Macintosh PowerBook Duo 2300c

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PB Duo2300.jpg
Macintosh PowerBook Duo 2300c
CPU: 100 MHz IBM/Motorola PPC603e
RAM Type:Duo RAM
Maximum RAM: 56 MiB (Apple), 48 MiB (Actual)
Supported OS: System 7.5.2 - Mac OS 9
Introduced:August 25 1995
Discontinued:February 1 1997
MSRP:$3500 US, 8 MB RAM, 750 MB IDE hard drive, $4500 US, 20 MB RAM, 1.1 GB IDE hard drive
Full Specifications

Launched alongside the PowerBook 5300, and last in the series of PowerBook Duo machines, the Duo 2300c re-defined the concept of 'compact' and offered users Macintosh the most 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 the same case all other Powerbook Duos had that measured just 1.4″ high, the 2300c was given the same trackpad as its cousin the PowerBook_5300, but retained the keyboard from the other Powerbook Duos, with a screen of 9.5″ active matrix panel. It has the same higher memory ceiling of the PowerBook 5300: 48 MiB.

The Powerbook Duo 210 would have been a very limited computer, 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 an active matrix display was an improvement in the 2300c over the other Duo displays.

Launched alongside the PowerBook 5300 – they shared the same PowerPC Architecture and speed of 100MHz. Only the PB 5300ce at the time was slightly faster at 117MHz. When the Powerbook Duo 2300 was discontinued on February 1, 1997, Apple did not release another sub-notebook laptop until it made the 2400 two years later for only the Japanese market. It would not be until 2001 that Apple reentered the sub-notebook laptop for the US and Domestic Markets with the iBook G3 in a white rectangular case with a 12in screen. Though there was a larger 14in iBook, the 12in G3 iBook was more or less the same size as the Duo Series sub-notebook laptops.

Full Specifications

  • General
    • CPU: 100 MHz IBM/Motorola PPC603e
    • ROM: 1 MiB
    • Bus Speed: 33 MHz
    • Data Path: 64-bit
    • RAM Type: Duo RAM (70 ns)
    • Standard RAM: 8 to 56 MiB
    • RAM Onboard: 8 MiB
    • RAM Slots: 1
    • Maximum RAM(Apple): 56 MiB
    • Maximum RAM(Actual): 48 MiB
    • Cache: 32 KiB (L1)
  • I/O & Expansion
    • Serial: 1
    • Floppy Connector: 1
    • Modem: optional internally
    • Built-in Speaker: 8-bit mono 22 KHz
  • Storage
    • Hard Drive: 750MiB to 1.1GiB
    • Hard Drive Type: IDE
    • Floppy Drive: 0 internal, 1 external
  • Video
    • Built-in Display: 9.5″ 4/16-bit 640×400 active matrix
    • Max Resolution: 640×400 (4 or 16-bit)
  • Miscellaneous
    • Codename: AJ
    • Gestalt ID: 118
    • 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 7.5.2 - Mac OS 9
    • System Enabler: 5300/2300/190
    • Introduced: August 25 1995
    • Introduced: February 1 1997
    • MSRP: $3500 US, 8 MB RAM, 750 MB IDE hard drive, $4500 US, 20 MB RAM, 1.1 GB IDE hard drive

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