iBook G3: “icicle” in the Sands of the Sahara

In may 2002, Apple, with justifiable pride, has introduced its range of portable household Macs. iBook’and was again surprised – one reason for this was a new modification to the G3 from IBM (PowerPC 750fx “Sahara”), but Apple has not remained aloof. Arthur Hailey (1920-2004), a master of “production novel”, wrote for your life 11 masterpieces. In my opinion, he is the only author of all writing in this genre who can read. History iBook G3 case made of translucent plastic and magnesium could become the 12th masterpiece, perhaps “the most”…But alas.

The path of “ice” from factories in southern China to the customer was unprecedented and difficult, no one even knew what effort it took impeccable reputation Apple iBook G3. Feat?

May 20, 2002, somewhere on the planet Earth (or rather could not figure out), Steve opened another page in the history of the iBook G3. The public is impatient: when, at last, to replace the quickly aging in iBook’G3 and G4 will come? In the new G3, but some are quite different. They again impressed, and caused concern.

A few years before that, the Mars Rover called PowerBook’om on wheels, it used the same processor, and even the architecture of the computer were similar. And now…

Now it was PowerPC 750fx “Sahara”.

The processor developed for the flight computer Boeing 787, the Foundation of the computer by not taken place yet multipurpose spacecraft Orion. Well and by itself it was very good.

This is the seventh part of a series about the iBook, a list of the previous parts below:

First: Laptop candy style: iBook
Second: iBook: “something else”
Third: the World of Steve jobs iBook
Fourth: iBook G3 (Mid 2001): give a steer to designers?
Fifth: iBook G3 (Late 2001): Include in the kit a screwdriver…
Sixth: iBook’and move to Mac OS X

iBook G3 (Mid 2002)

Later I will tell you about the processor. Applying it the very first time, Apple engineers used only a small fraction of its capabilities. Or Steve wanted to prolong the pleasure. Anyway, a sharp separation in the performance of new model is still amazing.

The model was offered in three versions: two 12-inch (30.7 cm) and 14 inch (35.8 cm). The same case that the previous models. The same inscription “iBook”. Not to distinguish. In my opinion, it’s disgusting on their part In their time on the Apple website published a whole article about how to distinguish between them, after reading which, I started to understand that practically nothing. Except that to open it and see…

The ID of the new model was common to all variants, regardless of the size of the diagonal – PowerBook4,3.

The main Goodies of the new models, in addition to aerospace processor, a new graphics card, ATI Mobility Radeon, 16MB VRAM, 2хAGP. Compared with the previous, its performance increased by 35%. These 16 Megabytes mentioned in the official model name, and even in the first place: VRAM-16, Mid-2002, but…

Better, but at the time it was proposed already much more powerful solutions, and adorers of the crumble virtual vermin iBook G3 (VRAM-16, Mid-2002), still not too interesting.

Traditionally, the external monitor could only work in the “Mirror”, that is, to show what was shown built-in computer monitor.

The CPU can work with system bus clocked at 166 MHz, but in the first model the frequency remained the same – 100 MHz. The second level cache inside the chip, was two times more than in previous processors, the size of 512K. Size matters, and the contribution of the second level cache to improve the efficiency and performance of the new model are obvious – but that’s not all. Engineers IBM has used some original solutions increasing the effectiveness of the cache of the second level – and now it became the property of the users of home portable computer.

The Bank for the expansion of memory, as in previous models, there was only one. For its expansion, including in the online store, available chips with 128, 256 and 512 Megabytes. To set this Bank any chips, except for proven Apple did not recommended. Too big was the probability of incompatibilities (almost 100%).

Between Apple and third-party craftsmen, almost for the first time in the compact Macs c 68000 was a full consensus: the maximum size of memory (including the 128 MB on the motherboard) was limited to 600 Megabytes. At the time this was more than enough.


Of course, this was both the initial configuration to configure your iBook’and under him, and viable computers by themselves.

Code names options model me… almost surprised. Probably, they were not allowed to sleep, no imagination. Then, not all of the wholesale model, not the most expensive and the largest size option, called Ivory (ivory).

The cheapest option was only overclocked to 600 MHz. Code name P59. 12.1 inch diagonal, 128 Megabytes on the motherboard, the drive capacity of 20 GB (and not too fast – a common problem iBook’s). Optical drive – 24x speed CD-ROM.

2 USB 1.1, 1 x Firewire 400, modem, slot and antenna for an AirPort (AirPort Card can be purchased in the online store). Ethernet 10/100Base-T.

Weight – 2.2 kg. Thickness of 1.35 inches (3.4 cm).

But price: 1 $ 199.

The most sold variant code name was P72. Looks like the GAZ M-72, the Victory of the raised passableness and comfort, which is not called a Victory…

The clock speed of Apple’s Victory was 700 MHz, the same 128 Megs soldered to the death of RAM, the same drive is 20 Gigabytes. The same ports, list them once again won’t. Optical drive “8x Combo Drive” version of the Everymac. In fact, 24x/6x/4x/4x CD-RW/DVD-ROM if I’m not mistaken.

The weight and thickness of the same 2.2 kg and 3.4 cm

Price – 1 $ 499.

The 14-inch variant, with code name P73, is nearly the same P72 (I just love the letters with the numbers!), that is, the top-selling configuration. The same 700 MHz, the same graphics card. But there were differences. In the basic configuration, in addition to the 128 Megs of RAM on motherboard (pronounced “bracketing”), the Bank has established a chip with capacity of 128 Megabytes. A Total Of 256 Megabytes. And the Bank is busy.

The drive capacity of 30 Gigabytes, the same is not too fast, like the 12-inch models.

Optical drive – 24x/6x/4x/4x CD-RW/DVD-ROM (Combo Drive).

And display 35.8 cm, with the same 1024×768 resolution as the 12-inch brethren.

The price of 1 799$.

PowerPC 750fx “Sahara”

The CPU developed by IBM in 2002. Produced with technology of 0.13 micron, copper-based, was designed to work with clock frequencies up to 900 MHz and with a clock frequency of system bus to 166 MHz.

The second level cache, placed on the chip, the size of 512K. Bus clock rate was equal to the clock frequency of the processor. Engineers at IBM and it even optimized.

In the processor technology is applied to SOI (Silicon on Insulator, Silicon on insulator, SOI), instead of the usual sheets of silicon was used three-layer substrate is a silicon-insulator-silicon.

39 million transistors, a matrix size of 35 square mm.

Under a typical load, overclocked to 800 MHz PowerPC 750fx consumes only 4 watts.

Brief, only the most important.

Above I called it an “aerospace”, but about it you already know everything.

To be continued

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