The 'Book Review

iBook Hits 700 MHz, Hard Drive Price Reductions, HotSwap FireWire Storage, and More

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2002.05.24

Except as noted, prices are in US dollars.

The New iBooks

The big news in the Mac portable orbit this week was Apple's release on Monday of updated iBooks with faster PowerPC G3 processors running at up to 700 MHz with twice the amount of on-chip level 2 cache as the previous models, a more powerful ATI Mobility Radeon graphics processor with more video RAM, and larger hard drives.  

"The iBook is our best selling consumer and education notebook ever," said Greg Joswiak, Apple's senior director of Hardware Product Marketing. "Now iBooks are even better for creating, organizing and sharing digital photos, movies and music on the go."

On the other hand, many were disappointed that Apple didn't opt for the available 800 MHz, 900 MHz, or 1 GHz versions of IBM's Sahara 750FX G3 processor, and that the Radeon video card has "only" 16 MB of video RAM, when the Quartz Extreme graphics subsystem of OS X Jaguar, to be released in about three months' time, is optimized for 32 MB of VRAMs.

Nevertheless, Apple says that the new iBook runs up to 35 percent faster than previous models in CPU performance tests, which isn't exactly chopped liver, and the price points for the various models were held. The new iBooks feature a new video-out port that supports VGA output, as well as S-video and composite video with optional adapter.

iBook features:

  • a 12.1" (diagonal) or 14.1" (diagonal) active-matrix 1024-by-768 resolution display
  • 128 MB or 256 MB SDRAM, with expansion up to 640 MB
  • a new ATI Mobility Radeon graphics controller with 16 MB RAM and AGP 2x
  • 20 GB or 30 GB Ultra ATA hard drives and a new 40 GB option
  • a choice of DVD-ROM/CD-RW Combo drive or CD-ROM drive
  • a built-in 56K V.90 modem and 10/100Base-T ethernet
  • USB and FireWire ports
  • AirPort-ready with integrated antennas and card slot for wireless Internet access*
  • a built-in microphone and stereo speakers
  • a collection of productivity and entertainment titles
  • a small, lightweight power adapter
  • free 30-day Internet access with earthling
  • Mac OS X version 10.1.4 and Mac OS 9.2.2.

Available iBook configurations and prices:

  • 600 MHz, 12.1", 128/20 GB/CD-ROM, $1,199
  • 700 MHz, 12.1", 128/20 GB/Combo, $1,499
  • 700 MHz, 14.1", 256/30 GB/CD-ROM, $1,649
  • 700 MHz, 14.1", 256/30 GB/Combo, $1,799

IBM TravelStar 20 GB 2.5" Hard Drives, $119.99

MacResQ is offering IBM TravelStar 20 GB, 2.5" 4200 RPM Hard Drives for $119.99. The IBM Travelstar 40GN design combines IBM giant magnetoresistive (GMR) head technology, Partial Response Maximum Likelihood (PRML) digital channel, a head load/unload feature, and Enhanced Adaptive Battery Life Extender (ABLE) 3.0.

  • Product: 20 GB, 2.5" IBM Travelstar 40GN IDE PowerBook Hard Drive
  • Avg seek time 12.0 ms
  • Platform: Mac
  • Condition: New, Factory Sealed
  • Warranty: Mfg's 3-yr warranty
  • Return Policy: 15% Restock Fee
  • Price: $119.99

Archos Cesar 8x8x24x Ultra Portable CD-RW

Unique, circular, and slightly larger than a CD with a diameter of only 5.3" or 135mm, the Archos Cesar CDRW/MPM Archos Cesaris the smallest portable 8x8x24x CD-RW drive on the market today.

It is powered directly by any notebook or desktop computer, either PC or Mac, depending on the system. There is no need to use an AC adapter due to Archos' patented Micro Power Management (MPM).

Compact and easily portable, this dynamic little CD-RW drive is available with a choice of swappable interfaces including USB 2.0 - FireWire & PC Card coming soon). It is hot swappable (no need to reboot your computer) and simple to use with virtually any computer: PC or Mac, notebook or desktop.

Mastering software for the Mac or PC is included with the Cesar CDRW/MPM that allows you to write, update, and rewrite at speeds of 8x for CD-R and CD-RW. This is the perfect, easy-to-use, hand-size, mobile solution for making CDs quickly when you're busy and on the move.

Technical Specifications

  • Drive Type: CD-RW drive 8x8x24x (Write/Rewrite/Read)
  • SuperLink Buffer under-run protection.
  • Internal Buffer: 2 MB
  • Data Transfer Rate: Up to 480 Mbps with USB 2.0 max.
  • Read/Write Speed
    • USB 2 and FireWire: 8x write and rewrite, 24x read
    • PC Card: 8x write and rewrite, 12x read (PCMCIA PC Card)
    • USB 1.1: 4x write and rewrite, 6x read
  • Swappable Interfaces: USB 2.0 (PC), PC card (PC), FireWire (PC or Mac), or USB 1.1 (PC & Mac) cable.
  • Media Supported: CD-Audio, CD-EXTRA, CD-ROM, CD-ROM-XA, CD-I, Video CD, Photo CD, and CD Text.
  • Power: Archos patented Micro Power Management. No need for an AC Adapter - powered by computer. Includes Lithium Ion rechargeable batteries for greater autonomy.
  • Dimensions: Average diameter 135 mm (5.3''), thickness 22 mm (0.9'')
  • Weight: 400g (14.5 oz.)
  • System Requirements:
    • USB interface: Win 98 SE, ME, 2000, XP; Mac OS 8.6 & 9.x.
    • FireWire (IEEE1394) interface: Win 98 SE, ME, 2000, XP; Mac OS 9.x.

FireWire Depot Manufacturers' Clearance Sale

FireWire Depot has announced a manufacturers clearance sale on a select group of 2.5", 3.5" and 5.25" enclosures.

Included are:

  • The ME-910 2.5" enclosure which will accept either 9.5 or 12.5 mm drives. Available with either FireWire ($75.00), USB 1.1 ($40.00) or USB 2 ($55.00) interface.
  • The TT-320 5.25" enclosure with removable front panel. Available with either FireWire ($99.99) or USB 2 ($89.99) interface.
  • The TT-35U 3.5" USB ($89.99) enclosure.

PowerBook Zone Accessories Sale

The PowerBook Zone is moving office over the next week and suspending sales of their PowerBook accessories for a bit. They have a few 3.5" FireWire enclosures, 2.5" FireWire enclosures, and iAdaptor2 $65 adapters for any G4 PowerBook or Dual USB iBook. To clear these out, they are offering free UPS ground shipping, effectively cutting $5 off the price of all the items. They also have one more "black" MadsonLine adapter.

Reductions of up to $160 on WiebeTech MicroGB Pocket Drive Pricing

WiebeTech has announced reductions in pricing on MicroGB. MicroGB is a high performance FireWire/USB 1/USB 2 pocket drive featuring a distinctive, rugged, solid aluminum case. Revised pricing has been reduced by as much as $160 and is as follows:

  • 0 GB, MGB-0 $159.95 unchanged, ships from stock
  • 20 GB, MGB-20 was $259.95; now $217.95, ships from stock
  • 30 GB, MGB-30 was $339.95; now $299.95, ships from stock
  • 40 GB, MGB-40 was $399.95; now $329.95, ships from stock
  • 48 GB, MGB-48 was $599.95; now $439.95, ships from stock

(Basic product includes: enclosure; USB 2 cable, and FireWire cable. A 12V adapter is optional and is required only for USB use.)

In the US and Canada, MicroGB may be purchased from dealers. MicroGB is also available directly from WiebeTech.

FireWire HotSwap Storage System

When you run out of space, FireWire HotSwap Enclosure allows you to to simply swap in another standard IDE hard drive in a matter of seconds. The HotSwap enclosure connects to your computer using FireWire.

With the HotSwap system you don't have to sacrifice performance for convenience. Use one drive to carry a video project. When the drive fills up, simply buy another tray (for $29) and swap in another drive for another project. Incorporating the second generation Oxford 911 chipset, these enclosures don't slack when it comes to performance. The HotSwap enclosure achieves a blazing fast 35 MB/s transfer rate in real world tests, because it uses some of the same technology found in the Premium Hard Drive Enclosure. Never before has this much speed been combined with this much convenience at a price that is affordable.

Set up is easy: plug the enclosure into your computer, pop in almost any IDE hard drive into the tray, slide the tray into the enclosure, and turn the key. A neon indicator ensures that the drive is installed properly. That's it. These enclosures autoconfigure the drive, so there is no need to mess around with the jumper settings. It doesn't get any easier than this.

Quick Features

  • Swap hard drives in and out effortlessly.
  • Auto configuring firmware allows you to install any hard drive effortlessly
  • Easy Plug and Play Use With both Mac and PC
  • The first to support OS X 10.1
  • Our special firmware provides increased computability with more drive mechanisms, including the WD100, and the Maxtor160
  • 2nd generation Oxford 911 FireWire Chips allow fast 35 Mb/s transfer rates
  • 30 day Money Back Guarantee
  • Extra heavy duty power supply built in
  • Dual 6 pin powered IEEE1394/FireWire/iLink ports in rear
  • Sturdy metal case shelled in ABS plastic
  • Triple Fan system keeps the drive extra cool
  • Internal Teflon IDE/ATA cabling
  • Platform: Mac OS 9, Mac OS X 10.1, Win 98SE, Win 2000, Win XP, Win 2000 Server
  • Requirements: OHCI compliant IEEE 1394 bus card, IDE/ATA Hard disk drive
  • Warranty: One year parts and labor.
  • DV video Hard Drive Enclosure: $225

STM Laptop Bags

STM is an Australian company devoted to designing laptop luggage that is comfortable, highly protective STM bagand streetwise. They claim to have broken traditional boundaries by providing an alternative form of transport for laptops - addressing the need for three key components: comfort, protection of the laptop, and disguise against theft.

STM's range of laptop luggage incorporates all these characteristics missing from standard laptop bags. Their bags fit both the TiBook and the iBook.


  • laptop friendly: using the best quality materials and accessories, as well as high density padding for physical protection
  • STM luggage is designed to protect the wearer by providing comfort, style and functionality
  • STM bags are multipurpose: as well as protecting the laptop, they can be used to carry vinyl, most game consoles and other technical equipment

STM products are luggage for the global digerati. If you live, work or play in this generation, that includes you.

The Parachute series combines cutting edge design with comfort and versatility. Parachute bags are equally comfortable in the business world, the lecture hall and in the streets.

All bags in the Parachute range are made from 420D dobby nylon with PU coating (for strength and water resistance), YKK zippers, and Duraflex buckles and clips.

STM warrants to the original purchaser that our products are free from defect in materials and workmanship for the lifetime of the product.

You can buy STM bags from retailers in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, the USA, and Europe.

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.

Baucom Computers

Some low end and really low-end 'Books this week.

Power Max

The Power Max iBook iXtravaganza continues on a selection of factory refurbished by Apple models. 256 MB of RAM free with selected models.

On any order of ten or more units, you get one more of the same or lesser value free.

Small Dog Electronics

  • iBook 500, 128/15 GB/CDROM refurbished, $949
  • iBook 600, 128/15gb/DVD refurbished, $1,099
  • PowerBook G4/667, 512/30 GB/DVD/AirPort, refurbished, $2,199
  • PowerBook G4/667, 256/30 GB/DVD/AirPort, includes a Ogio Jack Pack Messenger Bag (Graphite), refurbished, $2,199

PowerBook Guy


  • iBook 300, 64/3.2 GB/CD, Blueberry, Apple Refurbished, $799.97
  • iBook 500, 128/10 GB/CD-RW/12.1", Apple Refurbished, $999.99

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