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IIfx

A very late 040

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I bought a Performa 630CD on a whim off of eBay. The price was low ($70 total) and the case looks immaculate. Why? The manufacturing date on the back is oddly late for a 68k, 6/20/1996!  Deep into the reign of Gil Amelio and the PowerPC era. Was it an oddball product of clearing old inventory? Possibly. A refurb? Also possible. The fact that the case was common to the 6200/6300 probably made it even easier to keep putting out 630's for those customers that demanded a 68k. It's possible Apple just had a huge overstock of 630/640 logic boards and used up the stock rather than taking a write off.

 

Whatever the case, having the AV setup in it will be neat. Fingers crossed that the plastic was no longer sourced from the 1993-1995 supplier.

 

Will post more info - attached a photo of the back posted by the seller.

s-l1600.jpg

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Very neat find!

 

By recollection, the original 630 was discontinued in 1995, but, we know that all three versions of the base 630 had different intro/disc dates  and we know that different sub-versions (i.e. the "Performa 637CD" had different intro/disc dates. If any 630 variant actually continued beyond mid-1995, it would mean all the sources we have for intro/disc on them are wrong, and as far as I know it would be the first evidence that this happened beyond ~1992 or so. Other instances of this kind of things are known to almost certainly be case swaps on sub-models that did last longer than the "main" model (such as Performa 476 and Performa 560).

 

My most instinctive thought is that it could be a 6200 or 6300 case swap, but, still, looks nice! The plastics are probably good. I've got a 6220 and its plastics are solid, so far as I've poked at it.  

 

Incidentally, the Performa 560 lasted until mid-1996 as well, making this not the lowest end possible 68k of the moment.

 

The 6200 started at like $1299 ish so I've always wondered how much demand there would really have been for a 68k, especially a low end model. This is late enough that the 100MHz 6xx0/5xx0 families would have launched (well, within days of this) and those should have done way better at 68k emulation, and 1996 is getting late enough that most consumer and edutainment stuff would have switched over to being PPC native. Plus mid-late (August) 1995 saw the introduction of the 7200+ (Granted: base 7200 was $1900, so) for people who needed more emulation performance.

 

The next latest 68k in this family I can find is the 640/DOS, discontinued February 1996. All the 1994 630 variants are listed by EveryMac (and, TBH I kind of bet some of these are wrong) as being discontinued at varying times in 1995. (adding: P588 disc. May , 1996.)

 

Now I'm kind of wondering if there's a good archive of Apple press releases and if they published discontinuation dates in them. Maybe that's a future project for me.

 

I'll admit I don't strictly speaking believe the idea that Apple was custom making 630s for some customer who needed a 68k but didn't want something nicer, for whatever reason. They'd make fine ExcelBoxes, but, for what EveryMac says a Performa 640/DOS was selling for ($2400) so would a 6100, 6200, or 7200. (I do realize $2400 probably included the display and at least clarisworks, and might be the /DOS version's price.) It's not impossible, but it is difficult to believe Apple was well-enough organized to realize all of this and receive or make an offer and then do it.

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Looks nice!  I think the TV tuner was not a bundled part in most LC630s, so if it isn't a case swapped motherboard someone upgraded it well when it was their main machine.

 

The 6x0 and 6x00 was probably where Apple lost it for confusing model names.

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The front case is labeled Permafrost 630CD, so I assume this wasn't a 62/63xx case swap. Exited to have it and take a look inside.

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@IIfx Permafrost 630CD?  I think your spell checker might have gone AWOL a bit here and decided to invent a new Macintosh model!! :lol:

 

Silliness aside, this is a good find!

 

c

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 I was in Japan in 1996 and Performa 630s were generally available then (along with PB190s) but they were the very last of the 68ks. They were being offered at around ¥360,000 - ¥400,000. I was humming and hawing about which one to buy. Both were expensive because I didn't really a computer. I just wanted one. What I wanted was a PB540c but that cost ¥540,000 (which was almost three months' salary if I didn't eat much food and lived like a hermit for that period).

 In the end, the PB1400 came out in August 1996 and, as a consequence, the price of the PB190 plummeted to a mere ¥200,000 and I bought it on the spot.

Edited by ArmorAlley

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I have one of these too. The soft power on mine acts weird - it can switch itself on if its plugged in, without me touching anything. I probably need to recap the PSU.

 

I recapped the logic board in mine and it's very happy, I like the chime on these - I also had to replace the CD-ROM drive as that no longer worked reliably either.

 

Plastics wise, these are not the worst of this era but they're not the best either and still pale in comparison to the quality of the 80s Macs. Yours has all the rear plastic pieces intact which is nice, mine is missing the rear plastic bezel cover for the logic board tray. The front bezel is the most troublesome on these - I eventually got mine to stay on without glue but its a pain.

 

These are pretty decent overall, despite the slow system bus. I managed to get an 80GB IDE drive working in mine, formatted as 4 x 2GB partitions, the original IDE drive had given up the ghost.

 

What I don't like is that getting to the PSU seems to be quite a chore - I made one attempt and gave up, I need to try again as I mentioned earlier I would like to recap it. I would put these in a category of machine that are not great to work on, except for logic board removal which is easy.

 

What are you planning on doing with it?

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For what it's worth: "Generally available" and "officially still on the books" (in the "being manufactured" sense) are different things.

 

Being able to move extant Mac inventory through the overall supply chain (Apple -> resellers -> customers, plus whatever other steps were probably involved) was cited as a big problem near the end of the '90s in some of Apple's own annual reports. There was a point at which dealers stopped 

 

W/re case swap: All of the parts of this case are swappable, although, the confounding factor here is definitely that most of it looks relatively evenly colored. If you got it in and the faceplate was turbo-yellow then I'd say that the faceplate was swapped along with the board into a 6200 or 6300 enclosure.

 

The other possibility is that only the piece of case plastic containing the date was swapped, but, that's definitely a little more farfetched.

 

It's also possible that somehow Apple had enough presence of mind to continue building the 630 series into 1996, despite on paper all of them having officially been killed in 1995, and the 630 family being among the least desirable of 68k Macs to continue using if you had some legitimate power-user case to keep using a 68k. (Except, I suppose, that most of the others had already been discontinued.)

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Another theory is that it was a swap-out warranty replacement. Given they had an extra logic board in stock, its entirely possible since the cases were still being used in the 6200 series. A lot of "late" production Powerbook 100 series parts came from warranty replacements (like my 165 that bbishoppcm took apart).

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9 hours ago, Cory5412 said:

Being able to move extant Mac inventory through the overall supply chain (Apple -> resellers -> customers, plus whatever other steps were probably involved) was cited as a big problem near the end of the '90s in some of Apple's own annual reports. There was a point at which dealers stopped 

 

This is something that gets forgotten quite often in threads regarding product/supply/sales/marketing (even some of my own, probably). Apple didn't have their "customize and buy for yourself online (or phone)" until after their purchase of PowerComputing, and it wasn't as refined until the early '00s. That was really what they were after in buying them. PCC had an incredible build-to-order system.

Until then, like Cory said, you really needed to "know a guy," i.e. had to work through a dealer (for the most part).

 

According to the dates I've seen, the "discontinuation" of the 475 and 476 even lasted as long as most of the 62xx Performas did, and slightly longer than the 640CD/640 DOS Compatible model, which is interesting. Yes, technically the 63xCD models died about a month before the 62xx Performas started... but again, this is based on the sources we have (Apple, Everymac, etc.)
hNXl8zd.png

yellow=030; orange=040; red=601; purple=603

Edited by jessenator

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Yeah, and, for what it's worth here, the purpose of all these variations wasn't really to allow people to select something better suited to their needs. It was to allow competing retailers never to  ofer discounts on the Mac hardware they sold, because you couldn't cross-shop and competitor discount  Best Buy's Performa 635 and OfficeMax's Performa 637, because they were different machines. Almost all of the PC OEMs still engage in this practice heavily, to the point of offering identical hardware with different software loadouts for different stores so Staples can tell you they won't price-match Newegg's price on the same configuration of the same machine. (I don't know if the actual store policies on this have changed, and how they do this work, just, this is basically why the Performa lineup in particular is as bad as it is.)

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Well, it isn't a Performa 630. It's a 6320CD. No idea how this happened, somehow the seller wrote "Performa 630", the photos showed a Performa 630, but the computer front panel says 6320 and the logic board is a 6320. The serial number matches what was in the listing. Totally confused. The seller seems to be as well. :/

 

I don't mind it that much, I think I have a random Q630 logic board somewhere. But completely crushed the 96 630 isn't really a thing.

 

Weird thing is there is a P630 with plastic just as good as this 6320, supposedly.

 

So, performance of the "Permafrost" 6320CD - it isn't anywhere near as bad as LEM claims. It actually seems to be peppy. It has the original install of 7.5.3 Update 2.0, the original owner seemingly used the system for a year and then never used it again. 16mb RAM and a 1.5GB hard drive. Really not bad for an Amelio era re-bundling of a Spindler era machine. It was probably dirt cheap when new.

Edited by IIfx
thoughts

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9 hours ago, IIfx said:

It's a 6320CD.  ...It actually seems to be peppy

Everymac seems to allude that this model, in addition to the TV accouterments, came with a 256k L2 cache as standard, and that, more than almost anything IME, will make a night/day difference on a 603e(v) machine for sure (well it makes a difference on all PPC Macs, but you get my point). I've run my 4400 with and without its cache and it's like a different machine. Pop the cache in, and it's the cut-price PowerMacintosh it was made to be. Take it out, and it's a Performa. :P 

 

My family 6218CD (75MHz) compared to the 5x00 school lab Macs was a complete dog. It got crap done for my family though ;) but I was sad about having to play Dark Forces at pixel-doubled resolution, and never being able to play with the full viewport on DOOM. But with their price points, they filled a market segment, I'll concede.

Edited by jessenator

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6320 isn't the Road Apple, it's the predecessor 6200/75 which was an absolute dog.  120Mhz 603e would bring it up to low specced early PPC speeds (think 6100/66) which if running PPC aware programs is capable enough.

Edited by Byrd

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LEM doesn't know it's alive sometimes. Their whole schtick about how bad the 6200 series was, and still is, just a load of BS. Of course it wasn't great, it was low end, but even the 6200 had 256K L2 cache.

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Had a 6200 as a kid, and loved that thing. Not a road Apple either in my opinion ;) my dad even used it as his primary graphic design workhorse before it was handed down to me. Sure, it wasn’t very fast compared to other options but I didn’t know better back then, I used to do a lot of Bryce rendering on it. For the most part, it could do what it was intended to. As has been said, it was a low end, low cost machine so I’m not sure what the point of criticising it ever was. 

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8 hours ago, joshc said:

I’m not sure what the point of criticising it ever was. 

Snobbery?  ;-)  There's a lot of people who seem to criticise low-end computers on general principle, purely for having the effrontery not to be high-end computers.  Personally, I think the cost-performance tradeoffs are really interesting...

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I think most of my adolescent ire is related to a) having a Mac that wasn't as good as my brother-in-law's (for graphic design) and 2) because literally all of my friends had DOS/Windows machines that ran games I wanted, vs games that were available (and ran well), and 3) because even my school had better Macs it seemed... 

 

In that maelstrom of self-assured petulance, I felt that my parents had chosen poorly and could have had a better machine, but just didn't want to. Also, fun fact, I recall asking on perhaps an AOL board for Macs why I had some of the issues I was having with older Mac titles (sound mostly), and they all seemed to be essentially parroting the LEM as-they-do attitude: hashtag #roadapple.

 

Sorry for further straying off the topic, but perhaps—and this is of course just conjecture—that ire started with the concept of the LC, the low-cost, consumer, casual market. FLASHBACK to 199x: The Sculley/Gasse years preceding were moneybags every month. Apple was raking it in and its base was happy and self-assured as the leadership. Perhaps a bit of that added to the exclusivity factor: being the [better] other to the PC-world's normie. Being fed the "you drive a Macintosh, ergo you're elite" type of culture and marketing would certainly fuel that hive-ego. Then the Pentium gets released, now you need that top-of-the-line Quadra and soon Power Macintosh to keep up, but $$$$.

 

They know they need a low-cost machine to compete, but the MacAddict (hypothetical and hive-mind OGs, completely generalized and stereotyped in this case) is elitist, and doesn't truly welcome the newcoming cut-price, old-model-rehash, and just "low" value computer with the same badge as their aging IIci, or their work-funded 7500. Add to that every other problem with Apple as a company during that time, the belated clone licensing program cutting into the top and mid tiers with fiercely competitive pricing, it's no wonder Spindler wanted to cash out. Very quickly they learn the lessons, and the price, of solvency over an awkward half-decade, and finally align their company, marketing, and financial culture. The catalyst being partly Jobs' taking back the reins and mostly partly introducing the iMac: the consumer Macintosh that didn't "suck."

 

Was it top-of-the line? No, certainly not. But it was enough, it was affordable, and it brought in new, invigorated, and most importantly loud new userbase and fandom.

 

So TL;DR it was the culture of the times that really satiated the venom for the Performa line as a whole moreso than it was specs and hardware. or as cheesey said:

10 hours ago, cheesestraws said:

There's a lot of people who seem to criticise low-end computers on general principle, purely for having the effrontery not to be high-end computers.

:lol: I wrote all that above and realized you'd already summed it up nicely... forgive me, I got poor sleep last night. But I think the contemporaneous framing helps put that attitude into perspective.

 

 

BACK ON

It is interesting in putting this Macintosh model timeline together to see just how much overlap there was... Using up old stock? perhaps. Needed even lower-end consumer models? perhaps. The skeevy reseller/dealer best deal on a Performa """""strategy"""""? most definitely.

Edited by jessenator

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Part of the problem is "at the time", the Performa and LC series were dog slow out of the box. My elementary school had a bunch of LCIIs and a friend of mine had a Performa 600CD back when it was brandy new. Both were absolute dogs in terms of performance in stock configuration and with the factory install of 7.0/7.1.

 

The main reason why the LC was created (along with the IIe card) was that Apple was losing the lucrative education market to PC clones. Many school districts such as the one I attended had classrooms and a computer lab filled with Apple IIs of some sort. Those Apple IIes stuck around until 1994 (my high school had a few IIgses floating around until I left in 2000!) When it came time to upgrade in the late 80s, many went PC due to cost (even the "budget" IIci was expensive). I know of one district around here that went all Mac and I recall seeing IIcis in their main office back in 1997-98, so they got their money's worth.

 

As for my district, the LC IIs (and my first exposure to Macs) were a trial purchase of 7 machines with the IIe card. Their last big Apple II purchase was in 1987-88 and they were looking to refresh the computers in the classrooms and lab. Eventually they went PC in 1993 with Ethernet deployment to classrooms (using Banyan VINES!) and the main computer lab finally saw retirement of the Apple IIes in 1994.

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I just want to say, I'm living for everybody basically saying "Cory was right" (in so many words).

 

To the point of what @Trash80toHP_Mini said:

 

My understanding about LEM's original distaste for the 6200 is that in 1997 or so when LEM was started, you might be in a Computer Renaissance looking at a 6200 and a 7200 next to each other and not really know the differences. The 7200/75 should be faster than the 6200, and so LEM isn't wrong to point that out.

 

However, instead of saying "yeah, the 7200's faster and more flexible because PCI slots" they literally invented just tons of totally wild, completely nonsensical reasons as to why the 6200 might be so slow, missing entirely that it's a 603 upgrade to an 040-extended LC III/030 platform, which was going to be slow no matter how you sliced it.

 

The 100MHz+ versions of the system on the same platform are much faster at 68k emulation, mostly because of boosted L1 cache levels, from 16 to 32kb. Basically, somewhere in there is a line between "not enough to be good at 68k emulation" and "good enough for 68k emulation".

 

And, generally, it is a low-end/low-cost system. It's sound is less good than other Macs. It doesn't have NuBus slots, it had the IDE hard disk, which isn't really that bad in practice but it was kind of looked down upon in the '90s.

 

The fact that LEM spent basically an entire decade beating the x200 Road Apple drum has always been the thing I like least about their site. They almost entirely failed to pivot to the fact that it hasn't been 1997 for a long time. Plus, it appears most of the LEM authors never bothered to put themselves in front of a 6200 or 6300. (I could be wrong, I'm not, like, looking at the moment.)

 

23 hours ago, IIfx said:

Well, it isn't a Performa 630. It's a 6320CD.

That's a bummer, but I'll admit it makes a lot more sense. If the seller had more than one, maybe the units got mixed, or if they had just the one, maybe they inserted the 2 by mistake and didn't notice the error since the 6320 is also a real model. To be honest, it's kind of a wash anyway because the 6320's boosted performance means it probably will run 68k stuff faster than a 630 would, even in emulation. All the other bits are basically the same.

 

18 hours ago, Byrd said:

6320 isn't the Road Apple, it's the predecessor 6200/75 which was an absolute dog.  120Mhz 603e would bring it up to low specced early PPC speeds (think 6100/66) which if running PPC aware programs is capable enough.

In my experience: 6200/75 and 6100/60~66 bench the same in ~1998-era benchmark software, MacBench 4. A 6300/100-120 era machine will do that much better, much closer to the faster NuBus 601s or 7200 or maybe even 7500 kind of speeds, although probably not all the way there. Even the 1400c/166 doesn't show up "well" against, say, a 7600/120.

 

19 hours ago, jessenator said:

Everymac seems to allude that this model, in addition to the TV accouterments, came with a 256k L2 cache as standard, and that, more than almost anything IME, will make a night/day difference on a 603e(v) machine for sure (well it makes a difference on all PPC Macs, but you get my point).

yeah, in fact, this is probably one of the biggest points against the powerbooks 5300, 2300, and the lower end 1400 models. I have no earthly idea why the basic 6200/75 came with that 256K L2 and the PB5300 didn't.

 

11 hours ago, cheesestraws said:

Personally, I think the cost-performance tradeoffs are really interesting...

LEM's modern new-age compromise on the whole "Road apple" phrasing issue is to call them "compromised Macs" and I've always thought how totally interesting it is that people don't think cost is a compromise until it's 2019 and Apple launches an 8-slot tower where every component is user serviceable and it costs $6000.

 

Roughly speaking, in 1995 you can get like five 6200s, complete with monitors, keyboards, software, and often a modem or printer for what a single 9500 with no keyboard, no monitor, and no software costs. (This varies based on the exact version, of course.)

 

Not that five 6200s is a reasonable buy instead of a 9500, just, I always think it's interesting to see that and think about what the trade-offs might have been. Who needs a 9500? What are they doing?

 

Granted, it's not really easy or always possible to split work that way, plus networking them costs a bit (localtalk would've been cheap though), but it's still an interesting thought to me. The 6200 and 5200 are obvious slam dunks for schools where you mostly want as many computers as your funding will buy in order to get things set up for kids to do basic productivity and edutainment functionality on.

 

11 hours ago, NJRoadfan said:

Part of the problem is "at the time", the Performa and LC series were dog slow out of the box.

I should go back and read LC and LC II reviews, but among the first Performas, MacWorld's views were mostly positive. That was the 200/400/600 and of these models, they mostly had to say: Yeah, it's less fast than a Mac IIci, but also, you could set up a Performa 600 for around half what it cost to set up a IIci, even by 1992 when the IIci's list price should have fallen (In 1990, I have street price for a IIci at about $6,300 for 1m/0 config, which wouldn't have been even useful in the system 7 era.). Also, the P600's graphics should have done a bit better than the IIci's, just by way of having its own VRAM. (Enough, with an upgrade, for 16-bit color.)

 

Not that you should, just that there's a lot of value in it for somebody who wanted modest expandability affordably. A IIci's list price is worth around $12,000 or so today, so in a very real sense the Performa 600 was that mythical midrange minitower ("expandable") Mac everybody wants.

 

Slower, at the time, didn't mean unusable. It just meant: "slower".

 

It's that thing about compromises again, and deciding what's important. Admittedly, among people who are now pro users of high end software, a lot of the LC/Performa family ire is because their school or family bought a computer suitable for light office work and edutainment and they wanted to do Windows 95-style 3d gaming and graphics design on it. To be honest, no Mac in 1995 was set up well for 3d gaming, and to the point about graphics, well, a 6200 still cost a lot less than a 7200 or 7500 did, so, it's still about setting reasonable expectations about the product band you're buying in.

 

Not every new product has to outperform every old product. It just has to be a meaningful improvement in some way, and in a lot of cases, that improvement is price. See also, the new Core-Y i3 powered MacBook Air for $999. It is, of course, slower than $2000 worth of iMac or $5000 worth of iMac Pro, because the point of its existence is being cheap and being good enough to people who need a (relatively speaking) cheap computer.

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As I have stated before, my very first computer to call my own was a Performa 6300. As a kid of 12 years old, the thing really was not bad at all. It did all I wanted and ran all of my games. From a consumer standpoint, it worked very well.

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9 hours ago, Cory5412 said:

Basically, somewhere in there is a line between "not enough to be good at 68k emulation" and "good enough for 68k emulation".

^^^ This...

 

I want to find the actual literature that says this, but I've heard that the emulation on first-gen PPC machines was "IIci speed/performance." And the family 16k L1 603e/75 Performa 6218CD definitely ran The Even More Incredible Machine worse than my stock IIci ever did. I've used that example previously, because it came bundled with our Performa, and possibly with its 040 predecessors, and its choppiness is burned into my memory :tongue:

Edited by jessenator

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8 hours ago, jessenator said:

^^^ This...

 

I want to find the actual literature that says this, but I've heard that the emulation on first-gen PPC machines was "IIci speed/performance."

The Power Mac Book by Ron Pronk has a lot of in-depth technical information about the first-gen PowerPC Macintosh computers, including Gary Davidian's 68K emulator.

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