My timing was a little off when I bought my 667 MHz TiBook a couple years ago. The only optical drive that was offered then was the read-only CD-DVD drive. About two months after I had my PowerBook in hand, Apple started shipping them with the combo drive… at no extra charge. Rats! Previous owners could upgrade, but it would cost $299 US, plus we’d have to send in our notebooks for the installation. I decided to pass.
The 667 is my road warrior. I just love it. I can nurse a full day’s work out of the battery (by dimming the screen and limiting network activity), it has a standard VGA port so I don’t need an adapter for projectors, and it has enough horse power to handle my digital photography and movie making.
But I’ve always wanted a burner inside, and after working with the 1 GHz PowerBook that has the Toshiba hard drive, I fantasized about replacing my existing 20 GB IBM drive with the more modern Toshiba model.
I visited a parts supplier that I had heard good things about called Other World Computing. They offered good deals on replacement optical and hard drives for the TiBook. Their Mercury Ti-Combo Drive had good specs (8X CD-R/8X CD-RW/24X CD + 8X DVD) and was available for $199 US (You can get a SuperDrive too, but it’s pricey at $399). As for the hard drive, they offered a nice selection including a 40 GB Toshiba spinning at 5400 rpm with a 16 MB buffer for $149 US. My existing IBM drive was definitely slower (4200 rpm) than that.
OWC’s web site was easy to navigate and their shopping cart was a breeze. I received the two drives within three days as promised, including a terrific installation manual that was fully illustrated. (Nice touch OWC!) The only thing I had to provide was the Torx T-8 and Phillips head screwdrivers.
Installation took about an hour. I didn’t run into any problems at all. I had heard horror stories about replacing the bottom covers on TiBooks, but my old back reattached without a hitch.
After a week of use, I feel like I have a new computer. I still have all the advantages of my old 667, but the new Mercury optical drive is much snappier than my older read-only model, and it’s compatible with all of my Apple apps and Toast. Best of all it doesn’t “whine” like my old drive when I ask it to accept a CD. It just grabs it and goes to work.
The Toshiba drive is wonderful. It’s very fast and quiet. The overall improvement is quite noticeable. The site says up to 12 percent better performance with this drive. I have to tell you; it feels like more. But, I should add that I also rebuilt Mac OS X from scratch, and I’m sure that helps too. Plus now I have a 7 GB partition for testing new OSs without disrupting my daily work.
I think older PowerBooks are terrific machines, especially for the road warrior. These new drives from OWC have brought me and my reliable work companion even closer together.