Dan Knight - 1999.04.13
Second Class Macs are Apple's somewhat compromised hardware designs. For the most part, they're not really bad - simply designs that didn't meet their full potential. (On our rating scale, the more brown apples, the worse the hardware.)
The PowerBook 1400 was available in several different configurations, including two screens (dual-scan and active matrix) and three processor speeds (117, 133, and 166 MHz). Only the 117 MHz version merits a Road Apple rating, and then only because Apple left out the Level 2 cache.
How much the L2 cache helps a computer depends on three factors: how fast the logic board memory path is, how fast the processor is, and how large the processor's cache is. For PowerMacs, a 256 KB L2 cache usually provides 30% more speed, with 512 KB bumping that to about 65%, and a 1 MB cache roughly doubling cacheless performance vs. a cacheless design.
The 1400/117 was already 13-14% slower than the 1400/133 based simply on CPU speed. Add in the L2 cache on the 133 MHz model, and it was 25-30% faster overall.
On the other hand, using a slower CPU and leaving out the cache did let Apple sell the 1400/117 for less than would have been possible otherwise, so we shouldn't be too hard on it.
In fact, if you install a processor upgrade (such as the Sonnet G3/333 with 512 MB cache), you gain a level 2 cache and remove the Road Apple stigma from the 1400/117.
- introduced 1996.10.01; discontinued 1997.07.14
- requires System 7.5.3 (with PowerBook 1400 Enabler) or later, but not 7.5.5
- CPU: 117 MHz PPC 603e
- ROM: 4 MB
- RAM: 12 or 16 MB, expandable to 64 MB
- Level 2 cache: not on 117 MHz model
- VRAM: 1 MB
- display: 11.3" 16-bit 800 x 600 color dual-scan or active matrix
- hard drive: 750 MB
- CD-ROM: 6x (removable)
- ADB: 1 port for keyboard and mouse
- serial: 1 DIN-8 RS-422 port on back of computer
- SCSI: HDI30 connector on back of computer
- PC Card slots: two
- size: 11.5 x 9.0 x 2.0"
- weight: 6.6-7.0 pounds with battery
Links for the Day
- Mac of the Day: Mac Plus, introduced 1986.01.16. The first Mac with SCSI, memory expansion, an 800K floppy. Longest model life - over 4 years.
- Support Low End Mac
Low End Mac Reader Specials
Cult of Mac
Shrine of Apple
The Mac Observer
Accelerate Your Mac
The Vintage Mac Museum
Mac Driver Museum
System 6 Heaven
System 7 Today
the pickle's Low-End Mac FAQ