The Performas

Filed under: Design,Hardware

On the 14th of September, 1992 Apple Computer introduced a new family of Macintosh computers targeting the consumer marketplace. Initially available only in the U.S., the new series of computers were “designed to reach first-time buyers and new users in the home, offering specific solutions for families with school-age children”. Every Macintosh Performa included “enhanced system software, pre-loaded applications [such as ClarisWorks], one year of service and support”, and were to be “distributed in nearly 2,000 consumer retail outlets nationwide”. It was a bold but ultimately unsuccesful move to expand market share by offering an affordable entry into the Macintosh world, rebranding older and low power systems with a new name. The Performas were based on preexisting Macintoshes, although not all of them were exact copies and some even had their own code names.

Macintosh Performa 200 - Photo by Maja VervoortThe initial 1992 Performa family consisted of three models: the Macintosh Performa 200, Macintosh Performa 400 and the Macintosh Performa 600/600 CD. All of them were shipped installed with an optimized version of System 7 called System 7.1P, “designed to make using the Macintosh even easier for first-time computer buyers”.

The Performa 200, code named “Lady Kenmore”, was basically a Macintosh Classic II, released one year after the original and bundled with a 2400/9600 baud fax/modem and extra software. It was discontinued in April 1993, one month after Apple introduced its successor, the Performa 250, which was based on the Macintosh Color Classic.

The Performa 400 was a lowly Macintosh LC II, originally released six months before, in March. Bundled with several different hard drives and software, and rereleased in four variants as the Performa 400, 405, 410, and 430, it unfortunately had the same shortcomings of the LC II, i.e. the LC’s 16-bit data path, which crippled the speed of the relatively fast 16 MHz 68030 processor.

The Performas 600 and 600CD had the look and were based on the motherboard of the Macintosh IIvi but were released a bit later in the consumer market, and sported the IIvx’s 68030 32 MHz processor. The Performa 600 CD were among the first Macintoshes with an internal CD-ROM drive which could read data, play audio discs and also supported Kodak’s Photo CD technology.

The last batch of Performas was introduced in 1996 and discontinued during 1997 and early 1998. Among the last ones was also the first and only original model ever released, the Performa 6400, which had a new tower case design. It was Apple’s first consumer-aimed mid-range computer and had optional A/V capabilities: its innards were also used for the Performa 6360.

The Performa 200 picture is © Maja Vervoort, which has kindly authorized the reproduction alongside this text.

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Sunday 16 September 2012, 12:18 pm
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The little Quadra

Filed under: Design,Hardware

The Macintosh Quadra 605 was the smallest and lowest-model from the high profile professional lineup when Apple still used 68k CPUs from Motorola.

Mac Quadra 605 Unlike the much bigger 700, 800 and 900 models, the 605 was offered in a horizontal slim “pizzabox” case, which closely resembled those of the LC line.

While the innards of the 605 were indeed shared with that of the Performa/LC 475 -featuring a 68040 and a floppy drive- on the other hand the design of the case was unique, a fact that many books and websites overlook, incorrectly reporting them as identical.

The design of the Quadra 605 is much rounder and stylish and looks like a slimmed down version of the Quadra/LC/Performa 630. Gone is the front hoof of the LCs and the 605 lies flat, not inclined, on the surface, sporting four cute “feet” similar to those that adorn the base of the 630, 800/840 and 7×00 models.

The 605 can be seen as the missing link between the LCs and the 630: thanks to its small width and a clean front panel without a second slot for the optical unit, it has a very appealing design, which is minimal and elegant at the same time.

Image taken from Wikipedia

Thursday 30 April 2009, 10:46 pm
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