Macintosh PowerBook 170

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Macintosh PB170.jpg
Macintosh PowerBook 170
CPU: 25 MHz Motorola MC68030
FPU:Motorola 68882
RAM Type:Pseudostatic RAM
Maximum RAM: 8 MiB
Supported OS: System 7.0.1 - Mac OS 7.6.1
Introduced:October 21 1991
Discontinued:October 19 1992
MSRP:$4600 (US)
Full Specifications

Launched alongside the PowerBook 100 and PowerBook 140, the PowerBook 170 was aimed at the very top end of the portable Macintosh market; a fact ably demonstrated by its faster speed, better screen, and higher price tag.


The launch of the PowerBook 1xx series had shown the world that Apple could make a portable Macintosh that actually was portable – unlike the Macintosh Portable which, at 15.8 lbs, was anything but. Released in October 1991, the new series of machines were small, compact, lightweight and could actually be used 'on the road'. Available in three different flavours, the new PowerBook series had something for everyone with the PowerBook 100 aimed at the buyer on a budget, the 140 filling the middle ground, and the 170 geared towards the high-end user.

The PowerBook 170 shared several things with its siblings, but whilst the similarities to the PowerBook 100 were only slight (they didn't even share the same case), the semblances to the PowerBook 140 were more obvious: Both incorporated an internal floppy drive (the PowerBook 100 opted for an external drive); both used the same, slightly bulkier case; both had the same memory configuration and ceiling; and both used the 68030 CPU and a 9.8" black & white display. There, however, the similarities ended.

Whilst the 140 pushed its processor at 16 MHz, the 170 ran its 68030 at an impressive 25 MHz, which instantly gave it a speed boost. On top of this, it also included a dedicated floating point unit (FPU) in the shape of the ever-dependable Motorola 68882 – making it nearly twice as fast as the 140 in everyday use. The 170, though, wasn't just a speed demon, it also looked better through its use of an active-matrix screen, as opposed to the passive-matrix display used in the 140. Yes, it may have used more power, thus reducing battery life, but the screen was sharp, solid, and looked amazing.

Eventually phased out in October 1992, the 170 did briefly re-appear in 1994 in a special edition 'white' version and, later still, in a multi-colour guise for the Japanese market.

Full Specifications

  • General
    • CPU: 25 MHz Motorola MC68030
    • FPU: Motorola 68882
    • ROM: 1 MiB
    • Bus Speed: 25 MHz
    • Data Path: 32-bit
    • RAM Type: Pseudostatic RAM (100 ns)
    • Standard RAM: 2 MiB
    • RAM Onboard: None
    • RAM Slots: 1
    • Maximum RAM: 8 MiB
    • Cache: ½ KiB (L1)
  • I/O & Expansion
    • ADB: 1
    • Serial: 2
    • SCSI: 1 (HDI-30)
    • Audio In: Mini-jack
    • Audio Out: 8-bit stereo 22 KHz (mini-jack)
    • Built-in Speaker: Mono
  • Storage
    • Hard Drive: 20 MiB - 80 MiB
    • Hard Drive Type: SCSI
    • Floppy Drive: One 3.5" 1.44 MiB SuperDrive
  • Video
    • Built-in Display: Internal 9.8" B&W active-matrix LCD
    • Max Resolution: 640×400 (1-bit)
  • Miscellaneous
    • Codename: Road Warrior, Tim
    • Gestalt ID: 21
    • Power: NiCad, 2.5 Ah
    • Case Style: PowerBook 140
    • Dimensions: 11.25" x 9.3" x 2.25" (W x D x H)
    • Weight: 6.8 lbs.
    • Mac OS Support: System 7.0.1 - Mac OS 7.6.1
    • Introduced: October 21 1991
    • Introduced: October 19 1992
    • MSRP: $4600 (US)

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