Early Powerbooks (spring cleaning)

Lord Blackadder

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May 7, 2004
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One of the secretaries at work told me she had a powerbook she was getting rid of because it was "old". With her old usually means a couple years, so I was naturally more than willing to take it off her hands. When she gave it to me I had to laugh. She MEANT it this time - it was a Powerbook 170.

It came home anyway. Over the years I've collected a number of old Macs - back when I was in high school my old man and I had a bit of a discussion about the "junk" accumulating in my room and the garage - resulting in a Mac IIfx and 2 IIsi boxes being "accidentally" thrown out. :(

Well, the 170 adds to my collection of old Mac portables:



From Left: the 170, a 180c and a 160.

Unfortunately, I left the battery in the 160 and it got corroded, :mad: , but it still works.

The thing that impressed me most about the 170 is how FAST it is compared to any computer (in its day) I've played with. Good old OS 7.0.1.... It must have been sitting in the office since 1992; all the software is original to that year. It boots up MS Word faster than my Dual 533 G4, and has the original After Dark module with the toasters and all. :D It is easily faster than the 33Mhz 180c running 7.5.3, and the 160 with no FPU.

This helps reinforce my opinion that OS 7.0/7.1 was the best Apple pre-X OS, fast and stable. My PB 180c runs OS 7.5.3, which is buggy and slow; 7.6 on my Powermac 6100 was little better. 8 and 9, meh.

Just thought I'd share. For some reason I can't throw old macs away, and I know I ain't alone there. ;)
 

joecool85

macrumors 65816
Mar 9, 2005
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I thought you were gonna say you wanted to get rid of it...I want old PBs :-( Although I think my gf would kill me.
 

Lord Blackadder

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May 7, 2004
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LOL, I just titled it "spring cleaning" because the other two 'books got dug up for the picture, and then on an impulse I decided to clean the whole closet they were in - forgot to mention. I really hope nobody else gives me their old Mac, I'm running out of nooks and crannies to store them.
 

rtdgoldfish

macrumors 6502a
Jul 4, 2004
571
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Jacksonville, FL
I would love to have a collection of old Macs. Unfortunatly, I live in an apartment and there is barely room for my collection of computers that I actually use. Maybe someday when I am rich and can have a whole office just with old Macs on cool desks. By then, the old Macs will be PM G5s. :eek:
 

5300cs

macrumors 68000
Nov 24, 2002
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japan
rtdgoldfish said:
I would love to have a collection of old Macs. Unfortunatly, I live in an apartment and there is barely room for my collection of computers that I actually use.
How many Macs do you have now? My whole collection fits in 1 room (that's where I keep everything.) It does help to collect mostly laptops though :)
 

Lord Blackadder

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5300cs said:
How many Macs do you have now? My whole collection fits in 1 room (that's where I keep everything.) It does help to collect mostly laptops though :)
That's why I had trouble with the IIfx I had...it is a BIG box - stand it on its side and it is a full sized tower. :D
 

rtdgoldfish

macrumors 6502a
Jul 4, 2004
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Jacksonville, FL
5300cs said:
How many Macs do you have now? My whole collection fits in 1 room (that's where I keep everything.) It does help to collect mostly laptops though :)
I have three roommates, each with one PC. I have three computers just for myself. My apartment currently consists of:

My computers: Mac Mini, iBook, HP Media Center
Roommate's Computers: Compaq Laptop, Dell Laptop, HP Desktop

I would like to have a collection of both desktops and laptops. Perhaps one of every color of the original iMacs. That would make a cool little setup. Charge the neighbors to come by and use my own little internet cafe.
 

brap

macrumors 68000
May 10, 2004
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Cool stuff. I've looked into acquiring some from eBay, wanted no better than a 170. Something to tote around campus and get respect points/jeers/snickers ;)

Pity they're all going for silly money though... and in such bad condition. You're a lucky man!
 

calyxman

macrumors 6502a
Apr 17, 2005
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Lord Blackadder said:
This helps reinforce my opinion that OS 7.0/7.1 was the best Apple pre-X OS, fast and stable. My PB 180c runs OS 7.5.3, which is buggy and slow; 7.6 on my Powermac 6100 was little better. 8 and 9, meh.
Very true. My old Performa 200 all-in-one unit ran on system 7 and worked terrific.

Those were the good old days. :(
 

Lord Blackadder

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May 7, 2004
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brap said:
Cool stuff. I've looked into acquiring some from eBay, wanted no better than a 170. Something to tote around campus and get respect points/jeers/snickers ;)

Pity they're all going for silly money though... and in such bad condition. You're a lucky man!
I know what you mean - I've looked into getting one of the later Duos, maybe a 2300 or 2400, and people want a small fortune for them, especially compared to PC laptops from the same era. Even the supposedly awful 5300 series commands relatively high prices.

I'll have to charge up my one good battery and see how long the 170 will go. My 180c gets about 45 minutes on a full charge with average CPU load - well it IS a first generation color 'book!

The one thing that does suck with the old P-books is the lack of ethernet, something we use so much nowadays - it would be sooooo cool to surf broadband internet with Netscape 2.... :D
 

840quadra

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 1, 2005
8,169
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Twin Cities Minnesota
Congrats on the new acquisitions !!!

I have been known to buy old macintosh computers that nobody Bid on from Ebay. I am afraid the seller will give up and throw them away! That is how I got my quadra (in 98) and most recently my 6320 which I am watching tv from while I type this on my Digital Audio :)

Collecting Macintosh computers is fun, I love booting up the older systems to hear the old Startup chimes from the system themselves, as opposed to a WAV file :)
 

840quadra

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 1, 2005
8,169
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Twin Cities Minnesota
Lord Blackadder said:
I know what you mean - I've looked into getting one of the later Duos, maybe a 2300 or 2400, and people want a small fortune for them, especially compared to PC laptops from the same era. Even the supposedly awful 5300 series commands relatively high prices.

I'll have to charge up my one good battery and see how long the 170 will go. My 180c gets about 45 minutes on a full charge with average CPU load - well it IS a first generation color 'book!

The one thing that does suck with the old P-books is the lack of ethernet, something we use so much nowadays - it would be sooooo cool to surf broadband internet with Netscape 2.... :D
Do you have a store called Batteries plus in your area?

They took a battery from one of my old Toshiba laptops, took it apart, recycled the old core, and replaced it with what looked like little NIMH Double A batteries, soldered on some wires to the connector, sealed it back up, and WHAM, I have a new fully functional NIMH battery pack!

I don't know if they offer that as a service, or if this old guy just likes to fix things.. My little 133 Toshiba is still active and is used to scan VW / Audi ECU Modules almost weekly

I am wondering if they can do the same thing for an old Powerbook !?
 

mkjj

macrumors 6502a
Jun 2, 2003
805
18
Liverpool
Lord Blackadder said:
That's why I had trouble with the IIfx I had...it is a BIG box - stand it on its side and it is a full sized tower. :D
I've got a Quadra 950 in a box which is so big that it had to broken down first to get it into the loft space for storage, I think that may have been the biggest box Apple made for a desktop! The machine also weighs 36lbs which is the same as a PM G5

www.mac-collection.co.uk
 

mkjj

macrumors 6502a
Jun 2, 2003
805
18
Liverpool
840quadra said:
Collecting Macintosh computers is fun, I love booting up the older systems to hear the old Startup chimes from the system themselves, as opposed to a WAV file :)
Try MACTRACKER it has all the original start up chimes (and death chimes!) of all the Macs from yesteryear and saves getting them out just to hear them chime. The TAM is a good one, individual compared to the normal Mac chime.

www.mac-collection.co.uk
 

Lord Blackadder

macrumors G5
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May 7, 2004
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840quadra said:
I am wondering if they can do the same thing for an old Powerbook !?
Actually, the battery I have is pretty new - 45 minutes is about all you'd ever get on the 180c. IIRC these old 'books use NiCad batteries, so one could potentially improve battery life by using a more modern type of battery. It would be a bit of a project though.
 

RacerX

macrumors 65832
Aug 2, 2004
1,504
2
Lord Blackadder said:
I know what you mean - I've looked into getting one of the later Duos, maybe a 2300 or 2400, and people want a small fortune for them, especially compared to PC laptops from the same era. Even the supposedly awful 5300 series commands relatively high prices.
The Duo 2300c isn't that expensive right now. I got mine a couple months ago for about $70US (price of the 2300 and the RAM to max it out at 56 MB). And it is a really cool system for what I need it to do.

Here is what it looks like...


PowerBook Duo 2300c

And here are some screenshots...


Display at thousands of colors
(resolution is 640x400)




Display at 256 colors
(resolution is 640x480)




Duo running Theorist 2.0.1



Duo running both Mathematica 2.2
and Theorist 2.0.1 (in grayscale)



It is a great little system, and with Mac OS 8.6 it can do most everything I need from it (and not running Mac OS X means I'm not distracted away from my school work ;) ). At $70US, it is more than worth what I paid for it!
 

Pismo

macrumors 6502a
Apr 30, 2002
526
45
NH
My brother in law has a PowerBook 520c. The first time I saw that (years ago), I thought it was the coolest thing in the world. This was probably the first laptop I've ever seen in person. At the time, PC laptops were 4 inches thick and butt ugly. The 520c was very elegent and streamlined. I think he still has it.

My friend has a 1400c and I think she still uses it. I was able to install OS 9.1 on it for her to use. That thing is slow as hell and very unstable but I like the design. I'll have to e-mail her and ask if she still uses it. If so, I might splurge and get her an iBook. She's a good friend ;) :D
 
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