Sonnet Upgrade for Wallstreet Beats New iBook

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Date: Tuesday, November 13th, 2001, 18:52
Category: Archive

I just received my Sonnet Crescendo/WS in the mail today. It is a 500 MHz CPU upgrade for Wallstreet PowerBooks (which have 233 to 300 MHz originally).

I installed mine into a 300 MHz model: Before installing the new CPU, which is as easy as swapping a memory card, one needs to run a application from the supplied CD. This apparently prepares the upgrade (performs a ROM copy, perhaps?) but does not appear to add any new extensions to the System software as far as Conflict Catcher can tell. I also own a 500 MHz iBook Dual USB and I did some speed comparisons, which turned out to be very surprising.


I just received my Sonnet Crescendo/WS in the mail today. It is a 500 MHz CPU upgrade for Wallstreet PowerBooks (which have 233 to 300 MHz originally).

I installed mine into a 300 MHz model: Before installing the new CPU, which is as easy as swapping a memory card, one needs to run a application from the supplied CD. This apparently prepares the upgrade (performs a ROM copy, perhaps?) but does not appear to add any new extensions to the System software as far as Conflict Catcher can tell. I also own a 500 MHz iBook Dual USB and I did some speed comparisons, which turned out to be very surprising.

First, I measured the speed of my Wallstreet without the CPU upgrade. One test was a REALbasic application that would open a window with a lot of items in it. Funny enough, the speed was almost the same on the Wallstreet (300 MHz) as on the iBook (500 MHz). I even made sure that the iBook had not enabled any speed-reducing options in the Energy Saver settings.

Then, with the upgrade installed, the tests show that the Wallstreet has become effectively about 60 percent faster, just as expected. That means: my 3 year old Wallstreet is now significantly faster than the much newer iBook!

I found that one reason was that the iBook’s CPU has a smaller CPU L2 cache (WS: 1MB, iBook: 256KB), although the Newer Tech Gauge Pro v1.1 showed that the WS’s L2 cache runs at half the CPU speed (now 250 MHz) while the iBook’s runs at full CPU speed. I wonder if this is correctly shown by the tool?

Another speed advantage of the Wallstreet vs. the iBook is that the WS’s memory access speed is now about 72 MB/s (before the upgrade it was 66 MB/s), while the iBook’s is only 60 MB/s according to Newer’s Gauge Pro v.1.1.

Since I do not like the iBook’s flexy keyboard, jumpy trackpad and erratic trackpad button (it often does not register when I click), I am very happy with this upgrade which I purchased from Small Dog for US$387 including shipping.

Do you have an upgrade for your G3 PowerBook? Post your thoughts about it in our PowerBook G3 Message Board.

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