The Apple Macintosh IIci is widely regarded as one of the finest machines produced by Apple Computer. Clean, consistent, and free of troubling defects in design, it was the workhorse of the Macintosh II line of personal computers. Featuring a Motorola MC68030 processor at 25MHz and a 68882 floating point coprocessor, it is exceeded in power in the Macintosh II line only by the IIfx, which while an amazingly expandable system (the only Macintosh ever released in a full size desktop case) had various flaws which made it somewhat troublesome.

The IIci features three NuBus slots, a PDS slot, a cache slot, onboard video, audio output, two ADB ports, and two serial ports (one modem/RS-232 and one printer/RS-232 and RS-422 combo.) The onboard video used system memory (up to 320kB depending on display resolution) which would occasionally tie up the memory controller, compromising as much as 10% of the system's performance. Those doing serious work on this system generally purchased an accelerated video card, however, such as the Apple 8*24 or 8*24 GC. Either of these NuBus-connected video cards provided Color QuickDraw graphics.

The IIci has eight 30 pin SIMM sockets, which can take SIMMs in capacities from 256kB to 4MB. SIMMs must be upgraded in groups of four. The machine also has 8MB of RAM onboard, making the maximum total installable memory 40MB. (16+16+8.)

The IIci also has the fastest SCSI controller of all Mac IIs, achieving transfer rates as high as 2.4MB per second. While this is not stunning (So-called "fast" SCSI should be able to do 10 MB/sec, and the basic slow SCSI should be able to do 5) it is quite capable for a desktop computer with a 25MHz CPU.

At the time of its release on September 9, 1989, the IIci cost $6,700 with a 20MB hard drive or $8,800 with a 40MB unit. Later units shipped with 80MB drives, quite spacious by the day's standards. The IIci continued to be sold until February 10, 1993, making it one of the more longer-lived personal computers, and providing a testament to its usefulness.

The IIci also has a neat feature in respect to the power button: It can be pushed in and turned with a screwdriver, forcing it to stay in. This has the effect of turning the computer on and not allowing it to be turned off, useful for school labs and commercial uses.

There are assorted accelerator cards for the IIci, including a logic board replacement to change it into a Quadra 700, though this was a relatively rare upgrade. Processors as fast as 50MHz (both MC68030 and MC68040) were available, and the system would run Mac OS 8.1 with the proper software. The most common upgrade was the installation of a (processor) cache card, which was reputed to speed the system up by 25-50%.


References:

  1. Low End Mac, Mac IIci. (http://www.lowendmac.com/ii/iici.shtml)

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