Vintage Mac Living

Modern Computing: First Impressions of a $10 PowerBook G3

- 2006.04.26

A few days ago, I was talking with a friend of mine at work. We were talking about computers, and I was told him about how I acquired my Apple Lisa (You can read more about that in my article Retro Computing: First Impressions of a Newly Acquired Apple Lisa).

Anyway, when I told him how I acquired my Lisa, he piped up and said, "Hey, Ted, I have an old G3 Mac laptop that I bought from a friend of mine for $20, but I have no use for it. Do you want it?"

The first question that I asked myself was, "I wonder how he got it for so cheap?" So I asked him, and he said that his friend got it from his Dad, who had used it at his office. His friend didn't want it, so he sold it.

I figured it was either a Kanga or a WallStreet. Wondering which one it was, I asked him if it had a solid white Apple Logo on the top. He said it did, so I was sure it had to be a Wall Street.

Then I asked him how much he wanted for it. I'd given him $5 earlier so he could get some lunch, since he forget his wallet at home, so he said, "Give me another $5, and we'll call it even."

I said, "Cool, sounds great."

So the next day I went over to his house and picked it up - little did I know what I was getting.

PowerBook G3I got a laptop bag, power adapter, and a Lombard PowerBook G3. I was really surprised that it was a Lombard, so I knew I got a good deal from a really good friend - it's the 400 MHz model with 320 MB RAM, 6 GB hard drive, and DVD.

Mike, if you're reading this, thank you again. It means a lot. Now I can be working (or playing) while I'm on the road. For instance, I'm writing this at the dentist's office while my sister is getting her teeth cleaned.

It only has a few problems:

  • There is a dent on the screen near the bottom. It looks like someone might have dropped something on the screen. It's not bad though.
  • Graphics performance in OS X isn't great due to no 3D acceleration (see Rage at Being Left Behind for more on that topic),
  • The battery is dead. That's not a really big problem, but it's so dead that the computer doesn't even stay asleep on battery power - the battery has so little power that the 'Book shuts off. I'm sure I can find an inexpensive used battery that works on eBay.

Even with those problems, you can't beat it for $10.

Anyway, I can't wait to watch DVDs, surf the Web, play games, and write articles while I'm on the road. All I have to do is get a working battery. LEM

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