Vintage Mac blow out.

Well, not a real blow out in the clearance sale sense. But, I did persuase a herd of dust bunnies out of a pair of IIcx cases and a IIsi at any rate. Thanks to good friend Blake, I discovered a teetering pile of beige beside my desk a couple of weeks ago. Along with the three boxes mentioned above, there was also a bad boy Mac II (which I believe is number four out of the original ten Mac II systems we had at Image Club Graphics when I started back in January of 1989), a 12 inch Macintosh Color Display, a Newton keyboard in its soft zipper case, and a clip-on modem for one of the first generation Palm Pilots.

After hauling the gang around in the back of the Volvo for two weeks, I decided to fire up the three amigos (not to be confused with my three Amigas) and see what they were packing. The first IIcx was outfitted with an amicable 8/80 configuration, a Daystar 030/50 PowerCache Card, and a surprise Supermac ColorCard/24 graphics accelerated board. After booting it up and having the sweet sights of System 7.1 meet my eyes, I discovered that this machine used to be the accounting department computer at Image Club, circa 1995. All of the customer database and accounting software was still loaded on the drive.

The second IIcx was stripped of memory and a video card, so I borrowed a quadruplet of 1MB chips and the Supermac board from the first box and pressed the power key. It had the same 80MB original equipment hard drive as the first IIcx, this time loaded with System 7.0.1 and System 7 Tuneup. Nothing too exciting appeared to be left on the drive and the floppy didn't work. Something to play with a bit later I suppose.

The IIsi stuck me with problems much sooner in the process. The chimes of death on startup weren't a promising sign. This machine came with a Nubus Adapter Board with an Asanté 5BaseT/10BaseT/AUI Ethernet card stuffed into the PDS slot. The first thing I tried was yanking all of that extra hardware out, but it made no difference. The problem persisied after unplugging the hard drive and reseating all of the various internal connectors. The last thing to try was the memory, which I should of suspected from the beginning. There were only a single pair of chips in the four SIMM slots and I couldn't recall off the top of my head whether or not the IIsi required all of the slots to be filled. I did know that the IIsi had some onboard memory and that it shared system RAM with the video. I removed the two chips and it booted, but only so far as to present me with an error message stating that 'System 7.1 requires more memory to start up.' What? 1MB won't cut it, eh? Ah well, I guess I need to dig around and find some more 30-pin chips.

Posted Grant Hutchinson   Timestamp Wednesday, February 02, 2005