Dream Machine: The Macintosh PowerBook 180


powerbook 180

I'm in the market for a new Mac
The iBook G4 I have now runs on the ancient PowerPC chip. It was one of the last Macs off the assembly line that still runs System 9.

When I bought it a few years ago that was an important consideration. Now, not so much.
ibook g4
But somehow the iBook and I never really bonded. The stark-white plastic body always seemed a little too fragile, a little too delicate.

The keyboard seems to float on a tiny, mushy waterbed.

And without an Intel chip, it doesn't have what it takes to run Apple's latest ferocious-cat operating systems.

snow leopard

And then there's that spinning beach ball of death... That menacing-maelstrom-churning-marble of doom.

spinning beach ball

You Mac users out there know what I'm talking about.

I've looked at the new sleek, fashion-forward MacBooks at the Apple store, all shiny, cool and snuggly enclosed in their aluminum unibodies.

Their keyboards glow in the dark and their touchpads and mouse clickers are all integrated into one smooth glassy surface.



They're all like works of modern art, but still they seem to lack something.

That's when I realize I'm comparing every new MacBook and new MacBook Pro to what was for me the gold standard among laptops...


My Mac PowerBook 180

powerbook  macbook

The Powerbook 180 was a grey-on-grey, greyscale only, heavy-as-lead Sherman Tank of a laptop.


I bet you could fire a .22 at the shell and just watch the bullets bounce off.

The keyboard was as steady and as stable as a 1975 IBM Selectric Typewriter.

I ran my business off of it for years and it never let me down. Of all the Macs I've owned, the PB 180 was truly the best-in-class.

Of course, with only 4MB of RAM and a 33 MHz 68030 microchip, it wasn't exactly teeming with horsepower, but after all these years it still powers up.

That's more than I can say for my other now-defunct laptop-paperweights stacked up in the garage.

I'm not the only one with good feelings about the Powerbook 180.

Many who either still have their old one or who purchased a used one from eBay sing its praises on YouTube.