Macintosh Quadra 700

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Macintosh Quadra 700
CPU: 25 MHz Motorola MC68040
RAM Type:30-pin SIMM
Maximum RAM: 68 MiB
Expansion slots: 040-PDS
2 NuBus
Supported OS: System 7.0.1 - Mac OS 8.1
A/UX 3.0 - 3.1.1
Introduced:October 21 1991
Discontinued:March 15 1993
MSRP:$6000 (US)
Full Specifications

Since the original Macintosh and its use of the Motorola 68000 CPU, the Mac line had relied mostly on the more powerful Motorola 68030. By the start of the 1990s, Motorola had developed the most powerful 680x0 CPU so far in the shape of the 68040. The new Quadra series would put this powerhouse of a processor in the hands of users in the guise of the Quadra 700 and Quadra 900.


Even before the Macintosh had made use of it, the Motorola 68000 had been a part of Apple, by powering the ill-fated Lisa. Since then, the legendary chip had gone on to power several more Macs and spawn a whole series of variants and 'new and improved' versions. Whilst the 68020 had seen little use (fitted in only two Macs: the Macintosh II and LC), the 68030 had become the mainstay of the Mac line. While a solid and powerful processor, the 68030 had its limitations even before the march of time was taken into account. The release of the new Motorola 68040 would not only provide a more powerful processor, but would als add functionality and features that the older chip could only dream of.

The big draw for the 68040 was the inclusion of an on-chip floating point unit (FPU). Rather than having to have an additional processor to handle floating point operations, the 68040 could not only do the job itself, but could do it faster – as data no longer needed to be shifted between two chips – and more cheaply, as less chips meant lower costs. A version of the 68040 with the FPU disabled, the 68LC040, was also available and was the core of many Macs, specifically the Centris series of machines. It wasn't just the FPU that made the 68040 faster, improved fabrication and general advances in processor technology allowed the 68040 to outperform the older chips, even when running at the same speed. That Apple would adopt the processor was academic, when and how they'd release it was the question on everyone's lips.

Released in October 1991, the 'all new' Quadra series consisted, initially, of two machines: the Quadra 700, and the behemoth Quadra 900. Both powered by the new CPU, the machines were almost as fast as they were expensive – they certainly weren't aimed at the budget end of the market.

Using a slightly modified Mac IIcx case, the Quadra 700 was the 'desktop' machine that could either be placed horizontally (as per the Mac IIcx/ci) or vertically, as a 'mini-tower'. It was minuscule compared to the larger Quadra 900 but also too small to offer any sort of drive bay – CD-ROM technology was starting to appear, but the machine had no way to mount a 5.25" drive internally. Despite boasting a PDS slot and two NuBus slots, this was one of the few criticisms levelled at the Quadra 700.

Performance-wise, the 700 was a powerhouse of a machine and not just because of its new CPU. Shipping with 4 MiB of RAM soldered directly onto the motherboard, the machine could actually be expanded to a (then) very impressive 68 MiB. It also came equipped with 512 KiB of dedicated VRAM, which could be expanded to an almost unheard of 2 MiB, in turn allowing for ever bigger resolutions, at ever greater colour depths. It should be noted that, despite being able to handle 24-bit colour in some resolutions, the Quadra 700 is totally unable to display 16-bit colour depths. The Quadra 700, along with the Quadra 900, was the first Mac to come equipped with an on board Ethernet connection. It may have been an AAUI connection rather than the, more common RJ-45/CAT 5 connection (aka 10 Base-T), but as no clear standard had emerged at the time, the little machine can be forgiven this little 'quirk'.

A workhorse of a machine, the Quadra 700 was a joy to use, offered good expansion options – there may not have been any spare internal drive bays, but the usual SCSI connection on the back, when coupled with the internal expansion slots, RAM and VRAM slots, gave the machine plenty of scope for 'customisation' – was fast, powerful, and extremely solid and reliable. Suddenly $6000 didn't feel like such a high price to pay.

Full Specifications

  • General
    • CPU: 25 MHz Motorola MC68040
    • ROM: 1 MiB
    • Bus Speed: 25 MHz
    • Data Path: 32-bit
    • RAM Type: 30-pin SIMM (80 ns)
    • Standard RAM: 4 MiB
    • RAM Onboard: 4 MiB
    • RAM Slots: 4
    • Maximum RAM(Apple): 20 MiB
    • Maximum RAM(Actual): 68 MiB
    • Cache: 8 KiB (L1)
  • I/O & Expansion
    • ADB: 1
    • 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
    • NuBus Slots: 2
  • Storage
    • Hard Drive: 80 MiB - 400 MiB
    • Hard Drive Type: SCSI
    • Floppy Drive: One 1.44 MiB SuperDrive
  • Video
    • Max Resolution: 512×384 (16-bit) (24-bit — 1 MiB), 640×480, 832×624 (8-bit) (24-bit — 2 MiB), 1152×870 (4-bit) (8-bit — 1 MiB)
    • Standard VRAM: 512 KiB
    • VRAM Onboard: 512 KiB
    • VRAM Slots: 6
    • Maximum VRAM: 2 MiB
    • Video Out: DB-15
  • Miscellaneous
    • Codename: Shadow, Spike, IIce, Evo 200
    • Gestalt ID: 22
    • PRAM Battery: 3.6V half-AA
    • Case Style: Macintosh IIcx
    • Dimensions: 11.9" x 14.5" x 5.5" (W x D x H)
    • Weight: 13.6 lbs.
    • Mac OS Support: System 7.0.1 - Mac OS 8.1
    • A/UX Support: 3.0 - 3.1.1
    • Introduced: October 21 1991
    • Introduced: March 15 1993
    • MSRP: $6000 (US)

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