What was the smallest desktop Mac prior to the Mac mini? Apple’s LC series, which measured just under 3″ tall, although it had as big a footprint as four minis.
The LC II (a.k.a. Performa 400-430 and code named Foster Farms) was a slightly less crippled version of the LC. Still running a 32-bit CPU on a 16-bit data bus and limited by design to support no more than 10 MB of RAM, at least the 68030 offers virtual memory and works with RAM Doubler (the LC II is slower than the Mac IIx, even though both use the same 16 MHz 68030 CPU).
The only other improvement over the LC is 4 MB of onboard memory instead of the 2 MB of the earlier model.
As a cost-cutting measure, Apple eliminated the internal connector for a second floppy drive, since fewer than 5% of LCs were sold with two floppies. The video circuitry was also tweaked to better serve those using VGA and multisync monitors.
Although its clock speed was the same as the LC, the LC II is what the LC should have been. (In fact, many benchmarks show the LC II is slightly slower than the LC. Go figure!) Even with a couple improvements over the Mac LC, we still call it a Compromised Mac.
- Got a Mac LC or other vintage Mac? Join our Vintage Macs Forum or Vintage Macs Group.
- Our System 6 List is for those using Mac System 6.
- LC II introduced 1992.03.23 at $1,400; discontinued 1993.03.15
- Performa 400, 405, 410, and 430 released 1993.09.14; discontinued 1993.10.18; model number reflects software bundle, not any difference in hardware
- Gestalt ID: 37
- model no.: M1700
- requires System 6.0.7 to 7.5.5
- addressing: 24-bit or 32-bit
- CPU: 16 MHz 68030
- FPU: 68882 (optional, uses PDS slot)
- ROM: 512 KB
- RAM: 4 MB on motherboard, expandable to 10 MB using a pair of 100ns 30-pin SIMMs; can use 1 MB, 2 MB, and 4 MB SIMMs (cannot address more than 10 MB, even with 12 MB installed)
- L2 cache: none
- 1.7, relative to SE (compare to 2.9 for Mac IIx)
- 0.22, Speedometer 4
- 3.9 MIPS
- video: 256 KB VRAM SIMM, expandable to 512 KB; supports 512 x 384 and 640 x 480 resolutions (must have 512 KB VRAM for 8 bits at 640 x 480, 16 bits at 512 x 384)
- VRAM: accepts one 100ns VRAM SIMM, 256 KB standard, can be upgraded with single 512 KB VRAM SIMM, other specs unknown, VRAM SIMM appears to be specific to early Macs.
- video port: DB-15
- Hard drive: 40 or 80 MB SCSI
- floppy drive: 1.4 MB double-sided
- ADB ports: 1 for keyboard and mouse
- serial ports: 2 DIN-8 RS-422 on back of computer
- SCSI ports: DB-25 connector on back of computer
- Hard drive: none, 40, or 80 MB
- sound: 8-bit mono
- audio in: 8-bit mono
- expansion slot: LC PDS slot
- size (HxWxD): 2.9″ x 12.2″ x 15.3″
- Weight: 8.8 lbs.
- PRAM battery: 3.6V half-AA
- power supply: 50W
- upgrade path: LC III, Quadra 605
Accelerators & Upgrades
- Macintosh LC III (25 MHz 68030), although it’s probably cheaper to simply buy a used LC III
- MicroMac Thunder (32 MHz 68030), optional 16 MHz 68881 FPU
- MicroMac Thunder Cache (32 MHz 68030), 32KB cache, optional 32 MHz 68882 FPU
- MicroMac ThunderPro (32 MHz 68030), optional 32 MHz 68882 FPU, breaks 10 MB barrier
- MicroMac Power WorkStation (32 MHz 68030), 32KB cache, expansion bay
- Quadra 605 motherboard (25 MHz 68LC040), although it’s probably cheaper to just buy a Quadra 605/LC 475
- Sonnet Technologies Presto 040 LC (25 MHz 68040 or 68LC040), discontinued
- Sonnet Presto Plus (33 MHz 68LC040 or 68040, Ethernet, and 32 MB additional RAM)
- LC Power WorkStation from MicroMac is an expansion chassis that includes a 32 MHz 68030 processor with a 32 KB cache, has room for two PDS cards, and has room for a second hard drive and an optical drive. Not cheap!
Discontinued accelerators (68030 unless otherwise noted) include the Applied Engineering TransWarp (50 MHz), DayStar Universal PowerCache (33, 40, 50 MHz), Extreme Systems Impact (33 MHz), and Total Systems Enterprise (32 MHz).
- Low End Mac’s Best Classic Mac OS Deals. Best online prices for System 6, 7.1, 7.5.x, Mac OS 7.6, 8.0, 8.1, 8.5, 9.0, 9.2.2, and other versions.
- I still use my LC, Tommy Thomas, Welcome to Macintosh, 2009.02.20. An interview with Scott Baret, who has been using the same Macintosh LC since 1991.
- Creating Classic Mac Boot Floppies in OS X, Paul Brierley, The ‘Book Beat, 2008.08.07. Yes, it is possible to create a boot floppy for the Classic Mac OS using an OS X Mac that doesn’t have Classic. Here’s how.
- Know Your Mac’s Upgrade Options, Phil Herlihy, The Usefulness Equation, 2008.08.26. Any Mac can be upgraded, but it’s a question of what can be upgraded – RAM, hard drive, video, CPU – and how far it can be upgraded.
- The Compressed Air Keyboard Repair, Charles W Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2008.07.24. If your keyboard isn’t working as well as it once did, blasting under the keys with compressed air may be the cure.
- A Vintage Mac Network Can Be as Useful as a Modern One, Carl Nygren, My Turn, 2008.04.08. Old Macs can exchange data and share an Internet connection very nicely using Apple’s old LocalTalk networking.
- Vintage Mac Networking and File Exchange, Adam Rosen, Adam’s Apple, 2007.12.19. How to network vintage Macs with modern Macs and tips on exchanging files using floppies, Zip disks, and other media.
- Vintage Mac Video and Monitor Mania, Adam Rosen, Adam’s Apple, 2007.12.17. Vintage Macs and monitors didn’t use VGA connectors. Tips on making modern monitors work with old Macs.
- Getting Inside Vintage Macs and Swapping Out Bad Parts, Adam Rosen, Adam’s Apple, 2007.12.14. When an old Mac dies, the best source of parts is usually another dead Mac with different failed parts.
- Solving Mac Startup Problems, Adam Rosen, Adam’s Apple, 2007.12.12. When your old Mac won’t boot, the most likely culprits are a dead PRAM battery or a failed (or failing) hard drive.
- Better and Safer Surfing with Internet Explorer and the Classic Mac OS, Max Wallgren, Mac Daniel, 2007.11.06. Tips on which browsers work best with different Mac OS versions plus extra software to clean cookies and caches, detect viruses, handle downloads, etc.
- The 10 worst Macs ever, Dan Knight, Mac Musings, 2007.10.23. The ten worst Macs of all time – and one of them came out just last year.
- Simple Macs for Simple Tasks, Tommy Thomas, Welcome to Macintosh, 2007.10.19. Long live 680×0 Macs and the classic Mac OS. For simple tasks such as writing, they can provide a great, low distraction environment.
- Interchangeabilty and Compatibility of Apple 1.4 MB Floppy SuperDrives, Sonic Purity, Mac Daniel, 2007.09.26. Apple used two kinds of high-density floppy drives on Macs, auto-inject and manual inject. Can they be swapped?
- Apple’s Consumer Performa Line, 1992 to 1997, Dan Knight, Mac Musings, 2007.09.14. Apple decided to pursue the average consumer by renaming existing Macs, bundling them with software, and putting their colorful boxes in regular retail outlets.
- Mac System 7.5.5 Can Do Anything Mac OS 7.6.1 Can, Tyler Sable, Classic Restorations, 2007.06.04. Yes, it is possible to run Internet Explorer 5.1.7 and SoundJam with System 7.5.5. You just need to have all the updates – and make one modification for SoundJam.
- Appearance Manager Allows Internet Explorer 5.1.7 to Work with Mac OS 7.6.1, Max Wallgren, Mac Daniel, 2007.05.23. Want a fairly modern browser with an old, fast operating system? Mac OS 7.6.1 plus the Appearance Manager and Internet Explorer may be just what you want.
- Format Any Drive for Older Macs with Patched Apple Tools, Tyler Sable, Classic Restorations, 2007.04.25. Apple HD SC Setup and Drive Setup only work with Apple branded hard drives – until you apply the patches linked to this article.
- Making floppies and CDs for older Macs using modern Macs, Windows, and Linux PCs, Tyler Sable, Classic Restorations, 2007.03.15. Older Macs use HFS floppies and CDs. Here are the free resources you’ll need to write floppies or CDs for vintage Macs using your modern computer.
- 30 days of old school computing: No real hardships, Ted Hodges, Vintage Mac Living, 2006.10.11. These old black-and-white Macs are just fine for messaging, word processing, spreadsheets, scheduling, contact management, and browsing the Web.
- Jag’s House, where older Macs still rock, Tommy Thomas, Welcome to Macintosh, 2006.09.25. Over a decade old, Jag’s House is the oldest Mac website supporting classic Macs and remains a great resource for vintage Mac users.
- Vintage Macs with System 6 run circles around 3 GHz Windows 2000 PC, Tyler Sable, Classic Restorations, 2006.07.06. Which grows faster, hardware speed or software bloat? These benchmarks show vintage Macs let you be productive much more quickly than modern Windows PCs.
- Floppy drive observations: A compleat guide to Mac floppy drives and disk formats, Scott Baret, Online Tech Journal, 2006.06.29. A history of the Mac floppy from the 400K drive in the Mac 128K through the manual-inject 1.4M SuperDrives used in the late 1990s.
- System 7.5 and Mac OS 7.6: The beginning and end of an era, Tyler Sable, Classic Restorations, 2006.02.15. System 7.5 and Mac OS 7.6 introduced many new features and greater modernity while staying within reach of most early Macintosh models.
- Turning an LC or other ancient Mac into a webcam with a QuickCam, Tyler Sable, Classic Restorations, 2006.01.25. As long as it has 4 MB of RAM and a hard drive, any 16 MHz or faster Mac that supports color can be configured as a webcam.
- System 7: Bigger, better, more expandable, and a bit slower than System 6, Tyler Sable, Classic Restorations, 2006.01.04. The early versions of System 7 provide broader capability for modern tasks than System 6 while still being practical for even the lowliest Macs.
- Web browser tips for the classic Mac OS, Nathan Thompson, Embracing Obsolescence, 2006.01.03. Tips on getting the most out of WaMCom, Mozilla, Internet Explorer, iCab, Opera, and WannaBe using the classic Mac OS.
- The Joy of Six: Apple’s fast, svelte, reliable, and still usable System 6, Tyler Sable, Classic Restorations, 2005.12.06. System 6 was small enough to run quickly from an 800K floppy yet powerful enough to support 2 GB partitions, 24-bit video, and the Internet.
- Which system software is best for my vintage Mac?, Tyler Sable, Classic Restorations, 2005.11.22. Which system software works best depends to a great extent on just which Mac you have and how much RAM is installed.
- Guide to LC PDS Video Cards. Includes Focus, Radius, and RasterOps cards for the LC processor direct slot.
- LC design and caveats, Mark Benson, 68kMac.com, 2005.10.11. Apple’s original low-cost, slightly crippled, compact, modular Macs. Also, the difference between auto-inject and manual-inject floppies.
- The 10 worst Macs ever built, Remy Davison, Insanely Great Mac, 2001.08.06
- Making the most of the LC, Adam Robert Guha, Apple Archive, 9/1. Although old and slow, the LC and LC II have practical upgrade potential.
- Games for ‘030s, Brian Rumsey, Low End Mac Gaming, 5/26. A look at games that run nicely on the old 68030-based Macs.
- Hands on: Sonnet Presto Plus, Mark Looper, 3/2/2000
- Why Should I Choose System 6 for the Mac II Family?, Manuel Mejia, Mac Daniel. If they can use System 7, why use System 6?
- System 6 for the Macintosh, Ruud Dingemans. If you have an older, slower, memory-limited Mac, System 6 is fast, stable, and still very usable.
- Review: Sonnet Presto
- How Can I Upgrade a Classic II or LC II?, Mac Daniel
- Faster browsing on older Macs, Online Tech Journal
- Information on 32-bit addressing
- Email lists: Classic Macs Digest, Vintage Macs
- System6, the email list for those who choose to use System 6.0.x.
- Memory Upgrades: Mac LC; Performa 400, 405, 410, 430
- Links to System 6.0.8 and 7.0.1
- Macintosh LC II Technical Specifications, Apple Knowledge Base Archive
- Performa 400 Technical Specifications, Apple Knowledge Base Archive
- Apple discontinued support and parts orders for this model on 2001.01.01. You may be able to find dealers with parts inventory either locally or on our parts and service list.
- Serial port normally restricted to 57.6 kbps; throughput with a 56k modem may be limited. See 56k modem page. For more information on Mac serial ports, read Macintosh Serial Throughput.
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