The 'Book Review

'Books Tops in Reliability, Support; Replace or Repair; PowerBook G5 Still a Ways Off; and More

This Week's PowerBook and iBook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2005.02.11

General Apple and Mac desktops are now covered in The Mac News Review.

This week's Mac News Review: PC enthusiasts willing to consider a Mac, Mac mini tips, Dell clueless to home market, and more. Also Mac mini as a low-cost server, C-Station's Relaxation Station, new Kanguru Quicksilver hard drives, computing's silent revolution, and more.

Mac Laptops Have Fewest Repairs, Best Tech Support

The Mac Observer's Brad Gibson reports:

"Apple's iBook and PowerBook portables have the fewest reports of repairs and the best technical support of any laptop PC on the market today, according to the March issue of Consumer Reports magazine.

"Using data similar to that released last December in its desktop ratings report, the Consumers Union (CU) said Apple had the fewest repairs of laptops at 16%. Toshiba and Sony were second and third at 17%. Gateway had the worst laptop repair ranking among more than 57,000 CU members at 23%.

"A similar survey of 69,000 desktop users gave Apple the best repair history at just 13%."

Laptop Replacement vs. Repair

Forbes' Arik Hesseldahl says:

"When those strange and unfamiliar electronic tones emitted from my PowerBook, I knew it was going to be an expensive day.

"I've lugged this PowerBook G4 from Apple Computer for the better part of four years. I've replaced its hard drive once and its battery once. Only once has it given me any significant trouble, and that was when, during a trip to San Francisco, the hard drive decided go on an intermittent strike, working only some of the time....

"A long visit with a friendly technician at the Apple Store . . . was frustrating - through no fault of his - but mostly because after I carefully described the problem, the machine exhibited none of the symptoms....

"Since time was short and I had no confidence in this machine, I opted instead to plunk down the cash for a new PowerBook. I opted for the 15-inch model with the 1.67-gigahertz processor, an 80-gigabyte hard drive and a SuperDrive that can burn both CDs and DVDs....

I fell in love with this new machine right away . . . but the episode has me thinking about the entire economic experience of laptop ownership, repair and so on. I don't know what the typical lifespan is for a laptop computer, but I'm betting it's not long....

"Today's laptop designers are being lauded for their design expertise and for their ability to cram all sorts of features into ever-thinner and lighter bodies. But why aren't hard drives as easy to replace in a laptop as the battery in a mobile phone? Why should I have to pay a professional to do the work to replace it, and in some cases lose the use of the machine for a few days in order to get it done?"

I agree emphatically, and I've been droning on about this issue for years. I love my iBook, but nothing has gone wrong with it in 25 months of use, and I know that if, say, the hard drive croaked, it would require major, complex, and delicate surgery to replace it. Ditto for pretty much any other internal component save for RAM. It shouldn't be this way.

G5 power and razor thin form factors, phooey. What would really get me excited is a truly user friendly, simple to service, repair, and upgrade laptop with modular, plug-in components, and things like the hard drive and RAM slots accessible through easy to remove panels or slide-in modules.

A Fast But Hot Notebook

Aluminum PowerBookForbes' Arik Hesseldahl reports:

"Last week I wrote about how and why I came to be the owner of a new Apple PowerBook G4. Today I'll discuss how much I like it, and whether it seems worth what I paid.

"What I liked right away was the speed.... This machine screams....

"It was also nice to graduate to updated versions of things like the USB ports and WiFi....

"That kind of performance comes with a price, paid in heat. After a using a PowerBook - indeed any modern notebook - for a while, you can't help but notice that everything seems to feel hot....

"I like to give the PowerBook breaks now and then to dissipate this heat, so I make sure I shut it down if I'm not going to use it for an hour or more. You don't want to sense that heat with every keystroke. This is a good indication why Apple has yet to put an IBM G5 chip in a notebook, as has long been rumored. If this G4 runs as hot as it does, I can only imagine the cooling challenges associated with a G5 in a similarly sized enclosure."

PowerBook G5 a Ways Off, Possibly 2006

Mac Observer comments:

"While Apple managed to squeeze the G5 into the two-inch thick iMac, halving that width is proving to be a daunting task. Last month, Apple VP Tim Cook called a PowerBook G5 'the mother of all thermal challenges.'

"Michael Gartenberg, an analyst for Jupiter Research, said he would be surprised to see a PowerBook G5 in 2005...."

Mac Observer forum participant Small White Car comments:

"Good for Apple. Waiting until they can make a G5 PowerBook that's GOOD as opposed to just sticking a G5 in a laptop and saying 'done!'....

"...the computer world has ALWAYS been divided into 'Portable' or 'Powerful' computers. You have to decide what you want. It's always been that way, and it always will be."

I agree.

IBM to Use Strained Silicon to Produce G5 for PowerBook

Not the PowerBook's Joshua Fruhlinger reports:

"A new chip-making process using something called strained silicon promises to produce a less-power-hungry G5 chip that will make a PowerBook G5 a reality. The new process allows the CPU's transistors to be sped up, improving clock time without requiring more power. So, will this happen any time soon? Most likely not, but here's to hoping."

Columnist Wants a Lighter PowerBook

O'Reilly Network's David Sklar asks:

"Where's my 3.5 lb Mac notebook?

"When Apple announced new PowerBooks recently I thought, 'Ah, finally, they'll release a 12" screen model without an optical drive so that it will be much lighter!' But I was wrong (and disappointed.)

"One of the primary reasons I bought my ThinkPad X31 two years ago was its weight (or lack thereof): 3.6 lbs with battery. The lightest PowerBook (or iBook or TiBook or WiFiBook or whatever Apple is calling their notebook computers then or now) was 4.9 lbs. The lightest one of the new crop from Apple is 4.6 lbs.

"So how about it, Apple? I'm willing to pay a financial premium, but not a mass premium. Where's my 3.5 lb (or less!) Mac notebook?"

TechRestore Announces Stainless Steel Hinge Repair Program for Titanium PowerBook G4

PR: TechRestore, Inc. has begun offering a worldwide PowerBook G4 LCD hinge replacement service using stainless steel hardware. The replacement stainless steel hinge assembly is over 50% stronger than the standard hinge and offers the ultimate in protection against future failures. "The TechRestore team has performed thousands of G4 Titanium hinge repairs since the systems introduction in 2001," said Shannon Jean, Founder and President of TechRestore. "With our new Stainless Steel hardware, we've increased the strength of the hinge area dramatically."

The TechRestore hinge replacement service is a complete, door-to-door overnight service for customers in the continental U.S. Customers outside the U.S. use our Self-Restore program to send in their PowerBooks for the hinge service. Once a repair is scheduled, a RestoreBox is sent via overnight courier to the customers home, office or school where their system is picked up and brought back overnight to TechRestore. Within 48-hours of receipt, the hinge replacement is completed and the system is sent back to the customer's location via overnight courier.

The Stainless Steel Hinge Repair Program is just $349 which includes all overnight shipping charges, repair parts and installation. The standard hinge replacement service is available for $299. The hinge repairs are performed in an antistatic and dust-free environment by a TechRestore Certified Technician.

"We're thrilled to have our new Stainless Steel hinges to offer our customers," said Jean. "They offer a new level of protection for G4 Titanium owners and eliminate the worry over hinge problems."

MouseZoom Mouse Accelerator 2.0

PR: MouseZoom is a Mac OS X Cocoa pref pane that speeds up your mouse cursor movement in Mac OS X.

Reportedly, it speeds up the sluggish tracking of the new scrollable trackpads in the latest PowerBooks

As of version 2.0, the speed is set "live" without having to log out before it takes effect. To do this, MouseZoom uses the same method as Apple's mouse panel.

CD Cyclone 4x DVD Revo External FireWire DVD Burner

PR: The CD Cyclone 4x DVD Revo External DVD Burner offers fast write speeds, the speed of a FireWire interface, a powerful software bundle, and full compatibility with DVD-R/RW media. It allows you to put your video projects on DVD, back up important documents, and watch DVD movies on your computer. It is fully compatible with a wide variety of media, giving you an excellent solution for your home or office, and features a stylish and practical handle for easy transportation.

CD CycloneThis Revo is bundled with Toast 5.0 disc-burning software for the Macintosh (requires OS 9 or later), an all-in-one solution for writing CDs. This perfect burning companion to iTunes burns fast, burns clean, burns on more drives, and now burns in the background too.

Key Features

  • Fast Burning: The drive writes a full DVD-R disc in about 15 minutes and a full DVD-RW disc in about 30 minutes.
  • Multiple Formats Supported: The drive supports a full range of DVD and CD formats, giving you flexible storage options and a wide-open choice of media.
  • Extensive Software Bundle: The drive is bundled with Toast 5.0 disc-burning software for the Macintosh, an all-in-one solution for writing CDs. This perfect burning companion to iTunes burns fast, burns clean, burns on more drives, and now burns in the background too.
  • High-Speed FireWire Connection: The FireWire connection provides fast data transfer and cross-platform compatibility.
  • Hot-Swappable Convenience: The drive can be connected and disconnected from a computer without the need to reboot.
  • Easy Portability: The drive weighs only 4 pounds and features a built-in handle for easy transportation.

Price: $288.95

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 (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.

iBookWegener Media

Small Dog Electronics


  • 12" iBook G3/800, 128/30/Combo, TechRestore 6 Month Warranty, 30 Day Refund, $649.99
  • 12" PowerBook G4/867, 128/40/SuperDrive, Bluetooth, TechRestore 6 Month Warranty, 30 Day Refund, $999.99

Apple Store

New and unopened Apple products:

Baucom Computers

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

Join us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or Google+, or subscribe to our RSS news feed

Links for the Day

Recent Content

About LEM Support Usage Privacy Contact

Follow Low End Mac on Twitter
Join Low End Mac on Facebook

Page not found | Low End Mac

Well this is somewhat embarrassing, isn’t it?

It seems we can’t find what you’re looking for. Perhaps searching, or one of the links below, can help.

Most Used Categories


Try looking in the monthly archives. :)

Page not found | Low End Mac

Well this is somewhat embarrassing, isn’t it?

It seems we can’t find what you’re looking for. Perhaps searching, or one of the links below, can help.

Most Used Categories


Try looking in the monthly archives. :)

Favorite Sites

Cult of Mac
Shrine of Apple
The Mac Observer
Accelerate Your Mac
The Vintage Mac Museum
Deal Brothers
Mac Driver Museum
JAG's House
System 6 Heaven
System 7 Today
the pickle's Low-End Mac FAQ

The iTunes Store
PC Connection Express
Macgo Blu-ray Player
Parallels Desktop for Mac

Low End Mac's store


Well this is somewhat embarrassing, isn’t it?

It seems we can’t find what you’re looking for. Perhaps searching, or one of the links below, can help.

Most Used Categories


Try looking in the monthly archives. :)

at BackBeat Media (646-546-5194). This number is for advertising only.

Open Link