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I want to use my Raspberry Pi to give new live to an old PowerBook (Power PC) that seems to have a broken motherboard.

I would like to be able to use the wifi, conectors, keyboard and screen.

Any tips?

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What you're proposing is impossible.

First of all, PowerBooks (all mainstream laptops, really) use vastly different interfaces than the Raspberry Pi for things like the WiFi, the keyboard, and the screen. See this question, which talks about interfacing an old laptop keyboard to the RasPi.

For this same reason, you'd likely be unable to use most of the connectors. The Pi has pretty limited I/O compared to the Powerbook; you wouldn't be able to use the FireWire, VGA out, etc.

Finally, even assuming you could somehow interface the Pi to the surviving PowerBook internals, your new creation would not be nearly as fast as the original PowerBook. I talk about the Pi's performance limitations in my answer to this question, but to summarize: the Pi has a very weak CPU without a graphics-accelerated X server, which makes it pretty much unusable for mainstream computing.

You'd be better off buying a used/refurb laptop from elsewhere, rather than trying to cram a Pi in a place it simply doesn't belong.

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  • Thanks for your response. I wasn't planning to use it as a hackintosh just want to take the hardware that I have and give it a new use. If possible I would like to be able to use it for small task with the raspberry but I'm kind of new in this and need advise from the experts 😉 – nuba Dec 24 '13 at 19:06
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    This is one of the areas where "if you need to ask, the answer is no" applies. – Thorbjørn Ravn Andersen Dec 26 '13 at 0:50
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The only answer on here (at time of writing) is a little outdated (7 years old)

What you're proposing is impossible

It's certainly not - in fact someone has already done this

Finally, even assuming you could somehow interface the Pi to the surviving PowerBook internals, your new creation would not be nearly as fast as the original PowerBook. I talk about the Pi's performance limitations in my answer to this question, but to summarize: the Pi has a very weak CPU without a graphics-accelerated X server, which makes it pretty much unusable for mainstream computing.

A modern Raspberry Pi 4 today is a far cry from what was available 7 years ago and is very usable for mainstream computing.

Besides, any computer is more usable than a broken computer and if someone wants to continue to use a powerPC-era mac, they're hardly expecting peak computing performance.

Interfacing a Pi with old laptop internals, is not only possible, but has been done several times by modders.

I would like to be able to use the wifi, conectors, keyboard and screen.

  • Wifi: this is the simplest, as its already built into the Pi.
  • Screen: Laptop screens can be wired to an LCD driver to allow the Pi to interface with them. It depends of course on the laptop itself - Macs might prove trickier. In the example above, the modder replaced the screen with a modern IPS panel from pimoroni.
  • Keyboard: I would have thought this was next to impossible, but whatever genius did the conversion above has made the old keyboard work
  • connectors: lets just rule this out as impossible for now. If you have the time, energy and soldering skills, you could replace some, or all, of the connectors with expansion boards or usb cards that would connect to the pi, but it would be a massive effort

The bottom-line - replacing the mainboard of an old laptop like a powerbook with a raspberry pi IS possible, but it is not easy or cheap. It's the kind of pet-project someone with spare time and money might take onboard, but if you just want a working powerbook it would be a lot cheaper to buy a secondhand working powerbook

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