mac color classic


(click on picture)


Introduced  February 10, 1993 
Discontinued  May 16, 1994
Release Price       $1390.00


      The Color Classic marked the end of the compact Mac line, (at least in the U.S. - a Color Classic II was marketed in Japan in 19xx). The Color Classic was the Mac that everyone was waiting for since it's introduction in 1984. It had a built in hard drive, expandable RAM, a fast Processor, an optional co-processor, an expansion slot, and best of all a color screen!

       On the down side, the Mac Color Classic had some short comings also. The biggest of which was the 16 bit data bus that severely slowed the 32 bit processor. this has been a problem with all the compact Macs with the exception of the SE/30 which had a 32 bit bus. I do not know the reason for designing a computer around a 32 bit processor and limiting it by only giving it a 16 bit data bus. The first Macs were designed using the original Motorola 68000 processor. This processor was a 16/32 bit hybrid, and although it was essentially a 32 bit processor internally, it could only access data 16 bits at a time due to its external 16 bit address pins. So the design of the original motherboards was to have only a 16 bit data bus. So why, when later Macs such as the Classic, Color Classic, and Classic II were designed using the more powerful Motorola 68030, a true 32 bit processor capable of addressing a 32 bit bus, did Apple keep the 16 bit address bus? 

      This aside, the Mac Color Classic is still one of the most popular and sought after collectable computers. This is a great little computer. It's motherboard is similar to the LC series of Macs and is able to use the PDS cards designed for the LC. One of those cards is the Apple IIe card (a complete Apple IIe computer reduced to a single chip on an expansion card). With this card plugged into it's PDS expansion slot the Color Classic can easily switch to emulate an Apple IIe and run virtually all the software available for the Apple II series of computers. Neat huh? Well, for a connoisseur of vintage computers it is, anyway. The real purpose behind the Apple II emulation, was to sell more advanced (meaning expensive) computers to the school systems with the promise of  maintaining compatibility with the loads of software that the schools had already purchased for the Apple II's. 

      The Color Classic comes with a built in 10 inch color screen capable of displaying 512 x 384 pixels in up to 16 colors. It came standard with 256k bytes of Video RAM and could be expanded to 512k. Above the screen is a built in microphone, a first for the Mac series.

       Inside the Mac is a built in SCSI hard drive, configured to either 40, 80, or 120 MB and a 1.44 MB floppy drive. On the motherboard is a 16Mhz Motorola 68030 microprocessor and a socket for the optional 68882 co-processor. The Mac has 1 MB of built in ROM memory and 4 MB of RAM soldered onto the motherboard. It has two 30 pin SIMM slots that will accept either parity or non-parity RAM (it doesn't care, I've tried both). The computer can only recognize a maximum of 10 MB of RAM (I don't know why). I put two 4 MB SIMMs in which should have brought the total onboard RAM to 12 MB, but the system still tells me there is only 10 MB installed. By the way PC SIMMs work fine. 

        A nice feature with this Mac is the ease at which the motherboard could be accessed. The rear of the computer has an access door at the bottom. If you remove the two Phillips head screws and pull down on the two tabs the door comes of revealing the motherboard. to gain access to it for any upgrades you simply pull it out. There are no wires or plugs that need to be removed it is plugged into a slot inside the computer.

        The Color Classic like it's predecessors used the ADB to connect it's keyboard and mouse, it comes with 2 ADB ports on the rear of the computer. Unlike it's predecessors though it is the only compact Mac to use the power button on the keyboard to power on and off (the power switch in the rear must be on for this to work). Beside the ADB ports are two 8 pin DIN plugs for serial connections. Next is a 25 pin D-type plug for connecting a SCSI device.

        Another new feature on this Mac is the manual controls for volume and contrast located under the screen on the front of the computer. Prior to this with older Macs these controls were done by software through the control panel on the desktop.

         The Mac in this exhibit is one of two in the museum. It was added on August 31, 2000. It was purchased at a local thrift shop. The 2nd Mac Color Classic was rescued from a computer junk yard on May 11, 2001. It came with the Apple IIe card installed.


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 Motorola 68030   Standard on system board 4 MB
Clock speed 16 MHz   Maximum on system board 10 MB
Bus type Apple proprietary   Maximum total memory 10 MB
Data bus width 16 bit   Memory speed and type 100 ns
Address bus width 24 bit   System board memory socket type 30 pin SIMM modules
Interrupt levels N/A   Number of memory module sockets 2 slots
DMA channels N/A   Memory used on system board dynamic

Standard Features


Disk Storage

ROM size  1 MB   Internal disk and tape drive bays 2
Optional math coprocessor yes (68882)   Standard floppy drives 1 - 3.5 inch 1.4 MB
Parallel port type     Optional floppy drives: 1 - 3.5 inch 1.4 MB
RS232C serial ports  2   * 5 1/4 inch 160k no
Mouse ports yes   * 5 1/4 inch 1.2MB no
UART chip used N/A   * 3 1/2 inch 720k no
Maximum speed N/A   * 3 1/2 inch 1.44MB yes
CMOS real time clock yes   * 3 1/2 inch 2.88MB no
CMOS RAM yes   Hard disk controller included yes SCSI internal 40/80/120 MB

Video & Graphics



Graphics Processor Uses CPU   Sound Interface device Uses CPU
Screen size - Col x Rows Uses bitmap   Sound generation 4 voices
Resolution - Colors/High 16/512 x 342 pixels   ADSR capable no
Resolution - Colors/Low        
Max colors  16   Programming language  
Sprites or Missiles none   Built in language no
      Built in M L monitor no

Expansion Slots


Keyboard Specs.

Total adapter slots 1 LC PDS Type   Number of keys 80
Number of 8/16/32 bit slots 0/1/0   Upper/lower case yes/yes
      Keyboard cable length 4 foot

Physical Specs.


Environmental Specs.

* Height  14.5 inches   Operating voltage @ 60 Hz 120/240 VAC
* Width  9.9 inches   Maximum power supplied 100 watts
* Depth  12.6 inches   Power supply output - volts  
* Weight  22.5  pounds   Power supply output - amps