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In the bustling landscape of technological evolution, where new innovations seemingly spring up overnight, there are some iconic relics that still stand tall, defying the sands of time. The Power Macintosh 8500, a true luminary in the realm of computing history, remains an enduring testament to Apple’s prowess. Emerged into the world on August 7th, 1995, as a flagship member of Apple’s Power Macintosh series, this behemoth marked a zenith of technological prowess and innovation.
Circa the mid-90s, personal computing was undergoing a seismic shift, and Apple was steering the wheel of this transformative journey. The Power Macintosh series, with the 8500 leading the pack, was the vanguard that led the personal computer market. In those days, tech aficionados and casual users alike were treated to a symphony of cutting-edge marvels that the 8500 wielded with finesse.
At the heart of the Power Macintosh 8500 were processors that could only be described as futuristic for its time. Powered by a range of processors, including the 120 MHz / 132 MHz / 150 MHz PowerPC 604 or the blazing 180 MHz PowerPC 604e, it was an embodiment of raw power. To complement this, a generously apportioned RAM, starting at 16 MB or 32 MB, was par for the course. Data hoarders found solace in the 1 GB / 1.2 GB / 2 GB hard drive, while the 4x or 8x CD-ROM drives catered to the voracious digital appetites.
It’s one thing to be a trailblazer; it’s another to respect the past while crafting the future. The Power Macintosh 8500 artfully merged these two ideologies. A nod to history was reflected in the inclusion of the 1.44 MB floppy drive. This thoughtful touch resonated with the nostalgia aficionados while propelling the march into the digital future.
Time, as it is wont to do, caught up with the Power Macintosh 8500. In a bittersweet move, it bowed out of production on February 17, 1997. But let it be known that even in its absence, the ripples it created are still felt today. The 8500 was more than a machine; it was Apple’s pronouncement of unwavering commitment to technology and innovation.
While the external form of the Power Macintosh 8500 bore semblance to its predecessor, the Power Macintosh 8100, it harbored an internal metamorphosis. The shift from the PowerPC 601 processor on NuBus architecture to the lightning-fast PowerPC 604 processor on PCI architecture was nothing short of revolutionary.
The journey of the Power Macintosh 8500 was a symphony of upgrades. The debut model, introduced 28 years ago on August 7, 1995, and boasted a 120 MHz PowerPC 604. Subsequent renditions, gracing the stage on April 22, 1996, strutted with 132 or 150 MHz versions of the 604. The crescendo was reached on September 19, 1996, with the unveiling of the 180 MHz PowerPC 604e version.
Underneath its iconic chassis, the Power Macintosh 8500 carried a medley of software gems. It danced to the rhythm of Mac OS 7.5.2, orchestrated by Finder 7.5.3, while graphical excellence was ensured by QuickTime 2.0 and QuickDraw GX. The symphony further embraced ColorSync 1.0.5, Adobe Type Manager 3.8.3, and a chorus of other applications.
The Power Macintosh 8500, with its blend of audacious power and graceful design, remains an indelible footnote in the annals of computing history. Its legacy thrives not merely in its once-revolutionary hardware but also in the very DNA of every subsequent Apple innovation. As the years unfurl, let’s pause to appreciate this marvel, a bridge that links yesterday’s nostalgia to the horizon of tomorrow’s possibilities.
Power Macintosh 8500 Details
|Introduced||August 7, 1995 (120 MHz)|
April 22, 1996 (132 MHz & 150 MHz)
September 19, 1996 (180 MHz)
|Discontinued||April 1, 1996 (120 MHz)|
September 19, 1996 (132 MHz & 150 MHz)
February 17, 1997 (180 MHz)
|Dimensions||14” H x 7.7” W x 15.75” D|
35.56 cm H x 19.55 cm W x 40 cm D
Power Mac 8500 Tech Specs
|Processor Speed||120 MHz|
|Number of Cores||1|
|System Bus||40 MHz|
|Cache||16/32 KB L1|
256 KB L2
Storage & Media
|Media||1 – 1.44 MB Floppy|
1 – 4x CD-ROM or 8x CD-ROM (Optional)
|Built-in Memory||16 MB|
|Maximum Memory||512 MB (Apple)|
1 GB (Actual)
|Memory Slots||8 – 168 pin DIMM|
|Minimum Speed||70 ns|
|Graphics Memory||2 MB|
|Display Connection||1 – DB-15|
1 – Composite
1 – S-Video
|Expansion Slots||3 – PCI|
1 – DAV
|Hard Drive Interface||SCSI|
|Ethernet||1 – AAUI-15|
1 – 10BASE-T
|SCSI||1 – DB-25|
|Audio In||1 – 3.5-mm analog input jack|
2 – RCA input
|Audio Out||1 – 3.5-mm analog output jack|
1 – Built-in speaker
2 – RCA output
|Display||1 – DB-15|
1 – Composite
1 – S-Video
|Original OS||System Software 7.5.2|
|Maximum OS||Mac OS 9.1|
|Backup Battery||3.6 V Lithium|
|Maximum Continuous Power||225 W|
|Line Voltage||100-125 V|
Further Reading and References
- Power Macintosh 8500/120: Technical Specifications – Apple Support
- Power Macintosh 8500/132: Technical Specifications – Apple Support
- Power Macintosh 8500/150: Technical Specifications – Apple Support
- Power Macintosh 8500/180: Technical Specifications – Apple Support
- Power Macintosh 8500 – Wikipedia
- Power Mac 8500 (Workgroup Server 8550) – Low End Mac
- Power Macintosh 8200 and 8500 Series/WS 8550 Service Source (PDF) – 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 27, 2023