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PB145B’s finds

3lectr1cPPC

Well-known member
And that's a shame, because Apple at its best is incredible. We've seen that with the last repairable MacBooks - the Unibody models. Despite some of their reliability flaws (2011 models anyone?), they were incredibly well designed, and incredibly repairable.
 

CC_333

Well-known member
I agree.

The runners up would be the 2013-2015 Retina MacBooks – the second generation unibody models). They get points taken away for having batteries that are glued down with such a strong, industrial strength adhesive that they effectively render the top case, including keyboard and probably the trackpad, single use only, but at least the SSD is still replaceable AND upgradable.

Some of the newest Macs (such as the Mac Studio), do feature replaceable SSDs, but not only are they proprietary, they're also locked to a particular machine, and only swappable with another of the same size with an Apple Configurator restore (in the case of the Mac Studio). This, of course means that, while replacement upon failure is theoretically possible, it is not possible to upgrade to any size other than that which came stock with a particular machine (say you buy a Mac Studio with a 1 TB SSD, and that SSD fails. You can only replace it with another of the same size, which in this case is 1 TB. You can't install a 2 TB module form another Mac Studio. It won't work).

I'm not sure if Apple would ever allow upgrades, but I doubt it. They're such control freaks nowadays that you can't do anything that they don't explicitly allow without some hoop jumping, which can sometimes be extreme.

c
 

3lectr1cPPC

Well-known member
The Mac Studio thing is just absolutely ridiculous. I’ll bet all that configurator does in simple terms is to flip one variable somewhere that lets it work. Computers from the 1980s and earlier can have storage upgraded and yet apple just “couldn’t figure it out” with the studio? Nah…. Real shame that.

The Retinas get no points from me. The batteries are ridiculous, the keyboard is worse than their predecessor, they aren’t as reliable, they run way too hot (yeah the unibody models weren’t great there either), RAM is soldered, and that upgradable SSD uses a proprietary connector because why not. They’re only any good in comparison to what came after them. *cough* butterfly models *cough*
The only real nice things about the retinas are the screens of course, and the touchpad is great. Otherwise they’re just too compromised for my liking anyway. I parted out and sold my 2014 MBP 13” a while back.
 

PB145B

Well-known member
Yeah, the latest models are basically immutable, and if anything breaks (except maybe the lid), the machine is instant e-waste.

c
Yes, very sad.
And that's a shame, because Apple at its best is incredible. We've seen that with the last repairable MacBooks - the Unibody models. Despite some of their reliability flaws (2011 models anyone?), they were incredibly well designed, and incredibly repairable.
100% agree! For "modern" laptop designs, the first-gen unibody is definitely one of the greatest of all time. Honestly they are easier to take apart than a lot of older laptops I've dealt with! Pretty much everything Apple was making around that time was top-notch. The first gen MacBook Air was a bit of a miss, but they more than made up for that on the 2nd gen.
 

CC_333

Well-known member
100% agree! For "modern" laptop designs, the first-gen unibody is definitely one of the greatest of all time. Honestly they are easier to take apart than a lot of older laptops I've dealt with! Pretty much everything Apple was making around that time was top-notch. The first gen MacBook Air was a bit of a miss, but they more than made up for that on the 2nd gen.
Absolutely!

The period from 2009-2012 was arguably the best period in Apple's history, before they became the huge $3T institution they are now.

I would say it's my favorite period in Apple's modern history, which ends around 2017, which was the year I pretty much stopped caring about anything new (Incidentally, that's also the year they began putting the T2 chip in all Mac models, which made them almost as locked down as iPhones and iPads, and despite the fact that Apple "deliberately" left Macs more open than the iDevices, that doesn't mean they can't come later and lock them down without warning.

Therefore, I prefer to use a machine that doesn't have a T2 chip, which means 2017 or prior. Since as the Plateau is finally seeing some upward movement after a solid decade of stagnation, I might eventually have to relent. But not now!

c
 

3lectr1cPPC

Well-known member
The plateau is crazy, honestly. I’m building a modded ThinkPad T430 (2012) to use as my main on-the-go laptop. I currently use a 2016 Latitude E7470 as my on-the-go system. With the CPU upgrade I'm planning on sticking in the T430 eventually, it will be SOLIDLY faster than the Dell that's 4 years newer, and that Dell has an i7-6600U, not exactly a low end chip from its day. I'm sure that eventually it will become unusable in its age, but I'd say it has a solid few more years left. 3rd gen Intel may be over 10 years old, but so far the i5 the T430 has now has yet to fail me in speed on any website. Will probably have to migrate off Windows 7 pretty soon, Firefox is dropping support (or more likely dual-boot linux, I've got that set up already), but still. It's got years left.

I could get a T480 that's faster for less money than it will take to upgrade the T430, but I prefer the design and upgradability of it to the T480. Especially after I install a T420 7 row keyboard on it, no T480 can beat that. Even still, the T480 isn't exactly new either.

And sure, the i9-13900K makes the fastest CPU that T430 can take look like a potato in comparison, but the thing is, you don't need that performance for your average web browsing usage.
 

PB145B

Well-known member
The period from 2009-2012 was arguably the best period in Apple's history, before they became the huge $3T institution they are now.
Yes, I agree. It's not to say they didn't make anything good afterwards, because they did, but that's definitely the "golden age."

While we're on that subject, I will say the 2012 to 2020 iMacs have been growing on me lately. The decision to go from magnets to adhesive to hold the glass on was definitely a step backwards, but otherwise they seem pretty good still. And from what I've been seeing they don't seem too hard to open, at least not as much as I thought. I just might have to get one eventually to try out, as I would love a more "current" Mac.

The newest iMac is a hard no for me though.
 

Scout

Member
Yes, I agree. It's not to say they didn't make anything good afterwards, because they did, but that's definitely the "golden age."

While we're on that subject, I will say the 2012 to 2020 iMacs have been growing on me lately. The decision to go from magnets to adhesive to hold the glass on was definitely a step backwards, but otherwise they seem pretty good still. And from what I've been seeing they don't seem too hard to open, at least not as much as I thought. I just might have to get one eventually to try out, as I would love a more "current" Mac.

The newest iMac is a hard no for me though.
The glued iMacs are really easy to work on. You will need to buy the glue tape from someone like MacSales and also they have a tiny plastic pizza wheel cutter that just makes opening it a dream. There are alignment holes in the body to help align the new glue strips. Much easier than the thicker predicesors with the two piece glass and screen I think. Have done a number of SSD upgrades on both 21 and 27 inch. A lot were sold with the original Fusion Drive which was amazing for its time but really bad by today's standards. I am still running a 2012 27" as a server and the screen is great for video if you want to play from your old DVD and Blue Ray collections.
 

PB145B

Well-known member
The glued iMacs are really easy to work on. You will need to buy the glue tape from someone like MacSales and also they have a tiny plastic pizza wheel cutter that just makes opening it a dream. There are alignment holes in the body to help align the new glue strips. Much easier than the thicker predicesors with the two piece glass and screen I think. Have done a number of SSD upgrades on both 21 and 27 inch. A lot were sold with the original Fusion Drive which was amazing for its time but really bad by today's standards. I am still running a 2012 27" as a server and the screen is great for video if you want to play from your old DVD and Blue Ray collections.
Thanks for the info! I'm glad to hear you don't think they aren't too hard to service. I am surprised that you think it's easier than the older ones, but then again I've never had one so I couldn't say for sure. The great thing about the older design with magnets in my opinion is that you don't have to replace anything (adhesive strips) during reassembly.

The Late 2015 21.5" Retina model may be the one I end up going with. Those have gotten quite cheap now and the 4k display looks incredible. If I get one that already has the options I want, I may not even have to fool with opening it.
 

PB145B

Well-known member
After digging my trusty PowerBook 145B and 170 back out of the closet, that’s got me kind of obsessing over these early PowerBooks again.

So, I did a completely random eBay search for a 180 (one I have really wanted for a long time) and I found an ABSOLUTELY MINT example! It looked really good on the eBay pics so I made an offer, which was almost immediately accepted.

It arrived very quickly and was packaged nicely, and wow, it’s even nicer than I thought it’d be! There is not a scratch on it. It has the original 120MB IBM hard drive still working great, and get this, no tunnel vision whatsoever! I cannot believe it.

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I haven’t cracked it open yet, but I think the plastics internally are going to be near perfect.

And yes, it does still have the rear door!
 

PB145B

Well-known member
Here’s a completely random eBay buy I made a few weeks ago that I really haven’t even messed with aside from making sure it in fact worked like the seller described. I’ve wanted one for years!

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It’s a PowerBook G3 PDQ! And a very well-kept and high spec one at that. It has the 14.1” TFT, 300MHz CPU, DVD and 8GB drive. And someone already maxed the RAM at 512MB! What’s even more perfect is I’ve had a floppy drive for one of these laying around for years. Glad I kept it!

And wow, I had heard people say these things were solid, but I was truly shocked when I picked this laptop up for the first time. It’s VERY heavy and the case has little give to it. The feel reminds me a lot of a ThinkPad actually! The keyboard is excellent too.

It currently boots Mac OS 9.1. I kind of want to try 8.6 on it though just for fun. Not sure when I’ll dig into it more, but I’m so happy to have such a well preserved example of a PDQ now!

I’ve been buying so many Macs these last few weeks! 😂 I’m really trying to gather up most of the ones that I’ve always wanted, and so far that is going pretty well for me. Few more to get and then hopefully I can settle down for a bit.
 

Hopfenholz

Well-known member
The PowerBook G3 Series was one of the best macs they ever made. Powerful, great form factor, great keyboard and amazing screen. They work so much better with MacOS 9 than X though, as 1024x768 feels like loads of room in MacOS 9 but quite cramped in X
 

PB145B

Well-known member
The PowerBook G3 Series was one of the best macs they ever made. Powerful, great form factor, great keyboard and amazing screen. They work so much better with MacOS 9 than X though, as 1024x768 feels like loads of room in MacOS 9 but quite cramped in X
Yeah, it’s an incredibly well built and designed machine! And yep, 1024x768 is really great in Mac OS 9.
 

3lectr1cPPC

Well-known member
I absolutely love my PDQ, it’s a great laptop. I could probably run it for over 4 hours with the two batteries I have. Only negative is the hinges that like to wear out, and how annoying the Wallstreet and PDQs like to be with a dead PRAM battery. I need to get the right cells to build a new pack for mine.
They’re the first PowerBooks except maybe the 1400 that actually feels well built. And of course, while the 1400 feels pretty good, the actual build quality leaves much to be desired.
 
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PB145B

Well-known member
I absolutely love my PDQ, it’s a great laptop. I could probably run it for over 4 hours with the two batteries I have. Only negative is the hinges that like to wear out, and how annoying the Wallstreet and PDQs like to be with a dead PRAM battery. I need to get the right cells to build a new pack for mine.
They’re the first PowerBooks except maybe the 1400 that actually feels well built. And of course, while the 1400 feels pretty good, the actual build quality leaves much to be desired.
That’s great you have two good batteries! Yeah, I’ve heard a lot about the hinges! Mine feel good for now thankfully, and mine doesn’t have much wear, so hopefully the hinges have decent life left in them.

Mine does take FOREVER to start up when you first plug it in, and I imagine this is because of the dead PRAM battery. I actually got scared at first and thought the machine was dead, but it eventually boots up.
 
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