Black Box

The Low-End Mac Portable Gaming Page

Why do I think powerbook 1400 is a best buy Mac portable?

There is no universal answer on a question like 'what is a best-buy' - all depends on your personal needs and financial capabilities. When I was buying my portable, I could afford either a new iBook, or something secondhand. I never seriously considered anything pre-1400. If a portable is supposed to provide you some minimum range of entertainment, it needs positively a CD-ROM. Yes, you can use external SCSI CD drive with 5300 and 68k powerbooks, but this kind of system can hardly be called 'portable'.

I was also considering some high-endian system designed to replace the desktops. After all, for the price of my new iMac and a second hand 1400 combined I could have at least a decent version of Wallstreet G3. But finally I judged that it is better to have a 5.000 zlotys system safe at home and travel with a 3.000 zlotys system in your suitcase, rather than travel with 8.000 zlotys system. Having two computers instead of just one increases safety of my data - all that I write on desktop is backed on portable, and vice-versa.

For an iMac owner, a low-end portable is also a valuable add-on due to compatibility with some legacy peripherals. I don't need a floppy drive for my iMac (well, anyway, who needs this obsolete technology?), I can simply use the floppy drive of my Black Box, connected to iMac via Ethernet. The same applies to SCSI, ADB, serial and other no longer supported standards. In general, I'm very happy with my iMac -1400 Ethernet connected combo and I would never exchange it for a single computer.

To cut a long story short, here are the answers to most of the 'why 1400 questions':

Q: Why not 68k models?
A: No new games support this CPU. It had its days of glory, well - but they're gone now.

Q: Why not 5300?
A: No internal CD. Inferior 640*480 resolution (1400 offers 800*600). 5300 has also a bad reputation due to early reliability problems, whereas 1400 are generally considered to be rock-solid.

Q: Why not 2400?
A: It's smaller, but not as ergonomical as 1400. There is some bottom limit of how small a keyboard can be before it turns annoying, and 2400 is dangerously close to this limit.

Q: Why not 3400?
A: It's faster, but also larger and heavier.

Q: Why not an iBook?
A: To be honest, I am right now drooling at the photos and dimensions of the new (may 2001) iBooks. The old ones are too big and clumsy, but the new ones... if you can afford, go for it, man.

Q: Why not a Wintel?
A: Because Wintel suck. It is especially clear on the portable market.

Q: 1400? 5300? 3400? What are all those numbers?

Read here what exactly is 1400 (more than 5300, less than 3400, in brief ;-)).

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