|(click on picture)|
| The Apple IIgs
was the last in the line of the original Apple II's designed by Steve
Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple Computers Inc. This
latest and greatest computer was as far above the original Apple II technically
as the original Apple II was the ENIAC. But yet the IIgs
could still run all of the Apple II software without any
problems. This was a masterful achievement considering the IIgs
used a 16 bit processor and a 16 bit architecture.
When the IIgs was being designed the Apple company was in the midst of a retooling phase with the announcement and release of the Macintosh. the majority of the company resources were committed to the Mac. Still the design teams for the IIgs were able to pull off yet another miracle. Released just 2 years after the Mac the IIgs became one of the most popular of the Apple II series, replacing the older IIe's as a favorite in the schools.
It's sleek new design with its component structure was a radical change from the all in one box design of past Apples, more in line with the trend in the PC market. Unlike the Apple IIc, the IIgs was expandable through add on boards, a return to the earlier Wozniak philosophy to make the Apple an open architecture. As with the earlier Apple II's and IIe's the top of the CPU unit is removable allowing access to the 7 expansion slots inside.
The detached keyboard was beautifully designed and had a great feel to it and was connected along with a one button mouse to the CPU unit through the ADB (Apple Desktop Bus) port. The ADB was another innovation introduced on the IIgs and later adopted by the Macintosh line. I have found that the IIgs keyboards are interchangeable with some of the SE and later series of Mac's with the ADB ports in case anyone needs a replacement keyboard in a pinch.
The first IIgs' came with a 256k of RAM built into the motherboard and were expandable to 8 Megabytes with an expansion card installed in a special slot on the motherboard. These were the128k ROM 1 versions of the IIgs later to be replaced with versions up to the final 256k ROM 3 with 1 Megabyte of RAM built into the motherboard and capable of accessing up to 8 Megabytes through the expansion slot.
The OS (Operating System) also benefited from the Macintosh and got a makeover. Gone was the opening BASIC command line replaced by the sleek new GUI (Graphical User Interface) similar to the Mac's. The IIgs was not all looks, it was a very powerful computer for its time. Its processor was the Western Design Center's 65C816 running at 2.8MHz, a 16-bit processor with the unique ability to emulate the MOS Technology 6502 8-bit processor that resides in all previous Apple II series computers.
The IIgs addressed a couple of the weaknesses of the previous versions of the II series, the graphics and sound capabilities. Hence the G and S in the Apple IIgs name. The IIgs now had a dedicated graphics processor capable of delivering high resolution graphics up to 640 x 200 pixels and a color palette of up to 4096 colors. One of the drawbacks though was the need to use an RGB monitor to display the great graphics and no allowances were made for the hookup to a standard television or composite monitor. Still impressive by anybodies standards of that period.
And it did not stop there, the IIgs was given sound, not just beeps and tones as its predecessors had, but a built in music synthesizer chip with 15 voices. The co-processor was designed by Ensoniq and given a dedicated 64 kilobytes of RAM (That's as much total memory the original Apple II had in it's RAM and ROM combined)
The IIgs was not without its shortcomings, It had no internal floppy drives or hard drives. Although the IIgs was bundled with a 800 kb 3.5 inch external floppy drive. To remain compatible with the previous Apples, an optional 5.25 external floppy drive was needed to be able to use the existing software for older Apple II's. An optional external hard drive was supported in ROM and could be connected to a SCSI ( pronounced 'scuzzy') adapter card inserted into a slot in the computer.
Finally in honor of the creator of the Apple II line of computers a specially marked IIgs was released called the Woz Limited Edition. This is a highly coveted machine by collectors and usually pulls a premium price at the online auctions.
I would like to thank Rob Byrnes for donating his Apple IIgs to the museum, it is one of 2 working models I have. This one is a ROM 3 version with a built in 1 MB of RAM, it has both a 3.5 and 5.25 inch floppy drives and is connected to a standard Apple RGB monitor.
|Microprocessor||65C816||Standard on system board||256k (1 MB on ROM 3)|
|Clock speed||2.8 MHz / 1 MHz||Maximum on system board||256k (1 MB on ROM 3)|
|Bus type||Apple Proprietary||Maximum total memory||8 MB|
|Data bus width||16-bit||Memory speed and type||???|
|Address bus width||16-bit||System board memory socket type||???|
|Interrupt levels||n/a||Number of memory module sockets||???|
|DMA channels||n/a||Memory used on system board||???|
|ROM size||128k (256k ROM 3)||Internal disk and tape drive bays||none|
|Optional math coprocessor||no||Standard floppy drives||5 1/4 X 143k or 3.5 X 800k|
|Parallel port type||Optional floppy drives:||2-External|
|RS232C serial ports||2||* 5 1/4 inch 143k||yes|
|Mouse ports||yes||* 5 1/4 inch 1.2MB||no|
|UART chip used||N/A||* 3 1/2 inch 800k||yes|
|Maximum speed||N/A||* 3 1/2 inch 1.44MB||no|
|CMOS real time clock||yes||* 3 1/2 inch 2.88MB||no|
|CMOS RAM||yes||Hard disk controller included||scuzzi supported|
Video & Graphics
|Graphics Processor||Sound Interface device||32-oscillator Ensoniq chip|
|Screen size - Col x Rows||40/80 x 25||Sound generation||15 voices 64k dedicated RAM|
|Resolution - Colors/High||4/640 x 200||ADSR capable||no|
|Resolution - Colors/Low||16/320 x 200|
|Max colors||4096||Programming language|
|Sprites or Missiles||none||Built in language||Applesoft BASIC|
|Built in M L monitor||yes|
|Total adapter slots||7||Number of keys||81|
|Number of 8/16/32 bit slots||0/7/0||Upper/lower case||yes/yes|
|Keyboard cable length||4 foot|
|* Height||Operating voltage @ 60 Hz||105-125 VAC|
|* Width||Maximum power supplied|
|* Depth||Power supply output - volts|
|* Weight||Power supply output - amps|