Apple Powerbook 5300/100mHz Laptop

apple powerbook 5300 grayscaleThe least desirable of the Powerbook 5300 lineup, the 5300 offered the lowest specifications of the entire range.  Released alongside the 5300cs/100, Powerbook 5300c/100 and Powerbook 5300ce/117, it was a member of a family of Powerbooks that would last all of 1 year and 3 days.

Developed as a replacement to the much loved Powerbook 500 range, it fell considerably short of the mark, as did the Powerbook 190, released alongside it.  However, whilst being plagued with issues, the laptop incorporated new and previously unseen features.

The Powerbook 5300 was the first to feature hot-swappable expansion modules for a variety of different units such as ZIP drives; PC card slots were included as standard; and an infrared communication port allowed for “wireless” printing and comms. In common with most preceding Macintosh portables, SCSI, Serial, and ADB ports were available as standard. An internal expansion slot was also available for installing a variety of modules including Ethernet and video cards to drive a second monitor in mirroring or dual-screen modes.


The Apple Macintosh PowerBook 5300/100 features a 100 MHz RISC based PowerPC 603e processor.

Memory:Powerbook 5300 memory location

The Powerbook 5300/100 is supplied with  8MB  of soldered RAM. It’s motherboard includes a single memory slot that accepts a  single 70 ns DRAM card specific to the PowerBook 5300 series. The powerbook supports up to 64 MB including the motherboard RAM. However, users found that the only freely available upgrade card for the Powerbooks memory was 48MB, meaning that the laptop was limited in effect to 56MB RAM as opposed to the 64MB specified.

The memory card slot for the Powerbook 5300 is located to the location shown in the image above.  In order to access the slot, remove the battery and floppy drive module followed by the keyboard.


The Powerbook is supplied as standard with a 500MB IDE hard drive.  The ATA/IDE interface makes it possible for users to upgrade the storage capacity with industry standard hard drives, something previously unheard of. A single 1.44MB floppy drive was incorporated in the Powerbook.

Video & Graphics:

Enclosed in a black portable case, the Powerbook was fitted with a 9.5″ grayscale dual-scan display. It offers a resolution of 640×480 and is fitted with 512K of VRAM with the option to upgrade to 1MB with the addition of a seperate video card.  The built-in display of the PowerBook 5300/100 supports 4-bit grayscale (16 greys), and also can support up-to 16-bit color on an external monitor with the addition of a video card.


A Single serial port can be used with either a serial printer or modem. It also has IrDA capability. A Mini-15 port is available with the optional video card upgrade, an ADB port and HDI-30 SCSI port and included and Sound input is via either the built in microphone or a stereo line-in port.  Stereo sound output is supported via the 3.5mm output jack.

Powerbook 5300 ports

PC Card Slots:

The PC Card Slots accepted all three types of cards.  These consisted of:  Type 1 Cards (3mm thick), Type II cards (5mm thick) and Type III cards (10.5mm thick).  However, while Types I and II would fit in the top slot, Type III cards fit only the lower slot and take up both slots when fitted.

Known Issues:

The PowerBook 5300 series was originally plagued by battery problems, but after “reworking” by Apple, the 5300 series generally performs well. However, issues extended beyond battery life to include a key issue with the power jack, which was found to work loose over time from the mainboard that it was soldered directly to. Users resolved this issue by re-working the solder and glueing the power jack directly to the PCB, extending the life-expectancy of this laptop.

The screen hinges were also known to fail under use, which hampered Apple with repairs.  Apple had a lot of quality control issues with the 5300 series and issued a warranty extension for problems relating to the faulty screen hinge or the motherboard, which extended the warranty by up to 4 years.

Introduction Date: August 28, 1995 Discontinued Date: August 1, 1996
Processor Speed: 100 MHz Processor Type: PowerPC 603e
Processor Upgrade: Soldered FPU: Integrated
System Bus Speed: 33.3 MHz Cache Bus Speed: N/A
ROM/Firmware Type: Macintosh ROM ROM/Firmware Size: 4 MB
L1 Cache: 32k L2 Cache: N/A
RAM Type: DRAM Card Min. RAM Speed: 70 ns
Standard RAM: 8 MB Maximum RAM: 64 MB
Motherboard RAM: 8 MB RAM Slots: 1
Video Card: Dedicated VRAM Type: Onboard
Standard VRAM: 512k Maximum VRAM: 1 MB*
Built-in Display: 9.5″ Grayscale Native Resolution: 640×480
Standard Hard Drive: 500 MB Int. HD Interface: IDE
Standard Optical: None Standard Disk: 1.44 MB* (Manual)
Standard Modem: 28.8k (Optional) Standard Ethernet: None
Expansion Slots: 2 Type II PC Card Expansion Bays: None
Case Type: Notebook Form Factor: PowerBook 5300
Apple Order No: M3135LL/A Apple Subfamily: PowerBook 5300
Details: N/A
Apple Model No: M2785 Gestalt ID: 128
Battery Type: NiMH Battery Life: 2.5-4.5 Hours
Original Mac OS: 7.5.2 Supported Mac OS: 7.5.2-9.1
Dimensions: 2.0 x 11.5 x 8.5 Avg. Weight: 5.9 lbs (2.7 kg)