Macintosh IIfx

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II series IF.png
Macintosh IIfx
CPU: 40 MHz Motorola MC68030
FPU:Motorola 68882
RAM Type:64-pin SIMM
Maximum RAM: 128 MiB
Expansion slots: 6 NuBus
Supported OS: System 6.0.5 - Mac OS 7.6.1
A/UX 2.0 - 3.1.1
Introduced:March 19 1990
Discontinued:April 15 1992
MSRP:$9899 (US)
Full Specifications

The most powerful Macintosh II machine ever built (and the most powerful 68030 based machine that Apple ever built), the Macintosh IIfx was not only fast, it was a designer's dream.


With its Macintosh II series of machines, Apple had proven that the Mac could happily exist as both an all-in-one (AIO) and as a more traditional desktop machine. The Mac II had set the standard, the Mac IIx had raised that standard (and price) and the Mac IIci and IIcx had both managed to bring the machine back down to a level that mere mortals could afford. In 1990, the Apple engineers decided to go all out for speed in the shape of the Macintosh IIfx.

Re-using the larger case seen on the Mac II and IIx, the Mac IIfx was not only physically larger than its immediate predecessors (the IIci and IIcx) it also towered above them where speed was concerned. The IIci may have pushed the 68030/68882 chip combination up to 25 MHz (from 16 MHz) but the IIfx blasted it all the way up to 40 MHz; no Mac would run as fast in terms of MHz until the Quadra 700. Sheer megahertz wasn't just what the IIfx was about, though, and Apple ended up cramming in so many upgrades that the IIfx was actually 3 times faster than the IIci in practical terms.

The IIfx used a new type of RAM (a proprietary 'latched' 64 pin SIMM which allowed read and write operations to overlap), special SCSI DMA and I/O chips that took the load off of the CPU (N.B. The special SCSI system employed on the IIfx requires a 'black' terminator when using external devices with the machine – standard SCSI terminators won't work properly), Apple's first 'accelerated' graphics card (the 8•24GC), a pair of 6502 processors controlling the floppy drive(s), ADB and serial ports (running at 10 MHz instead of the usual 1 MHz speed that had been in use since the Apple II) and the now obligatory 32 KiB Level 2 (L2) cache, all helped to raise performance. Even the PSU was upgraded so that it sported a variable-speed fan which not only kept the machine cooler, but also allowed it to run more quietly.

In terms of raw power, the IIfx was a monster of a machine that was certainly the computer of choice for the design community but, sadly, out of the reach of most buyers. Shipping at an almost ridiculous $9899, the IIfx wasn't only nearing the price that had paid such a massive part in the demise of the Apple Lisa but didn't even include a graphics card (yes, users still had to buy their own on top of the cost of the machine itself).

It seemed that technology wasn't cheap but it wasn't the only thing that stopped the IIfx from being a smash with the bulk of Apple customers as, to get the very best out of the machine, software had to be specially written to make use of the custom hardware, and most developers opted to ignore it in favour of developing software that would work on all Macs.

Full Specifications

  • General
    • CPU: 40 MHz Motorola MC68030
    • FPU: Motorola 68882
    • ROM: 512 KiB
    • Data Path: 32-bit
    • RAM Type: 64-pin SIMM (80 ns)
    • Standard RAM: 4 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: Stereo
    • NuBus Slots: 6
  • Storage
    • Hard Drive: 40 MiB - 160 MiB
    • Hard Drive Type: SCSI
    • Floppy Drive: One 1.44 MiB SuperDrive
  • Miscellaneous
    • Apple Model Number: M5525
    • Codename: Stealth, Blackbird, F-16, F-19, Four Square, IIxi, Zone 5, Weed-Whacker
    • Gestalt ID: 13
    • Power: 230W
    • PRAM Battery: 3.6V Lithium
    • Case Style: Macintosh II
    • Dimensions: 18.7" x 14.5" x 5.5" (W x D x H)
    • Weight: 24 lbs.
    • Mac OS Support: System 6.0.5 - Mac OS 7.6.1
    • Introduced: March 19 1990
    • Introduced: April 15 1992
    • MSRP: $9899 (US)

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