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Powerbook G3's vs Ibook G3's which is better?

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                                                                My Opinion!! Don't take seriously!!


I like the iBook G3 Clamshell line for the reason that it's a great computer. Faster then my current PowerBook G3, at 300 MHz instead of 233.


And it looks great when next to my iMac G3, so there's a good thing about it.


The bad things about the Clamshell are basically as follows: Plastic might be strong, but cracks so easily... :?: (How is it able to withstand a fall from 4 feet up onto solid wood and is spotless, but if you even look at it wrong, it breaks?)


Now, the PowerBook has the two module bays, (PowerBook 500, anyone?) for floppy disk, CD, DVD, Zip, and battery. Even "Weight Saving Device"!post-6438-0-06693000-1478841859_thumb.jpg The PBG3 also has the card slots for random stuff, although I don't expect to use it.


If we are comparing the Pismo to the Clamshell Indigo, there is the obvious. (2 USB, 2 FireWire compared to 1 USB, 1 FireWire.) And then, there is the processor speeds, which I'm not getting into.


All in all, they are both great computers. But whatever floats your boat!


(There is some amount of proof that the price of Clamshells is going up... It isn't that true. You can get a good looking one for around $50 - $70, or buy two broken ones and blend them together.

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For OS 9, I'd say they're about equal. You'll get some perks with the PowerBook, but the iBook will do a very fine job. For OS X, though, the PowerBook blows the iBook Clamshell out of the water because of the 1024x768 screen. You need that resolution to run OS X reasonably well. The iceBooks do have that upgraded screen, but at that point it comes down to wether you want a bigger screen or more expandability and are willing to trade that for size. 

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+1 for the pismo.


For physical reliability, the 12-inch white iBook at 500MHz is probably your best bet, or the Rage-graphics version of the 600MHz system.


Even though I believe those iBooks have 1024x768 screens, you're looking at a situation where a Pismo will be straightforwardly better because of its ability to run a whole gig of RAM, it's easier to get in and out of, it's got the cardbus slot, etc.

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  • 1 month later...

Pismo for the win!!!


I have two of them. One has nearly every accessory that was available at the time (minus the bookendz dock) and is "almost" in pristine condition. The other one is missing 2 feet and has a keyboard with 1 missing key. I ordered a "new" keyboard off fleabay and hope to have it converted to mSATA here shortly.


Hinges on both are in VERY good condition and aside from the hairline break right between the track pad and the latch, they are in great shape.


If you can find a 500MHz G3 unit, those are the ones that are keepers and quite a few folks have even found them with G4 upgrades in them. One of my old co-workers had one with the FastMac upgrade board and was running it with 512MB and a 550Mhz G4... right before he left it in his car during the bitter winter of 05 and the screen froze/cracked in the extreme cold. (got down to -10F, which is a disaster for these old dogs)


The VST ZIP100 units made these Pismos pretty expandable and a good 802.11g card will let them work in more secure networks (WPA) for wifi.

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I have to agree with the above-when the rubber meets the road it's really difficult to top a Pismo even if you can get faster(absolute) clock speeds in the white iBooks.


Like a lot of folks, I can take a Pismo apart in my sleep and something like a hard drive swap takes about 10 minutes. After 10 minutes of working on an iBook(whether a Clamshell, Snow, or G4) I'm still trying to figure out just where and how hard I have to pry to get a part loose but not break something.


Although I've run OS X on a bunch of different iBook G3s(and even have a 900mhz running the Leopard 2006 WWDC preview) I have to agree that PIsmos and king in OS X. Heck, with a G4 upgrade, you can even run a bone-stock Leopard install. It won't be the fastest in the world, but will run. 1gb of PC-100 RAM makes Tiger plenty peppy, especially if you throw in a fast hard drive or SSD. As mentioned, you can stick a Carbus Airport Extreme compatible card in one and get access to WPA2 networks in Tiger. Put in a USB 2.0 card if you need faster USB I/O. You can't beat the variety of stuff offered for the right hand bay. I know someone who put a Superdrive in the stock DVD carrier, something that I keep meaning to try.


With two good batteries, you can sometimes push a Pismo to 10 hours. Granted I know "good" is a key phrase, but none the less I've done it in OS 9. The new Macbook Pro can't do that :) .


I have a G4-upgraded Lombard and it's a nice running machine, although it is handicapped in OS X with 512mb of RAM. I've also been trying to get Leopard running on it using an install that a friend put together(It boots perfectly on G4-upgraded Beige and B&W G3s) but am still having trouble getting it to work.


All of that aside, my "on the go" OS 9 laptop is generally a TiBook, and specifically a 1ghz one. Although it's longer than the Lombard/Pismo, it's smaller in every other dimension and also lighter. Although I don't boot mine into OS X that often, it does a good job of running Leopard-there again the 1gb of PC-133 helps a lot. Also, the same thing about Carbus WiFi cards applies. The later generation TiBooks have a Radeon 9000, which isn't exactly cutting edge even by PowerPC standards but really perks these computers up relative to the Rage graphics in the G3s and early Tis. Having Quartz Extreme really helps in OS X.


With all of that said, there's one application where I find the Clamshells to be by preferred laptop. Many old full screen games were designed to run at 640x480. LCDs often look like crap when they're run at something other than their native resolution. Thus, I find the 800x600 screen of the Clamshell a nice compromise for this since the "window" still fills most of the screen rather than being a tiny square like on a TiBook(or a G3 Powerbook to a lesser extent).

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One tiny moan I have about my clamshell is that the USB port is recessed. I guess USB pen drives wernt really a thing back then but its a bit of a faff getting software on it as all my pens are too wide :p


I have a 400mhz pismo which is excellent, although the PRAM is dead, resulting in me needing to press the reset button round the back next to the ports before it will boot. Can anyone suggest a solution to this? Replacements dont appear to be sold anywhere.

Edited by Innes
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Clamshell are unique. But the 800x600 screen is too small. there is a hack to put a 1024x768 though…


White iBook G3 are nice too, and what I specially like is the 1024x768 12.1 screen, smaller than on Wallstreets/Pismos, Very nice and precise on these.

Now, that is when it works, as TheWhiteFalcon said , past the 600Mhz model, GPU will fail… And even , I’ve found they are more fragile than the powerbooks of the time.


Wallstreet/PDQ… are my fav. Don’t know why. they are fragile (hinges), heavier and bulkier than Pismos/Lombards. Slower too. But I like their all black opaque plastic keyboard better than the pismo’s brownish translucid one.


Pismo, yeah best of the G3 laptops . Or...Maybe that is why I prefer the Wally, works so well it’s boring…

Edited by galgot
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I have both a PDQ and a Pismo, use both about equally... the former is mainly used as a bridge machine between the classic and modern Mac world (fills a similar role to my ThinkPad A31 in PC world), I have a USB and FireWire card for it, as well as the floppy drive, LS 120, ZIP and DVD drive for it... as for Pismo, it runs OS 9.2.2 and Tiger 10.4.11 well off a 32GB SSD and 1GB RAM (I even have a Dell PCMCIA WiFi card to act as an AirPort Extreme under Tiger)

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I'll elaborate a bit on my one word vote for the Pismoooo! If it hasn't got a video port a laptop's not much use to me. The Blueberry is fun and the best LAPTOP form factor ever. It sits so nicely in an actual lap, but it's sorely lacking in screen real estate.


The Pismo/500 was a dream for running AI8 under 9.2.2 when the Quicksilver blew its PSU. Closing the lid at startup puts it into "clamshell mode" which dedicates both banks of VRAM as a unified block, supporting 1600 x 1200 in millions on the external monitor. You just can't beat that with a stick! :approve:


With the BookEndz docking station, the Pismo almost matches the convenience factor my beloved 2300c/DuoDock+ had as my daily driver for a while as a Laptop/Desktop back in the day.


Love the BookEndz dock for the 1400c/G3/466 wardriver too. I wish I had had it way back when I was really using it! Setting it up to work straight up in SCSI Disk mode worked well. That's a big bonus for my (overclocked?) PDQuicker as well. All those legacy ports make it the Lapsized equivalent of the B&W G3 as a bridge machine. I got a FireWire card for it a while back, but haven't had time to play with it yet to even see if it works. :I

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  • 3 weeks later...

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