PowerBook Buyer's Guide

PowerBook Duo 280c

by Steve Hildreth

The Duo 280-series were the first, and only, 68040-powered Duos. Outwardly similar in appearance to the 270c, they included a PowerPC-upgradable motherboard, more memory and hard drive, a Type III battery, and an optional 14.4k modem. The PDS slot handled all docking options and the external floppy drive. The 280c included a nice 8.4 inch active-matrix display that is pleasant to work with, but only for short periods of time. The small size dictates that you'll be docked while at home and using an external monitor. On the road though, the color screen is a nice alternative to a grayscale display. The 280c included all the other features of the 270c including a marble-sized trackball and smaller keyboard. Due to their faster video circuitry, the 280's were slightly faster than their 500-series counterparts. A PowerPC-upgraded 280c is still a relatively powerful subnotebook and a nice alternative to the heavier 500-series for those who spend lots of time lugging a Kensington or Targus case through airports.

Although PowerPC upgrades are relatively plentiful for the 500-series PowerBooks, Duo upgrades are another matter entirely. According to one of our readers: "I just called Apple to see about the upgrade for the 280c, spoke to Michelle in the powerbook group and was redirected to Newer Technologies where Jason told me that they never upgraded 280c powerbooks and that while Apple had promised an upgrade (including a sticker on the face of some 280c machines) that few or none were ever produced and that the only upgrade is a motherboard swap to a 2300c. Jason also said that Apple was always passing customers off on third party vendors, just to get rid of the inquiry. He gave me the number for ICN and said they were doing some upgrades for the Duo line. As an aside, Jason indicated that any Duo could be upgraded in this way, not just the 280c." Apple, we love ya, but tsk tsk.


At the time: A-

1 serial
internal modem
processor direct slot (PDS) for dock or floppy drive

Active-matrix 1000s colors
640x480 resolution

4.8 pounds

Apple's Specifications:

Logic Board Ports Power
Processor: 68LC040, 66 MHz
PMMU: integrated
FPU: none
Data Path: 32-bit, 33 MHz
L1 Cache: 8K
L2 Cache: none
2nd Processor: none
Slots: modem, dock
ADB: none
Video: none
Floppy: none
SCSI: none
Geoports: none
Ethernet: none
Mic Type: none
Other Ports: Printer,
Max Watts: 36
Amps: 1.50
BTU per Hr: 123.12
Voltage: 100-240
Freq Range: 50-60 Hz
Battery Type: Duo, NiMH Type III
Soft Power: yes
Memory Video Memory
Logic Board: 4 MB
RAM Slots: 1, Duo
Min - Max RAM: 4 MB - 40 M B
Min RAM Speed: 70 ns
RAM Sizes: 4-36 MB
Install in Groups of: 1
Resolution Video Memory
built-in LCD screen
(built in)
512 x 384 n/a-bit
640 x 400 16-bit
640 x 480 8-bit
800 x 600 n/a-bit
832 x 624 n/a-bit
1024 x 768 n/a-bit
1152 x 870 n/a-bit
1280 x 1024 n/a-bit
Physical Software Storage
Introduced: 5/16/1994
Discontinued: 1/27/1996
Form Factor: PowerBook Duo
Gestalt ID: 103
Weight (lbs): 4.8
Dimensions (in): 1.5 H x 10.9 W x 8.5 D
Addressing Modes: 24-, 32-bit
Orig SSW: 7.1.1
Orig Enabler: PowerBook Duo Enabler v2.0
ROM ID: $067C
ROM Ver: n/a
ROM Size: 1MB
AppleTalk Ver: 57.0.4
Mac OS
Floppy Size: none
Floppy Inject: n/a
Min. Int HD Size: 320MB
Int HD Interface: SCSI
Orig CD Speed n/a
Int CD Support: