The Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh (or TAM) was a radical change from existing computers. The slim unit (just 2.5″ deep) uses the same kind of LCD screen usually found in laptops. Stereo speakers surround it, along with a large subwoofer for really solid bass.
The keyboard is also like that of a PowerBook. It has no numeric keypad, but it does include a trackpad. TAM uses a 2.5″ laptop hard drive, the first desktop Mac to do so. (The second was the first Mac mini, introduced in 2005.)
The logic board is a modified laptop board similar to the one in the PowerBook 3400c. According to MacSpeedZone, installing a 512 KB level 2 (L2) cache boosts performance by 15%, going to 1 MB improves it by 27%.
Apple built 12,000 TAMs, making it a bit less rare than Mac TV, which had 10,000 units. Then again, TAM was very expensive, while Mac TV was aimed at consumers, so finding a TAM at a price you like will take some doing.
Although Apple broke the mold after building the TAM, within five years it introduced the second desktop Mac with an LCD monitor, the 15″ iMac G4. But it wasn’t until August 2004 that the first thinner, lighter iMac G5 arrived in 17″ and 20″ editions, the true successor to TAM’s design – and a design the iMac uses to this day.
Several TAM users have reported support for 24-bit video using the ATI January 2002 retail drivers. Especially see the posting by Rudy V. Pancaro on the Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh forum.
Steve Wozniak warned against using a disk partition larger than 4 GB, as it can cause the whole system to hang, but this appears to apply only to bootable volumes.
- Got a Power Mac? Join the Power Macs email list.
- Code names: Pomona, Spartacus
- introduced 1997.03.20 at $7,499, discontinued 1998.03.14
- Part no.:
- Gestalt ID: 512
- upgrade path:
- Requires Mac OS 7.6.1 through 9.1 (requires special version of Mac OS 8)
- CPU: 250 MHz PPC 603e
- Level 2 cache: 256 KB, expandable to 1 MB
- Bus: 50 MHz
- ROM: 4 MB
- RAM: 32 MB (expandable to 128 MB, accepts two 168-pin 5V 60ns or faster EDO or FPM DIMMs)
- CPU performance: 237, MacBench 4
- GPU: ATI 3D Rage II
- VRAM: 2 MB VRAM
- Video: 12.1″ 800 x 600 at 8- or 16-bit. 24-bit video support possible with ATI January 2002 retail drivers noted above, although the display itself only supports 18-bit output (6 bits per color channel).
- floppy drive: 1.4M
- Hard drive: 2 GB 2.5″ ATA/EIDE drive, 128 GB maximum, newer drives may requires a different drive bracket or modification of the original bracket.
- CD-ROM: 4x
- ADB ports: 1
- SCSI: DB-25 connector on back of computer
- serial ports: 2 DIN-8 GeoPorts
- PCI slots: 1 6.88″ slot
- other expansion slots: 1 Comm Slot II, filled with 33.6kbps GeoPort modem
- dimensions (HxWxD): 17.25″x16.5″x10.0″ (43.8×41.9×25.4 cm)
- Weight: 14.9 lbs. (6.8 kg)
- Upgrading the Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh. Good upgrade advice, although some products are no longer available.
- 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.
- Low End Mac’s Compleat Guide to Mac OS 9, 2008 Edition, Charles Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2008.05.12. Declared dead by Steve Jobs 6 years ago, Mac OS 9 remains fast and stable, but Classic software hasn’t kept up with Web changes. What Macs support OS 9, where to buy it, and how to update to version 9.2.2.
- The good, the bad, and the ugly of AppleDesign, Charles Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2008.10.15. Apple has produced some beautiful computers and iPods over the years, but also a few of the ugliest and most ungainly computers ever seen.
- The 25 most important Macs, Dan Knight, Mac Musings, 2009.02.17. The 25 most significant Macs in the first 25 years of the platform, continued.
- Why You Should Partition Your Mac’s Hard Drive, Dan Knight, Mac Musings, 2008.12.11. “At the very least, it makes sense to have a second partition with a bootable version of the Mac OS, so if you have problems with your work partition, you can boot from the ‘emergency’ partition to run Disk Utility and other diagnostics.”
- Attractive and ugly Macs, discontinued MacBook Pro value, and writing with TextEdit, Charles Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2008.10.30. Readers weigh in on the good, the bad, and the ugly of Macintosh design over the past 24 years.
- The Compressed Air Keyboard Repair, Charles 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.
- 10 cult Macs adored by collectors, Tamara Keel, Digital Fossils, 2008.05.13. Macs are not only noted for their longevity, but also by the passion which collectors have for some of the most interesting models ever made.
- TAM I Am, James & John, RetroMacCast, 2006.12.25. Looking at the 20th Anniversary Mac, classic Mac scanners, and the MacMania cruise.
- 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 best browsers for PowerPC Macs and the classic Mac OS, Nathan Thompson, Embracing Obsolescence, 2005.12.16. Two browsers stand out from the pack: iCab 3 is modern and remains under development, and WaMCom brings Mozilla to older Macs.
- Guide to G3 Accelerators for Level 2 Cache Slot
- Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh Upgrades, Mac Speed Zone
- Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh: Technical Specifications, Apple TIL
- Apple Spec: Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh
- Steve Wozniak notes on Go2Mac.com that, “A volume over 4 GB will not work in a TAM. It causes what appears to be total death in a short time, like when enough of it gets used.”
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