Macintosh IIci

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Macintosh IIci.jpg
Macintosh IIci
CPU: 25 MHz Motorola MC68030
FPU:Motorola 68882
RAM Type:30-pin SIMM
Maximum RAM: 128 MiB
Expansion slots: 3 NuBus
Supported OS: System 6.0.4 - Mac OS 7.6.1
A/UX 1.1.1 - 3.1.1
Introduced:September 1989
Discontinued:October 1993
MSRP:$6699 or $8800 with HD (US)
Full Specifications


Released in 1989, the fourth machine in the Mac II series was not only the first desktop Mac with on board graphics but was also the fastest Mac built up to that point.

History

The Macintosh II line had been available since 1987 and had not only been given a speed and storage bump in the shape of the Mac IIx but had also been put on a diet and emerged in the somewhat slimmer form of the Mac IIcx. One thing that had persisted throughout, in spite of these modifications, was the lack of on board video – necessitating users to purchase an additional video card. The Mac IIci would fix that problem by including an on board graphics card – saving users anywhere from $400 upwards. Yet this was not as generous a gesture from Apple as it first seemed. Unlike dedicated graphics cards, the IIci's on board model had no actual memory of its own; instead 'leeching' from main memory, which had the negative effect of reducing the memory available to running applications and the system software itself. In a machine crammed with RAM, this wasn't a problem but in machines only sporting 1 MiB of main memory, having anywhere from 30 KiB to 320 KiB 'stolen' (depending on screen resolution and colour depth) it proved to be a chore.

The IIci did, however, provide three NuBus slots, so users whom did feel the pinch always had the option of installing a dedicated graphics card with its own dedicated memory. But even this was not always the best solution, as the IIci's internal graphics system was attached directly to the system's 25 MHz bus; whereas the NuBus cards ran on a separate 10 MHz bus. An accelerated graphics card could make up the difference, but was it really worth the extra cash?

This difference between the two bus speeds was not accidental, though, and was actually proof that the IIci was a speedy box of tricks. Unlike the IIcx and IIx, which were clocked at 16 MHz, the IIci's 68030/68882 processor combination had been ramped up to the dizzy heights of 25 MHz. The IIci, rather than being just marginally faster than the IIcx, was clocked at being 65% faster, and it wasn't purely down to the 9 MHz difference in CPU speed. Not only did the IIci support the 68030's 'burst mode' for fast data transfers, it also included 32 KiB of on board Level 2 (L2) cache memory (initially an optional extra but fitted as standard from October 1991) to reduce memory access times, and a completely new, 32-bit clean ROM with built-in 32-bit QuickDraw that consisted of 2 parts: one part that is identical in all 68k Macs, and another area (called the overpatch area) that is specific to each Mac, replacing the non 32-bit clean ROM that was virtually the same since the IIx.

From a user perspective, all of these extra features translated as a blisteringly fast machine, but the IIci also introduced a new way of thinking from a technical perspective. By decoupling the internal bus structure, different parts of the machine could be made to run at different speeds, rather than have the whole machine run at one speed and therefore be restricted by the slowest sub-system. Not only did this allow the obvious increases in speed, it also allowed Apple engineers to design systems that were far more modular (i.e. one bus could be re-designed/re-clocked without affecting other parts of the machine's architecture).

Full Specifications

  • General
    • CPU: 25 MHz Motorola MC68030
    • FPU: Motorola 68882
    • ROM: 512 KiB
    • Bus Speed: 25 MHz
    • Data Path: 32-bit
    • RAM Type: 30-pin SIMM (80 ns)
    • Standard RAM: 1 MiB
    • RAM Onboard: None
    • RAM Slots: 8
    • Maximum RAM: 128 MiB
    • Cache: ½ KiB (L1) 32 KiB (L2)
  • I/O & Expansion
    • ADB: 2
    • Serial: 2
    • SCSI: 1 (DB-25)
    • Floppy Connector: 1
    • Audio Out: 8-bit stereo 22 KHz (mini-jack)
    • Built-in Speaker: Mono
    • NuBus Slots: 3
  • Storage
    • Hard Drive: 40 MiB / 80 MiB
    • Hard Drive Type: SCSI
    • Floppy Drive: One 1.44 MiB SuperDrive
  • Video
    • Standard VRAM: 0
    • VRAM Onboard: 0
    • VRAM Slots: 0
    • Maximum VRAM: 0
    • Video Out: DB-15
  • Miscellaneous
    • Apple Model Number: M5780
    • Codename: Aurora II, Cobra II, Pacific, Stingray
    • Gestalt ID: 11
    • Power: 159M5780W
    • PRAM Battery: 3.6V Lithium
    • Case Style: Macintosh IIcx
    • Dimensions: 11.9" x 14.5" x 5.5" (W x D x H)
    • Weight: 13.6 lbs.
    • Mac OS Support: System 6.0.4 - Mac OS 7.6.1
    • Introduced: September 1989
    • Introduced: October 1993
    • MSRP: $6699 or $8800 with HD (US)

Common Problems

Aztec Powersupply

Some of the IIci Powersupplies suffer from the same problem as the ones found in the Quadra 650.

More Information