PowerBook 180

The PowerBook 180 was the first portable Mac with a 4-bit (16-shade) active matrix display. With a 33 MHz CPU and improved screen, it replaced the 25 MHz PowerBook 170 and was in very high demand through its six-month life.

Powerbook 180Like the PowerBook 160, the 180 has a video out port supporting an external 13″ to 16″ monitor. With the 160, it was the first PowerBook to support an external monitor (using Apple’s proprietary VID-14 connector with an adapter) and the first PowerBook to support more than 8 MB of RAM.

The 180 reintroduced SCSI Disk Mode to the PowerBook line, a feature previously found only on the PowerBook 100.

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

The PB 180 has a 14 MB memory ceiling, although you can go beyond that by using Virtual Memory (slow and free) or RAM Doubler (faster, not free, and discontinued). Another option is RAM Charger 8.1, which offers better memory management than the Mac OS.


  • Code Name: Converse
  • introduced 1992.10.19 at US$4,110; discontinued 1994.05.01
  • requires System 7.1 to 7.6.1, supports Mac OS 8.1 with Born Again
  • CPU: 33 MHz 68030
  • FPU: 68882
  • Performance: 4.5, relative to SE; 0.54, Speedometer 4
  • ROM: 1 MB
  • RAM: 4 MB, expandable to 14 MB using a special 85ns pseudostatic RAM card
  • display: 9.8″ 640 x 400 77 ppi 4-bit active matrix
  • video: 512 KB VRAM, VID-14 port, supports 8-bit external video at 512 x 384, 640 x 400, 640 x 480, 800 x 600, and 832 x 624 with video adapter
  • 80 MB or 120 MB hard drive standard
  • 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
  • Gestalt ID: 33
  • Size (HxWxD): 2.25″ x 11.25″ x 9.3″
  • Weight: 6.8 pounds
  • power supply: M5651 – 19W, 2 amps

Accelerators & Upgrades

Online Resources


  • Apple Computer considers this computer obsolete as of 2001.07.16 in the United States and 2001.07.23 in Canada. As of that date, service parts and documentation are longer be available from Apple.
  • 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.
  • Serial port limited to 57.6 kbps; throughput using a 56k modem may be limited. See 56k modem page.

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