Includes a new iPod mini and warranty service & support by Swarovski Crystals.

Price List

  • Crystalmini, $699 + Shipping
  • Crystalmini AB, $799 + Shipping
    (AB) Aurore Boreale Crystals are available in different colors.
  • Crystalmini + Special Logo, $899 + Shipping
    Custom designs Crystalmini available. Send designs and logo for accurate quotes.

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.


Baucom Computers

Wegener Media

Small Dog Electronics

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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