Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Macintouch readers: iBook G4 has hardware bug affecting system stability

The good news is the Apple community is good at spotting hardware bugs. The bad news is that there are a lot of hardware bugs. Does Apple have more than Dell? Is it less responsive than Dell? I suspect the answer is probably 'about the same'. In the meantime I'd hold off on buying a G4 iBook for now. Too bad, I really like the iBook line.
MacInTouch: timely news and tips about the Apple Macintosh

A big bug with the iBook G4, extra memory and AirPort prompted a number of notes from MacInTouch readers:

[Brian Behrend] There is a huge bug with the new iBooks. When using moderate to heavy network usage via Airport, the iBook will become unresponsive and the cursor becomes jumpy. The problem has been isolated to having additional RAM installed. Apparently it doesn't matter what brand or type, not even the size matters. There's a huge thread on the Apple discussion boards regarding this but no solution has been reached as of yet.
It's very frustrating since Photoshop is more or less unusable with 512MB, and copying files to the network is unreliable with 1GB or 1.5GB installed. The general workaround is to only use Ethernet to copy files to servers or download large files from the Internet.

[MacInTouch Reader] Apple claims that the latest revision of the iBook supports up to 1.5GB of ram, but when that much is installed, Airport ceases to function properly and the whole computer lags. Dozens of iBook owners have reported the issue for over a month without a response from Apple, leaving them with malfunctioning laptops.

[Marijn Raven] A lot of iBook owners (the new 1.33 12" and 1.42 14") complain about the loss of Airport signal, together with slow mouse movement. At this thread you can read more about this issue. Perhaps your readers might benefit from this feedback.

[MacInTouch Reader] I think you should bring up an emerging issue with the new 2005 iBooks.
I just bought a 2005 12" iBook G4/1.3 GHz. I moved over my 1 GB RAM module, which had been used by a 12" 1Ghz model without any problems (RAM is from OWC).
Shortly after using the new computer, I noticed it get very sluggish. Using TOP in the terminal didn't show anything, but using Activity Monitor showed that the kernel_task was using over 75% of my CPU.
At the same time, I would lose my Airport connection. Many people are noticing the Airport losses before noticing the kernel_task overload, and so a lot of the discussion is "my AirPort has died".
The only ways I've found to reliably trigger the overload is through the use of BitTorrent or SoftwareUpdate. Large file transfers to a server trigger it about 50% of the time. I have not have a problem with itunes when consolidating files on a sever, or using it to change ID tags on a server...
I wonder if the bug is related to the type of wireless encryption used. Tiger supports a pretty wide range of encryption options beyond the classic (and dysfunctional) WEP.

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