Should I Upgrade or Replace My 040-based PowerBook?

1998 – In their day, the 68040-based PowerBook 500 series and PowerBook 190 were very nice machines, but in the PowerPC era, was it time to replace them?

Powerbook 540cShould I Upgrade or Replace My PowerBook 520c?

CW writes: I have a PowerBook 520c that won’t start up. Should I bother having it fixed? Is there anything I can do to fix it? I suspect it’s a PRAM battery problem. Once it starts up, what should I do about the 12 MB of RAM, 160 MB hard drive, and lack of OS 8? Should I try to get a PowerPC 603 processor for it?

Mac Daniel writes: Your 520c is worth around $500 in working condition (maybe more – those PowerBooks really hold value). At least get an estimate on the repair. Better to fix it and sell it than take a complete loss.

PowerBook 1400 with CDAt this point, I’d recommend against a 603 upgrade, especially with the limited RAM and hard drive. Total cost of making it a workhorse is prohibitive.

I’d look into selling the 520c and then getting a close-out PowerBook 1400/133. With a 133 MHz 603 processor, 128 KB cache, 800 x 600 color screen, and large hard drive, it’s a lot more computer than you’d get by upgrading your 520c. With the 1400/133 selling in the $1,100 range (when you can find them), it looks like a much better long term solution than upgrading your older PowerBook.

Should I Upgrade my PB 190, Performa 6200, or …?

PowerBook 190AR writes: I have a PowerBook 190 8/500 with the 68040 chip and a Performa 6200 CD. They are both slow and out date. I am considering upgrading one of them.

I really don’t need to get a G3, because I am a college student. I found out that I can bump up my Performa from 66 MHz to 180 MHz for around $300-$400. I know that my PowerBook, which I got for a mere $600 new, can be upgraded to a 120 MHz PPC and color screen. It should feel and run like 5300c. I need the computer to do some net surfing, word processing, PowerPoint, and to run Mathematica.

For the long run should I instead go for a used Power Mac of some sort?

I am trying to spend over $700. Another option would be to get rid of them both, which after a few tears I could do.

Mac Daniel writes: I’d lean toward a PowerPC laptop, such as the PowerBook 1400. I really like the idea of portability. Something you can use for notes in the classroom, research in the library, and anywhere else is very attractive for a student.

I haven’t followed the used and close-out PowerBook market closely, but I have heard there are deals on the PB 1400 at around $1,000-1,300. Avoid the 117 MHz model, since it has no cache, which makes it slower than the 133 MHz and 166 MHz models, which are very competent performers. Also, any 1400 can be upgraded with a G3 processor.

The 800 x 600 screen is a real improvement over the 640 x 480 on your PowerBook 190. Best of all, the 1400/133 or 1400/166 would offer over twice the performance of your 6200.

Used PowerBooks hold their value quite well. You could probably sell your 190 for at least $500, keeping any PC Cards you may have for use in the 1400. If you sold both your PowerBook and your Performa, you should easily cover most of the cost of the new PowerBook.

Keywords: #powerbook520c #powerbook190, #powerbook1400

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