Ever since their introduction in January 2001, the PowerBook G4 Titanium has been one of the most envy-enduing computer systems on the market. Its sleek styling, respectable performance and 15.2 inch widescreen LCD display were among the factors in making the PowerBook G4 a hit. Soon after its release, Inside Mac Games published a review of the then-new PowerBook, giving it high marks for both its technical capabilities and the design of its case.
In late October 2001, Apple revised the Titanium PowerBook line. System clock speeds were increased to 550 MHz on the low end and 667 MHz on the high-end model. For gamers, the big announcement was the upgrading of the computerís Graphics Processing Unit to ATIís Radeon Mobility chip. Hardware-savvy gamers knew that this upgrade was significant since it promised a new level in performance for mobile gamers, especially in the area of 3D gaming.
After using the latest top-of-the-line Apple portable for a few weeks, I realized that reviewing this hardware demanded a different level of attention be paid to it. Think of this review as more of a road test rather than a typical review, not unlike those found in automotive magazines that take a few months to look at the latest sport-ute or luxury car. It should be seen as a companion piece to our previous review of the initial PowerBook G4. Hopefully, this article will provide readers with an idea of what the latest Titanium PowerBook is all about.
Nuts and BoltsThe upgraded Titanium PowerBook G4 share many of the same features found in the previously released TiBooks. The physical form-factor is practically identical, save for a small change to the rear port access door. The machines sport the same widescreen 15.2-inch display running at a resolution of 1152x768 and offer similar AirPort performance.
These machines are more than simply one of Appleís typical Ďspeed bumpsí that increases the performance of the systemís CPU in order to keep the product line fresh. These PowerBooks offer noteworthy feature enhancements that set them apart from earlier models. This is especially true for the 667 MHz model.
Both the 550 and the 667 MHz models offer ATIís Mobility Radeon graphics processor with 16 megabytes of double data rate video RAM, Gigabit Ethernet networking and a combination DVD/CD-RW drive (although the initial release of these portables offered a DVD-ROM drive in its place). The high-end PowerBook up sizes the internal disk drive capacity from 20 gigabytes to 30 gigabytes, doubles the amount of RAM to 512 megabytes, increases the systems bus speed (the mechanism through which all system components share data) from 100 to 133 MHz and includes a built-in AirPort card for wireless networking.
The impressive out-of-the-box specifications of the PowerBook G4/667 resulted in a personal first for me as a Mac user. Having owned a number of portable and desktop Macs, going as far back as the Macintosh SE/30, this was the first time I did not feel compelled to crack open the case to add additional memory or expansion cards after unpacking the computer. This portable included everything I needed right in the box.