Powerbook 5300 Prototype

So a friend sent me this Powerbook 5300 today. The LCD bezel is sort of off-white with silver lettering on the "PowerPC", but the rest is totally clear.

Clear Powerbook 5300

It is a 603 running at 100MHz, has a 500MB HDD, 1MB VRAM, and has 24MB of RAM (8MB on-board). It has a 10.4" dual-scan LCD with VGA-out.
The lcd only does 256 colors, but an external monitor will do thousands (below 800x600).

Anyway, it has an extra battery, a CRT adapter, and a power adapter (the connector is a little loose but it works fine)... and this thing is HEAVY.

Here are some more photos:

Clear Powerbook 5300 apple logo Clear Powerbook 5300 battery bay Clear Powerbook 5300 IR Clear Powerbook 5300 ports Clear Powerbook 5300 trackpad

Clear Powerbook 5300 PCMCIA Clear Powerbook 5300 Clear Powerbook 5300 palmrest Clear Powerbook 5300 bottom Clear Powerbook 5300 back

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westieg3's picture


how did you get the clear case for that and your lombard? i screwed up the case on my ibook g4 and i'm still looking for a good way to fix it. the thought of a clear case appeals to me, but i can never find ibook parts for the 14" models on ebay.

Ikahoshi's picture

Clear Case

If I am not mistaken, clear cases were often made for prototypes... which suggests that this is one, and why NaturGirl calls it that. That way the designers can have a quick look inside the thing without cracking it open, which would be all the time (as a prototype). It should also have some pretty interesting innards, given that it isn't really a production model.

You can't really find clear cases unless you take them off a prototype... which would be a crying shame, and a flogging offense in some circles Tongue .

As for making clear cases, unless you have some access to some fancy plastics manufacturing tools, or a pile of money to hire an outfit to do a one-off case, you're out of luck. Maybe epoxy resin could be used for small parts.

I would definately like to see some clear plastic cases, maybe given candy colors, like the original iMacs. Now that would be nice to see. Some strategically placed LED's perhaps? Wink Some of the new ones are pretty bright, some LED's with some fibre optical cable... might be interesting.

Ahh but that's a just pie-in-the-sky idea. ;D

Clear Powerbook Cases

A friend of mine spent a 18 months in Japan and saw quite a few clear cased Powerbooks... As discussed before, there are small companies in Japan and ?! that produce these parts for the public, although at a high cost... They are out there, but you have too look, and be semi-fluent in Japanese for these obscure finds...

westieg3's picture


that might just be right for me. anyone who uses panther can translate using the latest sherlock that came with it. i screwed my ibook g4 with goof off and the top is a mess. the fag at the apple store said id have to get a new screen for 700 bucks. i dont think so. anyway, ive alwayws wanted a clear case. that way i can put paper behind it and change the look as i please, as long as i have the tools to take out the screws in the case.

I need new friends...

Specifically friends who send me awesome prototype macs. Another super cool laptop from NaturGirl. Is this one also going on the eBay auction block? Sad

just a thought...

if you were really dedicated you could maybe mold/cast a clear case from your regular p'book parts.

my cousin is in the custom car stereo industry and he pours something he calls liquid acrylic (like plexiglass) to make fancy speaker grills and custom clear parts. not sure what the tolerances are for how intricate the mold can be, but he does it in his shop with simple tools. just a thought.

I am currently on vacation.

I am currently on vacation. When I get back (Aug 6th), I will indeed be selling the clear 5300. Not sure about eBay yet, but we'll see.

- Alison

As Seen On TV

I believe that this is the model that was given to the hacker "zero-cool" in the movie HACKERS. Honestly this is the only time ive ever seen or heard about this model in a clear case as shown other then in that movie.

westieg3's picture


no i have that movie. zerocool gets a duo 280c prototype. burn's computer is a 280c. this is much thicker than the duo, and the duo had polished plastic, not textured.

Transparent Powerbooks

Apple has a history of clear cases on Powerbooks, with a clear PB Duo showing up in the movie "Hackers". They as a rule pop out a dozen or so clear ones as demo models, before the production run of machines are made. Why? To make a clear case (that looks good), you need a VERY smooth mold. Look at a standard Powerbook an the roughed surface. After the initial run of clear cases are molded, the dyes are send back to the dye cutters to add the texture to the molds for the standard run of cases.

In Japan, the clear Powerbooks are known as "Skeleton Laptops" and are made by hand (Not all THAT expensive, but messy and VERY time consuming), or bought from several 3rd party vendors, in crystal clear versions or various clear colored cases (An ice blue Duo 2300c I saw was fantastic!).