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July 20
Newer Announces First CPU Upgrade for PowerBook G3s
‘The MAXpowr G3-PB took my old PowerBook from dud to stud!’

By Tim Wilson
Man About Town™
[email protected]

Here I was thinking that my trusty 1999 PowerBook G3/400 was close enough to state of the art performance, when I find out that the speed demons at Newer have come up with something even faster: a 466 MHz upgrade, the world's first for G3 PowerBooks.

The new MAXpowr G3-PB 466 is a 466 MHz upgrade designed for the 1998 (Wallstreet) and 1999 (Bronze) PowerBook G3 notebook computers. Announced at Macworld today, shipments of the new MAXpowr G3-PB 466 will begin in late August 2000. There are two models of the new upgrade. Pricing is $499 for models with BGA (Ball Grid Array) Cache and $549 for models with TQFP (Thin Quad Flat Pack) Cache.

Unlike many other Newer upgrades, this one isn't exactly plug and play: the upgrade takes place at Newer's Wichita, Kan. headquarters. When a user purchases this upgrade they are sent a box. The box contains instructions for the easy removal of their PowerBook’s CPU module, which gets placed in an antistatic bag. When you're ready for it to be picked up, just call Newer's 800 number, and they'll come get it.

Next, they start working on your original CPU module. The CPU is removed and replaced with a 466 MHz G3 processor. Certain modules require the L2 cache to be removed and replaced with faster parts. After rework and testing, the CPU upgrade is overnighted back to the customer. The entire process requires five days.

Newer cites surveys that have shown that Users are willing to live with a five-day turnaround to dramatically improve the performance of their notebook. The upgrade adds years of user-satisfaction to an expensive computer that would otherwise become a source of regret.

Newer obviously figured out a long time ago that many folks come to feel resentment at their machines as faster ones are introduced. This seething animosity toward one's own computer is something that Mac users are used to seeing in Windows users, not in themselves. Newer aims to provide what they call "platform happiness."

"I had looked with envy at the new fast PowerBooks from Apple but couldn't really justify the price even though my PowerBook was beginning to frustrate me for being so slow," said MAXpowr G3-PB beta tester Dennis Jenkins. "Adding the Newer G3-PB upgrade is the best solution I could imagine: It has been perfectly stable since the moment I installed it and makes the book essentially as fast as the Apple offerings at a significantly lower cost. I have used a number of upgrades over the years, but this is by far the best value I have seen. It is the perfect upgrade! The MAXpowr G3-PB took my old PowerBook from dud to stud."

After the MAXpowr G3-PB upgrade is installed, a processor benchmark score of 1360 using MacBench 5.0 is achieved. A stock 233 MHz PowerBook scores around 715 using the same processor testing. Users of those models can expect to see nearly a doubling of system performance depending upon the original processor speed in their PowerBook

Model MacBench 5 CPU Score MAXpowr Model Version of Upgrade
PowerBook 233 MHz w/ no cache 456 None Available
PowerBook 233 MHz w/ 512 KB cache 717 MAXpowr G3-PB 466/233
PowerBook 250 MHz w/ 1 MB cache 810 MAXpowr G3-PB 458/152
PowerBook 266 MHz w/ 1 MB cache 805 MAXpowr G3-PB 466/233
PowerBook 292 MHz w/ 1 MB cache 952 MAXpowr G3-PB 458/152
PowerBook 300 MHz w/ 1 MB cache 985 MAXpowr G3-PB 466/233
PowerBook 333 MHz w/ 512 KB cache 895 MAXpowr G3-PB 466/233
PowerBook 400 MHz w/ 1 MB cache 1188 MAXpowr G3-PB 466/233
PowerBook w/ MAXpowr G3-PB-458/152 1300+  
PowerBook w/ MAXpowr G3-PB-466/233 1500+  
     

MAXpowr G3-PB begins shipping late August 2000. There are two models, with prices of $499 and $549, including shipping both ways. The model of PowerBook a customer owns determines which of the upgrade options they require. Newer expects the supply of these upgrades to be somewhat constrained, and initial orders will be limited. Swing by Newer's Web site for details at http://www.newertech.com.

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