Soup up your PowerBook

PowerBook G4 (Titanium)

1. Prepare to upgrade the RAM

It’s a piece of cake to upgrade your Titanium PowerBook’s memory—there’s no need to remove a processor card to access the second RAM slot. Over its lifetime, the PowerBook G4 has shipped with two different types of RAM: PC100 and PC133. To simplify your life, we recommend you buy PC133 144-pin SDRAM. This variety of RAM is easy to find and works in all PowerBook G4 varieties. (Only the older PowerBook G4 can accept PC100 RAM.)

After shutting down the PowerBook and removing its cables, press the two release tabs at the top of the keyboard and fold the keyboard toward you. If you’re not using a grounding strap, touch the inner metal case near the PowerBook’s power button.

Titanium Upgrade 1

The RAM in this PowerBook is contained in two slots that piggyback one another just to the left of the bottom of the keyboard (A) . Carefully pry apart the RAM brackets that hold the installed RAM in place, and replace the RAM with two higher-capacity cards. (The maximum is 1GB total.) Replace the keyboard when you’re done.

2. Prepare to upgrade the hard drive

The PowerBook G4’s hard drive is beneath the bottom cover. Get ready to remove a lot of screws.

Titanium Upgrade 2

Make sure that your PowerBook is off and that you’ve removed any cables. To avoid scratching the top of your PowerBook, place it, top down, on a nonabrasive surface. Remove the battery and the eight small screws that hold the cover in place (A) . With the screws removed, pull the cover toward you slightly and lift up.

3. Detach the data cable and remove the hard drive

To avoid bending (and possibly breaking) the hard drive’s data cable when you remove the drive, detach it now.

Titanium Upgrade 3

With your fingers, gently pull up on the dark orange hard-drive data cable attached to the motherboard A.

Titanium Upgrade 4

Use a Torx T-8 screwdriver to remove the two screws on the side of the battery compartment that hold the drive in place (B) . Using an old credit card or other stiff piece of plastic, pry up the back of the hard drive.

Thanks to four rubber grommets, the hard drive will offer resistance as you pull it out. The two grommets closest to the battery compartment are likely to remain in the hard-drive compartment.

4. Remove the grommets, insulator sheet, and data cable

Before you can extract the hard drive from the internal bracket, you must remove the drive’s accoutrements.

Titanium Upgrade 5

Remove the grommets, pull off the plastic insulator sheet, and carefully pull the data connector away from the drive. (Grasp the black connector rather than the orange data cable (A) .) Remove the remaining two Torx T-8 screws from the side of the drive. (The bracket doesn’t come out with the drive.)

5. Attach the accoutrements to the new drive

The hard drive, grommets, data connector, and plastic insulator sheet all go back into the PowerBook as one unit. Here’s how to assemble them.

With the name of the hard drive facing up and the data pins pointing away from you, screw two Torx T-8 screws into the left side of the drive. Place the two rubber grommets over these screws with the thickest portion of the grommet closest to the drive.

Attach the data connector to the drive so that the four pins to the left of the drive remain uncovered (these are for jumpers that you don’t need). Attach the plastic insulator sheet. Now you’re ready to put the new drive into your PowerBook.

6. Insert the drive

It may be easy to access the Titanium PowerBook’s RAM slots, but you’ll have to work in very cramped quarters to put in a new hard drive. It’s a tight fit, but you can do it.

Titanium Upgrade 6

Make sure the rubber grommets on the right side of the drive bracket are firmly in place. Position the drive sideways at a 45-degree angle so that the grommets on the left side of the drive line up with the holes on the left side of the drive bracket (A) . Push the drive into place and screw the two Torx T-8 screws into the right side of the hard drive from the battery compartment. Reattach the data connector to the motherboard.

7. Replace the cover and format the drive

Perform this step carefully, as the bottom cover may not fit correctly the first time. The screws should go straight into the holes and not resist being tightened.

Place the cover just below where it should go, and push it forward into place. Be sure the screw holes are aligned before replacing screws. Replace the screws and the battery. Plug in the power cord and any peripheral cables.

Finally, insert a system-software CD into the media drive. You’ll to need to format the new drive, so push the power button and do so (see step 6 in the Wall Street section). Install Mac OS, and enjoy your updated PowerBook.

Three PowerBook upgrade tips

Which PowerBook do you have? First released in 1998, the Wall Street PowerBooks can be identified by the multicolored Apple logo at the bottom of the display. (These were the last PowerBooks to bear that logo.) The original PowerBook G4, released in 2001, was the first to sport the Titanium case. (For a complete list of PowerBook release dates and code names, go to AppleHistory.com.)

Don’t know your DIMMs from your DRAMs? You’re not alone. SO-DIMM refers to the form factor of the RAM module in most PowerBooks; it means “Small Outline DIMM.” SO-DIMM is a smaller module (with 144 pins) than the 168-pin DIMMs found in desktop Macs. SDRAM is the type of RAM found in that module.

All RAM isn’t created equal. The Mac OS X 10.2 installer can fail to work properly if your PowerBook contains RAM that doesn’t comply with Apple’s specifications. Before you purchase additional RAM, it’s a good idea to call the maker or check its Web site to make sure the RAM meets those specifications.

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