BARE FEATS - real world Mac speed tests

Is The "Revision B" Titanium PowerBook G4 Really Improved? (PAGE FOUR)

First posted October 29, 2001;
Updated on October 30th FileMaker, Bryce and Cinema 4D graphs.
Updated on November 5th with 600 MHz iBook numbers.
Updated November 13th with 667 MHz TiBook numbers.
Updated November 24th with "one on one" Final Cut Pro shootout between the fastest iBook and fastest TiBook.
by
rob ART morgan, Bare Feats Mad Scientist

AND YOU THINK YOU ARE HAVING TROUBLE DECIDING?
Ultimately, choosing which Apple laptop is best for you is a very personal decision, one I can't make for you. I'm having a hard enough time deciding which one I want.

I ran out and bought the 550MHz TiBook as soon as I could get one, as I told you in when this report was first published. The Radeon graphics chip alone made me feel I had to have one. The price was nice. But then, after one week, I returned it. Noisy drive. Noisy fan. Not happy.

Hmmm. The 600 MHz iBook 2001 "rev B" gave the TiBook "rev B" a run for the money. I decided to bring one home. I played with it for two weeks. It's a sweet setup. Quiet. Compact. Capable. But I couldn't get the Titanium out of my mind. That Radeon chip was calling to me again, even though I don't play Quake 3 that often. It sure would be nice to have that bigger screen. And I do use Photoshop on the laptop on occasion. Final Cut Pro, too...

This sounds crazy, but five hours before the deadline to return the iBook, I ran out and bought the Titanium 667. I wanted to see, hear, and feel it running next to the iBook 600 in the quiet of my home. It still was noisier than the iBook but not as bad as the 550. I decided to run an old Photoshop test. I launch a 27 MB document (with Photoshop App Size set to 220 MB). Rotate it 30 degrees. Gaussian Blur 30 pixels. Zoom in 400%. Scroll from top to bottom. Then add up the total time in seconds:

Whoa. That was an eye opener. Then I did a quickie Final Cut Pro test: a title, two clips, two transitions, Gaussian blur. Render All:

An hour before the deadline, I was convinced. I was ready to pack up the iBook 600 and return it but I didn't. I told me wife, "Are you sure you don't want this 600 MHz iBook? It's faster than your 500 MHz model and has DVD." She says, "Sure. Sell my old one."

I don't really NEED a Titanium. But now I have one... again. I'm not taking this one back. It is truly an amazing feat of engineering. It's the Porsche of laptops. Yes, it's noisier than the iBook but the 911 Turbo is noisier than the Boxster. Vrooooom!

My wife's saying it again. "Got your Titanium. Don't need me."

 

IS THE TITANIUM 667 REALLY WORTH THOUSANDS MORE THAN AN IBOOK 600?
After all, the performance is very similar for many "common" applications. Is the screen size the only difference? I created this chart to highlight the key differences between the 600 MHz iBook and 667 MHz TiBook:

iBook 2001
(600 MHz) DVD
Titanium G4 PowerBook
(667 MHz) DVD

Base Price

$1499

$2999

512 MB of SDRAM

(18004memory) $155

$0

AirPort card

$99

$0

30 GB Travelstar drive

$150

$0

TOTAL

$1903

$2999

Screen Size (diagonal) *

12.1 in
15.2 in

Screen Width *

9.5 in (1024 pixels)
12.6 in (1152 pixels)

Screen Height *

7.25 in (768 pixels)
8.4 in (748 pixels)

Graphics Chip

ATI Rage Mobility
ATI Radeon Mobility

Video Memory

8MB SDRAM
16MB DDR

Dual Display Support

NO
yes

S-video Out

NO
yes

CPU type

G3
G4

System Bus Speed

100MHz
133Mhz

Maximum RAM

640MB
1000MB

Combo CD drive

Optional
Standard

Standard Hard Drive

15GB
30 GB

Optional Hard Drive

30 GB
48GB

Ethernet Max Speed

100BaseT
1000BaseT

PCMCIA slot

NO
yes

Infrared Communication

NO
yes

Case Material

Polycarbonate Plastic with Magnesium Frame
Titanium

Case Width

11.2 inches
13.4 inches

* Although the Titanium has only 13% more pixels displayed, in terms of square inches, the screen is 54% bigger. In other words, objects on screen appear bigger on the Titanium, a blessing to "old" baby boomer eyes.

Similarly equipped, the difference is only $1096. For that extra grand, you get a 54% larger screen, G4, Radeon graphics, faster system bus, faster Ethernet, and a Titanium case. When viewed that way, the extra grand is justified.

 

IS THE RADEON MOBILITY CHIP IN THE POWERBOOK REVISION B THE FAST 7500 VERSION? Unfortunately not. But don't be surprised if it shows up in the Revision C TiBook.

FYI, here's a chart detailing the difference between the Radeon Mobility chip used in the Revision B G4 PowerBooks and the Radeon Mobility 7500:

Mobility Radeon
(in PowerBook G4)
Mobility Radeon 7500

Core Clock

166/200
up to 270

Memory Clock

166/183
up to 210

Polygons/Sec

15M
40M

Memory Supported

8MB-64MB
16MB-64MB

Memory Interface

32-bit/64-bit
64-bit/128-bit

Memory Type

SDR/DDR
SDR/DDR

 

CONCLUSIONS

SELL YOUR WALLSTREET, SELL YOUR IBOOK, SELL YOUR CAR. GET A TITANIUM.

The Rev B Titanium is significantly improved over the Rev A. It's like the Apple engineers actually read my web site ravings and followed my advice. If only that were true. Whatever made them do it doesn't matter. The second time they got it right.

HOT FLASH: As of 12/17/01, Apple is offering a slot load "Combo" drive (CD-RW/DVD-R) in the PowerBook G4. Owners of Rev B TiBooks can upgrade for $299.

What about the great closeout prices on the Rev A Titanium G4 PowerBook? After all, the 500 MHz Rev A was slightly faster than the 550MHz Rev B in 5 out of 6 CPU related tests. Maybe it's due to the smaller L2 cache in the 550. If you don't need 3D graphics speed and fast FireWire speed, the closeout "Rev A" might be the best choice for you. One reader bought a Rev A for his elderly parents since it has a bigger screen than the iBook, not because they are power users.

It's natural (if you are cost conscious) to wonder how the 600 MHz iBook compares to the latest Rev B TiBooks. That's why I added those numbers. Not bad for a G3, especially running FileMaker, Bryce, and Cinema 4D. I grant you the smaller screen may put off some, but if you you never use the iBook for Final Cut Pro or Photoshop (lots of palettes, AltiVec code), the small size can be a bonus. In other words, the iBook is 2 inches narrower than a TiBook, thanks to the smaller screen. If you want a great traveling companion with the most bang for the buck (and bang for the inch), the 600 MHz iBook deserves serious consideration.

I was thinking to myself, I wonder if Apple would consider making a "Tiny Titanium"? You know, small like the iBook but fast like the TiBook? Zoom zoom.

 

EXCESSIVE FAN NOISE IS NOT NORMAL

The PowerBook G4 has a two speed fan that comes on when the temperature rises to a certain point. If your fan comes on right away and runs in high speed all the time, you may want to take your PowerBook in for a service "look see." According to an Apple engineer who helped design the cooling system, you may have an assembly problem between the CPU and the heat sink. Most likely the one or more of the screws holding down the heat sink to the CPU are not tight enough, resulting in an overheated CPU which will cause the fan to spin up very quickly after turn on and stay on High most of the time. (This info came from Go2Mac.)

 

RELATED LINKS

If you landed on this page first, don't miss page ONE and TWO or THREE.

XLR8YourMac posted a shootout between a Toshiba laptop and Titanium PowerBook G4/667 "rev B."
(includes Quake 3 and Photoshop results)

MacSpeedZone shows that the 600 MHz iBook is more than 20% faster than the 500 MHz iBook.

MacSpeedZone compares the iBook 600MHz to the TiBook 550MHz.

 

 

WHERE TO ORDER YOUR APPLE PRODUCTS
When ordering products from Apple Store USA, please click THIS TEXT LINK or any Apple display ad as your "portal" to the online store. In so doing, you help to support Bare Feats. (DON'T LIVE in the USA? See links for Apple online stores in other countries.)

Small Dog Electronics offers new and refurbished Macs.

For info on recommended sleeves, backpacks, and wheeled laptop luggage, read Betty Morgan's report called "We Be Stylin'."

Afraid of damage or theft? Check with SafeWare.com for laptop insurance.

If you want to upgrade your PowerBook G4's hard drive, here's two new hot ones to consider:
The TravelStar 40GN 40GB 4200rpm (available at GoogleGear.com for $201)
The TravelStar 60GH 60GB 5400rpm (at GoogleGear.com for $429 )

The same two drives are likely candidates for a portable 2.5 inch external FireWire drive. For full report on the latest options, read my report.

If you are a Digital Video/Audio jockeys who is serious about using Final Cut Pro on a Titanium, you will want a really fast capture/playback drive. I recommend the full size 3.5 inch Ultra ATA/100 drives in FireWire cases. Get them at...

  • FWDepot.com (case without drive)
  • Other World Computing (case with or without drive -- Mercury Elite -- new low prices)
  • SmallDog.com (EZQuest Cobra sealed case with drive)
  • TransIntl.com (case with or without drive)
  • NewEgg.com for bare drives (IBM 60gxp or 120gxp are my favorites for FireWire cases)

 

TEST HARDWARE
Test machines included...
G3/500 iBook 2001,
G3/600 iBook 2001 "rev B",
G4/500 Titanium PowerBook (rev A),
G4/550 Titanium PowerBook (rev B),
G4/667 Titanium PowerBook (rev B)
All were running OS 9.1 or 9.2. Each had at least 256M of RAM. VM off, Atalk off.

The FireWire drives used in testing were:
TransIntl.com's clear case 2.5 inch "911" FireWire enclosure with IBM 48GB Travelstar.
Granite Digital's 3.5 inch "911" FireWire enclosure with IBM 60gxp 60GB Deskstar.

 

Return to PAGE ONE of Titanium Rev B tests (Quake 3 and FireWire speed)

Return to PAGE TWO of Titanium Rev B tests (AppleWorks, Photoshop, iTunes)

Return to PAGE THREE for FileMaker Pro, Bryce 5, and Cinema 4D results.

 © 1995-2007 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
Email , the webmaster

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