PowerBook 5300 FAQ

AlkSoft / Contents / Hardware / Memory

2.1) Memory

2.1.1) How much RAM does this computer ship with?

This question has a more complicated answer than it probably should. Apple had a least four different configurations for the amount of RAM that shipped with the 5300. Every 5300 has at least 8MB of RAM on the motherboard. So the base greyscale PowerBook 5300/100 has 8MB of RAM when it comes out of the box. The 5300cs/100 usually had the same 8MB on the motherboard, also. The 5300c/100 could have had 8MB on the motherboard, 8MB on the motherboard and 8MB in the RAM expansion slot, or 16MB on the motherboard depending on which model you have. The 5300ce has 16MB on the motherboard and 16MB in the RAM expansion slot totalling 32MB. So the 5300 shipped with between 8MB and 32MB of RAM.

2.1.2) What kind of RAM does this computer take?

5300 RAM is unique to the 5300 and 190. It comes on a custom card design featuring a 120 pin connector. A card can contain from 8MB to 56MB. The RAM must have a refresh rate of 70ns or faster. Apple, by designing a custom RAM expansion card module, made it expensive and difficult for the average user to find RAM...

The 5300 can use most RAM designed for the PowerBook 190, but the 190 has an additional requirement that the banks of RAM on the expansion module be contiguous. Therefore, not all RAM designed for the 5300 will work in the 190. However, some 512K by 8 DRAM devices designed for the 190 will not work in the 5300. To be on the safe side, then, one should always check to make sure before buying that the RAM is compatible with the 5300.

2.1.3) What is the maximum amount of RAM I can install?

The 5300 can only address up to 64MB of physical memory. If you have 8MB of memory on the motherboard, you can install a 56MB expansion module for 64MB of RAM. If you have 16MB of RAM on the motherboard, a 48MB module will maximize your RAM to 64MB. Installing a 56MB module if you have 16MB of RAM on the motherboard will not give you any extra benefit. You will still only be able to use up to 64MB of total memory. Whatever is left over is ignored by the computer. I have also heard that in some cases, the 5300 does not operate correctly if there is more than 64MB of RAM installed...

2.1.4) How many expansion slots are there for RAM?

There is only one RAM expansion slot on the 5300. If you have a module in the RAM slot, you will have to remove it to upgrade your total memory. Unfortunately, there isn't much of a market for used, smaller capacity 5300 RAM expansion modules these days...

2.1.5) Can I use iBook/other PowerBook RAM in this computer?

No. The RAM design for the 5300 is more or less unique. Some modules for the PowerBook 190 will work in the 5300, but not all. Modules from any 68030 or 68040 based PowerBook will not work in the 5300. Modules from the 1400, 2400, 3400, G3 (all of them, iBooks included) or G4 (all of them) will also not work.

2.1.6) How do I install RAM?

If you aren't comfortable mucking around in the interior of the PowerBook, you are probably better off leaving this to a friend who is. Better yet, take it to a service technician (preferably one who specializes in Macs).

2.1.7) Where can I find RAM for the 5300?

These days, just about nobody sells new RAM for the 5300. I'm not even sure it's being manufactured any more. However, it is still possible to find new RAM modules. A good place to check (and also one that will allow you to compare prices among retailers) is The PowerBook Source's 5300 RAM page. [pbsource.com] Of course, eBay is also another possibility, and you can usually find whatever capactiy module you want.