Pismo PowerBook

a.k.a. PowerBook (FireWire), PowerBook (2000), PowerBook (Pismo)

The last G3 PowerBook (just PowerBook, no longer PowerBook G3) was announced on February 16, 2000. It’s the same size and weight as the Lombard PowerBook G3, but the new model has FireWire ports instead of SCSI, room for an AirPort Card, and a 100 MHz motherboard.

PowerBook G3In the field, a fresh 50 Watt-Hour Apple battery with a full charge yields up to 5 hours of use. Using two batteries can increase that to as much as 10 hours. Replacement batteries can boost that by up to 60%, for a potential 8 hours with one battery and 16 hours with two!

Pismo uses the same drive bay devices as the Lombard PowerBook G3, although its DVD drive cannot be used on Lombard.

Finally, the Pismo PowerBook can be used as an external FireWire drive in FireWire Disk Mode.

Pismo supports both screen mirroring and screen spanning when using VGA or S-video output.

Pismo PowerBooks will not boot with a dead PRAM battery. However, they will boot if the PRAM battery is removed, so you can avoid the cost of a replacement battery (not cheap).

  • Got a G3 PowerBook or iBook? Join our G-Books Group or PowerBooks & iBooks Forum.
  • Our Mac OS 9 Group is for those using Mac OS 9, either natively or in Classic Mode.
  • Our Puma Group is for those using Mac OS X 10.1.
  • Our Jaguar Group is for those using Mac OS X 10.2.
  • Our Panther Group is for those using Mac OS X 10.3.
  • Our Tiger Group is for those using Mac OS X 10.4.

Closed Lid Mode: Pismo supports “lid closed” (or clamshell) mode, which leaves the built-in display off and dedicates all video RAM to an external display. To used closeed lid mode, your ‘Book must be plugged into the AC adapter and connected to an external display and a USB mouse and keyboard (you might also want to consider external speakers). Power up your ‘Book until the desktop appears on the external display and then close the lid. Your ‘Book will go to sleep, but you can wake it by moving the mouse or using the keyboard. The built-in display will remain off, and the external monitor will become your only display. Since all video RAM is now dedicated to the external monitor, you may have more colors available at higher resolutions. The Pismo is designed to run safely in closed lid mode, but if your Pismo runs hot (perhaps due to a G4 upgrade or high ambient temperatures), you may want to open the lid when in lid closed mode: The screen will remain off and the computer will more readily vent heat from the CPU.

To resume use of the internal display, you need to disconnect the external display, put the computer to sleep, and then open the lid. This will wake up your ‘Book and restore use of the built-in display.


According to the Road Warrior, the drive controller in G3 PowerBooks is incompatible with some ATA-6/Ultra ATA-100 hard drives. When replacing the internal hard drive, you should be sure to obtain an ATA-5/Ultra ATA-66 compliant drive or an ATA-6 or ATA-7/Ultra ATA-133 drive known to work with Pismo.


  • introduced 2000.02.16 at US$2,499 and $3,499
  • requires System 9.0 or later; Mac OS 9.2.2 and OS X 10.3.9 recommended, 10.4.x can be installed. Can only run OS X 10.5 with a G4 upgrade, but DVD Player may not work (VLC works, but at a horribly low frame rate). You have to work around the Leopard installer to get 10.5 installed.
  • CPU: 400 or 500 MHz PPC 750 (a.k.a. G3)
  • Bus: 100 MHz
  • Performance:
    • Geekbench 2 (Tiger): 212 (400 MHz), 3 277 (500 MHz)
    • 232,906 Whetstones (500 MHz)
  • ROM: 4 MB, NewWorld ROM in RAM architecture
  • RAM: 64 or 128 MB, expandable to 1 GB using two PC100 3.3 volt unbuffered low-power 144-pin 100 MHz SO-DIMMs
  • Level 2 cache: 1 MB at 40% of CPU speed (160 MHz or 200 MHz)
  • Video: ATI Rage Mobility 128 on an AGP 2x bus
  • VRAM: 8 MB
  • display: 14.1″ 24-bit 1024 x 768 91 ppi color active matrix, resolution scaling to 640 x 480 and 800 x 600, also has S-video and VGA output with support for 512 x 384, 640 x 480, 800 x 600, 832 x 624, and 1024 x 768 with 24-bit color (VGA also supports 640 x 870, 800 x 500, 856 x 480, 1024 x 640, 1152 x 864, 1152 x 870, 1280 x 960, 1280 x 1024, 1360 x 768, 1600 x 1000, and 1680 x 1050 with 24-bit color, dependent on the connected display; S-video also supports 720 x 480). 1920 x 1200 possible with 8-bit color.
  • Hard drive: 6, 12, or 18 GB UltraATA-66; revised to 10, 20, or 30 GB in Sept. 2000; maximum hard drive size is 128 GB without third-party support. See How Big a Hard Drive Can I Put in My iMac, eMac, Power Mac, PowerBook, or iBook? for your options.
  • expansion bay: same as Lombard
  • DVD-ROM: 2x
  • floppy drive: external USB only
  • expansions bays: one
  • USB: 2 USB 1.1 ports
  • FireWire ports: two
  • Ethernet: 10/100Base-T
  • Modem: v.90 56k
  • PC Card slots: 1
  • infrared: 4 Mbps IrDA 1.1
  • size: 10.4 x 12.7 x 1.7″ (26.4 x 32.3 x 4.3 cm)
  • Weight: 6.1 lb (2.8 kg) with optical drive, 5.7 lb. (2.6 kg) with weight saving module replacing optical drive
  • Model identifier: PowerBook3,1
  • family number: M7572

Accelerators & Upgrades

  • PowerLogix offers 500 MHz G4 Pismo upgrade, Peter Cohen, MacCentral, 2002.06.14.

Online Resources


  • Do not under any circumstances use the Password Security control panel with any PowerBook running Mac OS 9 – see PowerBook (FireWire): Late Breaking News – it will render your PowerBook inoperable. The only fix is to put the drive in an older PowerBook, open Password Security, go to Setup, and click the Reset button, and then put the drive back in your Pismo.
  • There is an incompatibility between the Kensington Startup ADB extension (part of Kensington MouseWorks) and the Trackpad control with Mac OS 9.0.4. The trackpad will respond during boot, but not after the extension loads. The solution is to disable the extension. This may apply to other versions of Mac OS 9 on ‘Books with USB ports.

Keywords: #pismo #powerbookg3

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