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In the mid-90s, Apple revolutionized the computing world with the launch of the Power Macintosh 6100 on March 14, 1994. This powerful personal computer represented a significant milestone for Apple, as it marked the transition from the Motorola 68000 processor to the cutting-edge PowerPC processor co-developed by IBM and Motorola. For a year, from its launch until October 14, 1995, the Power Macintosh 6100 remained a popular choice for professionals seeking exceptional power and performance in their machines.
The Power Macintosh 6100 was designed to cater to the needs of professionals who demanded nothing but the best. With its 60 MHz or 66 MHz PowerPC 601 processor, 8 MB or 16 MB of RAM, and a choice of 160 MB, 250 MB, 350 MB, or 500 MB hard drive, the 6100 packed a serious punch in terms of computing power. Furthermore, it featured a 2x CD-ROM drive and a 1.44 MB floppy drive, making it a complete workhorse for its time.
Apple also made an interesting move by offering a PC version of the Power Macintosh 6100, which came equipped with a 66 MHz Intel 486DX2 processor, solely dedicated to running MS-DOS or Windows. This innovative choice allowed users the flexibility to choose between Apple’s proprietary operating system and Microsoft’s Windows, catering to a wider audience and expanding the 6100’s appeal.
In its heyday 29 years ago, the Power Macintosh 6100 received accolades from critics and users alike. MacWorld’s review of the 6100/60 pointed out that Apple had regained the performance lead it lost years ago when PCs appeared with Intel’s 80386 CPU. The 6100 outperformed its predecessor, the Quadra 610, in CPU, disk, video, and floating-point performance, showcasing Apple’s commitment to delivering high-performance computers.
The Power Macintosh 6100 came in various models, such as the Macintosh Performa series for the consumer market and the Apple Workgroup Server 6150 for the server market. The consumer models were re-branded with different model numbers to denote bundled software and hard drive sizes, offering a tailored experience to customers. The server variant, the Apple Workgroup Server 6150, came with additional server software to meet the demands of professional environments.
Although the Power Macintosh 6100 was discontinued without a direct replacement, its legacy continued through various third-party upgrades. Users were able to enhance the 6100’s performance with upgrades like the Sonnet Technologies Crescendo G3 NuBus (up to 500 MHz) and G4 NuBus (up to 360 MHz) and Newer Technology’s MaxPower G3 processor upgrades. These upgrades ensured that the 6100 remained relevant and powerful even after its original production run.
Notably, the Power Macintosh 6100 featured unique startup and “sad Mac” chimes, setting it apart from its predecessors. The startup chime featured a guitar chord strummed by jazz guitarist Stanley Jordan, while the “sad Mac” error sound was replaced by the sound of a car crashing and glass breaking.
The Power Macintosh 6100 may seem outdated by today’s standards, but its historical significance cannot be overlooked. It played a crucial role in Apple’s journey to deliver high-performance computers and marked the company’s shift to the PowerPC processor. With its powerful hardware, flexibility to run both Mac OS and Windows, and iconic design, the Power Macintosh 6100 left a lasting impact on the world of computing.
Though the 6100 series has long been discontinued, its influence lives on in the advancements and innovations that followed Apple’s product line. While today’s Apple devices have come a long way since the 90s, the Power Macintosh 6100 remains a cherished piece of Apple’s rich history and a reminder of the company’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of computing power.
Power Macintosh 6100 Details
|Introduced||March 14, 1994 (60 MHz)|
January 3, 1995 (66 MHz)
|Discontinued||January 3, 1995 (60 MHz)|
October 14, 1995 (66 MHz)
|Model Identifier||75 (60 MHz)|
100 (66 MHz)
|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
Power Mac 6100 Tech Specs
PowerPC 601 and Intel 486DX2*
|Processor Speed||60 MHz|
|Number of Cores||1|
|System Bus||30 MHz|
|Cache||32 KB L1 Optional (60 MHz) |
256 KB L2 (66 MHz)
Storage & Media
|Media||1 – 1.44 MB Floppy|
1 – 2x CD-ROM (Optional for AV models)
|Built-in Memory||8 MB|
|Maximum Memory||132 MB (Actual)|
72 MB (Apple)
|Memory Slots||2 – 72 pin SIMMs (Group of 2)|
|Minimum Speed||80 ns|
2 MB (AV models)
|Display Connection||1 – DB-15|
1 – HDI-45
|Expansion Slots||1 – 7″ PDS or NuBus (AV card installed on AV models)|
|Hard Drive Interface||SCSI|
|SCSI||1 – DB-25|
|Audio In||1 – 3.5-mm analog input jack|
|Audio Out||1 – 3.5-mm analog output jack|
1 – Built-in speaker
|Display||1 – DB-15|
1 – HDI-45
|Original OS||System Software 7.1.2|
|Maximum OS||Mac OS 9.1|
|Backup Battery||3.6 V lithium|
|Maximum Continuous Power||210 W|
|Line Voltage||100-240 V|
Further Reading and References
- Power Macintosh 6100/60: Technical Specifications – Apple Support
- Power Macintosh 6100/60AV: Technical Specifications – Apple Support
- Power Macintosh 6100/66: Technical Specifications – Apple Support
- Power Macintosh 6100/66AV: Technical Specifications – Apple Support
- Power Macintosh 6100/66 DOS Compatible: Technical Specifications – Apple Support
- Power Macintosh 6100 – Wikipedia
- Power Macintosh 6100/ WS 6150 Service Source (PDF) – Apple Repair Manuals
- Power Macintosh 6100/60AV – OldCrap
- Power Mac 6100 – Low End Mac
- Setting Up a Power Mac 6100 – Low End Mac
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: July 29, 2023