Mac geeks, help! Lombard 400mhz or iBook clamshell?

I don’t know which is the bigger lemon, the Powerbook Lombard G3 400MHz with DVD drive or the iBook Clamshell G3 300MHz with no DVD.

What do you think? Do you have an opinion on either? All thoughts on the matter will be greatly appreciated. The eBay auction ends in 2 hours …

Sorry, it just occured to me this isn’t really a direct question but more of a poll in my search for information.


Not much expandability on that iBook. With the Lombard you can drop in a FireWire card, swap out the daughtercard for a G4, and it’s not a half-bad computer. Frontside bus is a bit poky though (I believe the older WallStreet, at least at certain MHz ratings, is faster with the same accelerator daughtercard).

Wouldn’t really nominate either of them as lemon models. You want some seriously Sunkist Applemons in the PowerBook line, go for the 603e models that preceded the G3. The iBook line gets more leeway (those little suckers were fairly cheap and didn’t pretend to be more than they were), I wouldn’t bid much on one but they were OK for what they were in their time. But stretching a definitional point a bit, there was that awful clamshell-thing, iMate or eMate or some such thing, all the ungainly heft of a clamshell iBook but the processor and OS of a PDA, and very citrusy IMHO.

If one were to purchase a Mac laptop of sometype as cheap as possible with a wireless card but intended mainly for use reading mail and wrtiting text, what would be a good choice? (Seems to be what the OP is asking, and I was about to start an OP on it.) Expandability not important.

Oh, sure, ride on my coattails. :wink:

I think I’m going for the Lombard, unless someone says something horrible about it.

If you want a wireless card, you’ll need a CardBus slot (newer PowerBooks have AirPort built in but you pay more for a newer used PowerBook). Not all PCMCIA card slots are CardBus compliant.

You could probably score a WallStreet PowerBook for ~ $300.

That’s a lot of computer, you can run the very latest MacOS on it if you’re willing to kludge around a little and maybe upgrade the HW here and there.

It will certainly run run MacOS 9 (and do wireless networking, using a CardBus card), run Eudora or Outlook, run Word 98 or AppleWorks or Nisus Writer, not to mention BBEdit.

That Lombard is a nice buy for the price but you’ll need to add RAM.

That auction just ended at $235, but the seller wouldn’t answer my emails, so I didn’t bid. There are plenty more where that came from.

Yup, I looked into the RAM cost. It’s only about $49. My concern, after reading a million Mac forums, is that the 400MHz Lombard with memory over 384 (3 hundred something) has some trouble running Panther–lots of crashing, apparently.

I haven’t heard much about Wallstreet, but isn’t it an older computer? But it’s more upgradable, you say?

I definitely want OSX–Panther, preferably–, but I would like to be able to run Photoshop on it, and I think that requires 9x, doesn’t it?

Photoshop 7 is an OS X native program. Aside from which you’d be able to run most OS 9 programs under OS X using the Classic environment.

I’m running a WallStreet, upgraded to 500 MHz G4, 512 MB RAM, and dual 60 gig 7200 Hitachi hard drives. All of those upgrades are still available. The WallStreet doesn’t have USB but it has two CardBus card slots instead of one, so for the price of a USB card you break even there. The WallStreet theoretically will not run Panther or Tiger but in practice does fine with either of them, you just have to use a program called XPostFacto to install; once the OS is installed it works fine.

A otherwise non-upgraded, stock WallStreet stuffed with RAM can range from a good and sufficient machine (300 MHz, 14 inch screen) to considerably less than (233 MHz with no Level II cache, 12 inch very bad screen).

Processor-wise, the question of whether or not you’re going to sink money into an upgrade card (used or new) makes a difference: if you’re planning on springing for the Sonnet upgrade card, you want the fastest frontside bus speed. The 250 and 292 MHz models run faster than all the others, at 83 MHz instead of 66, so with an upgrade card a 250 is going to make a faster computer than a 300. If you’re going to run it as-is, of course, you want the faster processor.

Screenwise, stick to the 14" models.

I’m running an old clamshell-- I dearly love it and it takes airport cards, but I don’t know if I’d run OS X AND Photoshop on it. It’s doing fine with 10.2.6 or so, but we’re pushing it. But I don’t know if a Lombard would do much better. But I’ll keep this guy, stripped down and running the basics, until I run it into the ground.

I had a Lombard that I bought new in 1999, and sold it at the beginning of 2004 when I replaced it with an AlBook. Other than being slow compared to my QuickSilver (which is now slow compared to the Developer Intel Macs), it was a super, excellent, completely awesome computer, and I never had a problem with it. Granted it only had Jaguar 10.2 or Panther 10.3 on it. VLC worked reasonably well for playing DVD’s, because it won’t support the Mac OS DVD Player – the computer is too slow, says Apple. Yeah, even having a built-in DVD drive, and even when VLC works fast enough. The thing is, under System 9 and 8, the DVD Player used the built-in hardware decoder which Apple didn’t implement in Mac OS X for some reason. Oh well.

I miss the cleanliness of the Lombard, too. My AlBook seems to collect highly noticeable grime without any effort on my part.

I’m currently using a 400 MHz Lombard (also referred to as the PowerBook with the bronze keyboard) with 384 MB RAM, running OS 10.3.9. I have no trouble running Adobe Illustrator CS, InDesign CS, and Photoshop CS, although admittedly they are a tad slower to start up and open/save large files than on my Digital Audio G4 (which is dual 533 MHz and has 640 MB RAM). Upgrading to 10.3.9 introduced some funkiness in Safari despite the Java patch that came out afterwards (I sometimes get the spinning wheel for no apparent reason) and I have to periodically restart to free up memory, but otherwise I have zero problems.

The hard drive is a little small at 6 GB, but since this laptop has a FireWire port I just picked up a 60GB FireLite drive, which makes it a lot easier to switch back and forth between using laptop and desktop anyway (no syncing of files necessary unless I want to do it). Also, to handle wireless networking I got a Belkin 54g card that works great (Belkin seems like the only third-party manufacturer that truly does Mac compatibility right).

If you spot another Lombard at a good price, I would say go for it.

Great! Thanks all for the advice!

A couple websites to check out/bookmark

Low End Mac

Accelerate your Mac

The Lombard has a couple things going for it, and some disadvantages. It’s physically smaller and lighter than a Wallstreet. They’re often much cheaper than the Pismos. But you may find it costs quite a bit to bring the hardware up to modern specs. Apple hardware is just plain expensive- it’s a smaller market and users are very dedicated.

As far as an eBay purchase, I would say if you can deal with the machine as-sold, go for it - but if you plan on upgrading, especially with a bigger HD and more RAM (64MB is insufficient if you plan on running recent OS versions), a more expensive Pismo may be a better buy. With old Apple laptops, it often works out better to let the seller take the hit on depreciation of the upgrades rather than trying to buy a cheaper machine and piece together what you need. Just buying a new battery, HD, firewire card, and RAM is going to put you in used Pismo territory.

It’s not that a Lombard is a bad machine, it just has its limitations. In fact, a Wallstreet can be a good choice under certain circumstances. If you can live with them, all the better. It’s just that for modern stuff a $400 used Pismo is generally a better machine than a $200 Lombard with $200 of upgrades.

Wow, thanks for all the great responses. I spent most of the day learning about the Pismo, and it does seem like I’d get more for my money with a Pismo than a Lombard, though I did want something light.

I intend to use it as a laptop. I have an iMac desktop for a home base, but I find I’m not using it much anymore because it needs an upgrade. I’d rather just make my full-time computer the laptop, and use the other for storage. I haven’t quite worked out all the details.

I have Photoshop 5.5 and other apps that run great on 9.x, and I’d like to continue using those on my new Pismo (or Lombard). Do all Pismos and Lombards have the capacity to run 9.x and OSX? And, do they run those platforms simultaneously or must they be run one at a time?

I was worried about “Pink Pismos” but they seem to be the exception more than the rule. I also heard the game graphics aren’t as good on a Pismo as on a Lombard; is that true?

I love the way the clamshell looks, but I don’t think it would be practical for my needs. And I checked out the Wallstreet, but it’s just not for me.

I did consider buying a broken one and trying to fix it, cuz I thought I’d learn a bit about Powerbooks in the process, but I’m not sure I want to find out the hard way that I can’t put the pieces together.

Ah, too many choices …