Join us as we live the time traveler's dream. Just in time for its 30th anniversary, the iFixit team laid hands on a 1984 original: the Macintosh 128K. And, you guessed it -- they opened it right up, so we can take a look inside.
The original Mac, released as the Apple Macintosh, retailed for $2,495 -- that's $5,594.11 in today's dollars. So what did you get for all that coin? Click on the 1984 Mac below for the slideshow.
The original boasted:
8 MHz Motorola 68000 processor
128 KB DRAM
Nine-inch black-and-white CRT display running at 512 x 342 (72 dpi)
400 KB total storage via a single-sided 3.5-inch floppy disk drive
Generally, have a picture tube with a capacitor and an anode cap, you can have a very interesting "experience" if you don't discharge the stored charge on the tube! I leaned this from "experience" while fixing televisions (the "old school" type) when I was much younger.
Oh man, that thing had brutal power back in the day! It's amazing how far we've come since Apple introduced that PC back in '84. Makes me wonder what the next 30 years will bring. Retinal implants to replace video cards, synaptic interfaces for high-speed internet (@ terabyte download speeds) or graphene-based CPUs as the norm?
Back when Steve Jobs was fired from Apple and was off doing Next, in the mid-90's, there was an Apple program to license MacOS to third parties. I used to own a Motorola Mac clone, which I used for several years, that was mostly built with PC parts. During that period, I was involved in a project called CHRP (Common Hardware Reference Platform) to run MacOS, AIX (IBM UNIX), NetWare, and Windows NT on a common hardware platform based on PowerPC. For a time, the fastest Mac on the planet was a CHRP prototype in the lab at Apple. Then Steve Jobs returned to Apple, and immediately cancelled the licensing program. CHRP faded after that (though I understant IBM still uses parts of it internally).
Even though it represented 3 years of my life, I didn't blame him. The cloners were diluting the experience in the interest of saving pennies (e.g., there was a power-on switch on the PC case of my MotMac instead of the keyboard, and it used an ATA disk (that died in 2 years) instead of SCSi), and undercutting Apple on pricing. It would have cut Apple's sales if they didn't lower prices, and cut their margins enough to prevent them from doing the good R&D they've always done if they cut prices to match.
I have usually worked on UNIX/Linux for a living, and have always had Windows machines as well, but my primary compute platform since the Mac Plus has been Apple. I usually get about 5 years usage from a Mac. I always built a new Windows PC every year and ran Linux on it when i retired it from Windows use. I use Linux via ssh from the Mac, and fire up Windows under Parallels on the Mac when I need to run something that's only available for PC -- it boots and runs faster than my Windows machine.
I still have a (many-times-upgraded) working Mac 128K machine, bought through the Apple Developer Program in 1984, that runs an X-10 PowerHouse controller from a year or two later (it's the only computer I own that will plug into and talk to the X-10 controller :-). I've gotten my money's worth from it.
bpenfold, that's very, very funny and brings back ancient memories. How about clipping that jumper on some capacitor or whatever it was? I don't even remember what or why, but I remember having to do it, and being reminded of the standard action movie motif of which color electrical wire to clip to defuse the bomb.
I haven't seen that film yet, mrdon, but am looking forward to it. Thanks for the reference to programming on the Mac: I remember when many found the idea inconceivable. If you ever do decide to part with your SE, you might want to find out how much it's worth first before sending it to Goodwill.
bwilson4web, your fire sale approach to buying Macs sounds just like mine. I keep mine a really long time, like I do with my cars. My desktop computer is a G3 PowerMac that's now basically a word processor, but one that I don't have to think about. That makes it a lot easier to do all the writing. Like me, though, with my 512K, perhaps you should have kept that 128K Mac. Today it's worth a lot more than $200.
I just recently watched the movie "Jobs" and what an interesting film. As I was watching Steve Jobs and the rest of the Mac team look on while the machine was being assembled I remembered the good times I had using it in college for a Pascal programming class. I have a Mac SE in my office/lab which my wife keeps making gentle remarks about letting go of the machine and giving it to Goodwell. There's somethings I will give to the Goodwill and then there's the Mac.
The Space Kid, 11, will be one of the first civilians to have his design manufactured in space by NASA, thanks to the City X Project, which inspires kids to think about new 3D-printed inventions that could be useful for humans living in space.
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