The quest to join Club 17...

swamprock

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Aug 2, 2015
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So... a month of 16 hour days (no days off) later and extremely flush with cash, I'm looking to pick up a 17" Powerbook G4. I've read up on the specs of the different models, but haven't seen much about which models were the best/great/merely good/problematic. What are some of the members' experiences and recommendations here? I'd like to grab one that's the perfect balance of stability and speed, and, of course, max it out.
 

eyoungren

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Aug 31, 2011
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So... a month of 16 hour days (no days off) later and extremely flush with cash, I'm looking to pick up a 17" Powerbook G4. I've read up on the specs on the different models, but haven't seen much about which models were the best/great/merely good/problematic. What are some of the members' experiences and recommendations here? I'd like to grab one that's the perfect balance of stability and speed, and, of course, max it out.
If you are looking for the best you can get in stability and speed, you want the HD-DLSD. Still only a max of 2GB ram though.

Personally, my preference though is still the A1013. It's the first and only model of the 17" that has L3 ram cache and you can make up for some of it's lack of trackpad gestures with iScroll 2.
 
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AphoticD

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If you are looking for the best you can get in stability and speed, you want the HD-DLSD. Still only a max of 2GB ram though.

Personally, my preference though is still the A1013. It's the first and only model of the 17" that has ram cache and you can make up for some of it's lack of trackpad gestures with iScroll 2.
I've seen you mention this before.. What is the ram cache?

I have the 1.67Ghz SLSD and even though the display isn't of the higher-res variety, it is absolutely gorgeous to work on. And it's fast! It can achieve realtime, full screen Core Image rendering results (in my app development), which my 1.5Ghz PB G4 15" can't do. I don't know if it's just the 10% speed bump and the double VRAM (128MB vs 64MB), but it runs beautifully and feels faster than any other G4 I've owned.

This 17" is in perfect condition (no scratches or wear on the palm rest area). The best part is I picked up for just AU$10 (plus interstate shipping) as the previous owner had attempted to dismantle it and tore the keyboard/trackpad ribbon off the logic board (under the RAM slots). A little superglue and some wedges of plastic got it booting for me within the first 20 minutes of owning it.

Of course, I had to let the previous owner know and advised him that I safely deleted his files too. He must have been happy for me because he didn't write back :)

2GB of RAM + a 64GB mSATA SSD makes it a perfect portable PowerPC.
 

AphoticD

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Yeah…I used the wrong terms. CPU cache, specifically L3 cache of 1mb.

Same thing that makes the Titanium DVIs fast, but only the A1013 of all the 17" PowerBooks has it.

View attachment 752582
Ahh Ok. I was thinking it could have been a special ram feature. The 1MB L3 cache certainly makes a big improvement over not having one when comparing clock speeds.

On paper, the 1.33Ghz model (7447 with 512k L2 cache) outperforms the benchmarks of the 1Ghz 7455 with 256k L2 + 1MB L3. But this might not be the case in real world use due to the L3.

Given that the A1013 was the first gen 17" then I think the answer to the OP is that any option will result in a quality PowerPC portable, they were all good.

They all share the same speed ATA/100 bus for HDD/SSD options and for the most part had the same port config. The only real difference between models other than the clock speed and cache, would be GPU option.

The first gen model used the Geforce4 440 Go, which isn't terrible, but didn't support Core Image. Without being certain, I have a feeling that the Mobility Radeon 9600 in the 1.33Ghz model also didn't support Core Image. However, any of the Mobility Radeon 9700 models (1.5Ghz+) were fully CI supported.

The 1.67Ghz (inc SLSD) models featured dual-link DVI output, which means they can drive an external display up to 2560x1600 pixels like the 30" Apple Cinema Display. I have tested this by running my 27" WQHD display at 2560x1440 off the PB17" and it performs flawlessly (despite having to squint due to a lack of a real HiDPI mode in Leopard).
 
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weckart

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The A1013 only sports a pair of USB 1.1 ports rather than the USB 2.0 ports that followed. It is only really worth getting if you want to run OS9 natively on it rather than in classic mode as it can do this with minimal tweaking. That and the fact you can give it twice the RAM of the top end TiBook means that the selling price of this model has gone up somewhat recently.
 

AphoticD

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The A1013 only sports a pair of USB 1.1 ports rather than the USB 2.0 ports that followed. It is only really worth getting if you want to run OS9 natively on it rather than in classic mode as it can do this with minimal tweaking. That and the fact you can give it twice the RAM of the top end TiBook means that the selling price of this model has gone up somewhat recently.
True. This might be due to the fact it has been labeled the "Holy Grail" Laptop for OS9 over at MacOS9Lives.com

Just don't tell @eyoungren he can boot OS9 on his Club 17 PowerBook... Leopard or Die! :)
 
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KawaiiAurora

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Dec 16, 2016
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I can personally confirm that the A1013 is an excellent model for the following reasons:
  1. It runs OS X 10.5 and Mac OS 9.2.2 very well. OS X 10.5 needs a little tweaking around to remove every bit of lag (removing shadows, 2D etc) but it's quite fast afterwards
  2. The 1MB L3 cache does wonders
  3. It can play 360p YouTube on LWK without any dropped frames. 720p videos also work well for the most part with CorePlayer
  4. It's pretty silent and the fans don't kick in unless you're doing something demanding
  5. It supports up to 2GB DDR RAM so you'll have a decent amount of RAM for OS X 10.5
  6. Unlike TiBooks, it has Airport Extreme so you can connect to any modern router
  7. The Geforce 4 MX Go 440 isn't the best but it's good enough to play a couple of games like RtCw and The Sims
Overall, I'd say it's a very good laptop and I find myself using it quite frequently to type up some documents, play older games, browse lighter websites and watch downloaded 720p anime.

I got mine for 50e which is pretty good, especially when considering it already had 1.5GB RAM installed and a 160GB HDD.

In other words, get yourself a 17" PowerBook G4, you won't regret it unless you spend too much :)
 

Dronecatcher

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Jun 17, 2014
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No contest - go for the DLSD - it really is a different kind of G4 experience, the GPU really sings and Leopard just glides along. My only gripe is the auto frequency scaling on the CPU, I'd have preferred the standard performance options.
 

swamprock

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Aug 2, 2015
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I may just go with both the DLSD and the A1013. I've always gone for the best and the last of each of the models I have bought, but in this case, I wouldn't mind experimenting with OS 9 on the A1013, if I can find one in decent shape and at a decent price.

Thanks for all of the comments/suggestions, guys...
 

eyoungren

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I dual-boot OS 9 and OS X 10.5.8. I'm sure @eyoungren won't kill me :)
No…but I won't be dual booting OS9 myself. :)
[doublepost=1519773567][/doublepost]
I may just go with both the DLSD and the A1013. I've always gone for the best and the last of each of the models I have bought, but in this case, I wouldn't mind experimenting with OS 9 on the A1013, if I can find one in decent shape and at a decent price.

Thanks for all of the comments/suggestions, guys...
Keep in mind that all the tweaks and optimizations I made for T4Fx were done to make browsing on an A1013 with a failed L3 cache much easier and faster. So, if you get one and you put T4Fx on it you may be pleasantly surprised.

I take my A1013 to the coffee shop and rarely have issues browsing.