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G4 iBook and external displays


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G4 iBook and external displays
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dfj225
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
 
2005-01-20, 08:32

Hello,

I have a G4 iBook with OS X 10.3 and I was wondering about operating it with the lid closed with an external keyboard, mouse, and display. The reason I'm looking into this is so I can use my CRT for a higher resolution display. Is it possible to operate the iBook with the lid closed? If you can do this, is there a risk of heat damage from running it like this? If you think heat is an issue, is there a way to have the iBook open but with the LCD off so I can just use my external monitor?

Thanks for the help,
~doug
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Brad
Selfish Heathen
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Zone of Pain
 
2005-01-20, 08:45

The iBooks cannot by default run external displays for "spanning" at high resolutions than the built-in screen's 1024*768. Out of the box, it only supports "mirroring" of the built-in screen to the external screen.

However, there is a firmware hack that enables regular spanning. Although most users have had no problems with it for quite a while (it caused some problems for some when it was first released), it should be noted that it voids your warranty.

You can get information about the spanning hack by simply Googling for "ibook spanning hack" -- remember that Google is your friend.

That same hack enables "clamshell mode" (operating while closed) which also is not available out of the box on iBooks.

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johnq
Multi-touch Piñata
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2005-01-20, 08:56

Ok, I would recommend skipping the spanning hack. I used it and shortly had the video die, and this was post-repair with many new parts added from the other older "extended warranty" issues (unrelated to the hack). That's anecdotal perhaps, but so what. Weigh that against positive anecdotal stories, you decide.

Clamshell mode, particularly now that the iBook is G4 just means even more heat trapped when the lid is closed.

Of course, many will say it works great. Whatever. You choose. You have the option to not listen to them and me equally, it's your dime.

Personally, I'd not do the hack, instead merely leave the iBook open, just turn down the display brightness using the keyboard. This at least minimizes the distraction. Ideally use an external keyboard and mouse and you can set the iBook aside, out of the way, so you just focus on your display, keyboard and mouse.

"Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding." - Albert Einstein
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dfj225
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
 
2005-01-20, 09:03

I think I'm going to avoid the hack. To me, it isn't worth the damage simply to be able to use my iBook like this. Leaving the iBook open would be the ideal solution, since it wouldn't require a hack or have the potential for heat damage...the only problem is that I'll still be stuck with 1024*768 resolution on my external monitor. On another note, is there a way to turn the LCD display on the iBook off while it is still open? This might solve my problem, but I'm guessing its not possible. I'm probably out of luck here since I'm not willing to use the hack.

Anyway, thanks to both posters so far.
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johnq
Multi-touch Piñata
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2005-01-20, 09:10

You can turn the backlight all the way off via keyboard, so it's essentially black, that's it. But the LCD is technically on. It's possible there is a (free/share)ware that does it but not that I know of.

Again, the spanning hack is essentially innocuous, merely enabling spanning, but Apple might have had reasons other than intentionally crippling the iBook/consumer to differentiate from Powerbook/pro.

But this second failure had no reason other than the hack. I had kept the iBook open on my desk for a year, unmoved with no problems. Did the hack and the video board fried 2 weeks later. Connection? Not for me to say conclusively.

"Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding." - Albert Einstein
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Luca
ಠ_ರೃ
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Minnesota
 
2005-01-20, 09:26

I don't see why people are saying not to do the hack. Brad always says how it voids your warranty, but it's a simple matter of resetting your nvram (a similar procedure to performing the hack in the first place) to undo it, and at that point there's absolutely no way for them to tell you've done it. This is similar to installing a piece of software on your computer. If something unrelated to the screen breaks and you send it in for warranty, just undo the hack and boom, you're set. Hell, even if you don't undo it I don't think they'll get on your case. I say this from personal experience - I did the hack, and actually sent in my iBook for repair without undoing it, and had no problems.

Apple does not have a reason other than crippling the iBook to do this. I cannot think of a single laptop being made today (PC laptops included) that has extended desktop intentionally disabled. I'm sure there are some that won't work in clamshell mode, due to heat issues, but there is no reason to turn off spanning except to cripple the iBook. Hell, I hardly even used my iBook's newfound spanning capability but I ended up performing the hack anyway as an "F.U." to Apple.

Yeah so anyway... extended desktop ought to work great on the iBook. But you have to leave the iBook's screen on; there's no way of turning it off or closing the laptop when you only want to use the external screen. This much I can understand, I guess.
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Brad
Selfish Heathen
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Zone of Pain
 
2005-01-20, 09:42

Well, I warn folks about this simply so they know what they're getting into and because a few seemingly smart folks (at least at Ars, IIRC) somehow damaged their iBooks when the hack was first discovered.

I'm like the "Do not eat iPod Shuffle" disclaimer. I just want to be sure people know that there's at least a small risk involved and that it is not an approved procedure by Apple.

The quality of this board depends on the quality of the posts. The only way to guarantee thoughtful, informative discussion is to write thoughtful, informative posts. AppleNova is not a real-time chat forum. You have time to compose messages and edit them before and after posting.
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johnq
Multi-touch Piñata
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2005-01-20, 09:59

Sure, I did the hack and undid it in the 5 minutes I was finally able to get the iBook to boot after it started dying again

Apple fixed it all under the guise of the extended warranty, and indeed, perhaps it was the original defect and not the hack, I think no one can really say.

But, in the off-chance that the iBook is a person's primary/only computer, I err on the side of caution. I have 3 Macs (and 4 others in the house) to use when my iBook is being serviced, but not everyone has that luxury.

"Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding." - Albert Einstein
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Luca
ಠ_ರೃ
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Minnesota
 
2005-01-20, 15:01

The people who killed their iBooks were probably trying to apply the hack to a Rage Mobility iBook, either a 500 or 600 MHz version. That'll kill it and make it unusable. I did hear someone who worked at an Apple service center say that he got a lot of people with iBooks that died due to video problems, and he thought that it was because they used the hack. But that was before the logic board service program, so I'd say that's a more likely explanation.

Anyway, I think it's still a bad idea to do the hack unless you're actually going to use it. Keep in mind that if the hack itself wrecks your computer, Apple won't do anything about it. But if your hard drive dies six months later, they won't give a crap.
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IonYz
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Chicagoland
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2005-01-21, 01:42

I've wanted to get a portable for a while, but I also own a Alu 20" Cinema Display. Why display the iBook like this? The rest of its specs are fine, and I actually like the design, the color. I don't treat things with as much care as I should so the more durable the better.

But a Mini would be the only low-cost, small Mac out there that will work happily with my display.

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