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Inside  the PowerBook G3 "Wallstreet"
Published: 6/26/1998

Thanks to Randy Mita, I've had the pleasure to use a new PowerBook (aka "Wallstreet") G3/250/13.3. This is the first in a series I'll be doing on this amazing notebook. Since I had to add ram in preparation for serious work and a full review, I thought a tutorial on the steps involved, along with a look inside the machine would be of interest to readers of the site.

As I've stated on the page several times (you're probably tired of hearing it by now ;-) - the new PowerBooks are a work of art, personifying everything the Macintosh has stood for since its introduction in 1984. Just as the original Mac made the PCs of the day look like something from the stone age, so does this new Powerbook. It is the ultimate lust machine for the computer addict and its style and performance will appeal to anyone that sees it. Although the glossy ads are impressive, it does not compare to viewing the real thing. Touch one and you're hooked. You've been warned.

I've also posted a comparison review between the PowerBook G3 and (as of this article date - June 1998) a top rated notebook on the Wintel side, the Gateway Solo PII 9100XL. In order to provide a more equal configuration, Randy sent a 128MB SODIMM to install in the Powerbook since the stock 32MB of RAM does not equal the 128MB standard on the Solo 9100XL. I took a few photos during the install of the ram in the PB, which I hope you'll find interesting and informative.

These photos do not do justice to the rakish styling of the new PowerBook, which not only looks beautiful, it also shows a lot of thought went into how people actually use portable computers. The sexy styling is quite a contrast to the blocky design of most PC notebooks. The PowerBook G3 stands out from the crowd like a Porsche 911 in a parking lot full of Yugos.

Open or closed the new PowerBook is a people magnet. Photos like these can't begin to relay the experience of seeing and using one in person. If this computer does not trip your trigger, well you'd better check your pulse. It is the most impressive personal computer I've ever seen - period. You'll want to leave it open on your coffee table - it's the ultimate conversation piece and will make PC fanatics green with envy.

A Look Outside the PowerBook:

left side view
Left Side View

The left side shows the battery (floppy was removed for this picture) and two PCMCIA slots with the modem jack nested between them. In this photo the modem port cover is raised for viewing the jack. Notice the 4 LED indicators on the battery. Pressing a button on the batter will illuminate these to show relative battery charge level. Again a nice touch that shows real human engineering - you can check battery status without powering up.

The right side view shows the CDROM drive, speaker/cooling vents and security slot. An optional DVD drive is available which functions like a 20x CDROM drive as well. VST Tech makes a ZIP drive that can be used in the expansions bays, a very popular option based on past PowerBooks.

Right View
Right Side View
The rear of the PowerBook has audio input, output and AC adapter jacks on the left, and IR port and cooling/speaker vents on the right side. A flip down cover (much improved over previous PowerBooks) exposes a reset button, ADB, printer/modem (serial), ethernet, SCSI, S-Video and VGA output ports. Quite a complete array for a portable. Another nice touch is the labels for the ports are printed on the inside of the cover, making identification easy while looking over from the top of the unit (no need to rotate the PowerBook around to identify ports).

Rear View
Rear View

Adding Ram: A look inside the PowerBook G3

While adding a 128MB dimm I took a few photos of the components, layout and features inside this new powerbook. The next page walks you through the process of adding ram and identifies the various components (CPU, cache, modem, PCI controller) along the way.

OK! Show me!


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