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Daystar's CPU Upgrade for
Aluminum PowerBooks

Posted January 28th, 2006, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist

We've all been frustrated with the lack of top performing CPUs in the recent G4 PowerBooks. Apple's answer is to switch to the Intel "Core Duo." Daystar Technology has another solution: upgrade your PowerBook's G4 CPU to run as high as 1.92GHz.

We sent our 15" Aluminum G4/1.5GHz PowerBook to Daystar to be upgraded. Although we were hoping for 1.92Ghz, our PowerBook could only achieve 1.83GHz. (Since our testing, they have released a 2.0GHz upgrade for the 15" Aluminum G4/1.5 PowerBook. We'll be reporting on it soon.)

PB G4/1.83 -- Apple PowerBook G4/1.5GHz with 1.83GHz 7447A upgrade from Daystar Technology. Includes 2GB of 333MHz DDR memory
and Radeon 9700 Mobility 128MB DDR graphics processor.
PB G4/1.67 -- Apple PowerBook G4/1.67GHz with 2GB 667MHz DDR memory and Radeon 9700 Mobility 128MB DDR graphics processor.
PB G4/1.5 -- Apple PowerBook G4/1.5GHz with 2GB 333MHz DDR memory and Radeon 9700 Mobility 128MB DDR graphics processor.

The Daystar Technology PowerBook 7447A upgrade definitely boosts the CPU crunching power of the PowerBook, as you can see from the graphs above. Even graphics intensive apps benefit from the CPU upgrade. (All three test units had the same Radeon Mobility 9700 with 128MB of video memory.) The Daystar upgrade certainly deserves serious consideration if you wish to extend the life of your current PowerBook rather than buy the new MacBook Pro.

Needless to say, we are anxious to compare the new MacBook Pro Core Duo 1.83GHz to our PowerBook G4/1.83GHz. We will add those results to this page as soon as we get our hands on a MacBook Pro.

I don't have any data on whether the faster processor uses up the battery more quickly, but we did measure the temperature at the bottom of the PowerBook before and after the upgrade. It rose from 100 F to 109F.

There's more to performance than a fast CPU.
Your PowerBook spends much of its time reading from and writing to the internal hard drive. You can increase performance by installing a faster hard drive. Hitachi and Seagate have notebook 7200RPM drives that hold 100GB.

You can add speed by using external FireWire 800 or SATA drives. Yes, you can add external SATA drives, thanks to the new SATA II Cardbus products.

Expanding your memory to 2GB can increase performance in two ways:
1) The more memory you have, the less time is spent transferring to/from the disk based virtual memory.
2) Applications like Photoshop and Motion use memory as cache. If you don't have enough, they are forced to use the hard drive as scratch area.

Unfortunately, you can't upgrade the graphics processing unit (GPU) as you can with Power Macs. It's a shame that Apple's innovation doesn't include removable GPU modules -- similar to what AlienWare does with the Area 51 laptops.


Daystar Technology -- They specialize in CPU upgrades for "orphaned" Mac systems like the iMac G4 Flat Panel and various PowerBooks.

February 15th, 2006 -- Daystar announces up to 2.0GHz upgrade for Aluminum G4 PowerBooks.

The base price of $499 includes all parts and labor.
  PowerBook G4 15": 1.0, 1.25, 1.33 can go to 1.92 GHz
  PowerBook G4 15": 1.5 can go to 2.0 GHz
  PowerBook G4 17": 1.33 can go to 1.92 GHz
  PowerBook G4 17": 1.5 can go to to 2.0 GHz

Apple Store


Apple Online Store -- New and Refurbished PowerBooks

OtherWorld Computing -- PowerBook memory and hard drive upgrades

TransIntl -- PowerBook memory and drive upgrades

Wiebetech -- external bus driven FireWire 800 drives (both 2.5" and 3.5") and docks

MaxUpgrades -- PowerBook Sleeves and Briefcase

FWDepot -- FireWire and SATA Cardbus cards; external FireWire and SATA enclosures

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© 2006 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
Email , the webmaster and mad scientist