Macintosh PowerBook Duo 210

From 68kMLA Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Duo 200 series IF.png
Macintosh PowerBook Duo 210
CPU: 25 MHz Motorola MC68030
RAM Type:Duo RAM
Maximum RAM: 24 MiB (Apple), 32 MiB (Actual)
Supported OS: System 7.1 - Mac OS 8.1
Introduced:October 19 1992
Discontinued:October 1993
MSRP:$2250 (US)
Full Specifications

Launched alongside the PowerBook 160 and PowerBook 180, and first in the series of PowerBook Duo machines, the Duo 210 re-defined the concept of 'compact' and offered users Macintosh power in the most compact form ever seen.


The PowerBook 1xx series had certainly restored faith in the concept of a portable Macintosh, following the weight related problems of the Macintosh Portable, and had put real Mac power in the hands of users without the need for an intensive weight-lifting course. Available in its many guises, the series appeared to offer something for everyone, but in 1992 Apple spotted a gap in the market.

Despite their slimline appearance, the PowerBook 1xx machines were still large and weren't always practical in all situations. What users wanted was something even smaller than a notebook. What they got was the Duo 210.

Classed as 'sub-notebooks' the new Duo line were special not for what they included, but for what they excluded. Apple rightly recognised that many users, when away from their desks for short periods of time, had no need for things like floppy drives or a vast swathe of connectors and sockets; they wanted to simply take notes and worry about using those notes later on. The simple solution was to eliminate everything that wasn't absolutely necessary...and cut the overall weight by nearly a third.

Despite running the Motorola 68030 at a very healthy 25 MHz, the Duo 210 was a masterpiece of miniaturisation – even more than so than the PowerBook 100, depending on your viewpoint – but still offered all of the processing power of its bigger brothers. Housed in a case that measured just 1.4" high, the 210 still had the obligatory trackball, keyboard, and screen in the form of, a not too tiny, 9.8" passive matrix panel. They even managed to have a higher memory ceiling than the larger PowerBook 1xx machines: 24 MiB rather than 14 MiB.

On its own the Duo 210 would have been a very limited machine, but Apple's ethos was to create an ultra-portable machine that would be returned to a docking station as and when needed. It was to the docking station that users would connect floppy drives, external SCSI devices, &c. The docking station could also be fitted with a 68882 floating point unit (FPU) to give the little machine a little boost in the performance stakes if needed. Everything suddenly became available when users connected the giant 152 connector to their docking station of choice; several different versions were available, each offering various connectors.

Far smaller than the PowerBook 1xxs of the time, the Duos were a massive hit, but they weren't without their problems. Connectivity was the obvious of these – although whether it could be considered a 'problem' when it was actually a design decision is another question – the screen, especially in the case of the 210, was the other. Using a passive matrix display ,which helped to increase battery life, the 210 suffered badly from the problems inherent in the passive-matrix technology, with screens suffering from 'ghosting', 'streaking', &c.

Launched alongside the Duo 230 – the only difference between the two being that of speed; the 230 ran at 33 MHz as opposed to the 210's 25 MHz – the 210 was a surefire crowd-pleaser and the future of the portable Macintosh looked very promising indeed.

Full Specifications

  • General
    • CPU: 25 MHz Motorola MC68030
    • ROM: 1 MiB
    • Bus Speed: 25 MHz
    • Data Path: 32-bit
    • RAM Type: Duo RAM (70 ns)
    • Standard RAM: 4 MiB
    • RAM Onboard: 4 MiB
    • RAM Slots: 1
    • Maximum RAM(Apple): 24 MiB
    • Maximum RAM(Actual): 32 MiB
    • Cache: ½ KiB (L1)
  • I/O & Expansion
    • Serial: 1
    • Built-in Speaker: 8-bit mono 22 KHz
  • Storage
    • Hard Drive: 80 MiB
    • Hard Drive Type: SCSI
  • Video
    • Built-in Display: 9.8" 4-bit 640×400 passive matrix
    • Max Resolution: 640×400 (4-bit)
  • Miscellaneous
    • Codename: DB-Lite, BOB W, Cinnamon, Companion
    • Gestalt ID: 29
    • Power: One Nickel Hydride
    • Case Style: Duo
    • Dimensions: 10.9" x 8.5" x 1.4" (W x D x H)
    • Weight: 4.2 lbs.
    • Mac OS Support: System 7.1 - Mac OS 8.1
    • Introduced: October 19 1992
    • Introduced: October 1993
    • MSRP: $2250 (US)

More Information