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The Source for Mac Performance News and Reviews
Review: PowerBook Firewire G3/500
By Mike
Review date:3/22/2000
Compatibility Notes
Intro | Apps/Game Performance | Benchmarks | Software Bundle | DVD/Movies | Specs | Summary
Comments on Hardware & Software Compatibility

I've ran most all of my usual applications with no problems (as shown on the Apps/Games tests page of this review) on the new Powerbook. I also used the following add-ons with the Pismo under OS 9.0.2:

  • Panasonic PV-DV910 DV Camcorder
    (capture/control/print to camera worked well using iMovie from my iMac DV SE)

  • USB Floppy drive made by Yano Electric (no drivers needed)
    (Note that errors would often occur at boot if the drive was connected before starting up. I also saw system freezes (cursor disappeared) a few times if I disconnected the drive, most often when on battery power.)

  • USB Mice from MacAlly and Microsoft (I didn't install any drivers)

  • Club-Mac Firewire external case (with Maxtor IDE drive inside)

  • PNY VersaCard CompactFlash/PCMCIA adapter

  • Kodak DC280 digital camera w/USB

There were some reports of capture/print to video problems with 128MB systems (VM on) in Final Cut Pro, but at least one owner with 256MB RAM and VM off indicated performance seemed fine.

Current Compatibility Issues/Problem Reports:

  • Do not attempt to use the PowerBook Security Control Panel with the new Powerbooks. Doing so will result in your drive being unusable. This was reported on the Pismo Comments and main site news page several weeks ago. Apple notes the incompatibility in the What's New document, but the notes there originally don't mention the severity of the issue (it may have been updated now however).

  • Adaptec PowerDomain SlimSCSI 1480: Although one reader reported using this SCSI PCcard with a Pismo, Adaptec acknowledges a current computability issue the PowerBook Firewire model. [Update: On 3/24/2000 the Adaptec's PowerDomain Slimscsi same page has been updated with a link to a driver update that resolves the Pismo (PowerBook Firewire) compatibility issue. However they say the driver requires "Mac OS 9.03 or a later revision of OS 9". (All Pismo's I've seen to date have OS 9.02 installed.) The new driver is said to be in all current shipments. Owner comments (including one success story) are on the Pismo Comments page.

  • Nikon CoolPix 100 PCMCIA Camera: Although compatible with previous Powerbooks, the camera is not recognized with the new PowerBook. Since it's out of production I doubt there will be any updates to address this (unless some future Apple/OS update fixes the problem).

  • ColorSync: Graphics professionals note that there is no accurate colorsync profile that exactly matches screen to print colors. I don't consider this a show-stopper for more users however.

  • Audio Pop/Clicks: Originally reported in our news page several weeks ago, I didn't notice this on the review sample. However I had disabled Appearance sounds which may solve the problem. See the Pismo Comments page for more details.

  • Use Quality RAM: Although rare overall, there were a few problems reported with some PC100 SODimms several weeks back. I saw no problems with an OWC 128MB SODimm. (This is not a Pismo issue, just a warning/reminder about buying quality RAM. RAM is critical to reliable operation, so this is not the area to take risks or cut corners.)

This page will be updated as new information is received.

The next page of the review covers DVD and Movie playback performance.

Index of Powerbook Firewire G3/500 Review

Intro | Apps/Game Performance | Benchmarks | Compatibility | DVD/Movies | Specs | Summary

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