Macintosh IIsi

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Revision as of 09:22, 24 August 2007 by TheNeil (talk | contribs) (Full Specifications)
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Macintosh IIsi.jpg
Macintosh IIsi
CPU: 20 MHz Motorola MC68030
RAM Type:30-pin SIMM
Maximum RAM: 65 MiB
Introduced:October 15 1990
Discontinued:March 15 1993
MSRP:$3769 (US)
Full Specifications

After the excess of the Mac IIfx, Apple realised that not ever user could afford to spend almost $10,000 on a machine and released what it believed would be a machine that would have far greater appeal, the Macintosh IIsi.


The Macintosh IIfx had pushed the limits of technology and had created the fastest Mac the world had ever seen. It had also pushed the wallets of most buyers and Apple soon realised that having a killer 40MHz machine was all well and good but by costing nearly $10,000 it was far too expensive for the majority of users. The solution was to create a new machine that not only offered the all important fruit logo but didn't cost the earth. That machine was the Macintosh IIsi, a machine that was either a work of genius or the work of Satan depending on your viewpoint.

Coming in at just over 1/3rd of the price of it's predecessor, the IIsi was not only cheaper but it was smaller and had the distinct advantage of including on-board video. At first glance this all looked as though it was positive but savings don't come for free and Apple had to make some serious cutbacks to get the IIsi on the shelves for under $4000.

The IIfx had been a speed demon. Even the IIci had pushed the boundaries and had been rated as the fastest Mac when it was released, but the IIsi ignored both of them and throttled the ever dependable Motorola 68030 back to a more modest 20MHz. If this had been the only change then it wouldn't have been as bad but it was actually only the first of many changes. The 68030 might have been slowed down but the 68882 floating point unit (FPU) was ditched altogether. It could be added but it needed to fill an expansion slot. Actually it needed fill THE expansion slot as the IIsi came equipped with just a single slot and it wasn't even of the NuBus variety. Adopting the PDS slot used in the SE/30 the IIsi was suddenly very limited when it came to expansion—even more so when users realised that as the IIsi ran at 20MHz and the SE/30 ran at 16Mhz, many of the cards designed for the SE/30 wouldn't actually work anyway. A PDS to NuBus adaptor helped but it was hardly the greatest of solutions.

With so much of the custom hardware designed for the IIfx having been jettisoned, the IIsi relied far more on 'stock' technology and the expensive 64 pin SIMMs were replaced with the standard 30 pin variety (even if the number of slots was reduced to four, allowing the machine to have a maximum of 64Mb added on top of the 1Mb soldered directly onto the motherboard - stil more than enough for most users). Apple had learned some lessons though and the IIsi did come with on-board graphics which saved users having to pay out for a dedicated graphics card (even here though Apple cut corners and opted to adopt the 'leeching' method used in the IIci where memory from the main system was 'stolen' rather than some form of dedicated video memory).

The IIsi was a decent machine but it wasn't the machine that it could have been (especially when it transpired that it was originally designed as a 25MHz machine but Apple cut its speed to 20MHz to avoid cutting into IIci sales)(Note: In this instance it is perfectly safe to over-clock the machine to 25MHz). It did have two distinctions though. Firstly it was the only Mac where the case was never re-used, and secondly it was the Mac that was most cut in price during its lifetime (from $3769 to $969 in just 29 months).

Full Specifications

  • General
    • CPU: 20 MHz Motorola MC68030
    • ROM: 512 kiB
    • Bus Speed: 20 MHz
    • Data Path: 32bit
    • RAM Type: 30-pin SIMM (120 ns)
    • Standard RAM: 1 MiB
    • RAM Onboard: None
    • RAM Slots: 4
    • Maximum RAM: 65 MiB
    • Cache: ½ KiB (level 1)
  • I/O & Expansion
    • Audio Out: 8 bit stereo 22KHz (mini-jack)
    • Built-in Speaker: Mono
  • Storage
    • Hard Drive: 40 MiB - 80 MiB
    • Hard Drive Type: SCSI
    • Floppy Drive: One 1.44 MiB Superdrive
  • Video
    • Max Resolution: 512x384, 640x480 (8 bit), 640x870 (4 bit)
    • Maximum VRAM: 64 KiB - 320 KiB
    • Video Out: DB-15
  • Miscellaneous
    • Apple Model Number: M0360
    • Codename: Oceanic, Ray Ban, Erickson, Raffica, Raffika
    • Gestalt ID: 10
    • Power: 160W
    • PRAM Battery: 3.6V Lithium
    • Case Style: Macintosh IIsi
    • Dimensions: 12.4" x 14.9" x 4.0" (W x D x H)
    • Weight: 10 lbs.
    • Introduced: October 15 1990
    • Introduced: March 15 1993
    • MSRP: $3769 (US)

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