1. Welcome to the new MacRumors forums. See our announcement and read our FAQ

Pismo be too slow??

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by maflynn, Apr 13, 2013.

  1. Moderator


    Staff Member

    I was kicking around the idea of getting an old laptop to play a little more with the classic OS. I was thinking of a TiBook but the titanium finish never really aged well, or a Pismo, another beloved laptop from apple. I see the Pismo on ebay from 20 bucks all the way up to the hundreds.

    I suspect such an old laptop will need a bit of work, which I wish to avoid, but I am looking for a laptop that had minimal wear on the exterior.

    Thoughts? My goal is to use Mac OS8 or OS9, I have a fair amount of classic software already on hand so it will be nice to resurrect those apps.

    I rather enjoyed firing up sheepshaver but I'd like to take it the next level perhaps :)
  2. macrumors 6502a

    If you don't want a TiBook what about an '03 Snow iBook G3.
  3. macrumors 6502a


    A working Pismo will run your classic software as well now as it did back in the day (although you will quickly realise how much faster boot and load times have become, and how impatient we have all become!). The only problems that might arise is if you want to use it for internet browsing - this is likely to be excruciating for even light browsing.

    Of course if anything fails on the Pismo, you'll probably have a tricky time tracking down the replacement parts.

    If you are just looking to dust off some old classic software, I recommend Mini vMac. http://minivmac.sourceforge.net
  4. Moderator


    Staff Member

    Thanks, I've had limited success with Mini vMac, I have actually gotten further along with loading software using sheepshaver over Mini vMac.

    Its just a thought, since the PPC based laptops are relatively cheap.
  5. macrumors 6502a


    I have several old Pismos & Lombards, and if you want to run OS8 & 9 software without all the emulation hassles, go for it!

    Re: boot times, & slowness, my use of CF cards and a PATA SSD have helped somewhat, but the bus speed is really the limiting factor...a 5400 prm HD works just as decently (although they may be getting harder to find).

    I would stay away from any 2001+ era iBook, as they are very difficult to open up and replace parts with (the Pismo is easy to open up and replace the HD or processor card). In addition, their 4200rpm HD essentially cripples their performance. (I have my mother-in-law's 2005 1.4 GHz iBook, with 1.5 GB RAM, and I'm ready to throw the thing out the window). On top of which, you can't install the Classic OS directly, you have to install OS X first, and then install Classic via OS X.

    Note: Pismo's won't work if their internal clock battery dies. The solution is to just disconnect it, and it will boot up normally. I have saved more than one "dead" Pismo this way.
  6. macrumors regular


    Dead $25 dollar Pismo becomes living $100 dollar Pismo. Works with Lombards too.
  7. Moderator


    Staff Member

    I saw a decent Titanium powerbook on ebay - I threw a few bucks at that auction. I'm not hopeful it will stick. I added my bid with a couple of days to go but I also don't want to spend a lot of money. Preferably under a 100.

    I like the looks of the pismo, though its tough to find one in good shape that isn't being sold for 250 and up. I saw one for sale for 650 and while a collector may be happy with such a laptop I'm not willing to spend that much
  8. macrumors 6502a


    Nothing wrong with the Titanium powerbook. The only issue will be taking it apart and potentially putting in a new hard drive, but honestly, if all you want is to run Classic OS 9 software, you can always use an external firewire drive (although FW400 drives may be collector's items as well).

    Pismo's are sweet, but definitely are collectors items. In a way, they have always commanded a premium; I picked them up when the premium wasn't too bad, compared to the cost of other new and used items. I even picked up a G4 card...and I still think about buying another for one of my other Pismo's.
  9. macrumors 6502

    They are nice looking back, however for everyday use I would upgrade to an air or mbp, even an iPad..
  10. macrumors 6502a

    Did you even read the OP's post?
  11. macrumors 6502

    Yes, and I was simply stating my option.

    I like looking back at old systems just not for everyday use...
  12. macrumors 68000


    He's not using it for "everyday use".
  13. macrumors newbie

    I'd go for a Pismo, i have 2 of them. One has been sitting on my dining room counter running os 10.4 for about 5 years. It wakes up every morning for 2 hours displaying the radar-in-motion and local tempature widgets. And lets me know if I have an email. The other one is used for classic os9 stuff. These are built very well and really easy to upgrade.
  14. Moderator


    Staff Member

    The more I look at what's available the more I think a Pismo may fit the bill, not only from running the classic OS, but as the other poster mentioned, repair but also price. I'm looking at prices that are a bit lower for the Pismo then the TiBook.
  15. Giuly, Apr 15, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2013

    macrumors 68040


    I'd go for a Kanga. Yes, it's a bit slower, but it retains the design of the PowerBook 3400c. Just look at that keyboard. If you want to play with something < MacOS 8, the aforementioned PowerBook 3400c.
  16. macrumors 6502a



    I know the Pismo is quite legendary, but I never had one. I had a maxed out Lombard (got it brand new, and expected to be able to buy it when I left that company, alas...).

    Inspired by this thread, I decided to look over the specs (and GB's) of the notebooks of those days, and noticed, that my 500 Mhz G3 iBook (2001) is performance-wise on par with my old lombard (and a pismo 500 beats the crap out of it).

    My 2001 iBook runs 10.4, and runs it quite well, and I assume it would run OS 9 just as well, but I must admit I feel quite little interest in reviving my OS8-9 environment. Although OS8 beat Win95/98/NT4 hands down, IMHO OS X is the best thing which *ever* happened to personal computing.

  17. Moderator


    Staff Member

    Trouble is they're hard to find, where as there's a number of Pismo laptops for sale (a handful Wallstreets) on eBay.
  18. macrumors 6502


    Loved my Kanga. Nice memories. It was the most powerful laptop of its time.
  19. macrumors 6502

    It's hard to believe

    those Kangas went for $ 5700 when they launched. I remember spitting out my coffee when I saw the price tag on those things. That is a cautionary tale to anyone plopping down thousands of dollars for a brand new mac. One day, it will be essentially worthless. The RAM ceiling of 160 MB of a Kanga is also pretty hard to swallow, though, at the time I had a Powerbook 520c that had a mere 32 MB, so 160 seemed like an almost unfathomable amount. Why would I ever need that much RAM?

    The Pismo is by any measure a great machine, and for OS 9 use Classilla is not a bad browser at all, especially if you set the browser cache to be in a RAM disk. Even stupid heavy sites will load fairly quickly the second go round. As long as you don't expect it to be a modern mac a Pismo can still do a lot of routine tasks, and is way cooler than any Macbook Pro or iPad, which are becoming so common as to be classified as....pedestrian.
  20. macrumors 6502a


    I second the Pismo.. at least with that you can run OS X.. Kanga is slow, and only supports OS 9.. Though I heard that it maybe possible slightly to get OS X running on a Kanga, but its so slow that it might not even work..

    Pismo is my vote!! Also find the G4 550 upgrade chip and it will be a PB G4 Pismo.

  21. Moderator


    Staff Member

    I have enough Macs running OSX, the Pismo (or kanga) will only be running the classic OS. I have a couple of Pismos on eBay in mind. I'm not rushing into this though
  22. macrumors 65816

    Lil Chillbil

    I'd go for the kanga, I just love the sub thats built into the 3400c, and plus its just got that retro look and feel to it that the large lcd screen gives it
  23. macrumors 6502a


    Well in that case.. the Kanga.. but they are hard to find.. Pismo's at lease are plentiful and easier to find.. Also, they are faster than the Kanga and can support a G4 550 upgrade chip which will increase OS 9's potential if using altivec aware apps, which I don't believe you will using..

  24. macrumors 6502


    Yes, they are most definitely hard to find. Especially one in good working order. They're coming up on sixteen years of age.

    As I recall, they were only produced for a few months to fill the void before the later G3 PowerBooks were available.

    I got one about twelve years ago in pristine condition. Floppy drive, CD, two batteries, max RAM for about $500. I'm sorry I let it go. It was a beast for its time. Only thing with more power was desktop G3.
  25. macrumors member


    I have a Pismo 400 running 9.2.2, and it's quite fast. It's my writing machine; BBEdit gallops. True, modern browsers (like Classilla) crawl, but that's ok. I don't need to be distracted by FB when I'm writing. :)

    I've got 1 Gb RAM in there and have swapped out the mechanical drive for a CF card (using the Addonics CF->IDE sled). That not only increased the speed of most things, but saved me from the annoying noises of a mechanical hard disk at close range.

    The Pismos rock because of the sheer number of connections. You've got Firewire, USB, and PC Card. And don't forget the two bays that you can put in an extra battery, a CD burner, or whatever other modules you can scrounge together.

Share This Page