Rare Macs: The PowerBook 550c. Description, specifications, and picture gallery

One of the rarest Apple Macintosh computers is the PowerBook 550c. Introduced in May 1995 a year after the PowerBook 540c, the 550c was sold only in Japan. It’s case was black, rather than the gray color seen on other PowerBook 5xx models and featured an active matrix, 640×480, 10.4″ color display which was a full 1″ larger than a 540c display.

The PowerBook 550c came with a Japanese keyboard layout, minimum 12mb RAM, and larger 750mb hard drive. With its attached FPU, the CPU was a regular 33MHz 68040 PowerPC chip that was almost twice as fast as the 540 68LC040 CPUs in mathematical calculations and graphics.

The PowerBook 550c is very rare today, and working models are very hard to find. Every now and then a 550c will pop up on a classifieds board or eBay, sometimes fetching thousands of dollars. They’re now an investment and will increase in value as time passes.

The pictures below are copyright MacPrices.net and may only be used with permission.

PowerBook 550c, left. PowerBook 540c, right
PowerBook 550c, left. PowerBook 540c, right

Ports: 1 serial, ADB, audio out, audio in, video out, Ethernet, internal modem, 1 PDS slot, HDI-30 SCSI

Display: Active-matrix 1000s colors, 10.4", 640×480 resolution,

Weight: 7.3 pounds +

Apple’s Specifications:

Logic Board Ports Power
Processor: 68040, 66 MHz
PMMU: integrated
FPU: none
Data Path: 32-bit, 33 MHz
L1 Cache: 8K
L2 Cache: none
2nd Processor: none
Slots: modem
ADB: 1
Video: mini-15
Floppy: none
Geoports: none
Ethernet: AAUI-15
Mic Type: Line in
Other Ports: Printer, Speaker,
Max Watts: 40
Amps: 1.0/1.5
BTU per Hr: 136.8
Voltage: 100-240
Freq Range: 50-60 Hz
Battery Type: PB500, NiMH
Soft Power: yes
Memory Video Memory
Logic Board: 4 MB
RAM Slots: 1, PB5xx
Min – Max RAM: 12 MB – 36 MB
Min RAM Speed: 70 ns
RAM Sizes: 4, 8, 12, 20, 32 MB
Install in Groups of: 1
Resolution Video Memory
built-in LCD screen
(built in)
Video Memory
512K VRAM (ext. only)
(built in)
512 x 384 n/a-bit 8-bit
640 x 400 16-bit n/a-bit
640 x 480 8-bit 8-bit
800 x 600 n/a-bit 8-bit
832 x 624 n/a-bit 8-bit
1024 x 768 n/a-bit n/a-bit
1152 x 870 n/a-bit n/a-bit
1280 x 1024 n/a-bit n/a-bit
Physical Software Storage
Introduced: 5/30/1995
Discontinued: n/a
Form Factor: PowerBook 520
Gestalt ID: 72
Weight (lbs): 6.8
Dimensions (in): 2.3 H x 11.5 W x 9.7 D
Addressing Modes: 32-bit
Orig SSW: J-7.5
Orig Enabler: PowerBook 550c Enabler
ROM ID: $067C
ROM Ver: $30
ROM Size: 2MB
AppleTalk Ver: 58.1.3
Mac OS
Floppy Size: 1.44MB
Floppy Inject: manual
Min. Int HD Size: 750MB
Int HD Interface: SCSI
Orig CD Speed n/a
Int CD Support:

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