Macintosh PowerBook 180

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Macintosh PowerBook 180
CPU: 33 MHz 68030
RAM: 85ns Pseudostatic RAM, 4 MB standard (0 onboard plus 1 slots), 14 MB max
Hard drive: 80-120 MB SCSI
Form factor: laptop
OS: (7.1-7.6.1)
Available: October 19, 1992-May 1, 1994
MSRP: US$4160

Released in 1992 alongside the PowerBook 160, the PowerBook 180 was not only the direct replacement for the ageing PowerBook 170, but was the flagship machine in the PowerBook 1XX series.


When the PowerBook series had first been released, buyers had been presented with three options: The 'ecomony' PowerBook 100, the mid-range PowerBook 140, or the high-end PowerBook 170. The economy machines had been already received a make-over in the shape of the PowerBook 145, now it was the turn of the mid-range machines and the high-end machines. While the new PowerBook 160 was aimed squarely at the mid-range market, the high-end market fond itself with the very best, the PowerBook 180.

The PowerBook 1XX series had been very much a winning formula and Apple were more than happy to stick with that formula. In the 180, the company not only made sure that the all important 68030/68882 processor combination was firmly in place but ramped both chips up to a blistering 33Mhz. Instantly a speed boost but elsewhere the 180 allowed users to expand memory up to 14Mb (rather than the 8Mb imposed by every other PowerBook 1XX machine), sported a 4 bit (16 shades of gray) active matrix display running at 640x480 resolution, re-introduced SCSI Disk Mode (not seen since the PowerBook 100), and had an external video connection.

If the 180 had stopped there then users would have had plenty to shout about but Apple had one more trick up its sleeve: Colour. Released 8 months after the original 180, the 180c did everything that it's predecessor did had the added bonus of a colour screen. Even here though, the 180 series proved why it was the 'high-end' machine as, unlike the 165c's passive matrix display, the 180c used an active-matrix display that looked truly stunning (and didn't suffer from the problems of the cheaper passive matrix panel). All of this should have costs buyers big time but falling prices meant that, although sporting colour, the 180c only cost $50 more than the grayscale version.

A real powerhouse of a machine, the 180 (in either grayscale or colour version) was everything that even the most demanding of users could ask for. It was fast, it looked great and it really did justify its relatively high price tag.

Full Specifications

  • CPU: 33MHz Motorola 68030
  • FPU: 33MHz Motorola 68882
  • ROM: 1Mb
  • RAM: 4Mb - 14Mb
  • Display: 9.8" 4-bit 640x480 active matrix (180) / 8.4" 8-bit 640x480 colour active matrix (180c)
  • Resolution: 640x480 (4 bit) (180) / 640x480 (8 bit) (180c)
  • Audio: 8-bit 22KHz stereo
  • Floppy: 1x1.44Mb
  • Hard drive: 80-120Mb
  • Drive bay(s): 1x2.5" third-height
  • Size (HxWxD): 2.25" x 11.25" x 9.3"
  • Weight: 6.8 lb (180) / 7.1 lb (180c)
  • Gestalt ID: 33 (180) / 71 (180c)
  • Addressing: 32 bit
  • Battery: NiCad, 2.5 Ah
  • Expansion slots: Proprietory modem slot
  • Ports: 2xSerial, SCSI(HDI-30), 1xADB, 1xVideo, Audio(out), Audio(in)
  • Introduced: 19/10/1992 (180) / 07/06/1993 (180c)
  • Retired: 01/05/1994 (180) / 14/03/1994 (180c)
  • Cost: $4110 (180) / $4160 (180c)
  • System: Mac OS 7.1 - 7.6.1
  • Code name(s): Converse, Dartanian (180) / Hokusai (180c)
  • Upgrade path: None