Thoughts on Titanium Powerbook G4

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by musicismypill, Aug 27, 2008.

  1. musicismypill macrumors newbie

    Jul 7, 2008
    I just purchased a used Tibook and thought I would share my impressions and ask for some upgrade tips at the same time.

    I got the Tibook for $180USD, it's the 867MHZ dvi model with 512MB Ram (2 x 256MB). It has the stock 37GB 4200rpm drive, CDRW/DVD Superdrive and came with two power adaptors and all original packaging, manuals etc.

    Was this a good buy? I'm actually quite impressed with this machine. I was expecting it to be a bit sluggish but it feels almost as snappy as my Imac C2D running most day to day tasks on Tiger. Using coreplayer I'm now able to play lower bitrate H264/720P videos which totally blew me away for a mac that came out in 02/03?

    Aside from the flaking paint on the hinges I think it's a really nice looking computer. My Girlfriend's 14" iBook G4 looks big and fugly by comparison :D

    I highly recommend this for anyone doing fairly basic computing e.g iTunes, Web Browsing, watching movies, Adobe CS2 etc.

    **Now to the Upgrading**
    I've purchased a 4000mah battery for it that is near new (old battery would last around 50mins)

    I plan to use this for tons of web browsing, watching video (xvid/divx,x264/h264), basic adobe CS2 stuff (photoshop, illustrator, dreamweaver)
    What I would like is; a faster boot time, faster loading of applications, ability to surf and watch video at same time (can do this now but only with very low bitrate). Also it can be noisy from time to time but is acceptable for the most part.

    To Do:

    1. Install an original airport card (is reception really that bad? I have a time capsule about 10-30ft away most of the time)
    2. Upgrade to a 5400rpm / 7200rpm IDE drive. Considering a Seagate Momentus or Hitachi Travelstar... any favorites?
    3. Swap out 2 x 256MB Ram for 2 x 512MB. (will i notice much with this upgrade? pc133 SODIMM is really expensive:( )
  2. NorCalLights macrumors 6502a

    Apr 24, 2006
    I had the 800MHz version of that computer for 5 years before I finally upgraded to my current Macbook Pro. Then, I gave it to a friend of mine who reports it is still going strong.

    I made all of the upgrades you are thinking about doing. Upgrading the hard drive to 7200 RPM made the biggest difference, but maxing out the RAM was a huge boost too.

    With a new, high-capacity battery, my old laptop would run for 5+ hours surfing the web over wireless.

    Only difference is that mine came with an Airport card from the factory. The reception was far from "bad"... in fact, I would say it was about the same as my current Macbook Pro. Internal Airport cards are sorta expensive though, especially because they are only 802.11b... you might get better value out of a PCMCIA card with 802.11g.

  3. e12a macrumors 68000


    Oct 28, 2006
    its a nice machine. Just go easy on the hinges.
  4. musicismypill thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 7, 2008
    Yea I've heard that the hinges are notorious for breaking :(

    I'll hunt around for a current list of PCMCIA wifi adaptors that will work with os X. Most of the ones I have found are all old 802.11b cards or specialist 'mac' ones that are overpriced and I need to order in from the U.S. Would rather just go down the road and get a linksys, belkin, netgear etc one

    Is there likely to be much of a jump from 5200rpm to 7200? I would rather a faster one but they are rare in IDE/PATA. Actually considered doing a 16GB compact flash card with adaptor for a silent, light weight laptop but fast cards are still too expensive.

    Thanks for the comments
  5. Stuart in Oz macrumors 6502

    Jan 16, 2008
    Sydney, Australia
    Love your post, my 2001 1st gen Titanium is still doing sterling service for my father as his desktop.

    Yeah, imagine how cool a machine it was way back in 2001! I thought I'd bought the computer to end all computers.

    Spot on! The sleekness of the original Titanium is still hard to beat! The problem of course is that a lot of the sleeker look comes from the hinge design - which is the achilles heel of the machine.

    I have an original airport card that I put in sometime in 2002. Reception is fine. My base station is two rooms away from the machine & it works fine.

    Definitely go for the memory - like always, it makes far the biggest difference. I know what you mean about the prices though. :(
  6. monkey86 macrumors 6502


    Aug 5, 2008
  7. nbarter macrumors newbie

    Aug 31, 2008
    TI bowerbook 867 mzh

    So I am confused, can I upgrade to the Airport extreme?
    or is there anyway to improve reception?
    I have a Belkin 802.11g with high speed mode & I barely get a signal
    some 15-20' away..
    I thought I saw where someone added an external antenna but cannot find the article....
  8. THX1139 macrumors 68000


    Mar 4, 2006
    Sounds like you are doing a lot to upgrade your "new" tibook. Be careful, while it's still a viable machine, it's not worth much and you're getting diminishing returns for every additional dime you put into it.

    I have a 2001 G4 tibook that's in excellent condition. I spent many years as a desktop solution so it doesn't have the typical wear and tear. Nevertheless, it needs a new battery (current one gives me about 10 minutes!) if I want to take it out anywhere. But I'm reluctant to spend even $50 on such an outdated machine. The ram is already maxed, and it's got a 7200 rpm drive (that certainly helped if feel snappier!). Anyway, I have a very difficult time going from my MacPro to my tibook which is what happened a few months ago when my MacPro went into the shop for repair. It's a great little laptop to keep around for emergencies, but I don't think it's worth spending money to update.

    I thought about throwing Leopard on it but I'm afraid it would crush it since it's only got a measly 8mb of vram.
  9. monkey86 macrumors 6502


    Aug 5, 2008
    i agree a great machine i was very happy with it!

    but i wouldnt upgrade it much - throwing money away!
  10. vollspacken macrumors 65816


    Oct 17, 2002
    Boogie-Down Berlintown
    the 1Ghz top-of-the-line model is still my main machine (with maxed-out ram and an 7200RPM HDD).

    it's an excellent machine, even though it won't accept airport extreme.

    I will replace it, once the Macbook Pro get's updated (I hope with a black keyboard), but keep the Titanium for OS 9 (yes, it will boot into that).

  11. California macrumors 68040


    Aug 21, 2004
    1 gig of ram is a must

    I had the fastest PATA hard drive for a long time 7200 rpm 100gig travelstar. But they don't make them anymore or hard to get and the bigger 250gb Western Digital at 5400 rpms is as fast now because it is a bigger drive so the discs spin just as fast.

    love it in my powerbook.

    Get this hard drive -- it has a five year warranty.

    Also, try to find some of the old Ti Paint they used to make. It was great for touch ups on the titianiums.

    Also put a dual layer superdrive in it and sell your old parts. You will feel great.
  12. musicismypill thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 7, 2008

    I upgraded to a 5400rpm 80GB Western Digital Scorpio drive, which reduced the noise of the laptop a fair bit and it is a little snappier to use although not that much faster.

    I tried to reuse a PCMCIA/Cardbus belkin 802.11/g card that I had lying around. It's a F5D7010 (ver7000) which uses a Realtek chipset. Realtek have OS X 10.3 & 10.4 drivers on their website but it is very slow to see my network & connect. Speed is ok if I am in the same room as the router, otherwise file transfers are very sluggish. Don't really want to drop any more money in to this so I think I'll make do without an Airport card.

    867mhz G4 + 512MB Ram works nicely with Tiger so the machine will remain an iCal, MS Office 2004, DVD Player, Web browser for me until I drop some serious money on a new Macbook Pro.

    Thanks for the help so far :)
  13. eXan macrumors 601


    Jan 10, 2005
  14. macuser1111 macrumors newbie

    Sep 1, 2008
    I came unhinged!

    Nice machine, hinges %uck!

    Mine seized up and cracked right off one morning when I opened it.
    YOu might want to find out if there is a lube or grease of some sort that is required for periodic conditioning of those buggers.

    After I learned that it would require a $1200 fix, i upgraded to the G4 aluminum. I can still use the titanium as a HD by firewire-connecting and holding down its' T-key on startup.

    Good luck. Obviously speed will be another issue, if you run 3D, graphics or photo software.

    It's not in the Museum of Modern Art for nothing!

    Good luck.
  15. monkey86 macrumors 6502


    Aug 5, 2008
    max the ram, its cheap as chips on ebay!

    also go for the WD Scorpio 250Gb HDD 5,400 RPM im using on and its excellent!

  16. the Helix macrumors regular

    the Helix

    Sep 16, 2003
    Well worth upgrading.

    The Ti Book was Apple's first notebook that had sex appeal. It's what made the PowerBooks and now the MacBook Pros the notebook to own.

    The Ti Book was my very first Mac. It was the top of the line at the time with 1Ghz and 1GB RAM (Airport, SuperDrive). I even managed to firmware fix the SuperDrive to be region free. Now it belongs to my niece who uses it for college.

    It's a great Mac well worth upgrading!
  17. THX1139 macrumors 68000


    Mar 4, 2006
    Maybe for nostalgia, but like I said in an earlier post, the G4 tiBook is NOT worth spending money on. Sure, you can get (maybe) another year for websurfing or email... or running legacy apps. But that's about it. Forget about Leopard or current technology going forward. Soon, website plugins like Flash will not work unless you update, and the computer will not support them if you do.

    I currently have CS2 running (barely) on mine. CS 3 won't run... and Adobe is getting ready to launch CS 4. Forget about watching video... even youtube plays very choppy or not at all.

    If you already own a tiBook, then get another year out of it. But not if you have to put money into it.
  18. musicismypill thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 7, 2008
    I might post pics after I have a go at touching up the trim with some white acrylic paint. Other than that it looks the same as most Ti's :p

    I will probably go ahead and order a 512MB chip (2 x 512MB is just too much $$) for what I need this to do. I'd rather try and get a 1GHZ logic board and swap it out for more power. I got a bit carried away looking at parts on to upgrade / improve the appearance of mine ;)

    I just had to buy this. I was lusting after an apple laptop for a while but didn't want to settle for an ibook G3/G4 and the price jump to a decent alu book was a bit much. Ideally I would like a MB/MBP but I can't stand the small glossy screen and the plastic look :(

    So it was cheap and I wanted a piece of apple nostalgia but to my surprise it can hold it's own with ical, itunes, safari and even CS2 which is on there now. I could put Leopard on but to be honest I think Tiger is better for these G4's if you can do with out the extra's that leopard gives you.

    This is my own 'personal' first mac and now I totally 'get' the cult of mac. They are computers with so much soul. For some weird reason I feel so much more creative on a Mac and find myself experimenting a lot more than my xp desktop.

    Apple notebook's rule. Bring on the new ones :cool:
  19. musicismypill thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 7, 2008
    Do you have an earlier 450-800mhz model? Mine is the 867mhz with 32MB Vram. Youtube is perfectly normal. DivX/Xvid is perfect, all .mov/.mp4's I have tried are fine except for 1080p trailers. Most .wmv's will play with Flip4Mac. And Coreplayer let's me play x264 and h264 720p MKV files on this so long as they are not big action scenes with a really high bitrate. This really surprised me :eek:
  20. California macrumors 68040


    Aug 21, 2004
    The 1ghz logic boards have some more power (not all that much) over the 867mhz powerbooks, but keep in mind the best thing about the 1ghz Tibooks is it has 64mb vram. Only Tibook that does.

    SOMEWHERE a few years ago, SOMEONE was actually overclocking Tibooks to I think 1.25ghz. Cannot remember who.

    The Mac Book Air is a direct copy of the original Tibook for its' industrial good looks. Too bad most of the Ti's had paint chipping problems. Mine didn't, though because I kept it on a stand (I actually have owned about six Ti's in my life but I'm talking about my first one bought new.)

    There is a stand that MacCally makes for the Ti that is plastic and really good. Saved my wrists on it when typing. I thnk its called the icepad.
  21. vollspacken macrumors 65816


    Oct 17, 2002
    Boogie-Down Berlintown
    that, my friend, is simply not true..! my 1Ghz tiBook runs Photoshop Elements, MS Office, Logic, NI Traktor, Pd, Handbrake, whatever casual computing I throw at it, without any problem.

    plus videos in any format run perfectly smooth (including fullscreen youtube or vreel).

    don't spend more than 200,- bucks on it, but with 1gig of ram and a fast HDD its a very nice computer that might last the normal user at least one more year until Snow Leopard.

  22. monkey86 macrumors 6502


    Aug 5, 2008
    +1 - also if you downgrade to tiger you will get a good few years out of it - im looking at keeping my 12" PB for as long as i can :)
  23. rjphoto macrumors 6502a


    Mar 7, 2005
    Check out Buffalo Wireless PCMCIA Cards. I bought mine 3 or 4 years ago now. Seems like it was around $50(US) then. (Hmmm quick search finds there is some sort of legal battle going on with them. Oh well.)

    Any way, I just revamped my old G4-400 Ti-Book and brought it up to 10.3.9. It only has 384mb of RAM so it's a bit slow. The 10gb HD doesn't leave much room for storage either.

    The battery is the big problem right now. That and the power brick for my 12" PB died so I'm using th YO-YO with it right now. (It's battery is about to go also.) (Any suggestion on battery replacements would be appriciated.)

    Both have served me well but the one that keeps on going is my old G3 500 PB. My wife still uses it everyday for web, email and Word. Now talk about a great design. All the ports and swappable bays.... I'd love to have that type of versatility with MB or MBP processing power.

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