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The rapid pace of technological progress often leaves us marveling at the cutting-edge devices of today, but taking a stroll down memory lane can be just as fascinating. Cast your mind back to the mid-90s, and you’ll encounter a true relic that paved the way for modern computing – the Macintosh Performa 5300CD. In a fleeting moment from 1995 to 1996, Apple unveiled a machine that would make history and spark a revolution in personal computing.
Introducing the Macintosh Performa 5300CD, a masterpiece that emerged on October 1, 1995, as part of Apple’s Macintosh Performa series. A momentous leap for the brand, this computer stood tall as one of the earliest champions of the PowerPC era, boasting a formidable PowerPC 603e processor clocking in at 100 MHz. Yet, its allure extended beyond just raw power.
Nestled within its sleek casing was a 15-inch color CRT display, a sight to behold in an era when displays were still finding their vibrant footing. With a memory range of 8 MB to 16 MB of RAM, a 1.2 GB hard drive, a 4x CD-ROM drive, and a 1.44 MB floppy drive, the Performa 5300CD delivered a symphony of capabilities that were a harbinger of the digital symphony we enjoy today.
As quickly as it had dawned, the curtain fell on the Performa 5300CD’s stage. The last unit was manufactured on May 1, 1996, marking the end of an era. Today, this venerable relic stands 28 years old, a testament to the ever-shifting sands of technological progress. Yet, in its retirement, it remains a cornerstone etched deep within the annals of computing history.
The Performa 5300CD wasn’t just a computer; it was an all-in-one marvel. A striking 15-inch shadow mask display served as its visual centerpiece. Its 1 MB of VRAM beckoned forth a spectrum of colors, supporting 8-bit and 16-bit hues at resolutions of 832 x 624 pixels and 640 x 480 pixels, respectively. Underneath the surface, its logic board, affectionately code-named “Cordyceps,” still carried traces of the older LC architecture, a reminder of where it all began.
Two SIMM slots enabled the expansion of its RAM from a basic 16 MB to an impressive 64 MB. Three expansion slots, including a 32-bit LC PDS slot, a Comm Slot for internal modem or Ethernet functionality, and a video-in slot for an Apple TV Tuner Card, exemplified the forward-thinking design.
The Performa 5300CD serenaded its users with 8-bit stereo sound, though its revision B counterpart was graced with 16-bit stereo sound. In the software realm, it embraced Mac OS 7.5.1 and System Enabler 406, encapsulating the computing ethos of its time. Its swansong came with Mac OS 9.1, a testament to its longevity and adaptability.
The Performa 5300CD (Director’s Edition) embarked on a journey that spanned continents. While it was distributed worldwide, a special version adorned with the moniker “Power Macintosh 5300 LC” was reserved solely for North American shores. Across Europe and Australia, the Director’s Edition found its niche, a variation that echoed the Performa 5300CD’s enduring global influence.
As we journey back to the birth of the Macintosh Performa 5300CD, we encounter more than just a machine – we encounter a milestone. An emblem of Apple’s dedication to innovation, this computer marked a turning point that paved the road for today’s digital landscape. While its physical form may have faded, its legacy remains, an indelible mark etched in the story of computing evolution.
Macintosh Performa 5300CD Details
|Introduced||October 1, 1995|
|Discontinued||May 1, 1996|
|Dimensions||17.5” H x 15.1” W x 16” D|
44.45 cm H x 38.35 cm W x 40.64 cm D
Mac Performa 5300CD Tech Specs
|Processor Speed||100 MHz|
|Number of Cores||1|
|System Bus||40 MHz|
|Cache||32 KB L1|
256 KB L2
Storage & Media
|Media||1 – 1.44 MB Floppy|
1 – 4x CD-ROM
|Built-in Memory||8 MB|
|Maximum Memory||64 MB|
|Memory Slots||2 – 72 pin SIMM|
|Minimum Speed||80 ns|
|Built-in Display||15″ Shadow Mask RGB CRT Display|
|Resolution||640×480 at 16-bit|
800×600 at 8-bit
832×624 at 8-bit
|Graphics Memory||1 MB|
|Expansion Slots||1 – LC PDS (Cache Bus)|
1 – Comm. Slot
1 – Video I/O
1 – TV Tuner
|Hard Drive Interface||IDE|
|SCSI||1 – DB-25|
|Audio In||1 – 3.5-mm analog input jack|
1 – Built-in microphone
|Audio Out||2 – 3.5-mm analog output jack|
2 – Built-in speaker
|Original OS||System Software 7.5.1|
|Maximum OS||Mac OS 9.1|
|Backup Battery||4.5 V Alkaline|
|Maximum Continuous Power||220 W|
Further Reading and References
- Macintosh Performa 5300CD: Technical Specifications – Apple Support
- Performa 5300CD – Low End Mac
- Macintosh Performa 5300CD – IT History Society
- Power Macintosh/Performa 5200 and 5300 Service Source – Apple Repair Manuals
Disclaimer: The data presented in this article is under continuous development and has been manually collected from various sources based on their availability. The author of this article may revise this dataset as additional research is conducted and reviewed. Please note that the information is provided “as is” and “as available” without express or implied warranties. The author cannot be held responsible for any omissions, inaccuracies, or errors in the published information. Any warranties relating to this information are hereby disclaimed.
Last updated: August 29, 2023