Difference between revisions of "Macintosh LC"

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MacLC.jpg
Macintosh LC
CPU: 16 MHz Motorola MC68020
RAM Type:30-pin SIMM
Maximum RAM: 10 MiB
Expansion slots: LC-PDS
Supported OS: System 6.0.7 - Mac OS 7.5.5
Introduced:October 15 1990
Discontinued:March 23 1992
MSRP:$2399 (US)
Full Specifications


First in the series of 'Low Cost' Macintoshes, the Macintosh LC provided users with everything they needed to enjoy 'the Mac experience'.

History

Ever since the original Macintosh was released in 1984, the world had been captivated by the little machine. The subsequent all-in-one (AIO) Macs and the release of the entire Macintosh II line had opened up new possibilities and pushed the Mac onto ever more desktops in ever more varied roles. The Mac was a wonder, a joy to use and a smash hit. What it wasn't, though, was cheap.

Having recognised this gap in the market, Apple set about developing a machine (or rather a range of machines) that would offer Mac II performance and features, without the need for taking out a second mortgage. Naturally some cost and corner cutting would have to take place, but the all new 'Low Cost' series would allow normal people to be able to afford a genuine Macintosh.

The idea was great, the execution wasn't. Using the same Motorola 68020 CPU found in the Macintosh II (not used in any other Mac up to the LC) and running at the same speed (a reasonable 16 MHz), the LC should have been a great alternative to the, not only expensive, but now ageing Mac II. Apple fumbled the ball, though, and committed the first of many crimes against computing. The 68020 might not have been as powerful as the newer 68030, nor did it have had all of the advanced features of its younger sibling, but it was still a full blown 32-bit processor. For reasons known only to themselves, Apple decided to run this 32-bit CPU on a 16-bit data bus. For the price of 16 data lines, Apple crippled what had the potential to be a decent little Mac. What this meant in practical terms, was a machine that only rated about 75% of the performance of the Mac II — despite the fact that they both used the same CPU running at the same speed.

Crippling the CPU was bad enough, but if that was as far as the problems stretched, the LC might have still come out as a good machine. Sadly, it wasn't; there were further complications with the little pizza box. It was limited to a measly 10 MiB memory ceiling — using older 30-pin SIMMs, rather than the newer 72-pin SIMMs) and came with an equally mean 256 KiB of video RAM (VRAM), which allowed it to drive its video output at only 512×384 with 8-bit color or 640x480 with only 4-bit color. A VRAM upgrade (up to 512 KiB in total) would allow the machine to run at 640×480 at 8-bit color or 512x384 with 16-bit color at but it came at an extra cost.

Unlike the subsequent machines in the series, the LC came in two configurations: dual floppy drive, or single floppy drive and hard drive. All encased in a new slimline case, the LC was obviously not going to offer massive expansion options but it did allow a single LC PDS expansion card to be fitted. There were 2 SIMM slots (in addition to the 2 MiB on board RAM), and the usual serial and SCSI connectors on the back of the case. It wasn't all bad news, though, as the slimline machine did have an audio input socket. It might not have been much but it was something...and the machine was still a fraction of the cost of a Macintosh II.

Seen by many as having been deliberately crippled by Apple — possibly to avoid eating into Mac IIci and Mac IIsi sales — and perhaps cutting a few too many corners, the LC was never going to be an earth shattering machine. Yet buyers clearly thought differently as over 500,000 were sold in the first year proving that, although not exactly cutting edge, there were customers who were quite happy to sacrifice speed and features if the price was right.

Full Specifications

  • General
    • CPU: 16 MHz Motorola MC68020
    • ROM: 512 KiB
    • Bus Speed: 16 MHz
    • Data Path: 16-bit
    • RAM Type: 30-pin SIMM (100 ns)
    • Standard RAM: 2 MiB
    • RAM Onboard: 2 MiB
    • RAM Slots: 2
    • Maximum RAM: 10 MiB
    • Cache: ¼ KiB (L1)
  • I/O & Expansion
    • ADB: 1
    • Serial: 2
    • SCSI: 1 (DB-25)
    • Floppy Connector: 1
    • Audio In: Mini-jack
    • Audio Out: 8-bit 22 KHz mono (mini-jack)
    • Built-in Speaker: Mono
    • PDS Slot Type: LC
  • Storage
    • Hard Drive: 40 MiB - 80 MiB (optional)
    • Hard Drive Type: SCSI
    • Floppy Drive: One 1.44 MiB SuperDrive
  • Video
    • Max Resolution: 640×480 (4-bit), 512×384 (8-bit), 640×480 (8-bit – 512 KiB VRAM)
    • Standard VRAM: 256 KiB
    • VRAM Onboard: 0 KiB
    • VRAM Slots: 1
    • Maximum VRAM: 512 KiB
    • Video Out: DB-15
  • Miscellaneous
    • Apple Model Number: M0350
    • Codename: Pinball, Elsie, Prism
    • Gestalt ID: 19
    • Power: 50W
    • PRAM Battery: 3.6V Lithium
    • Case Style: LC
    • Dimensions: 12.2" x 15.3" x 2.9" (W x D x H)
    • Weight: 8.8 lbs.
    • Mac OS Support: System 6.0.7 - Mac OS 7.5.5
    • Introduced: October 15 1990
    • Introduced: March 23 1992
    • MSRP: $2399 (US)

More Information