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Teardown offers rare look inside hard-drive equipped 1990 Apple Mac Classic

post #1 of 50
Thread Starter 
Known primarily for modifying and miniaturizing game consoles, hardware enthusiast Ben Heck recently turned his attention to a relatively rare hard drive-equipped Mac Classic, providing a glimpse at the internal workings of the first $1,000 Mac.




Heck says he acquired the 1990 model for "a great price" and repainted the case, though a hard drive failure rendered it nonfunctional, necessitating a restoration. He filmed the teardown as part of the weekly Ben Heck Show.

Removing the case first reveals a RAM expansion card, which allowed owners to slot in an additional 2 or 4 megabytes of memory using 30-pin SIMMs. The Mac Classic originally shipped with 1 megabyte of RAM and 512 kilobytes of ROM.

Next comes the Apple-branded SCSI hard disk, apparently a 40 megabyte model. The drive sports surface-mounted chips from Adaptec, Motorola, and Cirrus Logic, among others, and has been slightly modified with the addition of a diode that jumps across circuits.



The logic board plays host to a VLSI chip that integrates graphics and sound processors, a variety of controller chips -- including a SCSI controller for the hard drive -- and a 15 megahertz crystal. Also making an appearance is the venerable 8 megahertz Motorola 68000 processor and a Sony-made 3.5 inch floppy drive.

Heck's Mac Classic was likely manufactured in 1991, and looking at its internals helps illustrate how far technology has come since the computer's $1,000 price point was considered impressive. Today, consumers can buy a MacBook Air or Mac Mini for less, and even Apple's $229 iPod touch is more powerful by several orders of magnitude.
post #2 of 50

Love Apple history, keep more articles like this coming!

post #3 of 50
Still have mine. Still runs HyperCard stuff that was pretty slick at its time, still pretty impressive for B&W at that clock speed. Pagemaker in B&W was insanely useful at the time, but I can't imagine we ever did that. I have a 1280x800 desktop on my MacBook with a tattoo of the Classic desktop at native resolution. It's like looking at a Palm Pilot screen now.
post #4 of 50
Mine doesn't boot anymore, probably needs to be re-cap'd.

By what measure is the iPod touch "several orders of magnitude" more powerful? If you're going to say it's 1,000 times or 10,000 times more powerful, that's a big statement and should be backed up somehow....
post #5 of 50

I have seen some of his work via photos in the past and was really impressed. After watching that video, I am speechless. That was pretty damn ridiculous. His comments were wrong more than they were right. I guess I should stick to pictures of his work and forego the goofy videos.

post #6 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by TeaEarleGreyHot View Post

By what measure is the iPod touch "several orders of magnitude" more powerful? If you're going to say it's 1,000 times or 10,000 times more powerful, that's a big statement and should be backed up somehow....

 

We could do a rough calculation using the numbers on this page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instructions_per_second

 

5G iPod Touch uses an A5, which is roughly a Cortex A9, for 7,500 MIPS at 1.5 GHz. The 68K is logged as 0.700 MIPS at 8 MHz, so the multiplier is just over 10,000x. 

post #7 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by TeaEarleGreyHot View Post
If you're going to say it's 1,000 times or 10,000 times more powerful, that's a big statement and should be backed up somehow....

 

Several orders of magnitude more powerful would mean around at least 1,000 times more powerful, and I see that as highly likely.

post #8 of 50
What? The Macintosh Classic was the first Macintosh to come all in one box?! I think not.
The Macintosh was the first all-in one Macintosh. Moreover, GUI computers didn't all exist in labs, remember the Apple Lisa? It was a GUI computer before the Macintosh and it also sold to the general public, or to whoever could afford one.
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post #9 of 50

 

Still have my Macintosh SE - original owner since late 1987, but this one was an original floor model so it has a manufacturing date of 1986. And it still works. In fact, several years ago, I had it set up in a small bakery and coffee shop where I worked and developed custom HyperCard stacks for a customer order tracking database and a gift card program. It was getting too much abuse, so I decided to replace it with a cheap iMac I found on eBay and switched everything to web-based.

 

Over the years I made the following upgrades to it...

 

Maxed it out at 4 MB

Upgraded the floppy controller to FDHD, high density drives (1.4MB HD floppies)

Bought an external 45MB Jasmine hard drive

Replaced the second internal floppy with an internal hard drive (I think there's a 120MB HD in it now?)

Installed an Asante ethernet card to connect it to my LAN after I bought my "Bondi" iMac. (I used the Mac SE as a file and print server.)

 

Was a great little machine. I mainly used it for programming - anyone remember LightSpeed C, which later became THINK C?

Disclaimer: The things I say are merely my own personal opinion and may or may not be based on facts. At certain points in any discussion, sarcasm may ensue.
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Disclaimer: The things I say are merely my own personal opinion and may or may not be based on facts. At certain points in any discussion, sarcasm may ensue.
Reply
post #10 of 50
Sorry, Mac Classic was not even sold during Steve Jobs' watch. I have a Fat Mac (512k Mac) upgraded to a Mac Plus in 1986, and it does have signatures, including Steve Jobs' in it.
post #11 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjtomlin View Post
 

 

Still have my Macintosh SE - original owner since late 1987, but this one was an original floor model so it has a manufacturing date of 1986. And it still works. In fact, several years ago, I had it set up in a small bakery and coffee shop where I worked and developed custom HyperCard stacks for a customer order tracking database and a gift card program. It was getting too much abuse, so I decided to replace it with a cheap iMac I found on eBay and switched everything to web-based.

 

Over the years I made the following upgrades to it...

 

Maxed it out at 4 MB

Upgraded the floppy controller to FDHD, high density drives (1.4MB HD floppies)

Bought an external 45MB Jasmine hard drive

Replaced the second internal floppy with an internal hard drive (I think there's a 120MB HD in it now?)

Installed an Asante ethernet card to connect it to my LAN after I bought my "Bondi" iMac. (I used the Mac SE as a file and print server.)

 

Was a great little machine. I mainly used it for programming - anyone remember LightSpeed C, which later became THINK C?

This brings back memories! Asante ...

post #12 of 50
This guy doesn't seem to know much about the Macintosh platform. I'll bet he spells it MAC and didn't touch one until very recently.
post #13 of 50

This is awesome!

 

I have a fat mac 512ke... hence my user name.  It's got a carrying case, external floppy (400K! lol), and it works.

 

And.... it has.... (drum roll) the original BOX! 

 

Sadly I am probably going to sell it on eBay soon.

 

I wish it had Steve's signature like yours Winstein!

post #14 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by BobJohnson View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TeaEarleGreyHot View Post

By what measure is the iPod touch "several orders of magnitude" more powerful? If you're going to say it's 1,000 times or 10,000 times more powerful, that's a big statement and should be backed up somehow....

 

We could do a rough calculation using the numbers on this page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instructions_per_second

 

5G iPod Touch uses an A5, which is roughly a Cortex A9, for 7,500 MIPS at 1.5 GHz. The 68K is logged as 0.700 MIPS at 8 MHz, so the multiplier is just over 10,000x. 

 

I was going to respond, but it got muddy on the Motorola side... The Mac Classic used a 68030 at 16Mhz. I personally accept it as "close enough" for the statement to be valid. :)

post #15 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by 512ke View Post
 

This is awesome!

 

I have a fat mac 512ke... hence my user name.  It's got a carrying case, external floppy (400K! lol), and it works.

 

And.... it has.... (drum roll) the original BOX! 

 

Sadly I am probably going to sell it on eBay soon.

 

I wish it had Steve's signature like yours Winstein!

 

You need to ditch that 400K drive. One of the whole points behind the 512ke is that it could use the 800K drives. :) The 512ke was my first Mac BITD. Was on Apple's 8-bit systems before that. Have you looked inside? Pretty sure my 512ke had the signatures in it.

post #16 of 50
It only came with 1MB of RAM? Cue the complaints about reloading Safari tabs. /s

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #17 of 50

He should have perused iFixIt for some teardown info and perhaps done a bit of Googling, LOL

 

I know it's mean, but I would have liked to see him take a hit from a charged CRT (been there myself) :)  He does mention the possibility and that it's a thing to be avoided, but not until he's quite a bit into the teardown. Kids today won't even know the fun of playing with 1000s of volts right near your hands or, if you're not careful, the joy of breaking off the end of a CRT and air rushing in to fill the vacuum.

post #18 of 50
But how does it compare to an iphone 6 mockup?
I've been trying to come up with a lifestyle that doesn't require my presence.
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I've been trying to come up with a lifestyle that doesn't require my presence.
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post #19 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjtomlin View Post




Still have my Macintosh SE - original owner since late 1987, but this one was an original floor model so it has a manufacturing date of 1986. And it still works. In fact, several years ago, I had it set up in a small bakery and coffee shop where I worked and developed custom HyperCard stacks for a customer order tracking database and a gift card program. It was getting too much abuse, so I decided to replace it with a cheap iMac I found on eBay and switched everything to web-based.
HyperCard was such a great app. It was a real shame when they cancelled the planned QuickTime-based successor to it. It was great for doing quick-and-dirty tasks, and was brilliant as an introduction to object-oriented programming.
Quote:
Was a great little machine. I mainly used it for programming - anyone remember LightSpeed C, which later became THINK C?
: raises hand :
post #20 of 50

Yes, I too programmed in LightSpeed / Think C.

 

Personally, I always coveted the SE/30. It took me long enough to save up my pennies that I was able to buy a IIci on closeout in early 1993 when Apple replaced it with the IIvx, a machine I was infinitely glad to not have bought instead.

 

The IIci was a fantastic machine for me, but still… there was just something special about those early compact Macs.

post #21 of 50
No the 68030 16MHz was the Classic II. Hamstrung by using a 16-bit data path rather than the SE-30 which was 32-bit.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phone-UI-Guy View Post

I was going to respond, but it got muddy on the Motorola side... The Mac Classic used a 68030 at 16Mhz. I personally accept it as "close enough" for the statement to be valid. 1smile.gif

No, it was the Classic II that used the 16Mhz 68030, but hamstrung with a 16-bit data path - it only functioned 32bit internally.

The original Classic was indeed a 8MHz 68000.

Best of the 9" compact macs was the SE/30. Full 68030 with 32-bit data path, better graphics and an expansion slot.

I used to buy/sell/upgrade/repair old macs and early powerbooks on ebay - until ebay got greedy and increased their fees so it was no longer viable.
post #22 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Durandal1707 View Post


HyperCard was such a great app. It was a real shame when they cancelled the planned QuickTime-based successor to it. It was great for doing quick-and-dirty tasks, and was brilliant as an introduction to object-oriented programming.

 

It sure was. It was also great in that it was extendable as well. When I worked in the college's computer lab, I developed a "launcher" stack and a couple XFCNs that would look out on the network and make sure only X number copies of a particular application were running (the school had to be diligent about licensing issues).

 

It was sad to see it go, but Apple decided that AppleScript would be a much better alternative. And honestly, developing AppleScripts became dead simple and were much more versatile as it was already built into the OS.

Disclaimer: The things I say are merely my own personal opinion and may or may not be based on facts. At certain points in any discussion, sarcasm may ensue.
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Disclaimer: The things I say are merely my own personal opinion and may or may not be based on facts. At certain points in any discussion, sarcasm may ensue.
Reply
post #23 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silencio View Post
 

Yes, I too programmed in LightSpeed / Think C.

 

Personally, I always coveted the SE/30. It took me long enough to save up my pennies that I was able to buy a IIci on closeout in early 1993 when Apple replaced it with the IIvx, a machine I was infinitely glad to not have bought instead.

 

The IIci was a fantastic machine for me, but still… there was just something special about those early compact Macs.

 

The SE/30 was a beast. I always planned on upgrading my SE to the SE/30, but the price of a motherboard was just way too high - and the strain on the power supply may have been too much - just having a hard drive in it really stresses the poor thing.

Disclaimer: The things I say are merely my own personal opinion and may or may not be based on facts. At certain points in any discussion, sarcasm may ensue.
Reply
Disclaimer: The things I say are merely my own personal opinion and may or may not be based on facts. At certain points in any discussion, sarcasm may ensue.
Reply
post #24 of 50

Ahh the classic mac, just one of the great old machines. I have kept a stack of macs through the years, one day they might make a beowulf cluster that can outperform a modern day toaster!

 

post #25 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by kevt View Post

No the 68030 16MHz was the Classic II. Hamstrung by using a 16-bit data path rather than the SE-30 which was 32-bit.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phone-UI-Guy View Post

I was going to respond, but it got muddy on the Motorola side... The Mac Classic used a 68030 at 16Mhz. I personally accept it as "close enough" for the statement to be valid. 1smile.gif

No, it was the Classic II that used the 16Mhz 68030, but hamstrung with a 16-bit data path - it only functioned 32bit internally.

The original Classic was indeed a 8MHz 68000.

Best of the 9" compact macs was the SE/30. Full 68030 with 32-bit data path, better graphics and an expansion slot.

I used to buy/sell/upgrade/repair old macs and early powerbooks on ebay - until ebay got greedy and increased their fees so it was no longer viable.

 

I should have been more clear... I thought he tore down a Classic II. He mentioned the crystal speed which was twice as fast as the Classic would have been and matches the Classic II. We know we cannot trust him to get the little details right as he was all over the freaking place. Looking at motherboards online, it does look like he tore down a classic. 

post #26 of 50

I took a lot of those apart as an Apple repairman, and installed a few.  I shudder to see anyone split the case with a screwdriver vs. using the Apple Case Cracker they used to provide.  Haven't seen one of them in a long time either!

post #27 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phone-UI-Guy View Post
 

 

You need to ditch that 400K drive. One of the whole points behind the 512ke is that it could use the 800K drives. :) The 512ke was my first Mac BITD. Was on Apple's 8-bit systems before that. Have you looked inside? Pretty sure my 512ke had the signatures in it.

 My bad.  It has internal and external drives.  Each is 800 now that I'm thinking about it.

 

Ah inside?  Where inside the 'puter?  thanks!

post #28 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by kevt View Post
Best of the 9" compact macs was the SE/30. Full 68030 with 32-bit data path, better graphics and an expansion slot.
 

 

But a dirty ROM...

post #29 of 50
I have one with a 40GB hard drive in my garage. I had no idea it was rare. It runs perfect, but aside from nostalgia, it's really of no use anymore.
post #30 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivabign View Post

But how does it compare to an iphone 6 mockup?

Well-connected analyst Ming-chi Kuo says the answer is: Andre Young.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply
post #31 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phone-UI-Guy View Post
 

 

I should have been more clear... I thought he tore down a Classic II. He mentioned the crystal speed which was twice as fast as the Classic would have been and matches the Classic II. We know we cannot trust him to get the little details right as he was all over the freaking place. Looking at motherboards online, it does look like he tore down a classic. 

yeah that guy has no idea what he is talking about

 

Off the top of my head the macs came out as

 

Original Mac - 128K

Mac 512

Mac Plus

Mac SE

Mac SE/30

Mac Classic 

Mac Classic II

 

The signatures stop after the Mac 512, as far as I am aware the last know Mac with visible signature was the Mac II FX and if you have one of those it is rare since those were on the actually PCBA and was removed shortly after they first shipped.


Edited by Maestro64 - 5/14/14 at 2:52pm
post #32 of 50

i have a IIfx with 2 radius rocket 33 mhz 68040 upgrade cards in it! love that box!

post #33 of 50
Nice to see a thread on AI that isn't photo-bombed with pictures of Windows 8 laptops and talk of how Intel's Bay Trail is gonna lay waste to all of Microsoft's enemies.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply
post #34 of 50
Terrible video quality even for 90s.
post #35 of 50

"...relatively rare hard drive-equipped Mac Classic"

 

Rare? I don't think I've ever saw a Mac Classic that did not have a hard drive.

 

I had one and did my own teardown back in the days, and broke the end of the CRT yoke... :) Had to buy a replacement monitor.

post #36 of 50

I had a Classic for a while, but sold it and purchased a used SE30 instead. Used it for quite some time, till I bought a 7600.

post #37 of 50

I threw my Mac plus away when hitting it on the side would no longer change the screen from a small white dot in the centre to a normal desktop.

 

Maxed it out at 1MB from the 256k it came with.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mjtomlin View Post
 

 

Still have my Macintosh SE - original owner since late 1987, but this one was an original floor model so it has a manufacturing date of 1986. And it still works. In fact, several years ago, I had it set up in a small bakery and coffee shop where I worked and developed custom HyperCard stacks for a customer order tracking database and a gift card program. It was getting too much abuse, so I decided to replace it with a cheap iMac I found on eBay and switched everything to web-based.

 

Over the years I made the following upgrades to it...

 

Maxed it out at 4 MB

Upgraded the floppy controller to FDHD, high density drives (1.4MB HD floppies)

Bought an external 45MB Jasmine hard drive

Replaced the second internal floppy with an internal hard drive (I think there's a 120MB HD in it now?)

Installed an Asante ethernet card to connect it to my LAN after I bought my "Bondi" iMac. (I used the Mac SE as a file and print server.)

 

Was a great little machine. I mainly used it for programming - anyone remember LightSpeed C, which later became THINK C?

 

I threw my Mac plus away when hitting it on the side would no longer change the screen from a small white dot in the centre to a normal desktop.

 

Maxed it out at 1MB from the 256k it came with.

Better than my Bose, better than my Skullcandy's, listening to Mozart through my LeBron James limited edition PowerBeats by Dre is almost as good as my Sennheisers.
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Better than my Bose, better than my Skullcandy's, listening to Mozart through my LeBron James limited edition PowerBeats by Dre is almost as good as my Sennheisers.
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post #38 of 50
My Mac plus went to the graveyard years ago but I still have an SE/30 and an LC 630. The SE/30 was a great machine, the LC not so much. I really should see if they'll still boot up.
post #39 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silencio View Post

Yes, I too programmed in LightSpeed / Think C.

Personally, I always coveted the SE/30. It took me long enough to save up my pennies that I was able to buy a IIci on closeout in early 1993 when Apple replaced it with the IIvx, a machine I was infinitely glad to not have bought instead.

The IIci was a fantastic machine for me, but still… there was just something special about those early compact Macs.
The ||ci was a real workhorse for us back in the day, I remember doing some photoshop retouching, quite complex, before Photoshop had layers and having to version save, running out of disk space so unable to save your final piece, I even had to delete some applications in order to save a file at one point. The ||ci never got turned off, I remember lifting the lid and having a nap on the soft dust pillow that had accumulated on top of the gibbons inside. I do miss those days as a graphic designer where the mac killed off a few industries and we had to become typographers and repro specialists. I am definitely old school, if you've not specked up type to send off to a typesetters then had to paste up your artwork with a scalpel and spray mount it to art board with extensive use of rotring pens and a repro camera, then overlay it with markup and cmyk refs for a repro house you will never fully understand how revolutionary the Mac really was in changing the industry. But has it also lost true craftsmanship in the process?
post #40 of 50
A 1984 Mac Classic?! Why would Apple Insider post this? With the first few words out of his mouth, this Heck guy illustrates he obviously doesn't have a clue what he's talking about. Have some credibility, take it down.
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