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

Posted:
in General Discussion edited May 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 50
    magman1979magman1979 Posts: 1,263member

    Love Apple history, keep more articles like this coming!

  • Reply 2 of 50
    jpellinojpellino Posts: 673member
    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.
  • Reply 3 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....
  • Reply 4 of 50
    phone-ui-guyphone-ui-guy Posts: 1,019member

    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.

  • Reply 5 of 50
    bobjohnsonbobjohnson Posts: 154member
    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. 

  • Reply 6 of 50
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member
    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.

  • Reply 7 of 50
    bloggerblogbloggerblog Posts: 2,259member
    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.
  • Reply 8 of 50
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 2,573member

     

    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?

  • Reply 9 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.
  • Reply 10 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 ...

  • Reply 11 of 50
    gustavgustav Posts: 826member
    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.
  • Reply 12 of 50
    512ke512ke Posts: 782member

    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!

  • Reply 13 of 50
    phone-ui-guyphone-ui-guy Posts: 1,019member
    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. :)

  • Reply 14 of 50
    phone-ui-guyphone-ui-guy Posts: 1,019member
    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.

  • Reply 15 of 50
    suddenly newtonsuddenly newton Posts: 13,811member
    It only came with 1MB of RAM? Cue the complaints about reloading Safari tabs. /s
  • Reply 16 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.

  • Reply 17 of 50
    ivabignivabign Posts: 61member
    But how does it compare to an iphone 6 mockup?
  • Reply 18 of 50
    mjtomlin wrote: »
    <img alt="" class="lightbox-enabled" data-id="43206" data-type="61" src="http://forums.appleinsider.com/content/type/61/id/43206/width/350/height/700/flags/LL" style="; width: 350px; height: 263px">


    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.
    Was a great little machine. I mainly used it for programming - anyone remember LightSpeed C, which later became THINK C?
    : raises hand :
  • Reply 19 of 50
    silenciosilencio Posts: 134member

    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.

  • Reply 20 of 50
    kevtkevt Posts: 195member
    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.
    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. :)

    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.
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