Swapping a 1.5GHz Logic Board into a 1GHz PowerBook G4 12″

When I originally bought the 1GHz PowerBook, I planned to use it as a quick little portable machine which is even smaller than my 14” iBook G4. I never expected this to turn into a 1.5GHz, so continue reading on 🙂

So I was on ebay one night and figured I’d take a look at the ending soon auction items. I came across a 1GHz 12” PowerBook G4 that was at $11.30 +$16 for shipping. I bidded and wasn’t thinking I’d win, but I did at $12. Needless to say at first I thought it would be a good deal and then it turned out not to be. When I received it, the condition was excellent and included was a case, the big Apple stickers, some manuals, the software CD for OS X Panther, and a few receipts. In December of 2004 the LCD was replaced. However upon first start up the hard drive was dead, as was the SuperDrive, and the battery was deader than a rock. I took it all apart to try fixing those things however it got worse where the machine would turn on and make lots of noises with no display.

Luckily for me, my buddy Robby happened to have a parts 12” 1.5GHz model sitting around that he shipped up to me, and I knew for a fact this machine booted, so I knew I should be in luck.

Then the teardown begins! There are a lot of screws so you have to be careful with them and be sure not to mix any up. In the picture below I was definitely much more organized on the left side.

g4 screws
Ok, so I did find a few differences internally. First is the modem, it is quite huge on the 1GHz, whereas it’s much smaller on the 1.5GHz with a large shield. The 1GHz has 2 screws holding it down whereas the 1.5GHz is 3. The next thing I noticed, in the 1GHz the internal frame where you route cables has no teeth, making it a pain to keep wires in one spot, and the fall effect sensor board over the optical drive had no teeth either, unlike the 1.5, however since I am switching the optical drives between the two I will now have teeth on that side as well.

Looking at the logic boards side by side, I noticed that the modem connector is small on  the 1GHz, and on the 1.5GHz it is much bigger and closer to the ODD connector, where the old connector was is now the third riser for the modem. Also, the thermal pads stay attached to the 1GHz board, while they are attached to the heatsink with the 1.5GHz. Besides that, all the connectors for everything else are in the same place.

logic boards
Good news! Everything was able to be successfully swapped. All the internals except the speaker/bluetooth card are out of the 1.5GHz, and the old 1GHz display was used. On the casing, the entire outside is the 1GHz, while the top case is used from the 1.5GHz for two finger tap/scroll. It may have been possible to use the old trackpad off the 1GHz, but it may not have worked due to the trackpad utilizing USB on the 2005 models (all across the Apple laptop line).

The PowerBook G4 now runs happy with OS X Leopard and has been stable so far. Have yet to run into any issues, so a new battery has been ordered! I am once again on a hunt for a 15″ or a 17″ PBG4, so we shall see!


This entry was posted in Customization, G4, Hardware. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Swapping a 1.5GHz Logic Board into a 1GHz PowerBook G4 12″

  1. Brilliant Work! (Sent from my PowerMac Late 2005 G5.)

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