Macintosh PowerBook 170

Introduced: October 1991
Terminated: October 1992


Running a Motorola 68030 processor at speeds of 25MHz, the Macintosh PowerBook 170 was the fastest of the new PowerBook line.  It came with a 40 or 80MB hard drive and a 1.44MB internal floppy drive.  The 2MB of RAM could be expanded to 8MB. 

Unique to the Macintosh PowerBook 170 was the 10” active matrix LCD.  It was only black and white as opposed to the grayscale possible on the passive matrix screens, but it was much better to look at.  It had a resolution of 640 x 400. 

The Macintosh PowerBook 170 had built-in sound capabilities, a slot for a modem card and a NiCad battery.


Released as the high-end of the new PowerBook line, the Macintosh PowerBook 170 had all of the features that were possible at that time.  With a retail price of $4,600, features like the active matrix screen were not coming cheap.


Processor: Motorola 68030
Processor Speed: 25 MHz
Coprocessor: Motorola 68882 FPU
Cache: 0.5k L1
System Bus: 25 MHz
Hard Drive: 40 or 80 MB
Media: 1.44 MB floppy
Weight and Dimensions (US): 6.8 lbs., 2.25” H x 11.25” W x 9.3” D
Weight and Dimensions (Metric): 3.1 kg, 5.7 cm H x 28.6 cm W x 23.6 cm D
Original Mac OS: System 7.0.1
Maximum Mac OS: Mac OS 7.6.1
Firmware: Macintosh ROM
Logicboard RAM: 2 MB
Maximum RAM: 8 MB
Type of RAM Slots: 1 - PowerBook 1xx (70-pin connector)
Minimum RAM Speed: 100 ns
Interleaving Support: No
Graphics Card: None
Graphics Memory: None
Built-in Display: 10” transreflective active matrix LCD
Resolutions: 640 x 400
Display Connection: None
Expansion Slots: Internal 20-pin connector for 2400-baud modem card
Expansion Bays:—
Hard Drive Bus: 30-pin SCSI
Backup Battery:—
Power Adapter:—
System Battery: 2.5 ampere-hour NiCad
Max Watts: 17 W
Ethernet: None
Infrared: None
Modem: Internal 2400-bps
ADB: 1
Serial: 2
USB: None
FireWire: None
Audio In: 1 - 3.5-mm analog input jack, 1- Built-in microphone
Audio Out: 1 - 3.5-mm analog output jack, Built-in speaker


The Macintosh PowerBook 170 was introduced in October of 1991 along with the rest of the new PowerBook line.  It was discontinued a year later to make way for new models.



  • Though the PowerBook 100 is the direct descendant of the Macintosh Portable based on its internal architecture, the 170 is the Portable’s direct successor. A no-compromise, portable version of the desktop Macintosh, the 170 includes virtually all of the features incorporated in the original Portable, as on a comparable desktop of the day, but in a smaller and sleeker case design. -Any Lab Test Now Franchise

    Ana had this to say on Sep 22, 2011 Posts: 76
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