Apple iBook - 12.1" - PPC G3 - MacOS X 10.1 / MacOS 9.2.1 - 128 MB RAM - 20 GB HDD

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Apple iBook - 12.1" - PPC G3 - MacOS X 10.1 / MacOS 9.2.1 - 128 MB RAM - 20 GB HDD

When Apple set out to create the iBook, one of key design goals was to create a lightweight notebook computer tough enough to stand up to the occasion...

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Review of "Apple iBook - 12.1" - PPC G3 - MacOS X 10.1 / MacOS 9.2.1 - 128 MB RAM - 20 GB HDD"

published 04/03/2004 | domcaz
Member since : 08/03/2001
Reviews : 5
Members who trust : 0
About me :
Pro Its a Mac. Its a 2nd generation iBook (ie all 1st gen defects ironed out), good 2nd hand prices, still v.current
Cons Not a G4 (or G5!), smallish screen, not a huge HD.
very helpful
Look & Feel
Memory / capacity
Comfort & Portability
Robustness & Durability

"Great 2nd hand laptop 4 those who dont need speed!"

Well, I've been a Mac user for 15 years now, and this is my first laptop after years of being desktop only!

I have a meaty dual 1Ghz G4 on my desktop which does all my hard work, so what I needed a laptop for was:

Checking email on the road
A bit a MS Word and Excel work
Watching DVDs
Wireless (Airport) access for Internet Cafes/Airports/Stations/etc.

And, boy, does this beauty do all this and more!

First of all, I'll get the techy stuff out of the way...

This iBook has a 600Mhz G3 processor, 128Mb inbuilt RAM (easily upgradable to 640Mb, via 1 SDRAM SO-DIMM slot), 20Gb hard disk, Combo drive (CDRW/DVD-Rom), built in speakers, microphone, keyboard, trackpad, 12.1" LCD screen, slot for a 802.11b wireless card (Airport), 56k modem, 2 USB1 ports, 1 Firewire (IEEE1394) port, 1 10/100 ethernet port, Video Out port and a audio mini-jack port.


These iBooks were originally sold for around £1000 and came with OSX 10.1 and OS9.2.2. While 10.1 will happily work and these machines, 10.1 is now been superceded by 10.2 and 10.3 and this iBook runs both wonderfully (albeit needing a little more memory than 128Mb)

Now, I was lucky enough to buy mine for £520, with an Airpot card already included. These cards retail for £60 new and are readily available. The massive advantage with Macs over regular (inferior) Windoze PCs, with wireless networking, is that they have these ports inside the machine (under the keyboard) so that you dont have an ugly PCMCIA card sticking out the side of your laptop when you're on the road trying to get online wirelessly.

I immediately bought a 256mb memory card to upgrade the RAM to 340Mb, as 128Mb is not enough for OS 10.3, and made a significant speed difference.

The other major change I made was to remove the 20Gb HD and replace it with a modern, faster 40Gb HD. This had the effect of (obviously) giving me more space and speeding up the access/read/write times. However this is not an easy upgrade, and only the knowledgable/very brave should attempt to dis-assemble their precious iBook and do this. It is NOT a user servicable upgrade and would have invalidated any warranty that was covering the computer (if it was still under warranty). The original 20Gb HD was fine (just too small for all my movies I wanted to store on it!) and is more than adequate for 95% of users.

While I am not going review Apples OS X 10.3 here, it is obviously one of the major, wonderful and amazing reasons to use an Apple computer. It comes with a host of great Apple software which works seemlessly with the OS. It is stable, easy to use, flexible, secure, difficult to hack, and - best of all, VIRTUALLY IMPERVIOUS TO VIRUSES. Yup, you didn't read that wrong. Viruses hardly affect Macs at all. Windows and OSX are VERY different under the bonnet and the virus writers write viruses for Windows for 2 reasons: 1. There are A LOT of Windows users out there to expoit. 2. Windows is MUCH easier to get into through security holes. For some reason MS leave many more holes in their software.
Beware though, Macs can still transmit those email viruses, they just cant get infected. If you recieve a virus email on your Mac - you are perectly safe, but any Windows users you forwrd it to are NOT.

The computer itself is light, only 2.2kg, and small - 11 x 9 inches (there is an older brother with 14.1" screen, 2.7kg, 32 x 26 inches, if you would prefer), and has happily been carried around London with me on numerous occasions.

However - these (2 years old) laptops are not bang up to date. The slowest current new iBooks are running at 800Mhz on a G4 processor, so a fair jump up, BUT if you don't need the extras these new machines will give you (too many to mention here), an older iBook is an EXCELLENT machine to now buy.

I have nothing but joy with my second hand iBook over the past few months and would highly recommend them to those who dont need modern up-to-date speed and features, or for those (like me) that have all that on their desktop machine, and dont need it for the road!

Check eBay for some great deals!!


ElizaF: Access time is improved because the new HD is a 7200rpm drive as opposed to a 4200rpm drive - does that answer your question?

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Comments on this review

  • ElizaF published 05/03/2004
    Hi there and thanks for the msg. in my GB. It was for your benefit that I left that RFI as the more clear and accurate the information in an op, the better the feedback and the more useful to the comsumer a rewiew is.
  • ElizaF published 05/03/2004
    and just how does replacing a HD with one of a bigger size improve access times, shhurely this is the function of RAM?? E.
  • hotrodkzn published 04/03/2004
    Nice looking laptop, but a bit expensive. Good review.
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Product Information : Apple iBook - 12.1" - PPC G3 - MacOS X 10.1 / MacOS 9.2.1 - 128 MB RAM - 20 GB HDD

Manufacturer's product description

When Apple set out to create the iBook, one of key design goals was to create a lightweight notebook computer tough enough to stand up to the occasional bumps and other unexpected mishaps of life on the go. From the standpoint of a laptop, the inside of a backpack can be a fairly inhospitable place. And yet you shouldn't have to walk softly just because you're carrying the most appealing notebook ever. So Apple made the iBook's sleek case out of impact-resistant polycarbonate plastic. That would ordinarily be sufficient to survive the rigorous of everyday use and abuse, but Apple didn't stop there. Inside, a sturdy magnesium frame provides superior strength, while reducing the iBook's weight to well below that of other full-featured PC notebooks. Apple even rubber-mounted the hard disk drive for added bump tolerance, so you can store all of your digital goodies on your iBook and still enjoy peace of mind. Additionally, the iBook has no I/O doors, protruding latches or levers to break or snap off when tucking it into a backpack or briefcase.

Product Details

Product Description: Apple iBook - 12.1" - PPC G3 - MacOS X 10.1 / MacOS 9.2.1 - 128 MB RAM - 20 GB HDD

Product Type: Notebook

Operating System: MacOS X 10.1 / MacOS 9.2.1, MacOS X 10.1 / MacOS 9.2

Processor: IBM PowerPC G3 600 MHz / 256 KB Cache, Motorola PowerPC G3 600 MHz / 512 KB Cache

Memory: 128 MB SDRAM

Storage: 20 GB HDD

Optical Drive: CD-RW / DVD, CD-ROM

Display: 12.1" 1024 x 768 / XGA

Graphics: ATI RAGE Mobility 128 - 8 MB SDRAM, ATI Mobility Radeon - 16 MB SDRAM

Networking: 10/100 Ethernet , fax / modem

Battery: Up to 5 hours

Integrated Options: Microphone, stereo speakers, keyboard, touchpad, display, antenna

Colour: White

Dimensions (WxDxH): 28.5 cm x 23 cm x 3.4 cm, 28.4 cm x 23 cm x 3.4 cm

Weight: 2.2 kg

Localisation: English / United Kingdom, French / France

Manufacturer Warranty: 1 year warranty

Environmental Standards: ENERGY STAR Qualified


MPN: M8599B/A, M8600B/A, M8600F/A

Product Type: Notebook

Recommended Use: Home use, education

Operating System: Apple MacOS X 10.1 / MacOS 9.2.1, Apple MacOS X 10.1 / MacOS 9.2

Processor / Chipset

CPU: IBM PowerPC G3 600 MHz, Motorola PowerPC G3 600 MHz

Cache: L2 - 256 KB, L2 - 512 KB - Pipeline Burst, L2 - 512 KB

Front Side Bus: 100 MHz


RAM: 128 MB ( provided memory is soldered )

Max RAM Supported: 640 MB

Technology: SDRAM

Speed: 100 MHz, 100 MHz / PC100

Form Factor: SO DIMM 144-PIN

Slots Qty: 1

Empty Slots: 1


Main Storage: 20 GB HDD

Optical Drive: 1 x CD-RW / DVD-ROM combo - fixed, 1 x CD-ROM - fixed

Read Speed: 24x (CD) / 6x (DVD), 24x

Write Speed: 4x

CD / DVD Rewrite Speed: 4x

Compliant Standards: Kodak PhotoCD, CD-DA, CD-XA, CDi, Video CD


Type: 12.1"

Resolution: 1024 x 768 ( XGA )

Widescreen: No

Colour Support: 24-bit (16.7 million colours)

Audio & Video

Graphics Processor: AGP 2x - ATI RAGE Mobility 128 - 8 MB SDRAM, AGP 2x - ATI Mobility Radeon - 16 MB SDRAM

Supported Display Graphics: VGA (640x480), XGA (1024x768), SVGA (800x600), SXGA (1280x1024)

Sound: Microphone

Video Output Supported: NTSC, PAL


Type: Keyboard, touchpad


Network Interface: 10/100 Ethernet

Compliant Standards: IEEE 802.3, IEEE 802.3u


Protocols & Specifications: ITU V.90 , Hayes AT command set

Max Transfer Rate: 56 Kbps


Technology: Lithium Ion

Capacity: 42 Wh, 47 Wh

Run Time: Up to 5 hours

AC Adapter

Input: AC 110/220 V ± 10% ( 50/60 Hz ), AC 100/240 V ( 50/60 Hz )

Compliant Standards: EPA Energy Star

Connections & Expansion

Slots: 1 x memory ( 1 free )

Interfaces: 1 x modem - phone line - RJ-11 ¦ 1 x network - Ethernet 10Base-T/100Base-TX - RJ-45 ¦ 2 x USB - 4 PIN USB Type A ¦ 1 x IEEE 1394 (FireWire) - 6 PIN FireWire ¦ 1 x display / video - composite video output ¦ 1 x display / video - VGA ¦ 1 x headphones - output - mini-phone stereo 3.5 mm


Software Included: Drivers & Utilities, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Adobe Acrobat Reader, Netscape Communicator, FAXstf, Nanosaur, Microsoft Outlook Express, AppleWorks, Bugdom, Palm Desktop, Cro-Mag Rally, Apple QuickTime


Colour: White

Integrated Options: Microphone, stereo speakers, keyboard, touchpad, display, antenna

Localization: English / United Kingdom, French / France

Cables Included: Modem cable ¦ Display adapter

Dimensions & Weight

Width: 28.5 cm, 28.4 cm

Depth: 23 cm

Height: 3.4 cm

Weight: 2.2 kg

Manufacturer Warranty

Service & Support: 1 year warranty

Service & Support Details: Limited warranty - parts and labour - 1 year - carry-in, Limited warranty - parts and labour - 1 year

Environmental Parameters

Min Operating Temperature: 10 °C

Max Operating Temperature: 35 °C

Humidity Range Operating: 20 - 80%

Max Altitude Operating: 3 km

Environmental Standards

ENERGY STAR Qualified: Yes


Listed on Ciao since: 04/03/2004