Macintosh Quadra 840AV

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Macintosh Quadra 840AV
CPU: 40 MHz Motorola MC68040
RAM Type:72-pin SIMM
Maximum RAM: 128 MiB
Supported OS: System 7.1 - Mac OS 8.1
Introduced:July 29 1993
Discontinued:July 18 1994
MSRP:$4699 (US)
Full Specifications


Arguably the fastest 680x0 Mac ever produced, the Quadra 840av not only pushed the Motorola 68040 to heights it had never reached before, but, along with the Quadra 660av, brought audio and video editing to the masses – hence the av in its name.

History

Despite having been launched three years earlier, nothing had managed to surpass the Macintosh IIfx in terms of processor speed. Sure, the introduction of the Motorola 68040 had resulted in machines that were more powerful, but Apple had never released another machine that could run at 40 MHz or beyond. In July 1993 that changed, with the release of the Quadra 840av.

Re-using the case from the Quadra 800, the 840av might have looked innocuous enough, but under that steel shell it was a beast just waiting to be unleashed.

The 'magic' of the 840AV came in the 'AV' part, as the machine came factory-fitted with everything that users needed to work with audio and video. Up until the 840AV, desktop machines had lacked enough grunt to be able to handle video editing but, along with the Quadra 660AV which was launched alongside it, there was enough power to actually get the job done. The vital component was the AT&T 3210 DSP; a chip dedicated to digital signal processing. The 660av ran it at 55MHz...the 840av ran it at a blazing 66MHz.

Elsewhere, the machine sported not only the same ports that had adorned the Quadra 800 (although the number of ADB ports was reduced form two to one), but also composite audio input and output, video input and output (either as composite or as S-Video in NTSC, PAL, or SECAM format), and a high-speed GeoPort serial socket.

Unlike the Quadra 660av, the 840av had excellent expansion options available to it. The three NuBus 90 slots offered plenty of scope to add additional cards – the 660av had a single slo. There were three 5.25" drive bays – compared to the 660av's preposterous single bay – and memory could be pushed all the way up to 128 MiB. It wasn't all great news, however, as by re-using the Quadra 800's case, anyone brave enough to delve inside found the same awful case design; the ever frustrating plastic clips holding the motherboard in place and the need to strip nearly the whole machine down to access just about anything. Even more annoying was the 840av's refusal to work with some monitors – a trait it shared with the 660av. Some monitors would work, some required a special cable, and some just refused to play ball at all.

The addition of the AV elements was a massive shot in the arm but users soon found that, although able to work with video, the hardware still had its limitations (video sampling was restricted to 8-bit for example) and, even though the 68040 was pushed harder than ever before and had massive help from the AT&T DSP, there was no way it would ever be able to produce broadcast quality video without specialist hardware.

Case and (potential) monitor problems aside, the 840av was a powerhouse of a machine and, given the price of previous Apple 'powerhouse' machines and the AV hardware alone, a real bargain at its list price of just $4699.

Full Specifications

  • General
    • CPU: 40 MHz Motorola MC68040
    • ROM: 2 MiB
    • Bus Speed: 40 MHz
    • Data Path: 32-bit
    • RAM Type: 72-pin SIMM (60 ns)
    • Standard RAM: 8 MiB
    • RAM Slots: 4
    • Maximum RAM: 128 MiB
    • Cache: 8 KiB (L1)
  • I/O & Expansion
    • ADB: 1
    • Serial: 2
    • SCSI: 1 (DB-25)
    • Floppy Connector: 1
    • Ethernet: 1 (AAUI)
    • Audio In: 16-bit stereo 48 KHz (mini-jack, composite)
    • Audio Out: 16-bit stereo 48 KHz (mini-jack, composite)
    • Built-in Speaker: Mono
  • 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 (2x speed SCSI)
  • Video
    • Max Resolution: 512×384, 640×400 (24-bit), 640×480, 800×600, 832×624 (16-bit) (24-bit — 2 MiB), 1024×768, 1152×870 (8-bit) (16-bit — 2 MiB)
    • Standard VRAM: 1 MiB
    • VRAM Onboard: 1 MiB
    • VRAM Slots: 4
    • Maximum VRAM: 2 MiB
    • Video In: S-Video, Composite
    • Video Out: DB-15, S-Video, Composite
  • Miscellaneous
    • Codename: Quadra 1000, Cyclone
    • Gestalt ID: 78
    • Power: 200w
    • 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: 25.3 lbs.
    • Mac OS Support: System 7.1 - Mac OS 8.1
    • System Enabler: System Enabler 088 v1.0
    • Introduced: July 29 1993
    • Introduced: July 18 1994
    • MSRP: $4699 (US)

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