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Which laptop has a floppy that I can use to make 800k disks?


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Hi guys,

 

I have an SE, and I would like to have a second machine that can make disks for it.

 

For the superdrive, I think any model of powerbook should do, since they all use 1.44 floppy drives, and if they have a USB port I can just use an external usb drive to make floppy.

 

But for the 800k I have no options since that require a specific drive running on a real macintosh, so I can't use anything else.

 

Which ones are the models that can make 800k disks, among the old powerbooks? I was thinking about the Wallstreet or the 1400c? Would these be good for a bridge machine between my modern mac pro and the old SE?

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The PowerBook G3 Wallstreet/PDQ is the last to be equipped with a floppy drive, and it is 800k compatible. I use my Wallstreet 292 running OS 8.6 as a bridge between my modern Macs and older ones. I have a 2GB CF card formatted HFS+ that I use in place of a flash drive. It goes into a USB card reader on my modern Macs, then into a PC Card adapter in the Wallstreet. It mounts on the desktop without any fuss in 8.6, and by using HFS+, El Capitan can write to it and I don't get wrecked resource forks.

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Thanks for your suggestions.

 

So the wallstreet would be fine; and same goes for the powerbook 500 series. The Wallstreet seems to come with the cd as default, which means that I have to hunt down the floppy module; and that makes me a bit nervous since I didn't find any on sale lately that has it.

 

The 500 would be a better option, I see plenty of 520 and 540 around, although no color version. So it would be better a 500 series compared to a 1400 series? I am also looking for something that can eventually become collectible, and from what I can tell from the prices, the 400 and 1400 seems to be entering in the collector area :) I don't have space to fit multiple machines, so I have to pick one that can be considered the "all around" laptop from the powerbook era, that can both work with new and old macintosh.

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I was thinking about the 1400 because it has a ppc, and a PCMCIA, so I "assume" that I can plug in a ethernet PCMCIA card and a CF adapter, so I can both have networking on it, and a solid state drive so I can put aside the original noisy drive.

 

BTW is the 1400CS and 1400C the same? From what I recall the only difference was the monitor, which is worst on the CS; but they both are pretty bad, considering modern standards so should not really matter, tight?

 

Not sure if I can do the same with the 520

Edited by ioncehadamac
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I'd stick with the Wallstreet, as it's the most modern of your options. Plus you're going to pay a collectors premium on anything older than the Wallstreet, as it's probably the most economically feasible option. There are a few FDD expansion modules on eBay for it too: 

http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2055119.m570.l1313.TR0.TRC0.H0.Xpowerbook+floppy+module.TRS2&_nkw=powerbook+floppy+module&_sacat=0

 

Be warned, of all the PB's i've had (a ton), a VAST substantial majority of them have unreliable Floppy Disk Drives.

Edited by asaggynoodle
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I see; although I am more interested in the machine as bridge between the old and new world, and for the collector "feel"; I am not planning to use the machine for any modern activity like surfing the web and such, so if it is more modern or less modern won't really change things for me :)

 

I did check the prices on Ebay, and seems that the price may vary wildly to be honest. Some were on sale for 40 dollars, others for 300, and they were mostly the same (I did check 520, 1400 and wallstreet g3); obviously the "untested" ones were cheaper, but I am looking for a machine that is already in working condition. I may able to snug a wallstreet for less than a hundred maybe; which is what I had in mind, plus the floppy module

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I use a Wallstreet as my bridge machine between the modern and classic world; I put a USB PCMCIA card in one of the slots so I can use a flash drive on the machine for easier transfer (the other slot can be a CF to PCMCIA adapter for transfers to 190/1400 PowerBooks, a FireWire adapter or the DVD playback card) :) Also have a VST ZIP 100 drive and a VST LS120 drive for it as well as the standard Apple floppy drive and DVD drive (wasn't there some VST CD burner for the Wallstreet too?)

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+1 for the 1400 recommendation, especially over the 500 series, where the floppy drive is built in, but the 500 series isn't fun unless you're in it for the long haul, buying and restoring bits for that particular machine.

 

I had two, they were nice performers for their age and size, but their hinges were both broken, and although I was able to bring the batteries back to life, the systems were far from portable, for the hinge issue.

 

Running system 8.6, the 1400 will read CF cards, although mine won't read them in 7.6.1. The 2400 and 3400 should read CF media with a pcmcia adapter in system 7.1 though, so the 3400 or a 2400 with the floppy diskette drive may be the best way to go if you want to run 7.6.1 on the bridge machine.

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Thanks for your suggestions! So far I was able to acquire a 520; one of my coworkers had one and was trashing it; so I jumped on and got it :) it is not the color version but it is fine as is.

Although I did realize that it does have a SCSI drive and no PCMCIA (forget about getting a module for it), so while it is a nice extra for my collection (did I mention free? :D ) ; I am looking for the 1400 at this point (ide drive, PCMCIA, score!); not too many at interesting prices, so still looking. I did find some ibook clamshell though; which I really like...but I guess it won't work using an external USB floppy, since it won't make 800k disks :(

 

I saw few wallstret; at reasonable prices, but not with the floppy module; I could get it as separate purchase, and that would solve the problem. Or hope that another cowrker has one :p

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Wallstreet or 1400c. 

 

Can't go wrong. 

 

Both are good, but the Wallstreet has Cardbus (32 bit) rather than PCMCIA (16 bit), so has the advantage of being able to use USB and Firewire cards, for example.

 

They also use standard SODIMMs for RAM, and can take a lot more of it (512MB?) than the 1400's 56MB limit of impossible to find model-specific proprietary RAM.

 

They're just in general all-round better machines, IMO, and strangely, not attract the collector-frenzy pricing yet.

 

BTW the 1400c LCD is much, much better than the cs.  Worlds apart.

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400k support is limited by software. System 7.1 (Update 3) is the latest to have read, write, and format capability for MFS disks. System 7.5.5 can read and write, but not format MFS. Mac OS 7.6.1 is read only. Mac OS 8 and later cannot read or write MFS floppies, but Disk Copy 6.3.3 can make 400k MFS disks from an image on any 7.x-9.2.2 system with a built in floppy drive.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have the VST LS120 drive in a pismo that works perfectly with nearly every floppy I've run across... except for the much loved 800kb!!!

 

I could never get it to work and instead moved everything over to 1.44MB as a result.

 

The LS120 VST drives are out there, but, they are not a savior by any means for every formatted disk.

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I'd vote for a Wallstreet or PDQ. As said, you must have an internal floppy drive, and these were the last laptops with this option.

 

Both of them are at least semi-useable in the modern world with a bunch of RAM(I think 384 in the Wallstreet and 512mb in the PDQ) and have the advantage of having RAM that can actually be readily purchased. Plug in an ethernet cable or an appropriate Cardbus WiFi card and you can browse the web at least well enough to get on Macintosh Garden and download files. 

 

Connectivity wise, these are king. They have serial ports built in so can communicate with older computers via Appletalk. With the serial port along with SCSI and ADB, you can connect any classic peripherals you want. With Cardbus, you can get USB and Firewire. In addition, there were aftermarket ZIP-100 and LS-120 drives made that will fit the right hand bay so you can use those(as a warning, the internal LS120 has the same limitations as the external ones-they can only do 1.44mb disks and not 800K).

 

If you don't require a laptop, though, I still always suggest a beige G3 or an x600 series Mac as ideal. These are even faster than their laptop counterparts, plus are even easier to add USB and FW since you can use readily available PCI cards. You get both a CD-ROM and floppy built in, plus ZIP drives were common BTO items. In the G3s, these use the ATA/ATAPI interface so you can easily upgrade to a DVD-ROM, CD-RW, or DVD-RW if you would like. The 7300, 8600, and 9600 can hold more RAM than the G3s(1gb in the 7300 and 8600, 1.5gb in the 9600, vs. 768mb) BUT it takes a bit of hunting and costs a small pile of money to max one of the x600 computers(let's not go there on how much I spent on RAM to do that on both my 8600 and 9600). Do a bit of hunting on Ebay for low density 256mb PC-66 or faster SD-RAM(PC-100 and 133 are a lot more common) and you can probably max one for $10-20.

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