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Playstation/Playstation Classic bummer, but maybe not? Snow White TAM?


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I was very excited to see the Playstation Classic yesterday at Target, but hopes for a RetroTAM were understandably dashed when I saw it scaled by hand held pics.

 

playstation-classic-02-768x351.jpg.6a355224131f36260a56c928c47282d3.jpg

 

So the obvious next question would be about current cost of optical drive equipped models and suitability for use of the optical drive and lid upside down/vertically on the front of a Frog/Snow White/PowerCD inspired reinterpretation of the TAM?

Edited by Trash80toHP_Mini
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Not interested in a TAM "Classic" in the undersized, optical missing PS Classic sense. It would be a full size RetroTAM of a design more appropriate to a Macintosh celebration than the Apple incorporation anniversary. It's one of my long term design musings in prep for a hack celebrating some anniversary or another.

 

I've long been tempted by PowerCD Player ONLY listings for the project. The things are absolutely useless without the base unit, but I worry that someone short that one clue might have hooked a SCSI cable up to the interconnect and released the magic smoke. The cleaner PS1 lid's design, minus PowerCD's LCD readout would be more in tune with the Snow White Design Language anyway.

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If what you mean is you wanted a cheap source for modern CD mechanisms to... restore TAMs? yeah, alas. There's lots of precedent against that in the market for $GAMECONSOLE Mini or "retro edition!"

 

I imagine the implementation of a "retro Mac nostalgia!" product, if Apple decided to partake, would be an ARM SBC running Basilisk II or similar shaped like a Mac II, LC, or LC630/6200, with ethernet, a USB port for keyboard/mouse, perhaps an SD card slot, and an HDMI output.

 

It would be super neat to see an actual "here's where the Mac came from!" kind of mini/vintage/retro/nostalgia edition come out of Apple, especially if they either FPGA'd it or commissioned the building of new compatible chips, or did work on the emulation software (especially if they contributed that back, but) but I imagine it won't.

 

Anyway, if you wanted to celebrate the survival of Apple, I would base your celebration on 1998's iMac. The TAM pretty much (and you can literally see this on Jobs' face in the presentation where Amelio is presenting this) represents what Apple was doing wrong in the '90s.

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4 hours ago, Trash80toHP_Mini said:

Prices for DOA, parts only units are great, working examples are good, so are they CD only? Just need a suitable BD or DVD donor mechanism with the stick-disk-onto-hub interface.

I don't think there's any point in butchering old Playstation 1s for some sort of TAM recreation; the drive mechanism itself would be useless (it's of low quality and all the driver circuitry is integrated onto the main motherboard) and the hinge/cover setup is obviously not the correct shape. (And is also of pretty mediocre construction.) The obvious thing to do would be to just use a standard laptop pop-out mechanism. The last one of those I took apart had a simple little switch that was depressed when the drive was slid into place to indicate "door closed", my guess is that it would be pretty trivial to discard the outer shell (again, on at least the last one I took apart essentially all the "guts" of the drive were on the tray that pops out, there was just a little ribbon cable that connected it to the interface plug on the shell) and rig that switch to close when whatever door mechanism you cook up to cover the mounted CD is closed.

(Now I'm picturing a wooden TAM wannabie with the flip-down CD door held in place with a brass piano hinge...)

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34 minutes ago, Cory5412 said:

Anyway, if you wanted to celebrate the survival of Apple, I would base your celebration on 1998's iMac. The TAM pretty much (and you can literally see this on Jobs' face in the presentation where Amelio is presenting this) represents what Apple was doing wrong in the '90s.

Survival of Apple isn't the point, celebration of the Mac is. The iMac is even fuglier than the CC, to me it looks like an upturned cow pie or termite mound. The screen's too small to be useful, though it didn't bother my friend who bought one and loved it. I hated using it for dearth of pixels, especially for web browsing. Color me TPD spoiled. Did I mention I've only ever once been tempted by one and that time only because it was the correct model during my Graphite period?

 

Steve Jobs represents everything that was wrong with the Macintosh from introduction until he left the company. Granted, he did get a semi-functional Beta Level Machine to market but it was by no means usable without the external FDD at the very least. So much for his inadequately cooled, overheating "standalone" computing appliance. Is that why they called them "Toaster Macs?" If he hated the TAM, why did he put its designer in charge? I'm not a fan of the TAM's design by any stretch of the imagination, but there are plenty of Frog studies much better suited to a Macintosh anniversary.

 

I like the PS1 door and the view of the plastics seems pleasingly barogue when open. Substituting a laptop trayloader DVD mechanism (or BD drive if available?) sounds about perfect. Not worried about the hinge mechanism, TAM engineering was bog awful as well.

 

I guess printing a new design would would be an option, but my bent is recycling for re-use, harvesting the useful bits from the dead.

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47 minutes ago, Gorgonops said:

(Now I'm picturing a wooden TAM wannabie with the flip-down CD door held in place with a brass piano hinge...) 

Wood has always been on the table for my proposal, but it's not a TAM wannabe. Brass piano hinge smacks of Steampunk, very cool, but not my thing. Now if we're talking something the guys in the Money for Nothing Music Video might have been watching in it would be most excellent!

 

 

Imagine those guys delivering and setting up a cubist TAM and firing it up. [:D]

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27 minutes ago, Trash80toHP_Mini said:

Granted, he did get a semi-functional Beta Level Machine to market but it was by no means usable without the external FDD at the very least.

At the time, Jobs saw the LISA as the expandable, professional computer. That's not strictly speaking "wrong", but it's in retrospect not strictly wrong that after his departure, Apple's remaining leadership canned the LISA and adapted the Macintosh to be able to serve both roles.

 

Notably, the Mac stayed serving both roles when Jobs came back, and arguably still gets used both ways today even though the iPad (which I've seen interpteted as a much better execution of what he wanted out of the original Mac) exists.

 

Anyway, I don't track why a playstation (or similar mobile CD mechanism) is important to this project when you could just be using a normal CD-ROM drive, or perhaps forgoing it entirely in favor of network access and disc images, but.

 

Regardless of what your aesthetic preferences were, Apple was absolutely on the path to kicking it in the early 2000s (at absolute latest) if they didn't fix themselves. I'm not entirely convinced anybody in Apple at the time could've done it. Arguably, Tim Cook (hired to Apple in March 1998) did a lot of the fixing around Apple, but who knows if anybody else would've hired him.

1 hour ago, EvieSigma said:

I'm waiting for a CD-ROM equivalent of the Gotek, especially for machines with SCSI or other non-IDE optical drives.

You'd have to look at the SCSI2SD Wiki, but I'm pretty sure it can emulate CD-ROM drives as well.

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39 minutes ago, Cory5412 said:

Regardless of what your aesthetic preferences were, Apple was absolutely on the path to kicking it in the early 2000s (at absolute latest) if they didn't fix themselves. I'm not entirely convinced anybody in Apple at the time could've done it. Arguably, Tim Cook (hired to Apple in March 1998) did a lot of the fixing around Apple, but who knows if anybody else would've hired him.

No argument with you there, never said otherwise. Other than killing off PEx and any other Pro level Mac in favor of minimalist three slot wonders from BG3 until they finally added a fourth open slot (AGP in on board video, not expansion) to the DA I think he did a bang up job at pulling Apple's chestnuts out of the fires of hell. As for the no slot in my Mac thing, I wonder how many of the engineers who left to found Radius were laughing behind SJ's back all along about the Killy Klip PDS that was beyond his huckster's ken. Expansion will find a way.

 

/Jurassic Park

 

Optical drive impaired Anniversary Macs are non-starters in my book. CD is the one thing I don't recall seeing in the Frog concept models. It was released in 1982, were Hartmut and gang still actively doing concept development in that time frame? I've got a pile of other Frog related donor material on hand, adding a DOA PS1 will fit right in  .  .  .  or not.

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Most of the alternative TAM concepts do have CD-ROM drives, unless what you mean is that you wouldn't be interested in a "retro vintage mac!" product that didn't have one.

 

None of the other retro/vintage/mini/nostalgia rerelease products are at all "expandable" or have a way to load software, so there's a very good chance a commercial version of this thing wouldn't either.

 

The 3/6 slot thing is funny to me because, yeah, a fourth slot would've gone a fair bit. The review of one of the upgraded Beige G3 models from mid-1998, I believe when Apple launched mass-customization of those machines and its online store, is particularly telling because the reviewer outright and literally spent most of the time asking "what if I want all of this different stuff?" The answer ended up being that the blue-and-white would have much of that stuff built in and would greatly relieve slot pressure overall, with firewire, usb, 10/100 ethernet and a better stock graphics card, in a slot. (One of the cited upgrade options at the time was a better video card, another was a separate DVD decoder, which Apple ultimately added to some Rage128 variants and which the Radeons could do, and then the later G3s/G4s could just do in software, and there was going to be a DVD-having Beige G3 variant with DVD decoding on the personality card, which Apple never released as far as I know.

 

In my mind, the fact that the absolute vast majority of G3/G4/G5/MacPro systems we find today have zero or perhaps one slot filled is testament to the fact that it in no way hurt Apple or the Mac platform as a whole that a six slot Mac was canceled. It absolutely would've been annoying if you had $4000 or so you were planning on dumping into a machine in late 1998 or early 1999 and then suddenly the blue-and-white G3 is launched and half of what you bought or wanted as upgrades is just built into the motherboard, and the graphics are themselves removable giving you some more flexibility the beige lacked. But, that represents a certain number of people at the upper echelons of Mac usership who were at a certain point in their own upgrade/refresh cycle at that particular moment (everyone else got a lot longer out of their beiges, bought blues, or it didn't matter because they didn't want to cram 5 cards worth of things into a 3-slot system).

 

From a business and financials perspective though, I can absolutely see why Apple did it. Of all their different product lines, I absolutely bet you the six-slot machines sold the least. It's of course a given that the reason for that is almost certainl because UMAX and PowerComputing were selling equivalent machines, often with better stock equipment, without shenanigans like being out of stock because Apple insisted on bundling a Zip drive.

 

In addition, while it's entirely entertaining to think of the prospect that it's Apple's bad comeback at the community for not what happened with the clones, there's also the fact that the 9700/PowerExpress was a planned 604 machine, but as I'm sure you know, the G3 utterly creams the 604ev in benchmarks. I've posted benches between my 8600/300 and my Beige G3/300 before and in integer performance (again, what most day-to-day computing tasks rely on) the 300MHz G3 is at least two times faster than the 300MHz 604ev. At FP, they are matched.

 

In 1997, this match-up could have been a 604ev@360 and a G3@266, and to a certain extent I imagine that's why the Beige G3s directly replaced the 7300/7600 and 8600 along with small business 4400 and 6500 configurations and the 9600 was left to preside over the lineup for a little bit longer, but they (Apple) absolutely had to have known that it would've looked bad once 1998 and 300MHz G3s rolled around.

 

Almost anything that could have preserved the excuse for the 9700 to exist (multi-processing in OS X, significantly faster frequencies on the 604ev side) was far enough off that if the 9700 had launched at, IDK, 400MHz, a 333MHz G3 would've looked like a much better deal and it would almost certainly have been a bust.

 

All that said: There's no particularly good reason, other than parts commonality and not wanting or originally planning to do the engineering work, why a 6-slot version of the Gossamer (or Yosemite, for that matter) motherboard couldn't have existed. Apple could hypothetically have put it in the same case the 8600/9600 used and continued the personality card infrastructure directly into the top end model, and sidestepped both the lack of a 6-slot machine (which, again, I'd say there are approximately a dozen or two people who still care about, all likely on this site) and the fact that the G3 just ended up smashing the 604/e/ev, performance-wise.

 

For all of that, I really do suspect the 9700's cancelation was last-minute and for the reason that the G3's performance ended up being much better than expected.

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One more brief thought, as to sources on mobile CD drives that have click-in center spindles: Your local computer-parts-having store almost certainly has a couple external mobile USB drives. I have an LG blu-ray burner from ~2011 that's a trayloader like this, and there are a handfull of pop-top models.

 

EDIT: Nevermind, I looked, a couple looked like they'd pop open (Asus in particular) but on closer inspection they are in fact trayloaders.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I would think some of the old Sony CD walkmans probably had a compatible CD drive to the original Playstation. From what I recall the CDROM drive was one of the things that failed on the Playstation and even when new some of them had issues reading CDR (I modded mine after I got in pre 2000).

 

 

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