Quadra 700: Once the Fastest Mac, Now a Steal

The Macintosh Quadra 700. This was always a Mac that interested me; essentially the same old beige tower, but with a twist. Sitting on molded plastic legs, the tower has a vertically placed 3 1/2” floppy drive at the top center of the computer. This Macintosh has a 25 MHz Motorola 68040 processor, can take a maximum of 68 MB of RAM, and comes with 2 hard drive options: either an 80 MB or a whopping 160 MB for all your storage needs.

Quadra 700My Quadra was found during my usual online ad search. Generally, my findings range from overpriced early Intel Macs to the rather ominous “new in box” computers that are underpriced enough to drive more attention to the seller’s ads.

I saw a beige computer in my search and the word “Quadra” in the title. Clicking the ad, I read the text. The owner suggested it was in great condition and worked perfectly. I scrolled to the price: $140. This was more than I wanted to spend, so I took a chance in replying, asking if the seller would take $80. He responded almost instantly (to refuse the offer), suggesting it was too low for such a rare model. I thanked him and thought it would simply pass me by, as do most of the more desirable Macs I find.

The ad was re-posted again the following day, with a new price of $125. The seller was obviously learning that “rare” doesn’t always mean “valuable”. I thought better than to respond to the ad, as he would simply repeat his last message. I knew I had to wait this out.

Quadra 700Finally, after over a solid week of posting and re-posting, his price had not only lowered but reached my original asking amount. I thought this was the time to strike and tested my luck even further: I made a second offer, even lower than my first. I suggested paying $60CAD and waited. The minutes seemed to drag on when that familiar sound of a message received came through my iPhone.

He responded that he would take the $60, and we made plans to meet that weekend.

That Saturday, I went out with my family, and we headed in the direction of the Quadra. The streets were covered in snow thanks to a storm that had hit the city the day before. Google Maps took us to the location; it was a commercial building whose name and sign suggested that it was a private medical clinic. I messaged the owner, notifying him that I was there, and asking just where in the building I should meet him.

I sat and waited for an answer. For 5 minutes we sat and waited, watching cars drive by and looking at the snow that seemed to be incessantly falling this year. As time passed, I wondered if perhaps I had pushed too far. Maybe he remembered I had offered more in the past, took it as a slight, and simply led me in the wrong direction.

We then started the car as the windows were beginning to fog up. Just then, a message came through. The seller told me to come in the lobby, where the transaction would be made.

I made my way inside and, soon enough, a gentleman with a beige Quadra came around the corner. We made quick introductions, and he showed me that computer. What struck me about this Mac was its compatibility, and how different its floppy drive’s placement was. He then plugged in the machine and powered it on. The familiar hum of the hard drive soon became audible, and I knew at that moment that I had secured my first Quadra.

I asked the seller why he wanted to sell it, and he explained that he had no room for it. He was renting a space in this building, and the owner needed him to vacate. He said he had many Macs and was a collector, but his collection could simply not fit into his home. I thanked him for the Macintosh, assured him that it would be well taken care of, and asked him to message me if he ever decided to sell more of his collection.

While not the most powerful Mac I own, I can certainly say this is one of the most interesting ones. It is being currently stored with my other vintage computers, waiting to be placed on display for others to enjoy its classic design.

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