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iigs woz system  
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Introduced January 1986
Discontinued Summer 1993
Original Price


       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 anybody's 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. 


System Architecture Ports Disk Storage
PMMU: none
FPU: none
Data Path:  
L1 Cache: none
L2 Cache: none
2nd Processor: none
Slots: none
Bus type  
Data Bus width  
Address bus width  
CMOS real time clock  
USB: none
ADB: none
Video: none
SCSI: none
Parallel: none
Geoports: none
Ethernet: none
FireWire: none
Mic Type: none
AirPort Ready: n/a
Other Ports:  
Floppy Size:  
Int HD Size: none
Int HD Interface: none
Orig CD Speed n/a
Int CD Support: n/a
Internal drive bays  
Standard floppy drives  
Optional floppy drives:  
* 5 1/4 inch 160k none
* 5 1/4 inch 1.2MB none
* 3 1/2 inch 400k  
* 3 1/2 inch 1.44MB none
* 3 1/2 inch 2.88MB none
Hard disk controller included none
Memory Video and Graphics
Logic Board:  
RAM Slots: 0, n/a
Min - Max RAM:  
Min RAM Speed:  
RAM Sizes: n/a
Install in Groups of: n/a
System board memory socket type  
Number of memory module sockets  
Graphics Processor  
Screen size - columns & rows  
Video on board Built in monitor
Video RAM n/a
Max colors Mono - B & W
RGB output n/a
Composit Video Output none
Screen Resolution  
Sprites or Missiles none
Physical Specs. Software Power
Form Factor:  
Gestalt ID:  
Weight (lbs):  
Dimensions (in):  
Keyboard Specs  
Number of Keys  
upper/lower case  
Sound interface device  
Sound Generation  
ADSR capable no
Addressing Modes:  
Orig SSW:  
Orig Enabler: none
ROM Ver: n/a
ROM Size:  
AppleTalk Ver: n/a
Mac OS Supported:  
Max Watts:  
BTU per Hr:  
Voltage: 105-125
Freq Range: 50-60 Hz
Battery Type:  
Soft Power: n/a
Pass Through: n/a
Programming language  
Built in language none
Built in M L monitor none



System Architecture



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 ???

Standard Features


Disk Storage

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

Expansion Slots


Keyboard Specs.

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

Physical Specs.


Environmental Specs.

* Height     Operating voltage @ 60 Hz 105-125 VAC
* Width     Maximum power supplied  
* Depth     Power supply output - volts  
* Weight     Power supply output - amps