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Apple, a name synonymous with innovation and elegant design, has been a prominent player in the world of technology for decades. Among its many offerings, the Macintosh Performa 550 stands out as a significant milestone in Apple’s history. Introduced in 1993 as part of the Performa series, this personal computer showcased Apple’s ambition to expand its reach into the realm of personal computing. With its impressive specifications and enduring legacy, the Performa 550 holds a special place in the hearts of Apple enthusiasts and computer history enthusiasts alike.
When it debuted on October 18, 1993, the Macintosh Performa 550 came with a substantial price tag starting at $2,000. Designed to be a high-end machine, it boasted powerful specifications that were ahead of its time. The Performa 550 featured a 33 MHz Motorola 68030 processor, a Motorola 68882 FPU coprocessor, a vibrant 14-inch color CRT display, 4 MB of RAM, a 160 MB hard drive, a 2x CD-ROM drive, and a 1.44 MB floppy drive. These specs ensured that the Performa 550 could handle demanding tasks and provide a remarkable computing experience.
Despite its initial success, the Performa 550 was discontinued on April 1, 1996. As we look back, we realize that this marked the end of an era, making the machine 30 years old today. While the Performa 550 is no longer in production, its impact on Apple’s history and the computing industry as a whole remains undeniable. For those who had the privilege of using this computer, the Performa 550 evokes a sense of nostalgia and fond memories.
The Performa 550 holds a special place in Apple’s history, as it was one of the company’s early forays into the world of personal computers. Its sleek design and powerful specifications made it a standout machine during its time. The legacy of the Performa 550 has endured over the years, reminding us of Apple’s commitment to innovation and user experience. Whether it was your first Apple computer or a cherished part of your collection, the Performa 550 remains a symbol of Apple’s pursuit of excellence.
The Apple Macintosh Performa 550 featured a 33 MHz 68030 processor, 5 MB of RAM, a 160 MB hard drive, and a 2x CD-ROM drive. It came in a relatively compact all-in-one case with a 14″ color display. With the exception of the processor speed and configuration options, the Performa 550 was identical to its predecessor, the Performa 520. For educational purposes, Apple released a version called the LC 550.
The Macintosh Performa 550 was essentially a rebranded version of the LC 550, targeted at the consumer market in Japan. It was part of Apple’s Performa line from October 18, 1993, until April 1, 1996. This all-in-one desktop Macintosh featured a built-in 14″ Trinitron display from Sony, capable of supporting up to 8-bit color at a resolution of 640 x 480 pixels.
Upgrading the VRAM to 768 KB expanded its color capabilities to 16-bit. The logic board resembled the Macintosh LC III+ and included a 33 MHz 68030 processor and a 32-bit LC PDS slot. It had one 72-pin SIMM slot for RAM upgrades, supporting a maximum of 36 MB. Hard drives were connected via a SCSI bus, and a built-in floppy drive supported 1.44 MB high-density disks.
The Performa 550 came with System 7.1P3 pre-installed, accompanied by System Enabler 332 and a bundled home software package. The last operating system that the Performa 550 supported was Mac OS 7.6.1. In addition, Apple released the Macintosh Performa 560, which was almost identical to the 550 but came pre-installed with System 7.1P5, along with a bundled business software package.
The Macintosh Performa 550 played a significant role in Apple’s early efforts to expand into the personal computing market. With its powerful specifications, elegant design, and enduring legacy, it holds a special place in Apple’s history and the memories of those who used it. Though no longer in production, the Performa 550 continues to be a cherished piece of Apple history, reminding us of the company’s commitment to pushing boundaries and delivering exceptional user experiences.
Macintosh Performa 550 Details
|Introduced||October 18, 1993|
|Discontinued||April 1, 1996|
|Dimensions||17.9” H x 13.5” W x 16.5” D|
45.46 cm H x 34.29 cm W x 41.91 cm D
Mac Performa 550 Tech Specs
|Processor Speed||33 MHz|
|Number of Cores||1|
|System Bus||33 MHz|
|Cache||0.5 KB L1|
|Coprocessor||Motorola 68882 FPU (Optional)|
Storage & Media
|Media||1 – 2x CD-ROM|
1 – 1.44 MB Floppy
|Built-in Memory||4 MB|
|Maximum Memory||36 MB|
|Memory Slots||1 – 72 pin SIMM|
|Minimum Speed||80 ns|
|Built-in Display||14″ RGB CRT display|
|Resolution||640 x 480|
|Graphics Memory||512 KB (Upgradeable to 768 KB via one socket)|
|Display Connection||1 – DB-15|
|Expansion Slots||1 – LC PDS (Cache Bus)|
|Hard Drive Interface||SCSI|
|SCSI||1 – DB-25|
|Audio In||1 – 3.5-mm analog input jack|
1 – Built-in microphone
|Audio Out||1 – 3.5-mm analog output jack|
1 – Built-in speaker
|Display||1 – DB-15|
|Original OS||System Software 7.1P|
|Maximum OS||Mac OS 7.6.1|
|Backup Battery||3.6 V lithium|
|Maximum Continuous Power||40 W|
Further Reading and References
- Macintosh Performa 550: Technical Specifications – Apple Support
- Mac LC 550 (Performa 550) – Low End Mac
- Performa 500 Series Service Source (PDF) – Apple Repair Manuals
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Last updated: July 15, 2023