Ordered a new Powerbook G4 yesterday

Ordered a new Powerbook G4 yesterday

My old Titantium Powerbook G4 DVI 800 was getting a bit long in the tooth. Although it still served me well as my development box, I decided I could use the last Powerbook G4.

Since I am a select member of the ADC (Apple Developer’s Connection), similar to MSDN , I get one hardware discount per year (20% off) in addition to receiving seed drops, some support, and a bunch of disks in the mail once a month. My ADC membership always renews in September and the hardware discounts expire so I am forced to get something new every year. My current MO is to buy a desktop one year and a laptop the next. My current laptop was bought in July of 2002, then my dual G4 desktop in March of 2003. It also was the last of its kind and that has served me well as by the time they are on the last revision, all the bugs, if any, have been shaken out of the system.

I got a message from Apple this evening saying I could get a special discount on a G5 + Cinema HD display until June 26th. This is a stellar indication that there will be upgrades of both products announced at WWDC starting June 28th. With that in mind, I imagine they will be shipping in the fall, like the last release of the G5s and I can pick up a new desktop box at the end of September. My current guess for Powerbook G5s is January. I’ll let that lie, make sure there are no big issues like heat or other problems that can occur in the first release, and get a new laptop when they release the second generation of G5 laptops at the end of next year. Should work out perfectly :)

To get the best deal from Apple, I suggest that you don’t buy RAM from them if you can avoid it. For this laptop, all I did was pay the extra $40 for them to give me a single stick of 512M PC2700 RAM instead of two 256M sticks. Then I ordered a 1G stick from another place for $300, instead of the ~$500 they would have charged me. Even though I have a super-drive already in my desktop machine, I still got one for the laptop, because when I sell it, I figure that it will be in much higher demand with the DVD-R than without it. Plus the new drive is faster than my old one as well.

I think the key component with this upgrade is going to be the hard-drive. I chose the 80G 5200RPM disk from Apple, but that isn’t staying in the new laptop, its going in the old one for when I sell it. Instead, I ordered a Hitachi 7K60. This is a 60G 7200 RPM disk that will let my machine behave more like a desktop than a laptop. Should do wonders for my builds in comparison. Also, I opted for the 128M ATI Mobility Radeon 9700 instead of the 64M version. It was only a $40 upgrade and Tom’s Hardware says that it is as fast as year old desktop video cards. With a 1.5 Ghz G4 this new laptop should be pretty quick all around.

The only negative thing that they did the Aluminum Powebooks vs. the Titanium ones is how they changed the CPU caches. On my old laptop I have a 256K L2 cache and a 1M L3 cache. On the new laptop I will have a 512K L2 cache with no L3 installed. This is really too bad because Java loves the cache, one of the reasons it performs so well on the Pentium-Ms. The chipset allows for a 2M L3 and I think they should have had that available as an option somehow. It would really scream with that in there. We’ll see when I get one. I expect that it will be around 50% faster, not the over 75% faster that you would expect if everything had remained the same except the clockspeed. Builds might still do better than that though, because of the increased disk speed.

As for my old workhorse, he’ll have 1G of RAM, a DVD-ROM/CD-RW drive, a 15" screen (somewhat the worse for wear), a brand new top-case (don’t spill things on it), a brand new 80G 5200RPM disk from my new laptop, 800mhz G4, AirPort, and a bluetooth USB thingy. I think I’ll get near $1200 for it on eBay/craigslist. Pretty good return on these things.