PowerBook 170

The PowerBook 170 was the only first generation PowerBook to sport an active matrix screen. With a 25 MHz 68030, it was 2/3 faster than the PowerBook 140. Between the faster CPU, faster screen, and addition of a floating point unit, the 170 was nearly twice as fast as the 140. It was replaced by the popular PowerBook 180 in October 1992.

PowerBook 170

white 10th Anniversary PowerBook 170Apple released two special editions of the PowerBook 170: a multicolored version for the Japan LPGA and a white “10th Anniversary Mac” version in 1994.

PowerBook 170, LPGA Special Edition

As with all early PowerBooks, when buying one be sure it has all the memory you need (new PB RAM is difficult to locate, especially at reasonable prices).

PowerBook 170The PB 170 has an 8 MB memory ceiling, although you can go beyond that by using Virtual Memory (slow and free) or RAM Doubler (faster, not free, and now discontinued). Another option is RAM Charger 8.1, which offers better memory management than the Mac OS.


  • introduced 1991.10.21 at $4,600; discontinued 1992.10.19
  • Gestalt ID: 21
  • Code names: Road Warrior, Tim

Mac OS

  • requires System 7.0.1 to 7.6.1

Core System

  • CPU: 25 MHz 68030
  • FPU: 68882
  • ROM: 1 MB
  • RAM: 2 MB, expandable to 8 MB using a special 100ns pseudo static RAM card



  • display: 9.8″ 1-bit 640 x 400 77 ppi active matrix


  • Hard drive: 40 or 80 MB
  • floppy drive: 1.4 MB double-sided


  • ADB ports: 1 port for keyboard and mouse
  • serial ports: 2 DIN-8 RS-422 ports on back of computer
  • SCSI ports: HDI30 connector on back of computer
  • proprietary modem slot


  • size (HxWxD): 2.25″ x 11.25″ x 9.3″
  • Weight: 6.8 pounds
  • power supply: M5140 – 15W, 2 amps

Accelerators & Upgrades

Online Resources

Online Profiles

PowerBook 170


  • The PowerBook 170 does not support SCSI Disk Mode.
  • The 100-series and 500-series PowerBooks do not provide SCSI termination power, depending on external SCSI devices to provide it. For more details, see SCSI Termination Power.
  • Macs with black-and-white only displays (1-bit, no grays) may find Netscape Navigator 3 makes it impossible to view some pages and sites. The workaround is to use Navigator 2.
  • Serial port limited to 57.6 kbps; throughput using a 56k modem may be limited. See 56k modem page.
  • Dead backlight? Visit JKL Components for replacement lamps.
  • Apple discontinued support and parts orders for this model 1998.08.31. Tou may be able to find dealers with parts inventory either locally or on our parts and service list.

Short link: http://goo.gl/akMwi5

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