Apple Updates PowerBook with Combo Drive

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Apple quietly updated its PowerBook line of computers today adding a slot loading DVD-ROM/CD-RW combo drive. The combo drive is available on the 550MHz and 667MHz portables.

"The Titanium PowerBook G4 is one of the most successful notebook computers of all time, and we are making it even better," said Greg Joswiak, Apple's senior director of Hardware Product Marketing.

The Combo drive plays CD-ROM, audio CD, DVD video, DVD-ROM and DVD-RAM discs. Shipping for the combo drive equipped PowerBook is currently listed at one week for all configurations.

If you purchased a 550MHz or 667MHz PowerBook after they were last revised on October 16, there will be a way to upgrade your computer, an Apple representative told MacCentral. Although full details are not available, qualifying users will be able to upgrade their CD-RW or DVD-ROM Titanium to a combo drive for US$299 in mid-January. More details on where the service can be done will be posted to Apple's Web site when it becomes available.

Just two months ago Apple gave the PowerBook a speed bump bringing the line to 550MHz and 667MHz. The 667MHz PowerBook system bus was also bumped to 133MHz, while the 550MHz system retained the 100MHz bus of the previous generation.

The October update also saw the adoption of ATI's Mobility Radeon AGP 4x graphics system, which replaced the aging ATI RAGE Mobility 128 system that's been standard issue in both the previous PowerBook G4 and the FireWire-equipped PowerBook G3 that preceded it. The systems come equipped with 16MB of Double Data Rate (DDR) video memory. The new PowerBooks both get Gigabit Ethernet (10/100/1000baseT) networking.

Pricing and more information on specific built to order options can be found at Apple's online store.

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