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10/24/2003 Friday's News: Story DetailReturn to News Page

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iBook G4 Owner First Impressions
(Heat, Battery Life, Performance and Dual Display Mod)

Posted: 10/24/2003
Last Updated: 11/21/2003

Note: Bensch Blaser sent a complete review of the iBook G4/800 with apps/games/benchmark performance comparisons and more. (Added Nov. 14th, 2003)

Wayne wrote with his first impressions on the new iBook G4 including comments on the design, heat, battery life, performance, Panther/10.3 and the dual display mod (working).

(Wayne's comments posted Oct. 24th follow, later iBook G4 owner comments are below his.)

Hi Mike. I just got back from the Pasadena Apple Store. Apparently I am the first iBook G4 buyer there. They didn't even have it on display yet. They had in stock the 12" iBook G4/800/30/256/Combo model, but no others yet. All iBook G4s come with Panther preinstalled. I dealt with a specialist named Crystal. She deserves extra praise.

I've never bought a first revision before, but the iBook G4 so perfectly fits my performance and portability needs it seems like it was custom designed for me.

Open Box Experience:
Neat: the cardboard panel covering the software and cables says, in gray, "Designed by Apple in California." An elegant tribute to the engineers and industrial designers.

You get the power brick, an RGB->VGA cable, and a modem cable (white, of course). The part of the power brick that plugs into the iBook even has a matching molded clear cover to prevent the pin and shield from bending.

There are ten individually wrapped CDs -- five Restore discs and three Mac OS X 10.3 discs, plus a copy of World Book 2003 and one blank Verbatim CD-R disc (48x). (Wayne said No iDVD for those that asked)

Notes: * Still no native screen spanning. The Open Firmware hack DOES work.
(ref: older page from 2002 on late model iBook (Radeon mobility) Dual Display OF hack)
Repeat, the Open Firmware iBook screen spanning hack DOES work for the iBook G4. Great news for all!

* iBook G4 uses PC2100 (DDR 266) SODIMMs. (corrected) Not cheap yet, but surprisingly, the Apple Store markup was reasonable enough that I didn't bother to buy elsewhere.

* Maxed out (for now?) to 640MB of PC2100, the iBook G4 feels faster than my Sawtooth G4/500 with 1.25GB of PC100. (Note: There are 1GB DDR SODIMMs, Transintl.com sells a 1GB DDR (PC333/PC2700) SODIMM for the new PowerBooks that should be compatible but they cost much more than 512MB modules. Ken at Transintl wrote today they lowered the price on their 1GB SO-DIMM PC-2700 from $649 to $599.-Mike)

* Though the case looks identical to older iBooks, it is not. The inside (eg, the palmrest) seems to feel "more metallic" and look more opaque; I recall the inside of G3 iBooks being plastic, and visibly more "silvery."

* The case does not get very hot at all. Subjectively it feels no warmer than a 700 MHz iBook. The case does not warp, wobble, tweak, bend, spindle, or mutilate.

* Same iBook keyboard, but solid gray like the inside case. The supposedly squishy iBook keyboard really doesn't seem that bad to me, and I've used older iBooks for some heinously long typing sessions.

* The box the iBook G4 ships in has a gray plastic handle, rather than white.

* Panther's cube spin effect makes me think two things: "this is REALLY cheesy," and "this is REALLY cool."

* Panther has a Menu Extra for Classic's status.

Battery Life:
I can already say the battery life is impressive. I've been using it lightly all afternoon trying to wear the battery down for calibration, and this iBook went about five and a half hours on maximum performance mode before sleeping, and this is assuming a probably partially full battery from the factory.

CPU Type: (I asked Wayne to run the terminal command: "ioreg -l | grep cpu-version" to see what it reported and also run Xbench to see what CPU it reported. I suspect it's a G4 7447 but it may be reported as a 7455.)

My CPU id is: 80010303
(I'll add his XBench scores/reported CPU type from it when received)

Cinebench 2003 Scores:
iBook G4/800/640/30/Radeon 9200 CINEBENCH results:

    CPU render benchmark = 71 CB
  • C4D shading = 88 CB-GFX
  • OpenGL SW-L = 212 CB-GFX
  • OpenGL HW-L = 280 CB-GFX
  • OpenGL speedup = 3.19x

Scores from an iBookG4/933MHz model: (from Michael Kramer)

  • CPU render benchmark = 80 CB
  • C4D shading = 98 CB-GFX
  • OpenGL SW-L = 221 CB-GFX
  • OpenGL HW-L = 279 CB-GFX
  • OpenGL speedup = 2.86x

Xbench 1.1.3 results

Xbench:
Results 79.54
System Info
Xbench Version 1.1.3
System Version 10.3 (7B85)
Physical RAM 640 MB
Model PowerBook6,3
Processor PowerPC G4 @ 800 MHz
Version 7455 (Apollo) v3.3 (Not sure this is accurate as I suspect it's a 7447 but could be a 7455B perhaps. Often variations of the 745x G4s are reported as the primary/parent (first version) type)
L1 Cache 32K (instruction), 32K (data)
L2 Cache 256K @ 800 MHz
Bus Frequency 133 MHz
Video Card ATY,RV280M9+
Drive Type TOSHIBA MK3021GAS

CPU Test 95.51
 GCD Loop 91.30 3.57 Mops/sec
  Floating Point Basic 96.98 350.71 Mflop/sec
  AltiVec Basic 95.97 2.79 Gflop/sec
  vecLib FFT 97.96 1.52 Gflop/sec
  Floating Point Library 95.63 3.83 Mops/sec

Thread Test 69.06

 Computation 50.51 681.88 Kops/sec, 4 threads
 Lock Contention 109.14 1.37 Mlocks/sec, 4 threads

Memory Test 80.99
  System 69.91
  Allocate 516.71 337.05 Kalloc/sec
  Fill 42.37 337.26 MB/sec
  Copy 57.55 287.75 MB/sec

Stream 96.24
  Copy 92.20 673.97 MB/sec [altivec]
  Scale 92.24 680.75 MB/sec [altivec]
  Add 96.60 618.26 MB/sec [altivec]
  Triad 105.00 641.56 MB/sec [altivec]

Quartz Graphics Test 97.43
  Line 87.79 2.23 Klines/sec [50% alpha]
  Rectangle 106.36 7.48 Krects/sec [50% alpha]
  Circle 108.14 2.49 Kcircles/sec [50% alpha]
  Bezier 90.36 981.86 beziers/sec [50% alpha]
  Text 97.90 1.60 Kchars/sec

OpenGL Graphics Test 67.63
  Spinning Squares 67.63 47.33 frames/sec

User Interface Test 108.80
  Elements 108.80 34.99 refresh/sec

Disk Test 55.14
  Sequential 63.89
   Uncached Write 54.26 22.62 MB/sec [4K blocks]
   Uncached Write 53.55 21.93 MB/sec [256K blocks]
   Uncached Read 135.91 21.51 MB/sec [4K blocks]
   Uncached Read 55.12 22.27 MB/sec [256K blocks]
  Random 48.49
   Uncached Write 41.51 0.62 MB/sec [4K blocks]
   Uncached Write 47.29 10.67 MB/sec [256K blocks]
   Uncached Read 52.28 0.35 MB/sec [4K blocks]
   Uncached Read 55.20 11.36 MB/sec [256K blocks]
-Wayne


I welcome other iBook G4 owner reports on use, performance, battery life, airport range, etc. Send me with details. thanks!

Developer Docs for iBook G4: Apple has posted the Developer docs for the iBook G4 which include technical details and specs.

Apple posts iBook G4 Customer-Installable Parts Procedures Apple has posted a page of iBook G4: Customer-Installable Parts Procedures with PDF guides to installing simple items like Airport card, Keyboard, Memory and Battery. (Does not include items that require major disassembly like the hard drive).


Other iBook Owner Comments:

iBook G4 owner comments on internal DVD burner, Software Restore Bug/Tip, Firewire 10.3.1 booting (added Nov. 21st, 2003)

" Hi Mike, A few items for you:
* MCE is now selling a SuperDrive (1x) for the new iBooks introduced a few weeks ago.

* Should anyone try to restore their software on the new iBooks and get the error message -1402, which is a bug that carries the dialog: Copy failed due to error of type -1402 which occurred while copying... have no fear. Apple Specialists recommend going to HD/Applications/Utilities/Software Restore and trash the Software Restore app and try the restore again and it will work as expected to restore the chosen items. A new Software restore app is created each time the restore is run, somehow corrupting the initial Software Restore app.

*I have not experienced any of the FireWire problems reported this AM (news page item/reports from desktop Mac owners) on either Pismo or iBook 1ghz and 10.3.1 is on both and FW with and w/o Oxford chip sets are booting fine.

* The only real 10.3.1 slow down or negative has been with VPC 6.1 and XP.
Matthew C. "

One reader suggested closing the VPC list window and quitting the finder (via Cocktail utility) as performance tips for VPC. If you missed it, there's a full Review here w/Comparison Tests of the iBook G4/800 (apps, games, benchmarks, notes on battery life, display, etc.).

(added Nov. 11th, 2003) Matthew Culmore sent Xbench 1.1.3 results from his 1GHz iBook G4. (Remember Xbench scores can vary from Run/Run. Real world apps or game tests from iBook G4 owners are also welcomed.)

 Results    80.34  
    System Info    
        Xbench Version        1.1.3
        System Version        10.3 (7B85)
        Physical RAM        640 MB
        Model        PowerBook6,3
        Processor        PowerPC G4 @ 1.00 GHz
            Version        7455 (Apollo) v3.3
            L1 Cache        32K (instruction), 32K (data)
            L2 Cache        256K @ 1.00 GHz
            Bus Frequency        133 MHz
        Video Card        ATY,RV280M9+
        Drive Type        Hitachi IC25N060ATMR04-0
    CPU Test    90.95
        GCD Loop    79.72    3.11 Mops/sec
        Floating Point Basic    84.20    304.49 Mflop/sec
        AltiVec Basic    93.49    2.72 Gflop/sec
        vecLib FFT    96.11    1.49 Gflop/sec
        Floating Point Library    105.77    4.23 Mops/sec
    Thread Test    68.75
        Computation    52.29    705.88 Kops/sec, 4 threads
        Lock Contention    100.35    1.26 Mlocks/sec, 4 threads
    Memory Test    77.40
        System    63.58
            Allocate    586.99    382.89 Kalloc/sec
            Fill    39.54    314.76 MB/sec
            Copy    49.53    247.64 MB/sec
        Stream    98.89
            Copy    94.02    687.25 MB/sec [altivec]
            Scale    94.32    696.11 MB/sec [altivec]
            Add    99.82    638.83 MB/sec [altivec]
            Triad    108.78    664.63 MB/sec [altivec]
    Quartz Graphics Test    104.10
        Line    103.14    2.63 Klines/sec [50% alpha]
        Rectangle    93.38    6.57 Krects/sec [50% alpha]
        Circle    96.17    2.22 Kcircles/sec [50% alpha]
        Bezier    99.47    1.08 Kbeziers/sec [50% alpha]
        Text    139.34    2.27 Kchars/sec
    OpenGL Graphics Test    74.34
        Spinning Squares    74.34    52.02 frames/sec
    User Interface Test    118.54
        Elements    118.54    38.13 refresh/sec
    Disk Test    58.22
        Sequential    59.09
            Uncached Write    36.26    15.11 MB/sec [4K blocks]
            Uncached Write    65.08    26.65 MB/sec [256K blocks]
            Uncached Read    106.53    16.86 MB/sec [4K blocks]
            Uncached Read    65.08    26.29 MB/sec [256K blocks]
        Random    57.38
            Uncached Write    53.25    0.80 MB/sec [4K blocks]
            Uncached Write    59.13    13.33 MB/sec [256K blocks]
            Uncached Read    55.55    0.37 MB/sec [4K blocks]
            Uncached Read    62.46    12.86 MB/sec [256K blocks]

(added Nov. 10th, 2003)

" Hey Mike. Love the site! I have a few things to comment. My iBook G4 arrived in good time, and is outstanding! Bluetooth is very fast and has good range. I have not yet tested my AE card though. I did however replace the internal hard drive. I'd like to keep this information anonymous please, lest some Apple service people are reading!

I ordered the 30 gig internal knowing I'd be replacing it. I xBenched it at about 59 points. The drive did get noticeably hot during use, making my left hand sweat! I looked on the old dual USB ibook pages (linked in the FAQ's iBook section here) for how to replace the hard drive, and have some great comments to report.
First of all, you don't have to remove the bottom cover at all (on the iBook G4 model) to remove the top. Remove all the screws on the bottom, and there are now two extra in the battery compartment. The bottom will not remove even if you try, there are two screws near the slot loading optical drive! Anyhow, remove the keyboard, AE card and the plate to access the RAM.
Disconnect the keyboard, remove all screws (including one under the small round magnet in the middle-top). The top of the case then comes off very easily, starting with the battery compartment and going around clockwise until it comes off the last corner, since it needs to come out quite a bit to get it over the power plugin.
The heat shield comes off easily and the drive was a cinch to replace! It's mounted on rubber bearings, and the cable for the optical drive no longer runs across the machine. There is a fan in the middle top, near the monitor hinge, and there is a wicked cool curved heat sink that runs from there over the CPU to the hard drive area, and then out the vent!

Anyhow, I went with the 80 gig Travelstar and it's cooler, quiet, and faster, even at 5400 RPM. xBench shows it at about 61. So about the same :) I don't recommend anyone actually do this, since it was a nightmare of nervousness, BUT if you know not to try and pry the bottom of the case open, it's really quite easy, just take your time.

In other general reports, the display is beautiful and bright, although it takes a few seconds to come up to your brightness setting after dimming, I don't know if this is a general LCD screen 'feature.' The slot loading drive does make quite a crunch when inserting or ejecting a disc, however having a slot loading drive makes this a moot point! Battery life has been 3.5 to 4 hours, with AE, Bluetooth and heavy use. The modem is typical of other internal Apple modems, rarely really getting better than 28.8 speeds, but oh well :) The keyboard is NOT the translucent old spongy type, but solid white and very much like the Powerbook ones. Your site is the best hands down! Thanks!
(name withheld by request) "

(from the Nov. 7th news page)

" I've had my G4 iBook for 1 week now. I knocks the hell out of my 700 14" G3 iBook - not a quantitative assessment, but my impression anyway.
In short - the new G4 iBook is everything a iBook should be...a stock out of the iBook G4 800/256 handles Panther very nicely - far better than my previous iBook with 10.2

Airport range is excellent in my experience. Three floors away from my D-Link 614+ and I get 80% signal strength minimum, despite a plethora of 2.4 Ghz cordless phones throughout the hose.

Battery life is great too - slightly greater than 4 hours with the airport card on.

My only gripe is the Noisy-Crunchy sound the combo drive makes on start-up or whenever waking from sleep....maybe this is an exception. I'll keep you posted.
Best, William "

iBook G4/933 Owner Comments: (from the Nov. 6th news page)

" It finally arrived. According to vendors, the 933 was the most in demand of the three models. And of course, as per Apple backwardness, it was the one they made the LEAST of and it shipped LAST of the three. Yeah apple...

Very first impressions.
Out of box is always simple and clean with Apple. No shock there.
What is a shock? Compared to my iBook 12" G3, not ONE external component is the same. Not materials, not keyboard, not power adapter.

The new center material is lighter grey than the old design, and has NO sheen to it. The outer shell is no longer clear, but solid white. The power button is textured white, the keyboard is opaque and of the same exact color as the middle materials. The hinge is not metal colored. The touchpad is a different material, as is the button. Even the power cord extension from the brick is 3 pronged instead of two, round instead of flat, and white instead of grey. The only items that look to be the same are the VGA adapter and the included modem cable.

So basically, this is a new design material wise. And if feels more durable, especially with the structural rigidity of the slot load vs. tray load drive.

So, with either amount of RAM (std 256MB or 640MB), my iBook G4 gets 80 on XBench (1.1.3). (Xbench is relatively small, but for OS X apps use, I'd definitely want more than 256MB of RAM)
For comparison, the iBook G3 800 it replaces gets 45. The G4 933 outperformed the G3/800 in every subtest across the board, though the G3 is running Jaguar, and the G4 Panther, so that might have something to do with it. But, just in GUI feel of this machine vs. the older, the iBook G4 doesn't "feel" at all faster.
Michael K."


 
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