View Full Version : Vintage Macintosh of the week! Powerbook 3400!

17th May 2012, 12:41 PM
Firsly Welcome to the Vintage Apple section of Mactalk. Thankyou too Liana for organisingt this.
I plan to do weekly postings of a random Vintage Macintosh of the week.
So here goes!
The first Vintage Macintosh of the week is the Macintosh Powerbook 3400.
The 3400 was annuced in febury 1997. With up a PowerPC 603ev Processer of up to 240mhz, Apple labeled it as the 'Fastest Portable computer in the World' which it was for a short while. It was a high performance laptop with few compromises. The 3400 introduced a few firsts for the Power Book Line; It featured PCI architecture, EDO Ram and a 40mhz as well as a 12x Cd rom.

The 3400's design led the way to the later PowerBook G3 series laptops. Due to its expansion capabilities the 3400 was a great laptop choice for years after it was discontinued, Even though it could not run OSX it made a good OS9 machine.


CPU: PowerPC 603ev
CPU Speed: 180/200/240 MHz
FPU: integrated
Bus Speed: 40 MHz
Register Width: 32-bit
Data Bus Width: 64-bit
Address Bus Width: 32-bit
RAM Type: unique
Minimum RAM Speed: 60 ns
Onboard RAM: 16 MB
RAM slots: 1
Maximum RAM: 144 MB
Level 1 Cache: 16 kB data, 16 kB instruction
Level 2 Cache: 256 kB
Expansion Slots: 2 Type II or 1 Type III PC Card

Screen: 12.1" active matrix
Max Resolution: 16 bit 800x600
Video Out: HDI-15

Hard Drive: 1.3/2.0/3.0 GB
Floppy Drive: 1.4 MB SuperDrive
Optical Drive: 6x CD-ROM

ADB: 1
Serial: 1 Mini DIN-8
Audio Out: stereo 16 bit mini
Audio In: stereo 16 bit mini
Speaker: stereo
Microphone: mono

Ethernet: 10Base-T

Power: 45 Watts
Dimensions: 2.4" H x 11.5" W x 9.5" D
Weight: 7.2 lbs.

the 240 MHz model shipped with a 12x CD-ROM.

If anyone had this model, please post your memories and if anyone would like to correct my infomation, please again do so.
Hope you enjoyed!

19th May 2012, 09:57 PM
My first PB3400 was the 240Mhz version that was given to me about five years ago, it included a slew of PCMCIA cards but sadly had a faulty sound chip, so it "screeched" loudly whenever used. I then sourced a 3500/Kanga PB, and it's one of my favourite Powerbooks, notably for it's ruggedness and the best sound I've ever heard in a portable. They are also Cardbus compliant, kind of ... the slot may not accept all cards, but I did find a PCMCIA USB card that works well in this model.

Interestingly, the TAM shares the same LCD and keyboard from the 3400c.

19th May 2012, 10:51 PM
Is the 3400 keyboard the same as the one on the 1400? Because my 1400 has a fantastic keyboard!

20th May 2012, 01:49 PM
No, from memory it used the 5300/190 keyboard. Which is still quite a decent keyboard, but in my opinion still nowhere near as good as the 1400 keyboard.

In regards to what Byrd said about CardBus cards - for the most part the 3400 was CardBus compliant, so long as you modified either the card or the cage, here (http://home.comcast.net/~macdan/3400cardbus.html)'s more information on it. MCE also used to actually offer a CardBus modification for the 3400 back in the day.

20th May 2012, 03:19 PM
I stil don't have the charger for the 1400, but I have typed on the keyboard and it is the best laptop keyboard I have ever used. Second is my MacBooks Keyboard of course!

20th May 2012, 05:12 PM
Do you have a 3400? Just wondering - the 3400 and 1400 use the exact same power adapter :) Furthermore, you don't specifically need to get an Apple charger, you can get a Hong Kong one off eBay and that'll be fine - I run my TiBook off an eBay HK adapter...you wouldn't know the difference :)

20th May 2012, 05:24 PM
The 1400cs is the only PowerBook I have. I ordered a HK charger about 2 weeks ago, it is in the mail after everyone assured me that they were fine to use. I wish I had some more powerbook models. I have fallen in love with the 1400 with out even using it!

20th May 2012, 10:32 PM
I reckon Powerbooks are good Macs to collect - not just for their size/portability, but their design and many "firsts" in the PC world make them worthwhile seeking out.

20th May 2012, 10:54 PM
Yep, I agree so much. I have acquired a few pc laptops over the years (Vintage ones) and they always seem so backwards compared to the well designed macs.

25th May 2012, 11:13 AM
Wish I had a PB3400... most of my Powerbooks are 100-series. I have a 1400, working but in pieces...

25th May 2012, 11:16 AM
And I wish I had an 100 series Powerbook!

25th May 2012, 12:39 PM
I myself have a 145B, 180c, 520c, a couple of 1400s, Wallstreet, and the MacBook.

The PowerBook 3400...I remember how much I lusted for one back in 1997. Unfortunately though, I was 12 years old, and for a brand new PowerBook 3400c/240, you'd get exactly $5 change out of $10,000. Yep, thats right - the list price for the 3400c/240 here was $9,995. Almost as much as my car! I actually saw one at a trade show back in the day...and I could see what all the fuss was about. Beautiful machine. 15 years on, I still don't have my 3400, but I did end up getting a 1400 back in the day (which I still have today), which is just as good in some ways, and better in others. :)

25th May 2012, 01:14 PM
I have the 1400cs, an iBook G4 (Dead soldier joint issue) and my Macbook.

25th May 2012, 03:52 PM
Wonder if gregh will pop his head in here? I believe he has ALL of the PowerBook 100 series. Possibly one of the biggest PowerBook collectors I know of (if not THE biggest)??

14th August 2012, 06:49 PM
This'll probably go into the 'post your mac gear' section eventually... but I think I have a two 100s (not working), three 150s (not working) a 170, 140 or 145B (I don't remember), a 180 and a 180c, a Lombard with a broken keyboard and a non-functioning Pismo without a Keyboard, a Wallstreet and a 1400cs. I also have a Duo 230 that I hacked together from spare parts. And an eMate 300, but that really counts as a Newton, doesn't it? Speaking of Newtons, I've got a MP120.

It's funny - writing that out comes to sixteen machines, but it feels like the collection is so empty... a bit worrying! Perhaps the lack of Duos, 500 series, and pre-G3 PPC Powerbooks. I'd love one of the fruity iBooks too... should have bought one when I had the chance at swapmeets. Here's a tip - collecting Macs can be dangerously addictive. I stopped whilst I finished high school a couple of years ago and lost interest temporarily, but seeing as I obtained an almost literal tonne of gear over the weekend and travelled 500 kilometers to do so, it's a habit that dies hard.

1st October 2012, 03:04 AM
Any guess what a Powerbook 3400c in excellent condition with all cords (power, ........) might be worth?
Just curious.

1st October 2012, 10:06 AM
Well, depends on who you're selling it to, but the number that popped into my head was about $100

1st October 2012, 01:05 PM
I said upwards of $50 so I was a bit off.....

1st October 2012, 01:58 PM
Well it does have antique value, but I paid $50 for a tanked up dual processor G4 Powermac last year.

1st October 2012, 10:08 PM
Come to think of it, $50 is more reasonable, more if you found a pretty 'dedicated' collector.

1st October 2012, 10:45 PM
That was my thinking. Some collectors like an easy package with everything in pristine, working condition. I scored my 1400cs for $20 as it did not include a power adaptor and th had drive was dead which meant I had to work on it, but that is what I like to do with vintage machines :D

2nd October 2012, 04:14 AM
It's nice to boot up my older Macs (I have 3) and check out just how fast a much simpler OS can be.

Although I haven't got the Dual G4 back to running OS 9.21, which I just got hold of the other day.

Have been having trouble getting the extra hard drives I fished out of another G4 to work on the card as well. I was hoping to get at least 4 drives working in it. One I'd dedicate to BeOS. Which by the way is being revived as Haiku OS on modern Intel PCs and Macs.

2nd October 2012, 08:47 AM
Os9 on my sawtooth g4 flys! I am also going to be putting os9 back onto my mirror drive door dual 887mhz g4, it was originally on it when I got the machine, I erased it not realising it was a special version of os9.

2nd October 2012, 10:06 AM
What exactly is the latest Mac that you can run native OS9 on?

I have a series of applications that really were ideal on the older OS.

I can't understand why we had to lose so much that was good, just to go to UNIX.

2nd October 2012, 10:26 AM
The newest Mac that you can run OS 9 on natively is the single processor 1.25 Ghz MDD G4, which Apple was selling up until sometime in 2004 purely because of its ability to run OS 9 nateively.

In regards to MDD G4s, the basic rule is, if it has a FW800 port on it, its OS X only. If it doesn't have a FW800 port, it'll run OS 9.

2nd October 2012, 10:54 AM
I'll keep an eye out for one of those then. :)

2nd October 2012, 09:14 PM
Hoping to get at least 4 drives working in it. One I'd dedicate to BeOS.

Does BeOS run on G4s? I thought BeOS only ran on 603s and 603s with certain G3 upgrade cards? I'd like to set up a BeBox. Be was really Apples sister company and for a time, Apple thought about buying Be and using BeOS for the base of their next operating system before they bought Next. I'd also like to get an Amiga box running one day as well though.

2 things for the bucket list. I wonder whether you could run a TAM on BeOS hmm....

2nd October 2012, 09:41 PM
Apple only briefly considered BeOS. It was too immature and Jean-Louis Gassee wanted too much for it. Shame.

You are right, from memory Apple pulled the plug on BeOS running on G4s (wouldn't release the motherboard specs), which was when BeOS moved to PCs. It was a fun and very efficient OS.

Haiku (https://www.haiku-os.org/) is the modern revival running on contemporary Intel computers.

Commodores and Amigas are being revived as well. All very nostalgic rather than practical.

3rd October 2012, 01:13 AM
It just brings me back to when I first started using computers, my music teacher used to run a high end Amiga system at the time, we also had a room full of Colour Classics from the Coles voucher thing that was going on at the time. An acquaintance numerous years later was well into BeOs and had a BeBox but it wasn't working. It would really be more nostalgia value than anything else which is why I keep a G5 running even though I know I could do much better.

I've had a bit of a look at Haiku over the years but its always seemed a bit immature in terms of development and now the only intel based machine I own is my MacBook.

3rd October 2012, 09:33 AM
I've always been tempted to try BeOS (I think it's best on 7300+ and 6400+ Macs), but there isn't much software to try on it, when OS 9 still has a slew of cool stuff available. Still, it looks cool.

3rd October 2012, 10:26 AM
You could say the same about Ubuntu, except not quite so restricted.

Still they are fun to play with and compare. Can't beat the price and installing/using them is not so hard.

3rd October 2012, 01:33 PM
Yeah, that's another one I must try out - the PPC build of Ubuntu. I suspect though that on pre G3 (and G3 hardware too, I suspect), it's not that flash, otherwise everyone would be using it on older PPC Macs, making it a lot more up-to-date than running an old version of OS 9/X on them.

I've had dreams of trying it out on my TAM, but am put off by the supposed difficulties (and killing of machine!) installing OS X onto it.


3rd October 2012, 01:47 PM
The biggest problem with Linux really is video card drivers, I ran Debian for a while on my Xserve and then gave up... The Open Source drivers are a bit like poking around in the dark without a torch. Neither ATi or Nvidia have ever released the source for their drivers so the drivers that are available are reverse engineered, it means they're far less capable than the OS 9, or OS X drivers and make the interface painful to use. I also ran the Ubuntu live CD but Unity on my G5 is like a slideshow. I guess that's what happens when you run a modern 3D desktop interface on a machine that was built before such things even existed.

The bonus of running Linux is really the fact that you can run modern software on it, modern browsers that are compliant with HTML5, the current version of Firefox and a decent range of media players like VLC, office software like Open Office and Linux runs on old hardware like pre G3 PowerMacs. You can try a lighter distro like Minit PPC that runs LXDE, its a fair bit lighter than Gnome or Unity. It's built off Debian as well so you can use the Software Centre or Synaptic. Debian based distros are really quite simple to use, not as easy a Mac but still a great OS if you must have current software on your older Macs.

11th December 2012, 02:22 AM
I recall having the Powerbook 3400/200. It was seriously fast compared to the PB5300 I'd been using before that. Key issue though was heat- mine in particular crashed regularly due to overheating. Might have been the fact that I'd been using it on a bed rather than a table as the vents from recollection were on the rear under the screen hinge. Forerunner to the Kanga, then replaced by the mainstreet, wallstreet and PDQ.