PowerBooks & iBooks

Titanium PowerBook G4

code names: Mercury, TiBook

The PowerBook moved from G3 to G4 at the Macworld Expo on January 9, 2001. It was smaller and lighter than any of the G3 'Books that preceded it, measuring just 1" thick and weighing 5.3 pounds. Construction is titanium and carbon fiber, which should have made for a very tough, very light computer.

In the field, a fresh battery can yields 3-4 hours of use. A DVD drive was standard on the early G4 PowerBooks; over time Apple migrated to Combo drives and even had a SuperDrive version of the fastest TiBook.

These were the first PowerBooks designed without an internal floppy drive, and they had only a single PC Card slot, where most earlier PowerBooks had included two. But perhaps the biggest drawback was due to the use of titanium itself - it greatly reduced the range of Apple's AirPort networking. (Best solution: a third-party WiFi PC Card with its own antenna.)

The titanium PowerBook was replaced by a 15" aluminum PowerBook in Sept. 2003.

PowerBook G4 400 & 500 MHz

The first TiBook shipped in two versions. Both included a DVD-ROM drive, a "mega-wide" 1152 x 768 pixel display, VGA video output, ATI Rage Mobility graphics, and supported up to 1 GB of RAM on a 100 MHz bus.

The lower cost model ran at 400 MHz and included 128 MB of RAM and a 10 GB hard drive. The top end model had a 500 MHz G4, 256 MB of RAM, and a 20 GB hard drive. A 30 GB drive was a build-to-order option.

PowerBook G4 550 & 667 MHz

In October 2001, Apple moves the TiBook to the next level. The entry-level model now ran at 550 MHz on the same 100 MHz system bus, 128 MB of RAM, and a 20 GB hard drive.

The more costly 667 MHz model had a 133 MHz system bus, 512 MB of RAM, and a 30 GB hard drive.

In December, Apple replaced the DVD-ROM drive with a Combo drive, which can read DVDs and burn CDs.

PowerBook G4 667 & 800 MHz

There were bigger changes afoot with the third version of the TiBook, which was introduced in April 2002. The most evident is a higher screen resolution of 1280 x 854. This was supported by ATI Radeon 7500 graphics with 32 MB of video RAM, and the VGA port found on earlier TiBooks vanished in favor of a digital DVI video interface.

Beyond offering speeds of 667 MHz and 800 MHz, the G4 CPU found in these TiBooks have a much larger level 2 cache - 1 MB vs. 256 KB in earlier TiBooks.

PowerBook G4 867 MHz & 1 GHz

In Nov. 2002, the final revision of the TiBook boosted speeds to 867 MHz and 1 GHz. The Radeon 9000 graphics processor replaced the 7500 of the previous generation, and video RAM doubled to 64 MB on the top-end model.

The 1 GHz TiBook was the first and only titanium PowerBook to ship with a SuperDrive.

Online Resources