I love my Classic! These machines came out in late 1990
, at $999 the only Mac from Apple to be priced under $1000 (as far as I can think of...) until the recent release of the $799 iMac. A Classic came with 1-2MB RAM, expandable to 4MB, a 20MB or 40MB HD, and a sharp 512x342 white monochrome
screen (Apple's online specs incorrectly list it as 512x384). This included, unlike comparable PCs of the day, high-quality stereo sound out and SCSI
It lends a new life to a Classic to get it a better HD... I stuck the 240MB from my PowerMac 7100 in and now have room to install *software*! The original HD's are also very slow, and even that old crappy 240 gave it quite a boost in startup time: ~15sec from cold, System 6.0.7, reasonable # of extensions (or INITs, as they were then).
System 7.5.5 will run in about 2MB on one of these, making it semi-viable for newer programs. The main impediment is the 68000 processor, which doesn't support the extended 68020 instruction set that so improves code density and speed. Someday, when all software comes in an intermediate form, compiled for whatever computer you have, my Classic will be *really* resurrected...
Technical issues aside, these computers aesthetically and ergonomically shred the iMac. The opposite of garish, you can gaze into the little, bright, focussed screen and *not* be immersed in the virtual world. It's much easier to think, to write a report or anything, when you're so in touch with the outside world, instead of distracted by all the colorful widgets competing for you attention on Microsoft Word's multitude of toolbars. Typing on a Classic is much closer to writing on paper than word processing normally is.
Another reason it's a sin to sacrifice one of these for a Macquarium is their incredible reliability. Mine was left on essentially doing nothing for several years and nothing ever failed. Once, in its earlier days, it was dropped 3 feet from an unsteady table, hard drive spinning, and survived unscathed. When it hit the ground, the CRT flickered.
Knowing the architectural simplicity of these machines, I remain hopeful that someday someone (mebbe me!) will port a new OS to it and its brethren. The 68000 has full support for preemptive multitasking, except for the need of an external decrementer. At worst, this is a $10 addon for the PDS expansion slot. This computer is just too cute, practical, and _reliable_ to leave behind.
Almost forgot... these computers were probably internally used as testbeds for some long-forgotten NC project at Apple. If you hold down cmd-opt-X-O at startup, the computer boots from the ROM chip (with incredible speed!) with a stripped-down custom build of a beta of System 6.0.4. They can therefore function semi-practically with no hard drive and very little RAM. An especially nice feature, I'd imagine (never actually had problems that serious), if you had no other way to boot.