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What the hack! My current Powerbook 170 Setup


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What  we see is a Powerbook 170 with an external Apple Studio Display, Radius SCSI PowerView graphics adapter, NeXT keyboard, black ADB mouse, TouchPad, QuickTake 150, SCSI PowerCD, Port Juggler, ADB-doubler, SCSI EZ 135 drive.

 

The computer is networked via appletalk / Ethernet (IpNetRouter). You can surf the Internet, send e-mails, download data via FTP, etc. My goal was to set up the Powerbook 170 so that I can still work productively with it after 27 years:

 

Write texts in Microsoft Word and save them in a file format that can also be read on modern computers. Challenge: The earlier Word format is not compatible with the current Word format.

 

Receive and send mails, for example to send the Word documents. Challenge: Today's mail servers require SMTP auth when sending, most of the old mail clients do not support this protocol.

 

You need a large screen to work relaxed. In addition, the palettes of the programs should always be accessible. Challenge: The Powerbook 170 has no connection for an external monitor.

 

The data is to be exchanged via the Ethernet network with modern Intel Macintosh with OS X. Challenge: The current OS X no longer supports the "old" AFP protocol.

 

There were also a few more hurdles to overcome. Starting with the large number of serial ports required (printer, network, QuickTake, etc.) or the number of ADB ports required.

 

To make it short! All problems have been resolved. The Powerbook works, I can write texts, send and receive emails, surf the Internet, exchange data on the network and import images from the QuickCam. And all at the same time!

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I love thoughtful "ultimate" setups like these - and no beige in sight, well done DeeNam! :)  What's the performance of the Radius PowerView like - does the PB170 handle dual displays relatively well?

 

Yesterday I installed a "new" 500MB 2.5" SCSI drive in my PB170 - plugged into my SE/30 under SCSI disk mode.  Had some odd behaviour with SCSI disk mode though, with both machines choosing the PB hard disk to boot from - at the same time!  I tried two different SCSI disk mode adapters, switch set but both did the same thing.  Anyhow, once going my next step will be to strip down the LCD and get some clumps of dust/dirt out from under the panel.  Such a nice machine - the large, crisp LCD makes for a much nicer road warrior than comparable colour 1x0s of the time.

 

 

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3 hours ago, Byrd said:

I love thoughtful "ultimate" setups like these - and no beige in sight, well done DeeNam! :)  What's the performance of the Radius PowerView like - does the PB170 handle dual displays relatively well?

 

Yesterday I installed a "new" 500MB 2.5" SCSI drive in my PB170 - plugged into my SE/30 under SCSI disk mode.  Had some odd behaviour with SCSI disk mode though, with both machines choosing the PB hard disk to boot from - at the same time!  I tried two different SCSI disk mode adapters, switch set but both did the same thing.  Anyhow, once going my next step will be to strip down the LCD and get some clumps of dust/dirt out from under the panel.  Such a nice machine - the large, crisp LCD makes for a much nicer road warrior than comparable colour 1x0s of the time.

 

 

It's ok for normal use, but not for gaming. The amount of colors will reduce the RAM from the powerbook. You can see it in the Screenshot That means less colors are better. You can use two diplays, one Monitor at each port. Right now I try different setups. Ok for Text. But all the extensions will blow up the System.

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  • 1 month later...

Wow. Talk about a fancy setup! Hate to think about how much all that would have cost back then..

 

Any time I see stuff like this I wish I could see the reaction on some modern Apple employee's face to 1) the fact that all that stuff existed back then and 2) that someone is actually using it for anything practical. There's got to be at least a few people who don't have a clue.

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Wow, that’s impressive! I really need to get my 170 fixed up. Mine has an almost perfect screen, with no tunnel vision and only one dead pixel. Really is a beautiful LCD with that nice “green” tint to it and all. Just needs a hard drive and some case plastics replaced.

 

The 145B and 170 are my favorite of the first-gen PowerBooks, with the 165 and 180 being my favorite of the later 100-series PowerBooks.

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  • 1 month later...
  • 3 months later...

Some late comments.
First: What a wonderful setup, and what a beautiful presentation! I am really jealous.

 

Beware of the L-shaped PowerBook-SCSI-adaptors (third party). They seem handy allowing to be switched between attachment of SCSI-devices and target-disk mode of the internal hard disk. Apple sold you two separate and - as usual - expensive adaptors for it. The problem with the L-shaped is they put substantial mechanical stress to the (often delicate) SCSI-port of the PowerBook. I confess that I had used one for several years but never felt comfortable with it. Apple's original adaptors have a short piece of flexible cable (actually not too flexible because of the thickness) between the two plugs for reducing mechanical stress.

 

External display performance: The original 15" Apple Studio Display set to 640x480 is connected by the Radius SCSI Power View, I guess. SCSI creates a bottle neck, which may taken care of by transmitting the QuickDraw commands instead of a conventional video signal, I've read long ago.
A similar bottle neck (Mac LC on 640x480) I handled by reducing the color-depth from 8 bit to 4 bit (ok for gray scale, not so good in colour).
The slightly younger PowerBook 165 had a dedicated video out port.

 

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I spot an eMate 300 in the background, another favorite of mine I still didn't manage to aquire.

 

The 15" Ur-Apple Studio Display is arguably the finest Apple flat display option for old Mac II/LC-era Macs. However the 640x480 resolution is not native to the panel therefore not perfectly sharp.


Note that the Radius setup offers 800x600 and 832x624 resolutions. This makes 800x600 TFT-panels usable, and - if you can do with CRTs - also Apple's formidable 16" Trinitron for a roomier work area. Both are using only 256k of (video) RAM if you are accepting 4bit colour.

 

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@Crutch Mind I wrote "arguably" which is what we are doing now. I am referring to the Apple Studio Display 15" flat panel.

 

Pros:

  1. genuine Apple
  2. small size
  3. various connection options: VGA, original Mac II-style (adapter originally included if I understand this correctly)
  4. pre ADC (so PS comes with the display)
  5. right aspect ratio for scaling older formats like 640x480.
  6. ADB support

Cons:

  1. Not native 640x480
  2. confusing model variants with different conncetion options:

See: http://tim.id.au/laptops/apple/displays/apple_studio_display.pdf

Unsure about compatibility of newer revisions: http://tim.id.au/laptops/apple/displays/studio.15dvi.pdf

 

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16 minutes ago, dan.dem said:

Pros:

  1. genuine Apple
  2. small size
  3. various connection options: VGA, original Mac II-style (adapter originally included if I understand this correctly)
  4. pre ADC (so PS comes with the display)
  5. right aspect ratio for scaling older formats like 640x480.
  6. ADB support

You left 'good looking' off the list, but the others are right on - I've been going with mostly older, 17" panels for a smaller size and for the 'right' aspect ratio.  I am on the lookout for a nice 15" panel, that has a separate power supply.  I love your whole setup.

Edited by Juror22
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On 5/2/2020 at 10:14 AM, DeeNam said:
On 5/2/2020 at 6:35 AM, Byrd said:

I love thoughtful "ultimate" setups like these - and no beige in sight, well done DeeNam! :)  What's the performance of the Radius PowerView like - does the PB170 handle dual displays relatively well?

Expand  

It's ok for normal use, but not for gaming. The amount of colors will reduce the RAM from the powerbook. You can see it in the Screenshot That means less colors are better. You can use two diplays, one Monitor at each port. Right now I try different setups. Ok for Text. But all the extensions will blow up the System.

 

+1 on the kudos! Why are you selling the setup after so much TLC?

 

Interested in the lockup issues, what version of the PowerView drivers are you running? ISTR having the original (rebranded by Radius) SUPERMAC SuperView up and running for a bit on my 5300ce using the Rev_A_Ver_1.0 driver. I'm wondering if your driver is a later Rev for the 145-145B era? Since 1.0 is compatible with the later 5300ce I'm wondering if it's forward compatible with the Radius PowerView and possibly a less bugridden driver for the 170?

 

superview2p.jpg.c5090d53d563a0f781c0e2ab

 

 

 

Edited by Trash80toHP_Mini
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