Macintosh Quadra 800

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Macintosh Quadra 800
CPU: 33 MHz Motorola MC68040
FPU:Motorola MC68040
RAM Type:72-pin SIMM
Maximum RAM: 132mb (Apple), 132mb (Actual)
Expansion slots: 040-PDS
3 NuBus
Supported OS: System 7.1.2 - Mac OS 8.1
A/UX A/UX 3.x
Introduced:February 1993
Discontinued:March 1994
MSRP:$4700 (US)
Full Specifications


The Quadra series had brought the power of the Motorola 68040 CPU to the masses but, after nearly 18 months since the initial release of the Quadra 700 and 900, the series was appearing some what stalled with the only other machine in the line-up being the Quadra 950 - a direct replacement for the 900. The third machine, the Quadra 800, would be more than a simple product replacement, though.


Whilst the Quadra 900 had given way to the Quadra 950, the compact Quadra 700 hadn't been granted any sort of makeover and was happily chugging along at its original 25 MHz. In the eighteen months that the machine had been on sale, the I.T. industry had moved on, and Apple had identified both strengths and weaknesses in the little machine. Come February 1993, it was time to debut the Quadra 700's replacement: the Quadra 800.

The new machine could very easily have been nothing more than a speed bump, which very much summed up the differences between the Quadra 900 and Quadra 950, but instead Apple chose to unveil a totally new machine. Not only did this new computer run faster (33 MHz as opposed to 25 MHz) and have some new technology under the hood, it actually came with a new case.

The Quadra 800 sported a brand new mini-tower case design which addressed the expansion problems that many users had encountered with the old 700 (i.e. there wasn't any expansion available). While not as expansive as the 900, the new machine offered three front-facing drive bays that would accept drives up to 5.25" in size; a decision that allowed the 800 to not only come complete with a twin speed CD-ROM drive, but to be able to boot directly from it - along with the Quadra 650, the first Mac to be able to do so.

The new case was designed to be easy to use and access; in reality it was a right royal pain. The steel case clanged and sounded hollow, like those used by IBM PCs (or the Macintosh IIvi/IIvx), and the design team decided to use special plastic clips to hold the motherboard in place – supposedly to ease access, but actually awkward, difficult to work with, and having a nasty habit of snapping. It wasn't a great system, but was one that would get re-used time and time again in the future.

In terms of performance, the 800 was a beast of a machine and not simply because of the extra 8 MHz that it had over the older machines. The de rigueur 30-pin memory was replaced by 72-pin SIMMs, which not only raised the memory ceiling (up to 136 MiB when slots allowing 8 MiB of on board RAM were introduced), but also boosted speed. Interleaving memory could improve performance even more. In terms of raw speed, the 800 could even outperform the Quadra 950, despite the fact that both machines ran their 68040 at the same speed.

Elsewhere, the 800 retained the AAUI Ethernet socket seen on the earlier machines, maintained a PDS slot and three NuBus slots. It also shipped with a very healthy 512 KiB of dedicated VRAM (expandable to 1 MiB).

Full Specifications

  • General
    • CPU: 33 MHz Motorola MC68040
    • ROM: 1 MiB
    • Bus Speed: 33 MHz
    • Data Path: 32-bit
    • RAM Type: 72-pin SIMM (60 ns)
    • Standard RAM: 8 MiB
    • RAM Onboard: 8 MiB
    • RAM Slots: 4
    • Maximum RAM: 136 MiB
    • Cache: 8 KiB (L1)
  • I/O & Expansion
    • ADB: 2
    • Serial: 2
    • SCSI: 1 (DB-25)
    • Floppy Connector: 1
    • Ethernet: 1 (AAUI)
    • Audio In: Mini-jack
    • Audio Out: 8 bit stereo 22 KHz (mini-jack)
    • Built-in Speaker: Mono
    • PDS Slot Type: 040
  • Storage
    • Hard Drive: 230 MiB - 1 GiB
    • Hard Drive Type: SCSI
    • Floppy Drive: One 1.44 MiB SuperDrive
    • Optical Drive: 1
    • Optical Drive Type: CD-ROM (2× speed SCSI)
  • Video
    • Max Resolution: 512×384 (16-bit), 640×480, 800×600, 832×624 (8-bit) (16 bit — 1MiB), 1024×768, 1152×870 (4-bit) (8-bit — 1 MiB)
    • Standard VRAM: 512 KiB
    • VRAM Onboard: 512 KiB
    • VRAM Slots: 2
    • Maximum VRAM: 1 MiB
    • Video Out: DB-15
  • Miscellaneous
    • Codename: Fridge, Wombat 33
    • Gestalt ID: 35
    • PRAM Battery: 3.6V half-AA
    • Case Style: Quadra 800
    • Dimensions: 7.7" x 15.75" x 14.0" (W x D x H)
    • Weight: 24.0 lbs.
    • Mac OS Support: System 7.1 - Mac OS 8.1
    • A/UX Support: 3.0.1 - 3.1.1
    • System Enabler: System Enabler 040 v1.0
    • Introduced: February 10 1993
    • Introduced: March 14 1994
    • MSRP: $4699 (US)

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