• Hello, Guest! Welcome back, and be sure to check out this post for more info about the recent service interruption and migration.

I made a short video expressing my love for the black Performa 5400

CircuitBored

Well-known member
Hi all, I just wanted to share a little (<4 mins) video I made about the 5400 and why I think it's such a cool computer... so long as it's black.


I bought the black 5400 about eight years ago and it saw periodic service as a TV. It was a sort of "buddy" system to my G4 for a good long while. Here it is circa 2016 with an N64 by its side.

2016-04-15 20.13.14.jpg

I really grew to love this machine as time went by but it started to show its age soon enough. In around December 2019 it started exhibiting a distored display and random reboots.

I left the Black Mac in storage until I stumped up the courage to recap it. My efforts were a success but disaster struck when I accidentally short-circuited the analogue board with a rogue capacitor leg, destroying it in the process. I once again put the Black Mac in storage, this time waiting for a suitable donor machine to come along on eBay.

Enter, the Big Cheese:

IMG_3094.jpeg

This gross, yellowed 5400 was the saviour of my lovely black one. It donated its power supply and analogue board so that my Mac could live again. It also had a Sonnet G3 in it, which was a great little bonus.

With all that mess resolved I now have a wonderful, weird Mac back in service in my collection. I find any sort of A/V functionality to be tremendously cool (even on modern computers) so the fact that this computer looks like a TV and has a remote is just so appealing to me.
 

joshc

Well-known member
Haha, great video as usual, you captured it well. You have a lot more patience than me, I had a 5400 which I took apart and I couldn't bear to reassemble it...
 

CircuitBored

Well-known member
Superb! Nice scores and well done getting it all in the box you wanted.

Thanks! This generation of Macs generally doesn't get much love but I find them interesting because they were pretty much the last computers Apple released that didn't have entirely CPU-based graphics.

You have a lot more patience than me, I had a 5400 which I took apart and I couldn't bear to reassemble it...

Trust me: I cringe every time I have to take that thing apart. When you're putting the screws back in you have to make sure you hit the exact same thread as they were in before or the holes simply explode into a million pieces. Thanks for watching :)
 

CC_333

Well-known member
This thread is making me one one of these!

As for the brittle plastics, with the way technology is advancing, I think that in the not-too-distant future, the technology will exist that allows one to make nearly perfect replicas of the case plastics for almost every 68k and pre-G3 Power Mac, including the 5x00 AIOs, quickly and affordably using modern, longer lasting materials.

c
 

dan.dem

Well-known member
Back in the 1990s I worked with a friend who really was a 1980s person, dressed all black, looking like a 1982 musician. He had a black 5400 and sticked to it until he finally swapped it for a black-transparent iMac SE. I remember watching him running something like MacOS 8.6 or 9 on an unaccelerated 5400, thinking: "How can you bear this, it's so slow."

About the black keyboard: The AppleDesign Keyboard family is IMHO the worst of Apple's line of mostly mediocre keyboards. However there are differences. Some I encountered are absolutely unbearable with spongy but still stiff keys, some are OK.
Deskthority wiki ( https://deskthority.net/wiki/AppleDesign_Keyboard ) has a comprehensive article about it, explaining design variants. Not everything is interchangeable but you may find components to upgrade your black keyboard.
 

CircuitBored

Well-known member
This thread is making me one one of these!

Do it! They're hard work but (in my slightly biased opinion) they are worth the effort. I keep fairly close tabs on what the Performa 5X00s and they are definitely creeping up as they get harder to find. The black ones almost always sell for more.

I think that in the not-too-distant future, the technology will exist that allows one to make nearly perfect replicas of the case plastics

I too like to think that this is likely not far off! Imagine how cool (and insanely heavy) a Performa printed in black metal would look. Better and more accessible 3D scanning tech needs to come around first for the dream to be fully realised though.
 

CircuitBored

Well-known member
I remember watching him running something like MacOS 8.6 or 9 on an unaccelerated 5400, thinking: "How can you bear this, it's so slow."

Hah! 8.0 is okay on these machines but 8.6 is pushing it. 9 is only really feasible with an accelerator and a fair amount of RAM + virtual memory.
The AppleDesign Keyboard family is IMHO the worst of Apple's line of mostly mediocre keyboards

Agreed. I have three of these boards: one is tolerable, one is awful, and one is black and horrendous. I've toyed with the idea of "mechanicalising" the black board but first I'm going to try painting an AEK II black.
 

mmu_man

Well-known member
Very well filmed video!

I also happen to have a 5400 black… Beauty. It's sadly sleeping in a box for now, I should give it some more love. :)
 

mmu_man

Well-known member
When you're putting the screws back in you have to make sure you hit the exact same thread as they were in before or the holes simply explode into a million pieces
I've heard several times this advice on screws: turn it reverse until falls in the original thread, then it should get back in again. Not sure it works all the times though.
 

cheesestraws

Well-known member
I've heard several times this advice on screws: turn it reverse until falls in the original thread, then it should get back in again. Not sure it works all the times though.

This is what I do and it works pretty reliably for me. Not always, but usually.
 
Top