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Apple Introduces 800 MHz TiBook, Higher Resolution, New L3 Cache, & A Higher Price Tag

Apple Introduces 800 MHz TiBook, Higher Resolution, New L3 Cache, & A Higher Price Tag

by , 9:00 AM EDT, April 29th, 2002

While rumors swirled that Apple would be releasing new 800 MHz PowerBook G4s (TiBooks), the rumors were off. By a day. Along with the new eMac, Apple introduced new TiBook models today. The new models will ship at 667 MHz and 800MHz, but also feature other improvements such as higher resolution and 1 MB of L3 cache. The units sport the same size display at 15.2", but offer a resolution of 1200 x 854, a 23% improvement in screen real estate. Lastly, the new units come with a higher price tag than their predecessors, with the 667 MHz model being priced at US$2499, and the 800 MHz unit being priced at US$3199. The new models are available immediately.

Other tech specs of note:

  • A DVI port for connecting to DVI displays, along with a DVI to VGA adapter for connecting to non-Apple branded displays.
  • The return of an audio-in port
  • The 667 MHz model features L3 cache speeds of 2.5 GBps (data throughput), while the 800 MHz unit features 3.2 GBps for its L3 cache
  • Both units feature 133 MHz system bus. The 550 MHz and 667 MHz models that they replace had a 100 MHz and a 133 MHz system bus, respectively
  • Both models feature new video cards, the TI Mobility Radeon 7500 graphics processor with AGP 4X support and 32MB of fast DDR video memory. The models they replace have only an AGP 16 MB Rage 128 Mobility graphics card

The press release from Apple:

Apple® today introduced the new Titanium PowerBook® G4 line featuring an all-new, high-resolution display, faster PowerPC G4 processors, the industry's first integrated Digital Visual Interface (DVI) port and the industry's only integrated Gigabit Ethernet in a notebook.

The new 15.2-inch mega-wide display features an enhanced resolution of 1280-by-854 pixels, 23 percent more than previous models, along with higher brightness and better color saturation. Faster PowerPC G4 processors up to 800 MHz and the addition of a 1MB of level 3 cache boost performance for demanding applications like Final Cut Pro™ and Photoshop. And, the new integrated Digital Visual Interface (DVI) port for analog and digital video output enables a pure digital connection to Apple's award-winning line of flat-panel displays and the new generation of DVI-equipped digital projectors.

"The industry's best Pro notebook just got better," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "The new Titanium PowerBook G4's new high-res display is the best ever offered in a notebook, its industry-first integrated DVI port enables a pure digital connection to Apple flat-panel displays and DVI-equipped digital projectors, and its industry-first integrated Gigabit Ethernet is up to 10 times faster than any other notebook."

The new Apple DVI to ADC Adapter allows customers of the new PowerBook G4 to easily connect to Apple's award-winning line-up of all digital flat-panel displays that feature the innovative Apple Display Connector (ADC), including the stunning new 23-inch Cinema HD Display. Apple's DVI to ADC Adapter carries the pure digital video signal, USB data and power over a single cable, simplifying setup and minimizing cable clutter on the desktop. The adapter also provides the ability to add a second Apple flat-panel display to selected Power Mac G4 configurations, including models with the new NVIDIA GeForce Titanium graphics processor.

The new PowerBook G4 includes fast PowerPC G4 processors with Velocity Engine running at up to 800 MHz, a high-speed L3 cache of 1MB of Double Data Rate (DDR) SDRAM and a 133 MHz system bus on all models. With its new performance architecture, the 800 MHz PowerBook outperforms a 1.7-GHz Pentium 4-based notebook system on average by 33 percent*. For superior graphics performance, the new PowerBook G4 line also includes the ATI Mobility Radeon 7500 graphics processor with AGP 4X support and 32MB of fast DDR video memory.

Setting the standard for mobile communications, the Titanium PowerBook G4 offers built-in Gigabit Ethernet (10/100/1000BASE-T) and a 56K modem. All PowerBook models feature built-in antennas and an AirPort™ Card slot for 802.11-based AirPort wireless communications at up to 11 megabits per second; the 800 MHz model comes with an AirPort Card pre-installed.

All PowerBook G4 notebooks include FireWire® and USB ports along with Apple's award-winning suite of digital lifestyle software, including iPhoto™ for managing and sharing digital photographs, iMovie™ 2 for creating digital movies and iTunes™ 2 for creating a digital music library.

The new Titanium PowerBook G4 also features:

  • 1-inch thick Titanium design weighing just 5.4 pounds**;
  • 256MB or 512MB SDRAM, expandable to 1GB;
  • a slot-loading Combo drive (DVD-ROM/CD-RW);
  • 30GB or 40GB Ultra ATA/66 hard drives standard, with up to 60GB optional;
  • up to five hours of battery life on one Lithium-ion battery;
  • DVI, DVI to VGA adapter, S-video, USB, FireWire, audio line-in and audio line-out ports;
  • new Mac OS X version 10.1.4, as well as Mac OS 9.2.2.; and
  • a small, lightweight power adapter.

The 667 MHz PowerBook G4 is available for a suggested retail price of $2,499 (US) and includes:

  • 256MB SDRAM;
  • 30GB Ultra ATA/66 hard drive; and
  • AirPort ready with integrated antennas and card slot.

The 800 MHz PowerBook G4 is available for a suggested retail price of $3,199 (US) and includes:

  • 512MB SDRAM;
  • 40GB Ultra ATA/66 hard drive; and
  • built-in AirPort Card with integrated antennas.

* Based on commonly used actions in Adobe Photoshop 7.0.
** Weight includes battery and optical drive, and varies by configuration and manufacturing process.

You can find more information on the new TiBooks at Apple's Web site. They are available from the online Apple Store immediately. Join in on the discussion on the new TiBooks in our forums.

The Mac Observer Spin:

It's too bad that Apple is having to raise the price of the PowerBook line, especially when it is as much as US$200. When Apple dropped the price of its high end portable below the US$3000 mark, it was heralded as a Good Thing™ for consumers. It seems that Apple's pursuit of market share in lieu of maintaining 30% margins only goes so far.

To anyone who values high resolution and screen real estate on their portable, however, this machine is well worth that price hike. Apple's supported resolutions have always been on the light side (15" displays on many Wintel portables will be as high as 1400 pixels across), but the quality of the LCD screens being used has made up for that to some degree. The 1200 x 854 resolution is outstanding, and we imagine that this unit is going to be a pleasure to look at.

The better graphics card is also a much welcomed change, though we wish Apple would move to NVIDIA's mobile line.

Lastly, we come to the L3 cache. L3 cache doesn't offer the same kilobyte for kilobyte performance boost that backside (or other forms of L2 cache) cache can offer, but having any L3 cache at all will offer some performance boost. Apple's G3 and G4 PowerBook line has always offered outstanding performance simply because Motorola doesn't have to offer an emasculated mobile version of the processors to run cool enough for a laptop. Intel's processors, on the other hand, have to be severely limited in order to do the same thing, which means that a typical Wintel laptop is not nearly as fast as a Wintel desktop at the same MHz rating.

The only thing we were surprised to see in the new units is the lack of a DVD-R drive of some sort. The DVD/CD-RW combo drive is a great drive, but we have long though that Apple's next major revision of the PowerBook would include a SuperDrive option. It's a good thing we aren't in the rumor business.

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