Onyx: Heir to the TiBook Throne

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Date: Monday, October 15th, 2001, 03:29
Category: Archive

The mills have been a-swirlin’ and the Go2Mac InBox is full of tips on the much anticipated successor to the PowerBook G4 Titanium. We have confirmed that the update to the TiBook, code-named Onyx, will arrive before the end of the October.


The mills have been a-swirlin’ and the Go2Mac InBox is full of tips on the much anticipated successor to the PowerBook G4 Titanium. We have confirmed that the update to the TiBook, code-named Onyx, will arrive before the end of the October. MacUser UK is reporting that the announcement will come as soon as 16 October (tomorrow). According to MacUser UK, “the new iBooks will have 600MHz G3 processors replacing the current 500MHz chips… The new PowerBooks will reportedly have 667 MHz G4 processors with CD-RW drives replacing the current DVD-ROMs…”

About that last part: it confuses us as to why anyone would possibly want a CD-RW over a DVD-ROM in a portable computer. A combination CD-RW/DVD drive – like the one in the best iBook – is the only option for a laptop that perports to be “professional.” Go2Mac sources report that Apple suppliers have just recently got the size of the CD-RW/DVD combo drive down to the 10-11 millimeter height requirement to fit in the Ti chassis.

Clock speeds will hit 600 and 667 MHz respectively courtesy of a new Motorola PowerPC 7440 microprocessor that was announced at the Smart Networks Developers Forum in May. The 7440 is a low-power version of the 7450 which can be found in Apple’s current 667-867 MHz PowerMac G4s. According to CNet “in addition to being less power hungry, the new PowerPC 7440 will be physically smaller than the PowerPC 7450… The 7440 chip offers lower voltage–1.5V, versus the 7450’s 1.8V–resulting in lower average power consumption.” The problem is that the 7440 uses more power than the 7410 chip found in the current 400 and 500 MHz TiBook.

The PowerPC 7460 processor (code-name Apollo) will succeed the 7440 some time in mid to late-2002 and will reportedly use a .15 micron copper/Silicon-On-Insulator (“SOI”) manufacturing process that will make it smaller, cooler and less expensive to manufacture.

Graphics will also get a significant boost in Onyx with the new ATi RADEON Mobility 7500 graphics accelerator. The 7500 ships with 16 MB of VRAM, twice as much as the existing RAGE 128 Mobility used in the current TiBook. Onyx will also ship with more RAM (reportedly 256 and 512 MB respectively), and IBM Travelstar 48GH hard disk drives.

As opposed to the iBook, which has be getting minor technical tweaks throughout the manufacturing process, Titanium has not. Apple engineers have instead been holding off on a raft of small technical fixes and improvements for Onyx. On the changes list are fixes for the battery disconnect issue (a.k.a. Flex-O-Death), non-reading DVD-ROM drives, changes to the internal battery and structural improvements to the hinge.

Price point and colors are still TBD but don’t be surprised if both are the same as with the previous models. A little bird tells us that Onyx is only a speed-bump and that another PowerBook is on deck for January 2002. More on this story as is arrives… As always, drop us a line if you know more.

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