Remembering the Hi-Res PowerBook G4

Low End Mac’s Dan Bashur recalls that a little over seven years ago Apple introduced the Hi-Res PowerBook G4 in 15″ and 17″ versions that would be were the last Macs sold as PowerBooks. moniker. He notes that with the impending switch to Intel processor silicon imminent, the last PowerBooks debuted with minimal fanfare, but that Apple went all out with these final PowerBooks, the only missing feature being the IR (infrared) port that was used with the Apple Remote on the first MacBook Pro units.

Dan remembers fondly the 15″ Hi-Res PowerBook he used for nearly two years, purchased from a technology reseller on eBay for $500 in April 2009 and resold on eBay at the end of December 2010 for $470, for a TCO of $30. That sort of experience what makes many of us low end Mac hardware aficionados.

Bashur observes that Hi-Res PowerBooks purchased new were a real bargain for what you got in the context of their time starting at a modest $1,999, and including the Radeon 9700 128 MB GPU that had been previously a build-to-order option, a better battery with claimed life increased by a full hour from a stated 4.5 hour capacity to 5.5 hours, and a Dual Layer SuperDrive optical drive.

They were also the last Apple laptops to incorporate CardBus expansion and a built-in 56k data/fax modem, and the last portable Macs to support running OS 9 applications through Classic Mode in Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, and the only PowerBooks that shipped with screen resolutions of 1440 x 960 on a 15″ display (previously 1280 x 854) and 1680 x 1050 on a 17″ display (formerly 1440 x 900) greatly exceeding the expectations of graphic design professionals.

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