The PowerBook G3 (Wallstreet) is the first Apple laptop designed as a G3 computer, and the last to ship with a floppy disk drive (available only as an option). It is also the last Apple laptop to use the rainbow Apple logo. The Wallstreet changed the design of laptops with its 14.1" TFT - it is one of Apple's best designs.

The Wallstreet was Apple's second laptop to ship with a G3 processor - the first was based upon the PowerBook 3400.

The specs are nice:

  • processor: PowerPC 750 (G3)
    • 233 mhz (66 mhz system bus) (May 6, 1998 - May 10, 1999)
    • 250 mhz (83 mhz system bus) (May 6, 1998 - September 1, 1998)
    • 266 mhz (66 mhz system bus) (September 1, 1998 - May 10, 1999)
    • 292 mhz (83 mhz system bus) (May 6, 1998 - September 1, 1998)
    • 300 mhz (66 mhz system bus) (September 1, 1998 - May 10, 1999)
    • Processor is upgradable to G4 via daughtercard
  • 64 mb ram standard. Apple claims that this computer is only upgradable to 192 mb max, however I have uprgaded mine to 288 mb, using a 256 mb card in the top slot and a 32 mb card in the bottom one. I have read that it is possible to upgrade to 384 mb, using a low profile 128 mb card in the bottom slot, but I have not been able to find one at a reasonable price. The memory is on processor daughtercard
  • 2 gb ATA hard drive standard, larger drives available
  • displays
    • 12.1" STN
    • 13.3" TFT
    • 14.1" TFT (the only option on some higher end models)
  • 20x cdrom (via expansion bay, swappable with floppy drive)
  • 47 W/Hr Lithium Ion battery
  • 56k modem (custom card)
  • IRDA
  • standard on motherboard:
  • on separate board (which is important, as these tended to break)
  • other expansion bay options: (made by manufacturers other than Apple, unless noted otherwise)
    • DVD-ROM (made by Apple, with PCMCIA decoder card, region 1 only)
    • second battery (made by Apple and others)
    • 100 mb Zip drive
    • 250 mb Zip drive
    • 120 mb SuperDrive
    • 8x8x8x24 CDRW/DVD (MCE Xcarét Pro)(bootable)
    • various hard drives
  • supported OS: 8-8.6; 9-9.2.2; X

Apple Airport cards cannot be used, as the computer does not have a built in antenna. Farallon and Orinico 802.11b cards can be used instead.

Overall, it is a rather well equipped computer, though it does have some problems, both mechanical, and in design. The computer is a bit too heavy for some, at 7.8 pounds with the 14.1" TFT. The 2 gb standard hard drive is too small for most users. The mechanical issues are probably greater, at this point.

There are several main trouble points. The most common is the power board - either the headphone or power outlet become desoldered from the board. Often these are broken internally, as well, so they cannot simply be resoldered. The board, known as the sound board (not to be confused with the "T" power board) can be replaced with a used board for US$60-120. On the 14.1" TFT, the hinges tend to break - this can be detected by the failure of the screen to stay in one position when opened - it will either fall forwards or backwards. A new pair of hinges can cost $90-180 - expensive, yes, but such a gorgeous screen. At this point, the PRAM battery will need to be replaced - not too expensive, at $35-50, but a consideration.

Also annoying is the tendency for the computer to sleep using the pram battery, if the main battery is removed. Thus, you put the computer in sleep mode, remove the AC adapter, and suddenly, clock is reset. bah.

Taking into account the above issues, the PowerBook G3 (Wallstreet) is still one of the nicest laptops that Apple has made. Presently, a decently loaded one sells for about $650 - a better buy for the money than one of the new iBooks. The screen is a major selling point - I hardly used my desktop at all after getting mine, for this reason. This is the first real desktop replacing laptop that I have had the pleasure to use.

Update: May 11, 2003.

I've been considering upgrading to a PowerBook G4, but really have not been satisfied with the available choices. So I started looking at the potential upgrade path. Tis impressive. Very impressive.

  • G4/500 (manufactured by Sonnet)
  • 512mb ram (Sonnet G4 card supports 512 mb, up from max supported by G3 card of 384 mb)
  • 60 gb hard drive
  • 8x8x8x24 CDRW/DVD

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