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Review:Newer Tech's PowerBook G3 466MHz CPU Upgrade
First Shipping CPU Upgrade for PowerBook Wallstreet & Lombard models
By Mike
Published: 8/30/2000
Installation and Documentation
Intro | Benchmarks | Appl/Game Tests | Installation | Specs/Design | Summary
About The Install

Due to the design of the Powerbook, installing a CPU upgrade is more involved than most any another Mac model except an iMac. I received an early sample without the normal retail box manuals, etc. so I can't comment on documentation included in the retail box customers will receive.

Here's what Roger Kasten (CTO of Newer Technology) said about the process for a retail customer:

" The way it will work is as follows:

  1. Order from The Newer Store (
  2. Choose an installation date
  3. A small box is shipped to you. It contains a grounding strap and a simple manual, with lots of pictures, that instructs the User as to how they remove their CPU module.
  4. The box also contains two antistatic bags. One is for the CPU and the other is for whatever memory you have on your CPU module.
  5. The User places the CPU in the bag and puts it back into the box. They place the prepaid FedEx label on the box and call FedEx to pick it up. It is overnighted to our facility.
  6. We receive the module. Test it. Rework it. Test it. Burn it in. And then ship it back.

We say that the entire process takes five days from start to finish. For instance, you receive a box on Monday and that afternoon FedEx picks up your module and ships it to us. Tuesday it arrives at Newer. It is tested and most likely reworked right away. Wednesday it is burned in and shipped back. If we are lucky the customer has it on Thursday (four days) but we have left a little extra time to be safe (under promise and over deliver)

Brief Overview of Installing The New CPU Module

NOTE: This page is for reference only, not a replacement for the users/owners manual. Read and follow all instructions in the manual (including your Powerbook manual as well as the CPU upgrade manual) for complete instructions and precautions before attempting this upgrade.

To save space in this article, I'm not repeating steps on how to remove the keyboard, which is shown in the owners manual and in my 1998 illustrated Wallstreet RAM upgrade article. (Remove the Battery and CD drive, and use the latches inside the bays to release the keyboard which slides back and flips over to expose the CPU/Hard drive area.) The steps below assume the keyboard is already removed. Always touch the metal chassis to discharge any static electricity build-up, and use the anti-static wrist strap provided with the upgrade for maximum protection. Also make sure the AC adapter is disconnected from the PowerBook.

Step 1: Remove the CPU Heatsink Screws

You first have to remove the CPU heatsink/cover plate, which is retained by the two philips (+) head screws I'm pointing to in the photo to the right.

Once these screws are removed, the heatsink/coverplate has a small wire 'handle' near the front that is an aid to lifting it off.

Heatsink Retaining Screws

Step 2: Remove the CPU Cover/Heatsink

Once the screws are removed, grasp the wire lift handle in front of the cover and lift it up to release the heatsink, pulling it toward you once the edges are clear. (As part of my 1998 WS RAM upgrade article, I took a photo of the bottom of the heatsink. The underside of the heatsink/cover has conductive pads that isolate the CPU from shock and vibration while also allowing heat to be conducted away from the CPU.)

Lift off heatsink/cover

Step 3: Remove the CPU Module

The CPU module has two protrusions (tab-like) at the left side that extend into the metal cage. On the right side underside of the module has two connectors that mate with the motherboards.

It's a bit easier to pry up the CPU module if the hard drive is removed, although I did not do this. (If you want to see how to remove the drive, see this page of my Wallstreet HD Upgrade article.) What makes things a bit difficult is the Powerbook casing overhangs the area of the CPU module making it a bit difficult to remove the module.

pry up cpu module

Step 4: Remove the RAM modules:

Making sure you've touched the metal chassis (and wear the wrist strap provided), remove the RAM modules from the old CPU module by pressing out (carefully) on the two side tabs retaining the module. (There are two slots, one on the top and bottom.) The SODIMM will then pop up, allowing it to be removed. Store the RAM in the provided anti-static bag and never touch the connector contacts or chip leads.

You'd now place the cpu module in the provided anti-static bag and box and return it to Newer Tech for upgrading. The rest of this article assumes the module has been returned and ready to install. (You'd replace the RAM back in the module of course before installing it.)

Newer module ready to install

Step 5: Installing the Upgraded Module

The install is basically the reverse of the removal, but take care when positioning the module back in the 'cage'. As mentioned before, the 'overhang' of the black plastic PB case requires a little 'wrangling' to get the module back in. Make sure to align the two protrusions on the left side of the module with the openings in the 'cage' and then slide the module to the left while gently pressing down to mate with the two motherboard connectors on the right side. You can feel when the connectors are aligned - don't force anything.

Once you're sure the module is positioned correctly, press down to make sure the connectors are fully seated. There's a small aluminum block at the front corner on the right side that serves as a 'stop' to indicate when the module is bottomed out/seated properly.

making sure the module is fully seated

Step 6: Replace the Heatsink/Cover and Buttoning Up.

Now that the CPU module is reinstalled, simply replace the cover and secure it with the screws removed in the previous steps. Then flip the keyboard back over and insert the metal tabs into the PB case and press down to lock it in place. Then reinstall the bay devices (battery and CDRom).

Since the upgrade requires no cache control software, when you power up you can use Newer Tech's included "GaugePro" to check the CPU, cache and bus speeds as well as CPU temperatures. The G3/466 actually ran almost 20 degrees C cooler than my original G3/250 module (55-59C vs 75C Max with the original CPU).

If there are any problems powering up, make sure the battery is fully seated or AC adapter is plugged in. If problems persist, double check the steps above to make sure the CPU module was fully seated (as well as RAM). Newer Tech tech support can assist if need be, however if you've exercised care in the install, you should be fine.

The next page of the review covers some basic info and specs on the hardware (CPU and Cache) of the MAXpowr PB G3 CPU upgrade.

Index of MAXpowr PB G3 CPU Upgrade Review

Intro | Benchmarks | Appl/Game Tests | Installation | Specs/Design | Summary

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