Apple iBook Laptop 12.1" M9164LL/A (800-MHz PowerPC G4, 256 MB RAM, 30 GB Hard Drive, DVD/CD-RW Drive)

Apple iBook Laptop 12.1

Product Details

  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 8 x 13.8 inches ; 10.1 pounds
  • Shipping Weight: 10.5 pounds
  • Shipping: Currently, item can be shipped only within the U.S.
  • ASIN: B0000U9H40
  • Item model number: M9164LL/A
By : Apple
Apple iBook Laptop 12.1

Product Description Product Description

Those who’ve considered Apple’s amazing new PowerBook G4 series of portable computers but can’t quite justify the expense would do well to explore its less expensive, slightly less capable sibling, the iBook G4. Available in three flavors, the iBook G4 doesn’t sport PowerBook amenities such as DVD burning and massive widescreen displays, yet all three models feature superb connectivity, subcompact dimensions, and impressive battery life. This particular unit, the entry-level iBook G4 12-inch M9164LL/A, is the most affordable mobile computer in the entire Apple roster.

Featuring a spry power section consisting of an 800 MHz PowerPC G4 processor and 256 MB RAM (expandable to 640 MB), the system packs enough raw muscle for most typical mobile computing tasks. However, the real surprise comes in its 3-D rendering capabilities. Unlike many comparably equipped notebooks, the iBook G4 12-inch features an ATI Mobility Radeon 9200 video chipset with 32 MB of dedicated DDR SDRAM memory. Thusly, it will efficiently handle demanding applications such as 3-D drawing and even some 3-D gaming.

At just 11.2 by 9.1 by 1.3 inches and a scant 4.9 pounds, the iBook G4 12-inch is downright tiny. Yet when you flip the lid you’ll find such desirable perks as a full-size 77-key keyboard with 12 function keys and four arrow keys, a trackpad with double-tap and drag capabilities, a smallish but crystal clear 12.1-inch display capable of 1024x768 resolution, and a combination CD-RW/DVD-ROM drive through which you can burn audio CDs, archive files and play the latest Hollywood blockbusters. For storing your files, Apple has installed a serviceable 30 GB hard disk -- enough space for general use but too little for serious multimedia archiving.

Connectivity options include an integrated 56K modem for dial-up communications, a 10/100BASE-T Ethernet port for LAN and high-speed Internet and email, and two high-speed USB 2.0 ports and one FireWire 400 port for external high-tech toys such as scanners, digital cameras and digital camcorders. Users can also purchase an Apple AirPort Extreme Card for wireless communication and an internal Bluetooth module to interact with future cordless Bluetooth devices such as cell phones and PDAs.

Bundled software includes Apple‘s newest operating system, Mac OS X v.10.3 Panther, and a broad range of highly useable multimedia utilities. Under ideal conditions, battery life is estimated at a stunning six hours.

Details: The PowerPC G4 includes the AltiVec "Velocity Engine" vector processor. System Bus Speed: 133 MHz Cache Bus Speed: 800 MHz (Built-in) L1 Cache: 64k L2/L3 Cache: 256k (on chip) RAM Type: PC2100 DDR SDRAM RAM Speed: 266 MHz Details: Supports a single 200-pin PC2100 DDR SDRAM SO-DIMM memory module. Maximum RAM: 640 MB Video Card: Mobility Radeon 9200 VRAM Type: DDR SDRAM Details: ATI Mobility Radeon 9200 (4X AGP) with 32 MB of DDR SDRAM. 12.1" TFT XGA active-matrix display with a 1024 by 768 native resolution. Apple reports that it also supports 640 by 480 and 800 by 600 when scaled. Standard Hard Drive: 30.0 GB Int. HD Interface: Ultra ATA/100 Standard Optical: 8X/24X/24X/10X DVD-ROM/CD-RW "Combo" drive. Standard Modem: 56k v.92 Standard Ethernet: 10/100Base-T Standard AirPort: 802.11b/g (Optional, not installed) Standard Bluetooth: 1.1 (Optional, not installed) Details: Internal support for AirPort Extreme (802.11g) and Bluetooth 1.1, although neither was pre-installed. USB Ports: 2 (2.0) Firewire Ports: 1 (400) Details: Two USB 2.0 ports and one Firewire "400" port. Incl. Keyboard: Full-size Incl. Input: Trackpad Details: Apple reports that the integrated keyboard has 77 (US) or 78 (ISO) keys, including 12 function keys, 4 arrow keys, and an embedded numeric keypad. The trackpad supports tap, double tap, and drag capabilities. Battery Type: 50 W/Hr LiIon Battery Life: 6 Hours Details: 6 hours under "normal usage conditions" as estimated by Apple. Pre-Installed MacOS: X 10.3 Maximum MacOS: MacOS 9 Support: Classic Mode Only Windows Support: Emulation Only Details: The iBook G4 models are capable of using Mac OS 9 applications within the MacOS X "Classic" environment. They cannot boot into MacOS 9. Dimensions: 1.35 x 11.2 x 9.0.6 Avg. Weight: 4.9 lbs (2.2 kg)


Apple iBook Laptop 12.1" M9164LL/A (800-MHz PowerPC G4, 256 MB RAM, 30 GB Hard Drive, DVD/CD-RW Drive)


Technical Details

  • 800 MHz PowerPC G4 Processor
  • 256 MB RAM (expandable to 640 MB)
  • Bundled software includes Apples newest operating system, Mac OS X v.10.3 Panther, and a broad range of highly useable multimedia utilities.
  • ATI Mobility Radeon 9200 video chipset with 32 MB of dedicated DDR SDRAM memory.
  • wireless
Apple iBook Laptop 12.1

Costumer Reviews

Let us raise the glass: long live the G3 processor, for it is dead. Apple's iBook was the last holdout to G4 processor. It is G3 no more.

Despite some rumors, iBook's G4 processor is a true G4 processor with Altivec fully on-board. While it runs slower (800 MHz vs. 1 GHz) and features smaller L2 cache (256 KB vs. 512 KB) than 12" PowerBook, it comes remarkable close in most performance parameters. They share the same 133 MHz front-side bus and PC2100 (266 MHz) DDR SDRAM.

Even their feature sets come remarkably close. Both sport sharp 12.1" 1024-by-768 LCD, 256 MB memory and 32 MB graphics memory, FireWire 400 and USB 2.0 ports, and 100/10 fast Ethernet. Both lack the PC Card (PCMCIA) slot but can accommodate AirPort Extreme wireless network.

Other than faster G4 processor, just about the only reasons to consider 12" PowerBook are:

- Larger memory capacity on the PowerBook (1.25 GB vs. 640 MB)

- Larger hard disk (40 GB vs. 30 GB)

- PowerBook can drive an external display (dual display) up to 2048-by-1536 via DVI port; iBook can only mirror up to 1024-by-768 via VGA port

- SuperDrive (DVD burner) is optional on PowerBook; it is not available on iBook

- Bluetooth is standard on PowerBook; it is optional (built-to-order) on iBook

- Marginally faster GeForce FX 5200 graphics card on PowerBook (vs. Radeon 9200 on iBook)

- PowerBook is slightly lighter (4.6 lbs vs. 4.9 lbs) and slightly smaller (10.9-by-8.6-by-1.18 inches vs. 11.2-by-9.1-by-1.35 inches)

- You like the PowerBook's anodized aluminum allow chassis better

There are sufficient reasons to get the iBook instead:

- Costs almost 50% less

- It is not dramatically slower

- Longer battery life (up to 6 hours vs. 5 hours)

- Polycarbonate plastic chassis is more scratch proof and offer better wireless network (AirPort Extreme) reception

How is the iBook in itself? For a little over a grand, you get a beautifully designed notebook (similar to iPod) packed with features: combo CD-RW/DVD-ROM drive, optional 802.11g AirPort Extreme wireless network, beautiful LCD, sensible keyboard layout, snappy performance under included Mac OS X Panther 10.3 -- all in very portable form factor. This little book represents a serious bang for the buck.


- Very high bang for the buck: good performance and high in features

- Looks beautiful

- Includes almost everything an average computer user needs

- Very portable and durable

- Fantastic wireless reception


- Cannot drive external display higher than 1024-by-768 resolution

- To get built-in Bluetooth, you must order from Apple (built-to-order option) -- unlike the AirPort Extreme, you cannot add it later on

- Standard 256 MB memory is based on two 128 MB RAM modules. To add more memory later on, you will need to toss out one of the memory modules (the other memory module is soldered onto the motherboard)

From 5/03 to 11/03 I owned a 14.1" G3 iBook. That was a nice laptop but certainly had some annoying quirks and was really out-of-date (described later). I also wanted to get a smaller laptop and also get Panther. So "upgrading" or "downgrading" to this 12" G4 iBook made a whole lot of sense for me. Here is my review based on comparison to the old G3 iBook.

Performance: From G3 900Mhz to G4 800Mhz is certainly an upgrade. As the G4 features a faster 133Mhz Bus (formerly 100Mhz Bus) and also supports DDR Memory (compared to the old PC100). Applications seem to fire up and run better and everything is just snappier. Also if you have altivec enabled applications, G4 is certainly the way to go.

Technical Improvements: USB 1.1 == USB 2.0, Airport 802.11b == Airport Extreme 802.11g, updated graphics card, tray loading combo drive == slot loading combo drive.

Other Improvements: Panther is a more polished and refined OS compared to Jaguar. OS X has finally matured. The keyboard on the G4 iBook has been improved...buttons press smoother and keyboard has less flex (not to mention the greyish tone makes it look better). Also the LCD display seems a little bit more crisper.

All in all I'd highly recommend this 12" G4 iBook. For this price, it is a tremendous value. You cannot find a comparable 12.1" laptop in the PC world (w/o spending nearly 2 Grand, and most don't come with an optical drive built-in).

I don't see much of a reason to go with 14.1" as it has the same resolution as the 12" (unless that you have bad vision). If you want a laptop with a big display, go with the 15.2" Powerbook (probably the best all-around laptop in the world). If you want a small but still very fast laptop that you can carry everywhere, GET THIS IBOOK! It certainly has the looks and now is a speedster with G4. Can't go WRONG.

(Added 1/11) For the past 3 months I have yet to experience a crash or problem with this iBook. Past generations of iBooks were prone to logic board failures, it seems like Apple finally got it fixed. I can put this laptop asleep for a week and wake it up, and be ready for use within 10 seconds. This is a sweet laptop, and it's coming from a lifelong Windows user (who still uses Windows too).


Apple iBook Laptop 12.1" M9164LL/A (800-MHz PowerPC G4, 256 MB RAM, 30 GB Hard Drive, DVD/CD-RW Drive)


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