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ATPM 7.08
August 2001





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Review: PowerBook G4 Titanium

by Trevor Boehm,


Developer: Apple Computer (product page)

Price: $2,599 (400 MHz machine reviewed) to $3,997 (high-end configuration)

Requirements: None

Trial: None

The PowerBook G4 Titanium—All Dressed Up for Work

One of the things I love about Apple is its constant innovation. Throughout its colorful life, Apple has given birth to a wide range of products. Some, such as the Macintosh II series and the early Power Macs, have been solid performers technically, but somehow have fallen far short in the style and visual appeal category. Others, like the original iMac “puck” mouse and the woefully under-powered Color Classic, looked great but had some fundamental shortcomings when it came to actually using them. Every so often, though, the engineers and industrial design staffers at Apple put together a perfect mix of visual aesthetics and usability. The first PowerBooks and the original iMac were both powerful systems in their time, but they also looked cool. They were somehow more than computers—they were also a sort of high art—to be used, but also to be displayed.


Apple has hit upon this magical mix of form and function again with the PowerBook G4 Titanium. The “TiBook” is like a hefty construction worker dressed up in an Armani suit—it looks fabulous, but it’ll also get even the toughest job done. I was fortunate enough to become the proud user of one of these wonder machines when my employer sprung for new machines for the staff, and after almost a month getting to know the new kid on the block, I’m convinced that Apple has a real winner with this latest addition to the PowerBook dynasty.

First Impressions

I can sum up the my first impression of the TiBook in two words—tiny and shiny. The TiBook is only an inch thick and weighs in at a sprightly 5.3 pounds. This is only a pound and a half lighter than the original iBook, but believe me, after spending a day on the go with this machine, your shoulder will notice the difference.

The TiBook’s case is made of commercially pure titanium, the same metal used in aircraft construction and spacecraft. Not only is titanium strong, but it is also lightweight and oh-so-shiny. The silver-white glow of the Apple logo on the machine’s lid adds to the visual appeal of this head-turner. The case does tend to collect fingerprints and smudges quickly, however.


The TiBook is also equipped with the most beautiful screen I have ever seen on a laptop. The “mega-wide” 15.2 inch LCD is crisp and clear, and very handy for viewing two-page spreads.

Under the Hood

The TiBook is more than just great looks. The core of this machine is a PowerPC G4 processor running at either 400 or 500 MHz, providing plenty of speed for all of your processor-intensive applications. The graphics subsystem is driven by a Rage Mobility 128 on a 2x AGP bus. What does all of this mean? It means that the TiBook has speed to spare—great for those people who hate waiting. In practice, I found my TiBook to be significantly faster than the G3/266 desktop I had been using at work in processor tasks, but about the same in disk-intensive work.

In order to bleed off all the heat generated by the G4 processor inside the TiBook, Apple used the metal case as one big heat sink. As a result, the TiBook tends to get warm (but not uncomfortably so) after extended use. A fan also kicks in, when required, to cool the innards of the machine, and air vents on either side of the machine help to keep things cool as well.


The TiBook may be light and skinny, but it’s no lightweight, and Apple didn’t skimp on connections for all your favorite accessories either. (Photo courtesy of Apple Computer, Inc.)

The TiBook has a now-familiar array of ports hidden behind its back cover: dual USB, single FireWire, fast Ethernet, 56K fax/modem, infrared, and video out. An audio out jack is conveniently located on the left side of the machine, for those moments when you want to plug in a pair of headphones. There is no audio input (mic) jack, but in today’s era of USB audio headsets and microphones, for most users this should not be a problem. I especially liked the inclusion of an S-video out port, which allows the TiBook to be connected to an LCD projector for presentations. (OK, it also allows you to watch DVD movies on your large screen television, but this is a work machine, right?)

The TiBook comes AirPort-ready, and my AirPort equipped machine performed flawlessly when connecting to the office base station.

Down to Work

The TiBook’s full-sized keyboard is easily the best laptop keyboard I have typed on, which surprised me just a bit considering the machine’s thinness. I had no problems at all typing for hours on the TiBook, and found it very difficult to go back to my old PowerBook 3400 once I had gotten used to the TiBook keyboard’s responsive feel and firmness. I also liked the fact that some of the function keys at the top double as volume and brightness controls.

The trackpad was a bit more problematic, however. The sensitive area is a bit large, and I found myself accidentally tapping the trackpad as I was typing, inadvertently sending my cursor off to some other part of my document. I also found that when I reached for the trackpad button, often my thumb fell a bit short and hit the sensitive area instead. Finally, the trackpad button was apt to un-click during drags, depositing files in unexpected places. I never was a big fan of trackpads for extended use or for detailed work, but with the TiBook I make sure that I pack an external USB mouse when I go on the road.

The TiBook’s slot-loading DVD-ROM drive performed flawlessly. I was initially a bit concerned that a disc might get stuck in the drive, leaving me with no way to eject it due to the lack of a paperclip hole. However, I was worrying for nothing—I’ve ejected well over a hundred different audio and software CDs with no problems.

One possible shortcoming of the TiBook is its lack of any removable storage (and the lack of a swappable media bay to add a third-party internal Zip or CD-RW drive). Since my livelihood depends on the files that live on my hard drive, backing up is an absolute necessity. While backup to a network server is certainly an option, some of the files I work with tend to be large, and I’m a bit old-fashioned when it comes to backups—I want to be able to hold a copy of my work in my hand. It would have been nice if Apple had offered a CD-ReWritable drive or a combination DVD/CD-RW “combo-drive” as an option on the TiBook. However, this is likely on the way for the next model, and in the meantime Apple is bundling VST external FireWire CD-RW drives with all TiBook purchases in the US and Canada.

My employer is not yet supporting Mac OS X as a work environment (most of our main tools are not yet available in OS X native versions), so my experience with Mac OS X on the TiBook is limited to an hour or so exploring a colleague’s machine. Things seemed a bit sluggish at times, particularly in the OS X Finder, but this probably has more to do with the gradual evolution and fine-tuning of a new operating system and less to do with the TiBook.


The TiBook easily handled every Classic application I threw at it. Most of my time on this machine has been spent using MS Office, Outlook Express, Internet Explorer, Adobe Acrobat, and Adobe LiveMotion. All of these applications ran very well on the TiBook. Using Virtual PC 4, the TiBook also made a very capable Windows 98 laptop—the emulation was quick enough that for a moment, I thought I was using a real Windows laptop (before I remembered that no Windows laptop even comes close to looking as good as the TiBook).

The Last Word

All of this sleek, stylist power doesn’t come cheaply. The Apple Store’s list price for a low-end 400 MHz TiBook is US$2,599. A 500 MHz model comes in at a whopping US$3,499. Apple’s top-of-the line configuration, which differs from the midrange machine only in hard drive size and the inclusion of an extra battery and power adapter, runs for US$3,997.

These are pricey machines, but not overly so. The TiBooks are, really, no more expensive than Apple’s past offerings in professional laptops. Once upon a time, my now vintage PowerBook 3400 commanded the same price. With its speed, wide array of ports, large screen, and excellent keyboard, the TiBook makes a good desktop replacement, so you may be able to save a bundle on a stationary machine with a TiBook and the right peripherals.

If you can justify the cost of a TiBook and need the speed, PC Card slot, and large screen, go for it. You won’t be disappointed.

Reader Comments (62)

Steven Smith · August 15, 2001 - 06:43 EST #1
Good Morning, I am sitting here in St. Andrews, New Brunswick, in front of my TiBook, looking out at the bay and thinking about all the letters I see posted about faulty TiBooks, broken parts, etc. Well, I have had mine for about two months and I use it every day. I open and close the LCD carefully each and every time, I never rest my palms or forearms on the TiBook, I have no wear marks, and when I shut down for the day, I never close the lid tightly just lower it to keep the dust out. I only close it if I move it. When I insert a CD, I always insert it carefully so as not to push hard and break the thin plastic housing. And I never slam my lid to fracture a hinge! Something may break or wear out, but I will tell you it will not happen from misuse. So treat your TiBook with respect and end this frustration!
Withan Lemmon · September 1, 2001 - 17:14 EST #2
I am waiting for my new G4 Titanium/500 right now. It wouldn't have been possible without the huge discounts for educational clients. Homeschooling is paying off big time! My 8-year-old read all the Chronicles of Narnia and I'm getting a Titanium G4/500. I did yank the 20 GB hard drive and half the RAM, so I got it for under $2500. Plus the CDR and a $60 photo printer. Now I'm REAL happy I bought my daughter's iMac at the Computer Shoppe. $50 off vs. $800!
Pete Moss · May 10, 2002 - 15:39 EST #3
My G4 came as part of a package at a tech institute. During my time there I saw a 10% failure rate, including dead video, jammed CD-ROMs, and, in my case, a defunct keyboard. Buying a Mac? Wanna take 1 out of 10 odds?
Dotty Kuhn · August 7, 2002 - 16:54 EST #4
Is the white A/C box supposed to get hot when it is plugged in? Thanks for your reply.
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · August 7, 2002 - 20:26 EST #5
Dotty - it's normal. Even though your computer is off, the power supply, when plugged in, still is dealing with the incoming power. I know plenty of people (myself included) who leave the power adapter plugged in, and I've not known of any ill effects.
Sad · August 19, 2002 - 13:42 EST #6
I'm sitting and looking at a TiBook that has had, since it was new, a battery and an LCD display replaced under warranty. Now, the ethernet port is completely dead and the unit is 5 months out of warranty. That means a new motherboard--1,000 bucks Canadian plus labor. Apple Canada basically told me tough luck. I should have bought an extended warranty. What poor service and response to a unit that is obviously a lemon. As a long-time Mac user, I'm very disappointed. Anyone with similar ethernet problems, drop me a response. Maybe I can use that as ammo with Apple. Thanks.
Steve · August 21, 2002 - 15:40 EST #7
Hey there...can I rant here too? Titanium G4...looks very pretty, but my frame fell off the screen (covered under warranty) and then the screen became all marked up from the keyboard (not covered). Now, the thing won't boot. I brought it to an authorized service center and they tell me $600 for a new logicboard (not covered). Is this ludicrous for a notebook not even two years old? I have had plenty of Toshibas and now a Sony with nary an issue.
Pam Stomel · September 10, 2002 - 14:59 EST #8
Just last month I became the proud owner on the 2nd fastest computer Apple makesÂ…until my hard drive failed then my video card right after that. I went to reboot my computer one night after a printer error and it couldnÂ’t find a startup disk. Being a PC owner for the past 9 years, I am not too sure of my troubleshooting abilities for the Mac, so I brought it to the tech desk at my school. I am a graphic design student at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT); a very fast-paced school. RIT is known to be one of the best schools in the country for both computer Science and Graphic Design. So when my hard drive failed, I was surprised when the IT help desk technician told me that this was the worst case they had seen in the 4 years he has spent repairing these machines. He fixed it temporarily by zeroing out my hard drive twice and told me to get on the phone with Apple and that this was only a temporary fix. Sure enough, I walked my computer back to my dorm room and booted her up only to find, after 10 minutes of her running both my laptop screen and my Studio Display became garbled. I rebooted and it was fine, for the next 10 minutes but after that it was time for another reboot. I called Apple and they are sending me a brand new, upgraded machine, no questions asked. The support Apple gave me was great. I cannot complain about that. However, should I be having these problems with a $4,000+ machine that is less than a month old? Has anyone else had similar problems?

Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · September 10, 2002 - 19:46 EST #9
Pam - it's great that Apple chose to replace your machine.

It's certainly rare for a brand new TiBook to have trouble like you described so soon after you bought it, but it's not out of the question. There's no telling what the cause might have been: anything from a defective part installed in the first place to damage that occurred during shipping to the dealer that sold it to you.

The point is, Apple's warranty service is pretty nice, so long as you have one. On that note, I feel fairly safe in saying all of us at ATPM would advise that any PowerBook should be purchased along with a three-year AppleCare plan. I've heard people gripe that the cost of the AppleCare plan is steep, but not when you consider what the cost might be if you have to replace the machine sooner than you intended. If you never have to use AppleCare, think of the cost of getting it as a small price that ensured a perfectly working machine for that length of time.
Inigo Orduna · December 12, 2002 - 06:56 EST #10
I've recently bought a TiBook. I needed Virtual PC installed to be able to properly show clients web work. I'm unable to see PC data CDs using Virtual PC. Also, it doesn't seem to recognize HTML files. Does anyone know anything about this? Thanks.
Millman · December 17, 2002 - 08:37 EST #11
I have a big problem. When I press a little bit to hard on the top of my keyboard, my screen gets freaked up and I have to reboot to get it fixed. Please help! Send me e-mail with some tips!

Randy · January 22, 2003 - 21:17 EST #12
I have a G4 PowerBook that I bought new about six months ago. Everything is fine internally, but the case is already starting to "bubble" and fleck off--epecially where my right palm hits the case. Has anyone else experienced this? What do I do? Where do I take a defective case?
Kevin · January 31, 2003 - 23:57 EST #13
I "adopted" the first generation G4 PowerBook from my parents in fall 2001. They bought it when it first came out in spring 2001. I've put it to the test from the very beginning (maybe abused would be a better description). I've dropped it from desk height a few times, dragged it across desks, put it through airport x-ray machines more than a thousand times (I commute), and I've only recently bought a laptop case for it. I just stuffed it in a backpack before. I used it for everything from designing with AutoCAD 2K2 on Virtual PC, to playing DVDs on an external monitor and sound system, to compiling hundreds of pages of data in Microsoft Excel. I've only had one problem when the hard drive kept skipping, but that went away after 10 minutes. As you can imagine, the outer case is pretty scratched up, but everything else works fine. The LCD doesn't even have the keyboard marks everyone talks of. I guess we only hear of the problem computers and not enough of the good ones!
Garry · February 25, 2003 - 17:30 EST #14
Well, I just read this entire page and it hasn't discouraged me from buying the new 12.1" PowerBook G4 just before I head off to Australia for a year!
Lance Millward · May 12, 2003 - 04:33 EST #15
I have an 867MHz Titanium PowerBook. It is running OS X 10.2.6. I have a few issues with it, but nothing serious. It has crashed, despite what they say. I got Norton Systemworks to end that hassle. The internal DVD/CD-RW combo drive is temperamental. I have an external firewire CD-RW drive, so that isn't a biggie, either. One of the keys on the keyboard was a little squeaky for a while, but settled down eventually. I am happy with the machine. I have 867 MB of RAM, but will be getting a full gigabyte soon since opening high resolution photos (600 MB at 2400 DPI) should be improved with the extra grunt. I will be using CAD, too.

I'd buy one again, if I had the chance. I looked at PCs. They were hugely disappointing.

Paul · May 13, 2003 - 03:42 EST #16
I've had my TiBook for almost two years and have had no problem until very recently when the ethernet connection started to go a bit flakey. At first, I thought it was a software problem (things, perhaps coincidentally, started to go awry when I added another user profile), but now, the thing has gone kaput. I reinstalled the OS, but nothing changed.

Is getting a new motherboard really the only solution to fixing the port? If so I guess now's as good a time as any to go wireless!
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · May 14, 2003 - 03:22 EST #17
Paul - WARNING WARNING WARNING. Make sure you get all manner of assurances before having someone swap your motherboard to fix a bad ethernet port.

Granted, my experience may be on the unique side, but it was a time of grief I wouldn't wish upon my worst enemy.

Some years ago, my office got a brand new beige G3/333 to do my desktop publishing work. We put out the next issue of our newsletter on it without a hitch. But then, the ethernet went out on it. Upon discovering that the ethernet circuitry was integrated into the motherboard and replacing the motherboard was the only way to fix it, I took the machine in for warranty repair work. It came back with a new motherboard and the report that all the hardware now checked out. HAH! I never once was able to get the machine back to a working state. Kept getting bus errors at startup or random lockups for no good reason. The problems got the point that I'd resorted to using my personal PowerBook 3400 to do office work. After numerous Apple Support-recommended hard drive initializations, OS reinstallations, and other tests I'd never previously heard of, one of the "top dog" support reps finally conceded that the machine was truly DOA. This, after I'd even taken it back to the repair shop twice to confirm that the hardware checked out. Suffice to say they'll never get my business again, nor that of anyone else who asks me for recommendations.

Unfortunately, by this time, the machine was out of warranty. I was up the creek without a paddle. To this day, the thing sits upstairs in an unused office in the event someone thinks the perfectly good tower, internal CD and Zip drives, hard drive, and RAM is worth salvaging.

Suffice to say, when I finally convinced the office to buy another machine (dual 800MHz G4), I was sure to also get the AppleCare extended warranty. I will never go through that again.

If I'd known, in advance, this would happen, I'd have just spent $50 or less on a 3rd party ethernet card and slide it into a PCI slot. Done. Allow me to suggest you just get a PCMCIA ethernet card for your PowerBook.
Mathias · May 25, 2003 - 13:25 EST #18
I'm looking to get a used 500mhz TiBook from Microworld. I was wondering how I would get any type of care plan and if this is a good decision. I would use the ethernet port often and, after reading all of these comments, don't know what to think. Some of these posts are good and some are not. Are there any suggestions on whether the purchase would be a good idea or not? Thanks in advance for the help.

Lance Millward · July 29, 2003 - 05:03 EST #19
A few months on and my computer is still working fine. I've had some crashes and such, even with 756 megs of RAM. They weren't complete crashes though. I can get out of them by closing something up. I have a Bookendz docking station for my 867 Titanium PowerBook. I have not had real need for it as yet, but once I begin commuting, it will pay for itself. I've been using Microsoft Office v.X a lot from the terrible PC computers at school and back to my Mac. I've had no compatibility problems. I considered a PC, but decided against it. I don't regret sticking with Mac. The speed at which they are updating the machines is pretty frightening, though. They have 2.6GHz machines where my machine was up there with the best a few years ago. Scary stuff.

Jay · May 27, 2004 - 22:08 EST #20
Purchased a G4 Powerbook less than 3 months ago. After a semi-major crash requiring me to create a new user to access my files, the powerbook unexpectedly failed to start. After apple phone support failed, the suggested a sending it to apple for repair. 2 weeks later after it gets a new logic board and aiport card I get another startup failure. Power button gets hard drive to start spinning but startup freezes with a black screen. Pissed! I migrated to Mac due to their reputation for reliaility. So much for that. I'm writing this email on used Dell laptop that I picked up for 650 bucks 2 yrs ago! Never once has it failed. Wanted a "cool new powerbook". Boy was that a mistake. Mac "super experts" at the local mac store give great lip service. "yes sir.. on behalf of apple I'm am greatly sorry sir" but alot of "i'm not at libety to discuss other other powerbook repairs sir...that information is confidential sir... They refuse to give me a new powerbook, they refuse to refund my purchase. I'm getting this from 800 APL-CARE as well. What a mistake I've made. Oh, and by the way, my 20 gig Ipod's battery is beginning to fail (five months old today). My apples are FULL of worms and my gonads are hanging from the tree. Thanks Apple!
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · May 29, 2004 - 01:25 EST #21
Jay will probably never be back to read this, but I'll say anyway that I was sorry to hear of his troubles. This sort of situation, I can assure anyone, is not the norm...but you can't tell that to the person who's enduring it. This is one of the reasons to buy computers on a credit card, even if you pay it off immediately, and use one that has purchase protection. The credit card company is probably going to be more sympathetic and they have more muscle to get their money back from Apple than a single consumer.
Alexander TAN · July 29, 2004 - 03:13 EST #22
hey guys, I need a favor if anyone know if it is possible to change my powerbook g4 case due to i accidently drop my laptop and the front where you put dvd or cd disk can't be put any disk in it due to case all dented.
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · July 29, 2004 - 09:08 EST #23
Alex - Apple would probably repair it, but would charge an outrageous amount, I'd bet. No, they will not sell you the parts to fix it yourself.

I imagine the only thing you'd be able to do is start calling lots of shops that deal with Apple equipment to see if they have someone's laptop that, for one reason or another, is dead but the case is still in good shape.
Evan Trent (ATPM Staff) · August 26, 2004 - 19:31 EST #24
It sounds like it's a hardware failure. There are several possibilities. Either the lens is dirty and the laser cannot properly focus. Or the laser itself is misaligned and cannot properly read the discs. Or... the actual slot loading mechanism is not pulling the disc into alignment properly so even if the laser/lens is tracking correctly, the disc is not in the right place.

You could have a tech look at it, but chances are it'd be cheaper to just replace the whole drive since labor ain't cheap and the drives aren't hugely expensive.

It doesn't seem like a software issue to me - if you were lacking the proper drivers under OS 9 this behavior might be the result. Under OS X I don't see how this could occur due to software.
glen sunahara · September 8, 2004 - 23:26 EST #25
I bought a 1 gig TiPowerBook a year and a week ago. Just passed the warrantee period by a week when the hinges went bad. Opened the book too far and they snapped. Apple wants $650 to repair it. I surfed the Web looking for a cheaper fix and found that bad hinges are not uncommon for G3's and G4's. Looks like a design problem. Anyone else hear about the design problem??? Or a cheaper fix???
Karl Koenig · April 25, 2005 - 00:43 EST #26
similar problem w/a PBook G4 400 w/the CD/DVD ROM drive --won't mount CD's or DVD's. Happened just after upgrading from 10.2.8 to 10.3.5 and on to 10.3.8. Same is going on with a external FW Smartdisk CD/RW and USB Iomega CD/RW drives. All are 3 1/2 years old. Internal drive was replaced once already while still under 1 year warrantee. 768 Mb RAM. Time for a replacement drive? USB floppy drive and printer are working fine. Anyone have any ideas? Thanks.
Heather · August 25, 2005 - 19:36 EST #27
Hi I just got a powerbook g4 from someone on ebay. I have two lines going down it at times. And I can't log into the computer. HELP??? I'm mac stupid. I know nothing. He will not tell me his password or log in info. And I noticed that when You try and put a cd into the darn thing it spits it out. Does anyone know how to help me???
I'm willing to listen to everyone
Or where to go how much I'm looking at spending to it least get the dvd/cd fixed??? My fiance says if he can get the instructions on how to do it it shouldn't be an issue. If anyone can help please.
i'm in saint louis missouri
ATPM Staff · August 25, 2005 - 22:13 EST #28
Heather - it would probably be good to wipe the drive and start fresh with it. A Mac should normally come with system reinstallation CDs, but I'm guessing you didn't get those. You might do well to either purchase a copy of Mac OS X so you can do that in the future if you need to. Otherwise, there is an Apple store in St. Louis that you could visit and they'd probably be willing help. Someone at those stores usually has an iPod with a system installation and they can boot your computer from the iPod, then reinstall the system from scratch.
Devo · August 28, 2005 - 21:35 EST #29
Is it possible to use AutoCad 2005 on Apple laptop 1.67 GHz powerbook powerpc?(MAC)
Tom Bridge (ATPM Staff) · September 10, 2005 - 21:32 EST #30
Hi Chris,

This sounds like there is a problem with the video cable along the spine of your powerbook. I would recommend taking your Powerbook in for service, as the cable assembly along the spine isn't user serviceable.
Edward Clemmons · September 22, 2005 - 22:13 EST #31
I have an 800mhz TiBook with a flaky combo drive. DVD discs appear to work fine, but this thing is picky about inserted CDs. Some CDs mount normally on the desktop, some take an exceedingly long time but eventually mount, and some don't mount at all and get ejected. Several commercial application CDs that I've purchased recently have wound up in that latter category -- not mounting and getting ejected.

I recently upgraded from Panther to Tiger, and the drive behavior is the same, so I'm assuming this is a hardware problem. I just wanted to see if this was a common problem with aging combo drives. Thanks!
Heduino Rodrigues · October 14, 2005 - 10:39 EST #32
Hi anyone. I have a PowerMac G4 400Mhz, bought about 3 or 4 years ago. It still had a 10Gb Hard disc and 256 Mb Ram. When I upgraded ti to 80Gb and another 500Mb Ram on top it worked well. But about one month or 2 later it started having crash problems. All sorts os text came in front of the Operating system. and then another problem also happened: a strange black window (slightly trabsparent) starts showing up in the center with some strange message telling me to restart the Mac using the startup button. These 2 broblem types ocured both simultaniously. Once 1, once the other....I contacted me dealer witch is an Repair service in Braga (north Portugal, where I live) and they did all sorts of teste...Formatting the disc, changeing RAM, changing disc, and ended up telling me to get a new Logic board (or mother it the same?). I cant understand why this can happen. 3 o4 4 years with no problem and all of the sudden "Puff!!" the Powerbook needs a new logic board??? I'm not so sure I want to go to that repair service again. I'm afraid they might not know more than just substituing parts... Any one know a direct email I can contact apple with? any suggestion on this problem?
Mark Diefenbach · October 23, 2005 - 13:15 EST #33
Hi, I have a powerbook G4 17inch and one day i logged out and now my captop will not go to the log in screen it is stuck in a blue screen i dont know what to do my warranty ran out and apple support stinks they said send it to us for repair.
Tom Bridge (ATPM Staff) · October 23, 2005 - 13:46 EST #34
Mark, Thanks for your note. You may wish to try booting from the discs that came with your computer. Insert the disc, and reboot holding the C key to trigger the CD boot. From there, you can check the integrity of your data using Disk Utility (I would recommend a Repair Disk... scan)

And Apple's support options are quite fair. One year warranty, free, 90 days phone support, free. Apple's in the business of making computers that make them money. Providing unlimited free support isn't part of that business model.

In future correspondence, I highly recommend such writing features as apostrophes, periods and commas. They make your comments easier to read.
Tom Bridge (ATPM Staff) · October 23, 2005 - 13:50 EST #35
Hi Edward,

Your diagnosis does sound to be the correct one: a flaky optical drive. If you can, take your powerbook to a service provider with a few of the discs that you've been having problems with, so you can demonstrate the issue that you're receiving. Also, you can always use the hardware test disc that came with your computer to do initial checkwork.
ATPM Staff · November 14, 2005 - 10:50 EST #36
Eduardo - Best-case scenario, you unseated the display cable that runs through one of the hinges and need to get it plugged back in good. Worst-case scenario, you damaged/crimped the display cable. If the latter is the case, you're probably going to be in a bucket of hurt with the cost to fix it. An Apple-authorized repair shop may have to deal with it.
Michael Stewart · November 15, 2005 - 16:31 EST #37
I have a G4Titanium Powerbook and all of a sudden when I power up the screen goes grey and then mottled white. When attached to another monitor, however, everything displays. Any ideas on what could be wrong and what to do about it.
ATPM Staff · November 15, 2005 - 17:10 EST #38
Michael - just as we suggested to Eduardo yesterday, probably the display cable has either become unseated or damaged. Possibly the LCD itself is damaged but the cable is more likely the culprit. You should locate a repair shop that is authorized for Apple hardware to take a look at it. Sorry, but it probably won't be cheap.
Christopher Turner (ATPM Staff) · December 15, 2005 - 22:27 EST #39
Joe, one thing to try is resetting the Power Management Unit (PMU). The Apple support document is here:

Scroll down to find the instructions for your specific PowerBook.
Christopher Turner (ATPM Staff) · January 5, 2006 - 10:21 EST #40
Christopher, have you tried booting the PowerBook without the battery in place? If you have tried the PMU reset for your model PowerBook, as I linked to above, then there may be a problem with the power socket on the motherboard. Your best bet is to take it to your favorite Apple Authorized Service Provider.
Mr. Christopher · January 11, 2006 - 23:55 EST #41
I've tried booting it without the battery. No go. If the power socket was the problem would I still be getting an amber light on the power supply cord?
Tom · February 13, 2006 - 22:25 EST #42
how much should I expect to pay for a new logic board (Titanium g4) and is it something I can repair myself? I have no problems repairing pc's hardware and software.
Adele · February 18, 2006 - 14:49 EST #43
My husband bought me my Powerbook G4 last May and a few months ago it started having problems freezing up. This always required a re-boot. This issues became more frequent and within the last week has progressed to the system going to sleep while I am using it. I thought I may have a software compatibility issue and took all steps to remove everything I had added and finally did an erase/restore to put it back to all the brand new settings. As it was booting up the first time...while I'm entering the initial info about myself...screen goes goes to sleep. I have to tap the space bar...sometimes it comes back up quickly and other times it takes a few minutes. It continues right where I left off...for a few seconds or maybe minutes...then does it again. Any idea what this may be? I have been looking everywhere for answers and am completely frustrated. Please...anybody? Thanks.
Steve Ens · February 19, 2006 - 20:37 EST #44
Probably the same as most of these machines, bad system'll cost you to get it fixed, may as well invest in a better machine like HP or Lenovo.
Mr. Christopher · February 20, 2006 - 01:14 EST #45
-Probably the same as most of these machines, bad system'll cost you to get it fixed, may as well invest in a better machine like HP or Lenovo.

You can invest as much more as you want in an HP/Dell/etc., you still won't get as good of an operating system or easy to use laptop for your money. I suggest you take a detour to this link :

Good luck
samu mäkinen · March 26, 2006 - 19:28 EST #46
i bought old tig4 400/256/10 without any cd's, manuals etc.
now i find out that harddrive is broken.
i placed new one but i cant startup machine with cd. -it only blinking some folders with tiny heads... please tell me how to get new software to hd because i want to use this g4.
chris pieris · September 2, 2006 - 02:20 EST #47
I just bought a recondition 17" Powerbook ($1,500) from a apple reseller. It only comes with 1 month warranty. I now suspect that the LCD screen is giving problems. When I start the machine, there are lines streeking across. Never experience this before on my ibook.
Only have 28 days left on warranty. What should I look out for in faulty LCD screens?
Troy Kramm · October 13, 2006 - 13:31 EST #48
Well i have had my 1.5 ghz powerbook G4 for sometime now and it is passed warrenty,no question. It finally hit some problems though and i have no idea at what to do. I was running a program and then got the spinning beach ball of death and it would not go away and i couldn't even force quit any programs, it completely froze. i rebooted the machine and it took over an HOUR for it to reboot!!!!!! I then tried to shut it down but it wont, the only way i can shut it off is if i use the power button to shut it off. if you can help get back to me at
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · October 13, 2006 - 14:56 EST #49
Troy - the first thing you may want to try doing is to boot up in single-user mode by holding Command-S until you see a Unix text-like screen. You'll eventually see something that looks like a command prompt (just watch, you'll know when it's all done). At the prompt, type fsck -yf

This process may take a while, so wait for a command prompt to return. Some people suggest doing this more than once. Pay attention to some of the errors that are mentioned and what the system claims to be doing about them. On the second run, you'd theoretically not see any error reports. When you're done, type reboot

Hopefully, your system will now boot up properly. Once up, Open up Disk Utility and run a Permissions Repair. Then go back and verify it. Repeat until the verification reports no problems.
Paul Dickinson · November 25, 2006 - 04:11 EST #50
Well I'm typing this on my 5 1/2 year old 500MHz TiBook - I have to say it's the most reliable machine I've ever used (sadly I can't say the same about my 1.8GHz 20" iMacG5 :-( ). I upgraded the RAM to 512MB, fitted an AirPort card and just recently upgraded the hard drive to 80GB (the original 20GB was just too small and noisy). The machine started off on OS 9.1 and has gone all the way through to OS X 10.4.8 without a problem. The only slight issues I've had have been the perishing of the rubber screen separators and the rubber feet. I'm currently waiting for a new maxxed out Black Core2Duo MacBook (2GB RAM, 160GB HD) to arrive and I can only hope that the MacBook will last as long as this TiBook - I'm sure the TiBook will still be going strong in another 5 1/2 years time.
Tyler · November 25, 2006 - 14:33 EST #51
Just bought a 2001 titanium powerbook G4 from one of my buddies. This machine has 512mb of ram, a 40gb hard drive, 400mhz G4 processor, and its running Mac OSX 10.4.8 Tiger so smoothly. As far as i know it hasn't had any problems what so ever. As this laptop is going on its 6th year, it it better than my 2004 Dell desktop that has 512mb of ram, an 80gb hard drive, a 2.4ghz intel processor running Windows XP. I bought this laptop for $300! Best investment i've ever made.
Louise Coutts · January 18, 2007 - 18:52 EST #52
I have had the screen replaced on my G4TI aluminium power book once due to black and white and grey stripes filling the screen. Now l have torquoise blue patches over everything. This sometimes clears by itself. But often just remains for weeks at a time meaning that l have to plug into an external machine. Sometimes tilting the screen helps clear it and it shimmes back to normal. It seemed to happen after l inserted a cd that hung the computer. About 2 monthes ago l upgraded the operating system to 10.4. Can anyone help with this problem. Very frustrating!
Michelle Wooding · March 20, 2007 - 10:07 EST #53
I own a 17 inch powerbook G4 running Mac OSX and have experienced major problems since purchasing it roughly 12months ago. It's actually a replacement model as apple gave me a new one after my first powerbook had its motherboard collapse after a mere 3 months!
Aside from the general issues of overheating and constantly freezing after about 1 hour, my powerbook currently refuses to load properly. I can get it to restart and it makes it through the initial grey coloured screen but once it gets to the blue mac osx screen which should load fairly quickly it gets stuck. It doesnt freeze as such but just stays on that screen 'thinking.' the only way to get out of this is to restart the computer manually and go through the whole process again. Ive tried inserting the original disks and holding the 'c' button to perform a repair on the disk etc and tried performing an extended hardware test by holding the option button after restarting the computer. But nothing seems to work. I can only assume the hard-drive has crashed. Is there honestly anything else I can do to try and get it working again? I find this model so frustrating! Plus the fact that no one in my household is 'mac fluent' isnt much help:) any help would be much appreciated or can be mailed to
brook facey · January 13, 2008 - 16:47 EST #54
I have a powerbook G4 that i bought around 2 years ago. i have a friend looking to buy it however, when i plug the ac adaptor in it doesnt seem to turn on. i think this could be because the battery is completely dead and when not one led on the battery glows. is there a way to reset the laptop?
Chris Lee · March 8, 2008 - 19:29 EST #55
I have found there is an easy way to prevent the terrible keyboard marks everyone talks about. Before you fold down the screen for whatever reason place an ordanairy piece of paper between the screen and the keyboard. Then nothing will happen. Cheers.
mack Johnson · March 9, 2008 - 00:29 EST #56
I just want to say I am a new mac user and I picked up a Tpower book g4 couple months ago of off ebay that is 867 MHZ and 768 MB Ram and I love it, I mean it dont have the bulit in camera or clear mirror image like the new mac books, But i am pretty sure i got a great investment. I use it for every thing. I did up grade to leopard.The only thing there are key board marks on the screen, But i clean it daily. and it appears they are going away. 2 things that seem to be acting up they are minor though, one is the track pad sometimes when i touch it. It goes crazy like not following my direction and second the plug in adapter on the back some times dont connect well So i have to twist it a certain spot to stay green charging. But these things are so MINOR the machine is AWSOME!!! any suggestions on helping my mac run better and longer I would be great full. Take care from sunny florida -
kyle Boldra · September 7, 2008 - 18:28 EST #57
I am inheriting a powerbook g4 from my aunt, but it needs a new LCD. Can anyone guide me in the right direction as far as purchasing a new LCD and then also pointing me in the right direction for some installation instructions. Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you
ATPM Staff · September 7, 2008 - 19:55 EST #58
Kyle - I'm not sure I can say this would be the least expensive route, but iResQ is one of the more well-known sources for repair.
Kyle Boldra · September 7, 2008 - 21:12 EST #59
Do you know of any sites that give instructions on how to replace the LCD Screen ?
ATPM Staff · September 7, 2008 - 23:48 EST #60
Kyle - a simple Google search should turn up countless pages describing how to do it, such as
Jerry Ericsson · October 2, 2009 - 15:28 EST #61
Greetings - writing this on an old G4 Titanium 1ghz I picked up on Ebay. It came to me a basket case but still working, I have replaced the DVD drive and the right hinge which was broken, the case has been broken in several places but a tube of epoxy and a few hours of putting it back together has left me with a great old machine that still performs it's functions without a hitch. Guess it goes to show that not all old Ti's are junk. I do love the old machine, and as an amateur short story writer I find it a pleasure to write with. I used to use an old compaq V2000 which is faster but not so comfortable but now I have put away the Compaq and use this titanium almost exclusively.
Greg Cart · July 25, 2010 - 22:07 EST #62
I've owned my Titanium Powerbook G4 since 2002 and have used it everyday since. These days it is too slow to run any applications with efficiency but still surfs the internet like a champ. As far as breakage, the only thing that has gone wrong is my disc drive. Apparently the weight of my hand over the years has crushed the disc drive.

I am buying a new laptop (PC for cost) and am still planning on using this Powerbook G4 for surfing the internet without concern of viruses, spyware etc..
I am so impressed with this machine, I cant endorse it enough. I can only hope my new Lenovo W510 will last as long.

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