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Which Trackball Powerbook?


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Curious about people's thoughts regarding which trackball powerbook I should get. I'm only interested in getting a powerbook with a trackball, so let's leave it at that ;)

 

Anyway, originally I was thinking about getting a 140 or 170 due to their ability to run system 6, but I'm not sure that's enough to make or a break a deal at this point.

 

Now I'm thinking about a 150. I think mostly because of the 640 x 480 resolution.

 

Other things that could be important to me would be networkability, speed, screen quality, and availability of RAM.

 

If anyone has thoughts, pros/cons, or wants to reveal their favorite and why, I'd appreciate it.

 

Thanks

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I think the Duos are really nice machines, they are so small especially for such an old laptop, and I think they look really nice too :) Memory doesn't seem to be a problem either, both of mine came with 12 MB for instance, which isn't bad as old PBs go. With a MiniDock you get all the normal ports too, without the size of the massive full Duo Dock, although it doesn't have any ethernet sadly. The keyboards are pretty nasty though (all old PowerBooks seem to have bad keyboards though, the 520 does too).

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I reckon the PB170 is a good choice. Fast enough for 7.6.1 (mine runs this with a stripped down version ~ 2.5MB RAM), active matrix screen, easy to pull apart, durable and reliable. The washed-out passive displays of the PB14x/16x wrecks what are good machines, there is of course the PB180 but that seems fairly rare.

 

Keyboard seems good too - much better than the slushy Duo one :)

 

JB

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The only model from that time period able to take Ethernet out of the box (with an AAUI adapter, of course) is the 500-series; no other PowerBook before the 3400 shipped with Ethernet onboard. Though the 1400 could accept an expansion Ethernet card, it didn't often ship with one. LocalTalk, or a SCSI/Ethernet adapter is about the only way to network the 100/200-series machines.

 

I personally would either go with a 180/180c, or a Duo 270c. The 180s are large, fast, and have all ports integrated (along with an onboard FPU) with a fantastic grayscale (180) or colour TFT (180c) display, where the Duo would need a Dock of some sort for the ports (and a full Dock for the FPU), though it also comes with a very nice colour TFT.

I'd really rather have the Duo, mostly because it's tiny, and the full-size Duo Dock II has: NuBus expansion slots (for networking and better video), an FPU AND a small L2 cache, and can be fitted with an internal hard disk for extra storage. Just don't go with a 280 - sure it's an '040, but it's an LC040, and is incapable of using the FPU and L2 caches of a Dock, thus it's forever coprocessorless. Its performance isn't all that great when compared with the other '040 'Books, either.

 

You can also get a PPC-based Duo 2300 and substitute its trackpad for the trackball of an older model.

The only real negative to the Duos is, of course, the keyboard. Once the keyboards are back in full operation, though, they tend to remain usable if they're used regularly.

 

You could also get a Portable - with a fully charged battery, the backlight-less models lasted for between 6-12 hours (a runtime few other computers can claim). Plus, these had a large trackball, and shipped with System 6. They also had a relatively decent keyboard and a fantastic TFT display.

 

The 150's only positive in most peoples' eyes would be its 640x480 resolution, though the STN screen's quality in itself leaves much to be desired. The lack of many ports (I think that all these things have is SCSI and serial) is also a negative. Unless you find one with a memory upgrade already installed, it's a bit of a challenge to find the necessary adapter to install more than the base 4MB of RAM in the thing. I only have one to complete my collection.

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The 150's only positive in most peoples' eyes would be its 640x480 resolution, though the STN screen's quality in itself leaves much to be desired. The lack of many ports (I think that all these things have is SCSI and serial) is also a negative. Unless you find one with a memory upgrade already installed, it's a bit of a challenge to find the necessary adapter to install more than the base 4MB of RAM in the thing. I only have one to complete my collection.

 

Ok, I guess I thought the 150's memory was easier to find. The other positive being that it can have up to 40MB of ram. Also, it uses an IDE drive, which seems like it'd be easier to replace if needed.

 

Anyway, I'm starting to be swayed towards the 180 or a Duo. Whatever I find at a good price first.

 

Thanks for everyone's feedback so far.

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I personally would either go with a 180/180c, or a Duo 270c. The 180s are large, fast, and have all ports integrated (along with an onboard FPU) with a fantastic grayscale (180) or colour TFT (180c) display, where the Duo would need a Dock of some sort for the ports (and a full Dock for the FPU), though it also comes with a very nice colour TFT.

I'd really rather have the Duo, mostly because it's tiny, and the full-size Duo Dock II has: NuBus expansion slots (for networking and better video), an FPU AND a small L2 cache, and can be fitted with an internal hard disk for extra storage. Just don't go with a 280 - sure it's an '040, but it's an LC040, and is incapable of using the FPU and L2 caches of a Dock, thus it's forever coprocessorless. Its performance isn't all that great when compared with the other '040 'Books, either.

 

You can also get a PPC-based Duo 2300 and substitute its trackpad for the trackball of an older model.

The only real negative to the Duos is, of course, the keyboard. Once the keyboards are back in full operation, though, they tend to remain usable if they're used regularly.

 

Actually the 280c compares rather well with the 540c speed-wise. The 270c is a much slower animal, and by this I mean in terms of user experience rather than the artificial benchmarks (yes, the 280c is faster there too, for what benchmarks are worth), but admittedly the 270c is a rather elegant machine. I especially like the power-saving features of the 68030, and the math co-processor (the Duodock II's math coprocessor will therefore not work with the 270c either, as the machine already has one). In terms of speed, the 270/270c is very comparable to the 180/180c, and the 280c to a 540c, at least in broad terms. I have actually read in some Mac literature of the early 90s that the 280c was faster than the 540c, but I have found them round about the same.

 

As for the 2300c, like all its 603 cousins, it is a dog in daily use by comparison with the 280c in particular, and I have one with 48MB of RAM, 7.6.1 and Speed Doubler installed on which to base the comparison. It has a slightly larger screen, of course, and one which uses different technology, but its great advantage is that it has a very usable keyboard. (The older keyboards do "soften up" and improve with a day or so of use, by the way.)

 

In terms of power usage and battery life, the 270c wins hands down. Next comes the 280c, and finally the 2300c. I know this from trying the same battery in each model. You get nearly an hour more out of my one good Duo battery in a 270c than you do in a 2300c, and 30 mins or so more in the 270c than in a 280c.

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i actually don't like DUO's in comparison to the PB1xx series. their keyboards are horrible and the trackball, while truly awesome and cute, is actually not nearly as nice to use.

 

i would recommend pretty much any of the active-matrix greyscale models, i personally own a 160, 165c and a 180. of the three, the 165c and the 180 are by far the best to use, and the 180's screen is actually quite brilliant for its age.

 

so thats my recommendation. a PB170/180, as they have a good amount of "oomph", are easy work on and have pretty decent keyboards as well as a very awesome trackball.

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listen to nobody except me.

everybody else is wrong in their opinion.

 

ok got that?

 

good!

 

the powerbook 100.

 

no ifs and no buts.!

 

its kinda like a 68000 mac but portable. in fact thats exactly what it is!

you cant afford a Mac Portable, but you love the Plus and SE.

really it is the best.

but the 280c duo looks nice too!

}:)

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Skip the Duos. The keyboards are horrible and you will go insane tracking down all of the different docks that you will want to use:) Trust me on this. The Duos do have a bit of an advantage when you want to add ethernet as there are micro-docks that will let you do this

 

My vote is for the 170. Great screen (active matrix) and keyboard

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so thats my recommendation. a PB170/180, as they have a good amount of "oomph", are easy work on and have pretty decent keyboards as well as a very awesome trackball.

 

I second Dan's recommendation. As long as you find one without the "tunnel vision" screen problem, a 170 or 180 would be a great choice. The 170 overclocks very nicely (I have yet to encounter one that can't get to 33MHz), and is very easy to work on. And even with its limit of 8MB of RAM, it is able to surf (after a fashion; perhaps dog-paddling is a better claim).

 

The Duos would be nice choices, were it not for their tragic keyboards. I have a stack of Duos, and very few of them have good keyboards. Most of them will drive you homicidal or suicidal after mere minutes of use.

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I have a pair of 180's, they both have been working well. One has a bigger harddrive out of a PB520 that I bought as parts. They use scsi drives. The screens are very crisp. Easy on the eyes. A nice, sturdy vintage laptop that has aged well. I use RamDoubler on both. I use the ac adapter as the batteries died long ago. I use the ac adapter in the car too, as there is a plug in on the dash. The active matrix screen works very well outside!! I would go with either a PB170 or PB180.

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I second Dan's recommendation. As long as you find one without the "tunnel vision" screen problem, a 170 or 180 would be a great choice. The 170 overclocks very nicely (I have yet to encounter one that can't get to 33MHz), and is very easy to work on. And even with its limit of 8MB of RAM, it is able to surf (after a fashion; perhaps dog-paddling is a better claim).

 

The Duos would be nice choices, were it not for their tragic keyboards. I have a stack of Duos, and very few of them have good keyboards. Most of them will drive you homicidal or suicidal after mere minutes of use.

Speaking of RAM, good luck in finding some.

 

I was incredibly lucky to come across a 10MB stick for 165c/180c models, and a 6MB stick for 160/165/180 greyscale models. and yes, they are different, the chips are configured differently.

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