PowerBook 165c

Essentially a PowerBook 180 with a color display, the 165c brought the first color screen to the PowerBook line. It was also the first notebook computer from any manufacturer with 256 colors on its internal display.

PowerBook 165cThe passive-matrix screen supports 8-bit video at 640 x 400 pixels. Other than the color screen and faster CPU, it is identical to the PowerBook 160. Because of the color screen, a fully charged battery lasts about one hour.

“…it’s the best-looking passive-matrix color display I’ve seen on a notebook computer.” MacUser, April 1993

One serious design compromise was Apple’s adoption of single-ported DRAM for video instead of double-ported VRAM, as was used in the 160 and 180. This significantly slowed screen redraws and gave the 165c a sluggish feel during screen updates. The screen itself has been described as murky.

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.

The PB 165c 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: Monet
  • introduced 1993.02.10 at $3,400; discontinued 1993.12.01
  • requires System 7.1 to 7.6.1, supports Mac OS 8.1 with Born Again
  • CPU: 33 MHz 68030
  • FPU: 68882
  • Performance: 0.54, Speedometer 4
  • ROM: 1 MB
  • RAM: 4 MB, expandable to 14 MB using a special 85ns pseudostatic RAM card
  • display: 8.9″ 8-bit 640 x 400 85 ppi color passive 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
  • external video, requires adapter
    • 512 x 384, 640 x 400, 640 x 480, 800 x 600, and 832 x 624 @ 256 colors
    • 640 x 870 (portrait) @ 16 shades
  • 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
  • Hard drive: 80, 120, or 160 MB
  • proprietary modem slot
  • Gestalt ID: 50
  • Size (HxWxD): 2.29″ x 11.25″ x 9.3″
  • Weight: 7.0 pounds
  • power supply: M5652 – 24W

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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