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Final curtain call for PowerPC-based PowerBooks?

post #1 of 211
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Apple Computer is believed to be prepping one final update to its PowerPC-based PowerBook G4 product line that could be unveiled at the end of next month, AppleInsider has learned.

Reliable sources say the PowerBook update is slated for an introduction during the third week of September at Apple Expo Paris, but has recently fallen into a rut that could force a delay or even cause the company to scrap the revision entirely.

Two new models that have shown up on radar are referenced as the PowerBook5,8 and the PowerBook5,9. Both Apple's current 15-inch and 17-inch PowerBook G4 systems identify themselves as the PowerBook5,7, with the 12-inch model being listed as a member of the iBook family (PowerBook6,8).

At the high-end, the new PowerBooks are expected to gain a mere 30MHz speed boost that would put the 15-inch and 17-inch models at 1.7GHz. Additionally, the new 15-inch PowerBook is expected to step up to the feature set of the current 17-inch PowerBook.

The new PowerBooks are also expected to be the first Macs to gain support for dual-channel DDR2 SDRAM, which can reach higher frequencies with less energy consumption than standard DDR SDRAM.

At least one of the two new models will also gain a higher resolution (or higher density) display, sources say. Rumors that Apple was preparing to offer higher density displays with its PowerBook line first surfaced in February, after the company accidently shipped a user manual for its 17-inch PowerBook referencing an unannounced model with a native resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels.

Screens with a resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels are categorized as WUXGA displays, which is short for Wide Ultra eXtended Graphics Array. PowerBooks currently ship with WXGA (or Wide XGA) displays, of which the 17-inch model sports the highest resolution at 1440 x 900 pixels.

The new PowerBooks will reportedly gain software support through a special build train of the yet-to-be-released Mac OS X 10.4.3 Update, which remains in development.

Precisely what will become of Apple's 12-inch PowerBook offering is an unknown. Prior to Apple's announcement to switch to Intel-based processors in 2006, reliable sources said Apple planned to abandon its 12-inch PowerBook offering with the release of the current model. It's unclear if these plans have changed in light of the Intel announcement and the fact that all PowerBook G4 models will see no further revisions after this year.

Still, at least one factor threatens to hamper Apple's plans to release the new PowerBooks next month, AppleInsider has been told. Specifically, it's believed that Apple's PowerPC development team has been met by a shortage of resources as the company shifts the vast majority of its engineers to its forthcoming Intel-based projects.

The new PowerBooks are expected to be powered by Freescale's new MPC7448 PowerPC G4 processors. The MPC7448 is based on Freescale e600 PowerPC core, and boasts a 1MB Level 2 backside cache, which is double that of the 512KB cache included with Freescale's MPC7447A chips used in the current PowerBooks.

The MPC7448 is also the first product in the MPC74xx family to use Freescale's 90 nanometer (nm) silicon-on-insulator (SOI) CMOS process that will significantly increase clock and bus speeds while reducing power requirements.

The PowerBook G4 line is one of Apple's two best selling Macintosh products as of late, with the iMac G5 being the other. By producing one more PowerBook G4 revision this fall, Apple will be able generate added interest and maintain higher average selling prices moving into the holiday shopping season, said a respected Wall Street analyst who asked not be named. But it would not be detrimental to the company if it failed to do so, the analyst added.

Apple chief executive Steve Jobs is currently scheduled to deliver the keynote presentation during the September Apple Expo in Paris.
post #2 of 211
Some info FINALLY!
Now I'll definitely wait until after the Paris Expo, and get the 17" 2GHz with HD resolution if Apple announces it.
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post #3 of 211
Let's say there is an update to the Powerbook line ... would anyone want to speculate if those Powerbooks would become collectors items as they would be the "last PowerPC based Powerbooks"?

If Apple fails to release new Powerbooks by the Holiday Shopping season, I think many people may opt to "wait a bit longer" for an Intel based Powerbook as the current models would have been out for approx a year.

Overall, I hope we see those new Powerbooks and I hope to get one!
post #4 of 211
Let's hope they get 2ghz chips with DDR2 RAM. The current powerbooks are so overpriced and so wimpy on performance, especially the memory and bus speed. I've been waiting for a long time to upgrade, but the price has not been worth it, especially compared to the new ibooks. I was hoping for dual-core g4s or even dual-processor G4s, with slower clock rates, but it doesn't seem like it will ever happen. I can't imagine that an intel powerbook will be coming forth anytime soon either.

It's going to be cat and mouse with the new generation of macintels in the spring, with people waiting for optimized pro software and apple to get the kinks out of the revA hardware.

There are many creative professionals that are very handicapped on the mac right now without a true cutting-edge laptop. We just can't do our work efficiently in the field. We'd be willing to shell out $3-4K on a laptop if it offered serious, time-saving performance.
post #5 of 211
While I'm certainly not expecting Intel PowerBooks anytime soon, I think it's important to remember that Apple could have been working on Intel machines since well before the switch was officially announced. The current PowerBooks are really getting long in the tooth and it's going to start to hurt them if they don't make a move soon. They're smart dudes and I'm sure they'll be well aware of this fact.

They could drop Intel machines tomorrow, or it could take another 12 months. You can just never tell with those crazy kids...

-TheOtherRob
post #6 of 211
Quote:
Originally posted by amac4me
Let's say there is an update to the Powerbook line ... would anyone want to speculate if those Powerbooks would become collectors items as they would be the "last PowerPC based Powerbooks"?

Um, I might collect one if it has a cooler running 7448 in it. I'm really not looking forward to the Intel switch. I'd be very happy with a 1.8Ghz PPC PowerBook that I could run for several years until the Intel mess shakes out.
post #7 of 211
Well Apple, it's about time, but it could be too late. The introduction is slated for right about the time I'm planning on leaving the country for 6 months, but friggin A I could use the extra speed. I may have to make a special flight back to the states just to get one of these bastards.

On the other hand, when I return, the Intel PowerBooks will probably be only 3 months away. Oh the Humanity!
post #8 of 211
No more 12"?! WTF?!
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post #9 of 211
Please see updated article. 300MHz upgrade meant to be 30MHz upgrade

So the PowerBook G4 will top at 1.7GHz.

Sorry,

-K
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post #10 of 211
Sorry but I call bullsh*t on this one. What is the point of moving the the memory controller to a new memory type for ONE REVISION!?!?!?!? It seems a pointless exercise to me. Also I doubt very much Apple will even bother doing the upgrade if they can only get a 1.7Ghz 7448. I'll put money on 1.8 or 2.0Ghz or nothing. God knows they have to do something. I dont think the "power" part of the Powerbook has ever looked so bad as it does right now. Sure, every other aspect of the Powerbook is competitive, but the processor is letting it down big time. I can see an iMac G5 situation happening, where Apple will just pull the G4 altogether and say, "wait for Intel, its coming soon"
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post #11 of 211
Actually, Apple will likely need a redesigned memory controller for the 7448 anyway, since the bus has been changed, so I don't see this is as much of an issue. It's likely something Apple knew about and planned for long before the Intel announcement.

And the death of the 12", merged feature-wise with the iBook, was probably an inevitable thing. If anything it will probably usher in PCMCIA slots, faster firewire, and no more of that mirroring crap on the iBooks.
post #12 of 211
Quote:
Originally posted by Kasper
Please see updated article. 300MHz upgrade meant to be 30MHz upgrade

So the PowerBook G4 will top at 1.7GHz.

Sorry,

-K

You are almost correct. It IS 30MHz. The top speed for the Powerbooks now is 1.67GHz. So it will be 1.7GHz.

The 7448 line has the SAME speed as the 7447a's. Maybe later it will go higher, but will we see it?

As it's a "drop-in" replacement for the 7447a, it's easy to implement. So, for those expecting, for reasons I don't know, a 2GHz part, don't. There isn't any.

All of you whiners out there, cut it out already. Apple will use what they can get. No more, no less.

Don't forget this has a 1MB L2 cache, not 512Kb. That could add 10% to the performance. If they up the bus to 200, it could add a couple percent more.

The memory has more latency, but is faster, with the larger cache, faster bus, and memory, as well as the 2% higher speed, it could be 17% or more faster.
post #13 of 211
A mere 30Mhz speed boost after all this time. So are there any who still doubt the merits of the Intel transition? At least they are upgrading other stuff to compensate. Doesn't the 7448 support a 200MHz bus?

Hmmm, I think we can tell how soon a product will go Intel by the significance of their PPC updates.


Mac mini?
- Nothing new so either it's the first to go Intel or it gets killed off. JAN 06 at MWSF / Single Core (Yonah) M

iBook?
- Got faster processors, better graphics, larger hard drive options, etc. APR 06 at Special Event / Single Core (Yonah) M

PowerBook?
- Gets faster processors, faster ram, faster bus, WUXGA screen, digital audio for 15", etc. JUN 06 at WWDC / Dual Core (Yonah) M


So in other words the better the PPC update the longer the wait until it goes Intel. A product with a short wait doesn't need much but a product with a long wait will need as much bang for the buck to tide people over.

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post #14 of 211
Wow...30MHz. :'(

I'm starting to like the switch to Intel. With all the bad luck Apple gets with processor manufacturers, Intel might imitate Motorola and IBM but at least they'll initially get a cool chip that runs faster than most G4 and G5s and they won't have to worry about the PCs getting faster than Macs.
post #15 of 211
Quote:
Originally posted by mynamehere
No more 12"?! WTF?!

Maybe they will continue to sell the current 12" model but just not make an effort to update it. I'm sure they will have a 13" widescreen model for the Intel transition though.

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post #16 of 211
Any more details on the 12" deal?

I really want these to stay around. In fact I'd want something smaller. And now that Apple have hired Vaio developers I really look forward to seeing an Apple equivalent to VAIO VGN-T2XP:

http://www.trustedreviews.com/articl...d=36&page=3353

10.6" and lightweight! ;-)

Cheers Daniel
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post #17 of 211
I don't get it. Why would they put out a laptop with a HD screen, when G4s can't do HD playback?
post #18 of 211
Quote:
Originally posted by 1984
A mere 30Mhz speed boost after all this time. So are there any who still doubt the merits of the Intel transition? At least they are upgrading other stuff to compensate. Doesn't the 7448 support a 200MHz bus?

If it runs at 1.7GHz it seems so.
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post #19 of 211
If it includes double the level2 cache, DDR2 memory, 128MB graphics card and other features by default, that could easily mean a ~20% speed boost, the level2 cache and DDR2 memory alone would do that.

So while it might only "look" like 30% as far as the clock rate, it could mean a real world speed boost of ~20%. I think that would be good enough until Intel 'books arrive.
post #20 of 211
OK here we go lets say Apple release the Intel based Powerbook in Paris, you would have to run just about everything under Rosetta, so performance would be worse than current models. I am sure Apple will want to make sure Adobe will be ready from day 1 as well as most of their own pro-apps, are they?
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post #21 of 211
I really doubt Apple will unveil any Intel products in Paris. I'm not saying it's impossible, but I doubt it.
post #22 of 211
Quote:
Originally posted by melgross
The 7448 line has the SAME speed as the 7447a's. Maybe later it will go higher, but will we see it?

Sorry, in the official press release of Freescale they say that the 7448 will run faster and cooler than the 7447A.

The official top speed of the 7447A is 1.42 Ghz and the 7448s were announced with a top speed of 1.7 Ghz.

http://www.freescale.com/webapp/sps/...ease&tid=FSHle
and
www.macinfo.de (scroll down to 27.06.2005)
post #23 of 211
I have to agree here. Seems very odd to me that all of a sudden we are all ignoring Motorola/Freescale's long history of publishing maximum CPU speeds well below what they deliver to Apple. The difference in CPU speed to even 2ghz pales in comparison to the difference in shipping G4 towers when we were at the 1.42Ghz mark, much more so when you consider relative difference vs. absolute, which is probably more relevent.
post #24 of 211
Yeah but wasn't the 1.42GHz chip a bit of a beast? I recall somewhere seeing that it had a big L2 cache and was optimised in some way.
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post #25 of 211
you do realize that the word Yonah means vagina right?

anyways i just dont want an Intel sticker on my mac or anything called a Pentium in there, they should keep the G thing going,and I sasy they should get a PPC G5 Powerbook out to tide everybody over for the switch. 0.2 cents
post #26 of 211
If the article is indeed true, it would be greatly welcomed despite it's relatively minor speed gains.

If Apple can rachet these 17" PB's to 1.8ghz, and the 15" (and 12" if it's not axed) to 1.67ghz across the line, it would at least provide some distance from the iBook line.
post #27 of 211
I was really really hoping that a PowerBook G5 would see the light before the transition to Intel. A release like that would certainly float PB sales until the big jump. If I could scrape together the cash, I'd be all over it. Heh, maybe *this* is the reason they have to abandon the 12" model... they just couldn't make the G5 comfortable in that size.

Could happen... probably not, but it *could*.
post #28 of 211
Why would Apple invest a huge amount in R&D to put a G5 processor in a PowerBook? I believe they will only be produced in bulk by IBM in 6 months, and they will top out at 1.6GHz. Not really an upgrade from the current PowerBook, unless you're specifically using 64-bit, and it wouldn't be workable to have 8 GB of RAM in a PowerBook either, so out goes that advantage as well.
post #29 of 211
Quote:
Originally posted by Robin Hood
Why would Apple invest a huge amount in R&D to put a G5 processor in a PowerBook?

Its probably one of the most anticipated/desired products in Apple history. Translate that into sales, and I'd say they actually have a pretty good reason to build it.

Quote:
I believe they will only be produced in bulk by IBM in 6 months, and they will top out at 1.6GHz.

Oops, I mistakenly thought that IBM was all ready with sufficient quantities. Damn.

Anyway I would think that Apple would have already invested at least some R&D into a PowerBook G5. Steve Jobs had been quoted previously in the media as saying "we're working on it" (http://www.appleinsider.com/article.php?id=167). I doubt that they were caught off guard by IBM's announcement of the low-power 970FX chips.

I'm not saying that it will happen. I'd just be very excited if it did.
post #30 of 211
Another speculation that we won't ever see a G5 Powerbook is because of how Jobs explained his reason for going Intel.

I'm paraphrasing but, he said something like "I'm sure we'd all like a G5 Powerbook...so would I". He then went on about heat issues.
Just don't think he'd says something like that and then turn around and say, "well we've solved the heat issues"

But who knows.
post #31 of 211
Didn't the man say at WWDC that there was still some "great" PPC product in the pipe?

Where is it? This isn't it.

Don't see Intel hardware until AT LEAST MWSF.

And that is slim.
post #32 of 211
Quote:
Originally posted by ptnyc
Let's hope they get 2ghz chips with DDR2 RAM. The current powerbooks are so overpriced and so wimpy on performance, especially the memory and bus speed. I've been waiting for a long time to upgrade, but the price has not been worth it, especially compared to the new ibooks. I was hoping for dual-core g4s or even dual-processor G4s, with slower clock rates, but it doesn't seem like it will ever happen. I can't imagine that an intel powerbook will be coming forth anytime soon either.

It's going to be cat and mouse with the new generation of macintels in the spring, with people waiting for optimized pro software and apple to get the kinks out of the revA hardware.

There are many creative professionals that are very handicapped on the mac right now without a true cutting-edge laptop. We just can't do our work efficiently in the field. We'd be willing to shell out $3-4K on a laptop if it offered serious, time-saving performance.

i've gone ahead and jumped to reply this, just wanted to say, perfect analysis IMO on the state of the powerbooks.

a 15 incher with 7448 1.8ghz or 1.6ghz g4, ati mobility 9800 (bloody unlikely though), DDR2 dual-channel and 7200(??)rpm drive will be sweet though, and enough for people to hit themselves up for a nice christmas treat while waiting a year for macintels to sort themselves.

i hear your pain, in 2005 i took myself off the designer-for-higher rat race and am currently trying out the edu scene. i've been sponging off my dad's iBook g4 933mhz, upping the ram to 640mb and modding in a 60gb 5400rpm drive to "deal" for now. waiting to hear back on next term (sep-dec) as they sort out contracts etc.
post #33 of 211
Quote:
Originally posted by iDave
Um, I might collect one if it has a cooler running 7448 in it. I'm really not looking forward to the Intel switch. I'd be very happy with a 1.8Ghz PPC PowerBook that I could run for several years until the Intel mess shakes out.

us $1999:
combo drive
7448 G4 1mb L2 cache 1.8ghz
ati mobility radeon 9800 (please please please please please)
5400rpm 80gb drive
dual-channel ddr2 512mbx2 (total 1gb)

too much to ask, i know
post #34 of 211
Quote:
Originally posted by msantti
Didn't the man say at WWDC that there was still some "great" PPC product in the pipe?

Where is it? This isn't it.

Don't see Intel hardware until AT LEAST MWSF.

And that is slim.

well, what did you expect him to say? "we really hope you buy our products, because we don't have much else until we can get mass-produced intel laptops. sorry."

well, you have a choice now: either buy some fire-sale powerbooks after apple expo, or buy the mid-range 15". i don't think the 17" will command the extra price it usually does, but the upshot is that this model will be the least buggy hardware-wise (my wife's pismo is testament to how well "last models" hold up over time) and will be well supported for at least the usual 2-3 year lifespan of most people's computers.
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post #35 of 211
Quote:
Originally posted by noirdesir
Sorry, in the official press release of Freescale they say that the 7448 will run faster and cooler than the 7447A.

The official top speed of the 7447A is 1.42 Ghz and the 7448s were announced with a top speed of 1.7 Ghz.

http://www.freescale.com/webapp/sps/...ease&tid=FSHle
and
www.macinfo.de (scroll down to 27.06.2005)

Yeah, you're right about the speed. I forgot that Apple overclocked the 7447a's. I'm not sure that they can do that with this though, as the 200MHz bus will consume more power, and the highest speeds can only be achieved with it. Interesting to note that Freescale is claiming the same 2.3MIPS/MHz as the 7447a, and 7447.

Here's a chart:
http://www.freescale.com/webapp/sps/...468rH3bTdG8653

This one is for the whole line and is the parent of the previous one:

http://www.freescale.com/webapp/sps/...468rH3bTdG8653

I think that a 20%+ lift is too much. As I said earlier 17% seems about right.
post #36 of 211
Quote:
Originally posted by rok
....either buy some fire-sale powerbooks after apple expo....

good idea. hadn't thought of that. might start working it into tha budget

us$1500 for 15" combo 1.5ghz 64mb vram ati9700?
post #37 of 211
Quote:
Originally posted by superted
Yeah but wasn't the 1.42GHz chip a bit of a beast? I recall somewhere seeing that it had a big L2 cache and was optimised in some way.

The 1.42 was an overclocked 1.25.

The interesting thing here is that these faster chips outrun the bus.

The dual 1.42 was only 6% faster than the dual 1.25.

As the dual 1.25 was already pushing the limits here, there was no benefit going to 1.42.

As Apple HAD to come out with a faster machine, they did some sleight of hand.

They cache starved the dual 1.25's with 1MB cache each, and gave the dual 1.42's the full 2MB cache each.

The increased cache was responsible for the entire 6% increase in performance.

While a pure processor test would find a slight performance increase from the speed, real world use would mostly benefit from the cache increase.

The lower the bus speed, the more the cache contributes to the difference.
post #38 of 211
30 Mhz....? O_O


This certainly feels like 500 Mhz again...
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post #39 of 211
Quote:
Originally posted by rok
well, what did you expect him to say? "we really hope you buy our products, because we don't have much else until we can get mass-produced intel laptops. sorry."

well, you have a choice now: either buy some fire-sale powerbooks after apple expo, or buy the mid-range 15". i don't think the 17" will command the extra price it usually does, but the upshot is that this model will be the least buggy hardware-wise (my wife's pismo is testament to how well "last models" hold up over time) and will be well supported for at least the usual 2-3 year lifespan of most people's computers.

He didn't say that EVERY one would be great.
post #40 of 211
Quote:
Originally posted by T'hain Esh Kelch
30 Mhz....? O_O


This certainly feels like 500 Mhz again...

The difference here is that this is the end of the line, not the beginning.
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