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Back in 1990, Apple launched the Macintosh LC, a groundbreaking addition to their LC series of computers. Priced at $2,400, this personal computer quickly gained attention for its affordability, sleek design, and powerful performance. While it may not compare to today’s technological marvels, the Macintosh LC played a significant role in shaping the Macintosh line and remains an iconic piece of Apple’s history.
Equipped with a 16 MHz Motorola 68020 processor, the Macintosh LC boasted impressive power for its time. It offered a choice between 2 MB or 4 MB of RAM, a 40 MB or 80 MB hard drive, and one or two 1.44 MB floppy drives, ensuring users had ample storage space. Its capabilities made it a reliable option that catered to the needs of users, be it for work, education, or leisure.
The Macintosh LC stood out with its compact form factor, measuring just under 3 inches tall. It was the smallest desktop Mac prior to the introduction of the Mac mini, but it had a larger footprint equivalent to four minis. Apple introduced a new color video standard, a 512 x 384-pixel resolution, and paired it with an affordable 12-inch color monitor. By upgrading the video RAM, the LC could support 16-bit video with 65,536 colors on the 12-inch monitor or 8-bit video with 256 colors on a standard 640 x 480 screen.
The LC also marked a milestone for audio capabilities, as it was one of the first Macs to include audio input. This opened up new possibilities for users, especially in the creative and multimedia realms.
While the Macintosh LC delivered an impressive performance, it had certain compromises that held it back. The LC was designed to meet a lower price point, resulting in some trade-offs. The 32-bit CPU ran on a 16-bit data bus, which slowed down memory access. As a result, the LC’s benchmarked performance was roughly 75% of the Mac II, despite both computers utilizing the same 16 MHz 68020 CPU.
Additionally, Apple limited the LC’s ability to address more than 10 MB of RAM, even if users installed more. This deliberate decision further positioned the LC as a compromised option compared to its siblings, the IIsi and IIci.
Despite its compromises, the Macintosh LC proved to be a resounding success for Apple. Within just 12 months of its release, Apple managed to sell a staggering 500,000 units. The LC’s affordability and robust performance made it an attractive choice for many users, including those in the education sector.
Today, 32 years later a Macintosh LC is considered a vintage computer, treasured by enthusiasts and collectors alike. Its impact on the Macintosh line cannot be overlooked, as it paved the way for future advancements and innovation. While it has been succeeded by newer and more advanced technologies, the Macintosh LC will forever hold a special place in Apple’s history.
The Macintosh LC, introduced in 1990, remains a symbol of Apple’s commitment to delivering powerful and affordable computing solutions. Its groundbreaking features and design set it apart from its contemporaries, despite the compromises made in its production. Though the Macintosh LC may not compete with today’s cutting-edge technology, it played a crucial role in the development of the Macintosh line and remains an iconic piece of computing history.
Macintosh LC Details
|Introduced||October 15, 1990|
|Discontinued||March 23, 1992|
|Dimensions||2.9” H x 12.2” W x 15.3” D|
7.36 cm H x 30.98 cm W x 38.86 cm D
Mac LC Tech Specs
|Processor Speed||16 MHz|
|Number of Cores||1|
|System Bus||16 MHz|
|Cache||0.25 KB L1|
Storage & Media
|Media||1 – 1.44 MB Floppy|
|Built-in Memory||2 MB|
|Maximum Memory||10 MB|
|Memory Slots||2 – 30 pin SIMMs|
|Minimum Speed||100 ns|
|Graphics Memory||256 KB (Upgradeable to 512 KB via one socket)|
|Display Connection||1 – DB-15|
|Expansion Slots||1 – LC PDS (Cache Bus)|
|Hard Drive Interface||SCSI|
|Original OS||System Software 6.0.6|
|Maximum OS||System 7.5.5|
|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|
|Backup Battery||3.6 V lithium|
|Maximum Continuous Power||50 W|
Further Reading and References
- Macintosh LC: Technical Specifications – Apple Support
- Mac LC – Low End Mac
- Macintosh LC – Wikipedia
- Apple Macintosh LC – The Centre for Computing History
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Last updated: May 26, 2023