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In the fast-paced world of technology, not every innovation can withstand the test of time. The Macintosh Centris 610, released by Apple in 1993, is a prime example of a promising product that fell short of commercial success. Nonetheless, this 30-year-old machine has found its place in the hearts of vintage computer enthusiasts as a collector’s item. Today, we reflect on the Macintosh Centris 610 and its significance in the ever-evolving landscape of personal computers.
Introduced on February 10, 1993, the Macintosh Centris 610 was originally unveiled as part of Apple’s Macintosh Centris series. Priced at $2,520, it aimed to offer a powerful and versatile computing experience. Equipped with a 20 MHz Motorola 68LC040 processor, the Centris 610 boasted impressive specifications for its time.
Users had the option to choose between 4 MB or 8 MB of RAM and enjoy various storage capacities, including an 80 MB, 230 MB, or 500 MB hard drive. Additionally, it featured a CD-ROM drive and a 1.44 MB Floppy drive, making it a versatile machine for multimedia and data storage needs.
Despite its compelling hardware, the Macintosh Centris 610 struggled to find its footing in the market. Apple made the decision to discontinue the model just eight months after its release, on October 21, 1993. While it may not have achieved commercial success, the Centris 610 remains an important piece of technology history, symbolizing the constant push for innovation within the personal computer industry.
One notable aspect of the Centris 610 was its unique design. It introduced a new case style that would later be utilized in subsequent models like the Centris 660av and the Power Mac 6100. Apple’s goal with the Centris line was to create a mainstream, mid-level computer, positioning it between the Mac II line and the Quadra series.
The Centris 610 came with a peculiar feature that confused some users accustomed to DOS hardware. Unlike the Mac II and previous Quadra models, it had a power switch on the front, rendering the power key on the keyboard obsolete. Many users mistook the power switch for a floppy eject button, highlighting the initial learning curve associated with the Centris 610.
To keep costs in check, Apple employed the 68LC040 CPU (without the FPU) in the Centris 610. In a bid to save even more, the Ethernet circuitry was omitted in the least expensive version. However, even with these cost-saving measures, the Centris 610 still managed to deliver performance that outperformed Apple’s workhorse business computer, the Mac IIci, by an average of two times. Users seeking a speed boost could easily upgrade the machine by replacing the CPU with a full-fledged 68040.
One distinctive feature of the Centris 610 was its inclusion of a drive bay specifically designed for a CD-ROM drive. This addition provided users with an advanced multimedia experience and expanded the possibilities for data storage. Furthermore, the Centris 610 introduced a new high-speed SCSI bus to the Macintosh line, improving data transfer rates and overall system performance.
Despite its potential, the Macintosh Centris 610’s lifespan was cut short. In October of the same year, it was rebranded as the Macintosh Quadra 610, receiving an upgrade in status rather than a revival in popularity. Apple’s decision to discontinue the Centris name after only nine months earned them a Road Apple, highlighting the rapid change and challenges faced by the personal computer industry.
As we look back at the Macintosh Centris 610, we are reminded of the ever-evolving technology landscape and the importance of pushing boundaries in the pursuit of innovation. While 30 years old Centris 610 may not have achieved the success Apple had hoped for, it continues to hold a special place in the hearts of collectors and enthusiasts who appreciate its unique features and contribution to the history of personal computing.
Macintosh Centris 610 Details
|Introduced||February 10, 1993|
|Discontinued||October 21, 1993|
|Order Number||M1245LL/A (80 MB hard drive)|
M1397LL/A (230 MB hard drive)
M1398LL/A (230 MB hard drive and CD-ROM)
|Dimensions||3.4” H x 16.3” W x 15.6” D|
8.63 cm H x 41.4 cm W x 39.62 cm D
Mac Centris 610 Tech Specs
|Processor Speed||20 MHz|
|Number of Cores||1|
|System Bus||20 MHz|
|Cache||8 KB L1|
Storage & Media
|Media||1 – CD-ROM|
1 – 1.44 MB Floppy
|Built-in Memory||4 MB|
|Maximum Memory||68 MB|
|Memory Slots||2 – 72 pin SIMM|
|Minimum Speed||80 ns|
|Graphics Memory||512 KB|
|Display Connection||1 – DB-15|
|Expansion Slots||1 – 7″ NuBus or PDS (Cache Bus)|
|Hard Drive Interface||SCSI|
|SCSI||1 – DB-25|
|Audio In||1 – 3.5-mm mono input jack|
|Audio Out||1 – 3.5-mm stereo output jack|
|Display||1 – DB-15|
|Original OS||System Software 7.1|
|Maximum OS||Mac OS 8.1|
|Backup Battery||3.6 V lithium|
|Maximum Continuous Power||86 W|
Further Reading and References
- Macintosh Centris 610: Technical Specifications – Apple Support
- Centris 610 – Low End Mac
- Macintosh Centris – Wikipedia
- The Sad Story of the Centris – 512 Pixels
- Remembering My Story of Owning a Macintosh Centris 610 – Numeric Citizen
- Macintosh Centris 610 – MAL
- Macintosh Quadra 610/ Centris 610/WS 60 Service Source (PDF) – Apple Repair Manuals
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Last updated: June 30, 2023