Introducing the G4 Pismo: NuPower Upgrade Review

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Date: Wednesday, February 26th, 2003, 05:17
Category: Archive

For Christmas, I was lucky enough to receive the NuPower G4 upgrade for the Pismo. I decided on Newer because I had previously bought an upgrade from them that worked out well. I started out with the base Pismo, the 400mhz model with 576mb of ram. I could not even run Final Cut in OS X without frame stutters and eons of rendering time. With much anticipation, I packed my beloved assistant to Chicago to receive a new soul. Click ‘read more’ for the full review.


For Christmas, I was lucky enough to receive the NuPower G4 upgrade for the Pismo. I decided on Newer because I had previously bought an upgrade from them that worked out well. I started out with the base Pismo, the 400mhz model with 576mb of ram. I could not even run Final Cut in OS X without frame stutters and eons of rendering time. With much anticipation, I packed my beloved assistant to Chicago to receive a new soul.

The paper accompanying Newer’s upgrade told me that I should expect to wait 8-10 business days before getting back my newly G4-ed Pismo. 10 business days later I was still waiting. I called Newer and was reassured that the PowerBook would arrive the next week. A week later, still no PowerBook. So I called again. They told me it would arrive next week. The next week, I finally had my Pismo back. There is definitely a performance boost. Before I ripped at about 4x in iTunes; that’s up to about 7-8x. The most noticeable difference was in Final Cut Pro. Long gone were the frame stutters: full, pure, uncompromised digital video flowed like water through my laptop. I was even running real-time effects (although limited to fades and sound tracks). I was slightly worried about heat and battery life with the new G4, but neither have been an issue. It does run a bit warmer than it did before, with constant processor usage the bottom gets warm, but never uncomfortably warm. As for battery life, I don’t think there has been an effect. I just watched the Bourne Identity and still had 33% battery left (in 10.2, set my screen on the lowest setting and energy saver to DVD playback). One more thing, some people in the xlr8yourmac.com forums said they had received a different processor card back than their original one. I have the original one that came with my machine; there has been no change.

In retrospect, I’d definitely do it again but probably not with Newer. With the large wait time, I think I’d go with Powerlogix. To all Pismo owners who want to extend their machines’ life, don’t want to worry about paint flaking off, and frying their legs, get this upgrade! $300 is a very reasonable price for the performance boost.

Pros: Significant boost in overall performance, especially in OSX and AltiVec aware apps. Real-time effects in Final Cut Pro. Cons: LONG turnaround, a month (at least for Newer). That’s a lot of time to be missing your laptop.

Ed: I love it — G4 power in a sleek black box . . . with expansion bays! Has anyone tried the Powerlogix upgrade? -PK

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