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Apple has long been at the forefront of personal computing, consistently pushing the boundaries of innovation since the launch of the Macintosh in 1984. Among its many notable releases, the Macintosh Quadra 900, unveiled in 1991, stands as a testament to Apple’s commitment to groundbreaking technology. Although it had a relatively short lifespan, the Quadra 900 left an indelible mark on the industry and paved the way for future advancements.
Released to the public on October 21, 1991, the Macintosh Quadra 900 was a powerhouse of its time. With a starting price of $7,200, this behemoth of a computer boasted a 25 MHz Motorola 68040 processor, 4 MB of RAM, and a variety of storage options, including a 160 MB or 400 MB hard drive, CD-ROM drive, and 1.44 MB Floppy drive.
One of the first things that struck users about the Quadra 900 was its imposing presence. Built as a full-fledged tower design, it exuded a sense of solidity and durability. Weighing in at a considerable size, it was clear that the Quadra 900 was designed with robustness in mind. The 303W power supply alone was comparable in size to a compact Mac, emphasizing its unwavering power and performance.
The Quadra 900 featured 16 SIMM slots, allowing users to expand memory to astonishing levels, while the high-capacity SCSI hard drives provided ample storage for demanding tasks. With its immense capabilities, it became evident that this computer was primarily tailored for use as a server, further emphasizing Apple’s foresight and understanding of evolving computing needs.
Apple made significant strides in networking with the Quadra 900. It was one of the first Macs to incorporate built-in ethernet, utilizing Apple’s AAUIs connector. This integration allowed for seamless connectivity at a time when networking was still in its early stages, setting the stage for the future development of networked computing.
Despite its undeniable power and impressive feature set, the Mac Quadra 900 was surprisingly discontinued on May 18, 1992, just a year after its introduction. The reasons behind its short lifespan remain speculative, but the Quadra 900 remains a classic piece of technology, cherished by enthusiasts and collectors even today.
Although the Macintosh Quadra 900 may have been retired from production 31 years ago, its influence and legacy endure. Apple’s unwavering commitment to pushing technological boundaries, as demonstrated by the Quadra 900, continues to shape the personal computing landscape. Each iteration of Apple’s products carries with it a lineage rooted in innovation and a constant drive to redefine what is possible.
The Macintosh Quadra 900 remains a symbol of Apple’s rich history of pushing the boundaries of personal computing. Its sheer power, advanced networking capabilities, and unwavering design have left an indelible mark on the industry.
While it may not be in active use today, the Quadra 900’s influence is felt in the continued advancements and innovations we see in the modern era. As Apple continues to forge new paths in technology, it is worth remembering the monumental contributions made by the Macintosh Quadra 900 in shaping the world of personal computing as we know it.
Macintosh Quadra 900 Details
|Introduced||October 21, 1991|
|Discontinued||May 18, 1992|
|Order Number||M4210LL/A (no hard drive)|
M4230LL/A (160 MB hard drive)
|Dimensions||18.6” H x 8.9” W x 20.6” D|
47.24 cm H x 22.6 cm W x 52.32 cm D
Mac Quadra 900 Tech Specs
|Processor Speed||25 MHz|
|Number of Cores||1|
|System Bus||25 MHz|
|Cache||8 KB L1|
Storage & Media
|Media||1 – CD-ROM|
1 – 1.44 MB Floppy
1 – DDS-DC drive (Optional)
|Built-in Memory||4 MB|
|Maximum Memory||256 MB|
|Memory Slots||16 – 30 pin SIMMs|
|Minimum Speed||80 ns|
|Graphics Memory||1 – 2 MB (via four sockets)|
|Display Connection||1 – DB-15|
|Expansion Slots||5 – NuBus|
1 – PDS (Cache Bus)
|Hard Drive Interface||SCSI|
|Original OS||System Software 7.0.1|
|Maximum OS||Mac OS 8.1|
|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||303 W|
Further Reading and References
- Macintosh Quadra 900: Technical Specifications – Apple Support
- Quadra 900 – Low End Mac
- Macintosh Quadra 900 – Wikipedia
- Personal Computer System – Apple Macintosh Quadra 900, 1991 – Museums Victoria
- Macintosh Quadra 900 Brochure (PDF) – Tech Insider
- You can now run Mac OS 8 on a 1991 Macintosh Quadra 900 — as a Mac app – 9to5Mac
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Last updated: June 3, 2023