G3 Upgrades for PowerBooks

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Apple's PowerBook 1400 and 2400 were popular portables but lack the horsepower of current G3 PowerBooks. So how do you keep up with the latest software without trading in your old PowerBook? Con-sider a G3 upgrade. Macworld Lab looked at PowerBook upgrades from Vimage and Newer Technology. Vimage offers a PowerBook 1400 upgrade, and Newer offers upgrades for the 1400 and the 2400.

The $499 Vpower PB 1400 G3/233, from Vimage, features a 233MHz G3 with a 512K backside cache running at 117MHz. Newer's $799 Nupowr G3 1400 250/125 sports a 250MHz G3 with a 1MB cache running at 125MHz. (Newer also sells a 233MHz card for the 1400, which we did not test.) Newer's $799 Nupowr G3 2400 240/120 is the lone upgrade available for the PowerBook 2400. However, by the time you read this, that model will likely be replaced by the $999 Nupowr G3 240/160, which features a 1MB backside cache.

The PowerBook 1400 was designed for easy entry, and both cards for this model offer straightforward installation.

Installing Newer's card in the PowerBook 2400 is much more complicated, requiring the removal of 64 screws. Newer provides a list of dealers that can install the upgrade for $99. Should you install it yourself–which we do not recommend–Newer requires you to sign a waiver freeing the vendor of any liability.

The Nupowr G3 1400 250/125 outpaced the 233MHz Vimage card, but not by much. Both cards offer significant speed improvements over an unaccelerated PowerBook 1400 (see " G3 Upgrades Boost PowerBook Performance "). Likewise, Newer's 2400 upgrade gave us a dramatic overall speed boost for most operations.

These upgrades can extend the life of your PowerBook, but no upgrade lets you grow beyond the limitations of the base machine. For example, the PowerBook 1400 has a 64MB RAM ceiling and the 2400 tops out at 80MB, limiting their usefulness as replacements for high-end G3 desktops.

Newer's PowerBook 2400 upgrade is a solid performer, but the $99 you pay for dealer installation adds to an already high price tag.

The PowerBook 1400 upgrades are the most cost-effective means of getting G3 power in a portable. Both cards offer excellent performance, with the Newer card nosing out the Vimage upgrade. However, the Newer card costs $300 more. Unless you need the highest speed at any cost, save yourself some money and buy the Vimage card.


4.0 mice
PROS: Top performer among 1400 cards. CONS: Expensive. COMPANY: Newer Technology (316/943-0222, http://www.newertech.com ). LIST PRICE: $799.


4.0 mice
PROS: Strong performance boost. CONS: Dealer installation required. COMPANY: Newer Technology (316/943-0222, http://www.newertech.com ). LIST PRICE: $799.


4.0 mice
PROS: Fast; good value. CONS: None significant. COMPANY: Vimage (877/484-6243, http://www.vimagestore.com ). LIST PRICE: $499.

March 1999 page: 49

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