And so another PowerBook came into the collection, this time in the form of the 170. I already owned a 180 and from the outside, the 170 looked to be very much more of the same - same grey case, same chunky form factor etc. There are differences though as the 170 sports only a brightness control rather than brightness and contrast. It's hardly earth shattering but these things do get noticed.
The machine was in pretty good condition until I started opening the screen and then it became pretty obvious that its previous owner had been slightly less than gentle with it. With the plastics bending at a very unhealthy angle, out came the screwdrivers and off came the case - not good. The four fixings that should hold the screen in place were still there but two of them (both on one side naturally) had sheered clean off. A dab of superglue here and a lot of preying there and everything seemed to hold in place but I don't think this thing'll be getting too much use. This may also have been the reason behind the second 'problem' - a corrupted display. The screen, while all fine and dandy one minute, would break up and corrupt the next. Having stripped it down and fixed the hinge it hasn't come back - reseating the connector between the upper half of the case and the lower half of the case obviously did the trick.
Spec wise the 170 is a little underpowered and its measly 4Mb RAM might not be the absolute bare minimum but it certainly didn't leave much free space once we'd booted (which it did, first time). Elsewhere the 40Mb hard drive seemed in good shape and came filled with all sorts of rubbish (although PhotoShop 3 is always a plus). On the back though there was a dandy little internal modem fitted and this may require some further investigation if I ever get the time and inclination.
Physically the 170 is a solid little machine but it sadly shows its age. Performance is pedestrian and it just doesn't have the expansion possibilities that could bring it anywhere near up to useful. For the occasional blast of simple word processing it's fine but beyond that... I think this is another one that'll end up gathering dust on the shelf.