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by Steve Siercks, Jordan Streiff, & Chris Rogers
computer news with the teen perspective

Older Powerbooks: Going Portable On An iTeen Budget
by Jordan Streiff
February 18th, 2000

Woohoo!!! Yesss!!! Celebrate!!! The New iBook Special Edition was released! Ahhh!!! Damn!!! &@$#*!!! This time I'm only $1600 short!!! However, that two hundred odd dollars you've got saved up in the bank can still take you pretty far in laptop land if you know what to look for.

With the release of the new PowerBook G3 and iBook SE, Apple is once again going full speed into the laptop realm. In fact, in recent months, the iBook has been the best selling portable computer several times. However, these marvels of modern technology (a.k.a. translucent plastic) mean nothing to most people unless they can actually get their hands on one, and for many people this is entirely out of the question. But wait: only a couple rungs down the ladder there is another option. Did you know you can now buy a color Powerbook for little over a hundred dollars? That's right - US$100.

Because of Apple's recent releases, older Powerbook prices should be driven down even lower. So if you're willing to sacrifice a couple hundred megahertz, a couple dozen megs of RAM, and a couple hours of batter life, then you're set. You're not exactly getting the top of the line, but you'll have a portable machine that you can play simple 256 color games on and do word processing on-the-go.

So, what model am I specifically talking about? The PowerBook 165c that just arrived for me in the mail today! $115 off of eBay. Works great, nice little monitor, and it holds a good charge. Not bad for only a couple months work. This is the cheapest color PowerBook you will get.

What other cheap models are there? The next step up the ladder is the 500 series. These are more expandable, have more memory, and are slightly faster. You can find the specs for this and many more Macs at However, their prices are sometimes off a little; you can probably find them for much cheaper while browsing an auction site. Take the normal precautions when bidding; be sure to read everything carefully, and ask questions before you bid. Probably the most common thing that will happen is that it will ship with a bad battery.

If you are looking for a color laptop and you have the money, then you should probably go with a PowerBook 520 or a 540. I recommend going with these because of their expandibility. Then when you have a another spare hundred dollars, you'll be able to find a cheap PowerPC upgrade, and it will run like it's new.

Well that's about it for now. Come back next week for a look at some of the stuff you can do with lower end systems (including powerbooks) which are often forgotten. So until I'm making 40 G's a year and can afford a new iBook, I'm stuck with this baby right here, and lovin' it.


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Offering computer news with the teen perspectiv, iTeen Online started with a weekly column at under the supervision of Robert Aldridge. When they realized that there was a huge demand for teen computer news, iTeen Online was born. iTeen Online posted daily, original content that anyone (including adults) could read. Hits soared and iTeen Online became the number one source for teen computer news.

Now iTeen Online has once again became iTeen. At The Mac Observer the iTeem will produce a weekly article that will air on Thursdays at In addition to the weekly article, the iTeem will give you the same reviews and content that you're used to at

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