What Can I Do with a Performa 630?

1998 – DB writes: Wow, and I thought I was running a low-end Apple orchard . . . have an Apple IIe, Classic II, LC, and IIcx. My boss wants me to buy his 630CD . . . admittedly, it’s more machine than I have now, but it doesn’t seem like a wise move . . . are there PowerPC upgrade possibilities for the 630CD? I know Apple originally promised that, but then did not deliver.

Also, while I obviously prefer the Mac platform, $800 PCs complete with monitor that are suitable for Web surfing are pretty tempting, if upgrading and trading up are expensive. One local reseller was uninterested in my Macs, however affectionate I am about them, although I haven’t talked to Pre-Owned Electronics yet.

It was fun to find your Web page, and it was full of information for someone like me. My boss hasn’t mentioned a price yet for the 630CD. Now he bought it for his home, and probably paid a lot of money for it, so it will be interesting when he decides the price. Do you think I should look for a used PowerPC instead?

Thanks for your awesome page and useful links. None of my friends have Macs, so I don’t really get a chance to get informed Mac opinions.

Mac Daniel writes: One of the great joys and frustrations of owning Macs is that they last so long. I honestly don’t touch my SE very often, but the other machines aren’t so bad. Still, because even an antique Mac can run a lot of useful software (try that on a 286 PC!), we’re hesitant to retire them – or even invest in better Macs.

Macintosh_performa_630Although one member of Quadlist (our email list for users of 68040-based Macs) refers to his 630 with DOS card as a Wunderputer, I take a more realistic look at it. The 630 is a nice computer, has some upgrade options, but cannot be economically upgraded to PowerPC.

The 630 can be upgraded with a 6300-series motherboard, but I wouldn’t recommend any of them except the 6360. The 6200-6320 suffered from some serious performance robbing design compromises, as detailed in the Road Apples section.

That said, the back of Macworld (12/98) shows the 630 selling for about $300 with CD-ROM. I think that’s a bit high. They also show a 6360 (160 MHz 603e) motherboard selling for $500. But that’s a computer with no future upgrade path. If you buy the computer for $250 and then upgrade, you’ve spent $750 to reach maximum speed.

The same issue shows the Power Mac 7500 selling for $550-800, depending on configuration. Most of these have a 100 MHz PowerPC 601, which is about two-thirds the speed of the 6360. But you can remove the CPU card and drop in a G3 at up to 400 MHz, giving you a lot more options for the future.

Frankly, I wouldn’t pay more than $150 for the 630CD – exactly what I paid for a Quadra 650 8/230 last week. Both machines have a 33 MHz 68040, but the Quadra has built-in ethernet, can handle three times as much memory, and uses more efficient SCSI hard drives.

I’m glad you find Low End Mac so helpful. You’re not alone.

But it doesn’t end there. I maintain a group of email lists especially dedicated to people using older Macs. Vintage Macs covers everything from the 128K through 68030-based models, Quadlist is for the 68040-based models, PowerMacs is for users with Power Macs or Maclones, and PowerBooks is for the PowerBook set.

If you’re not getting the support you need locally, these are some great communities of Mac users.

Update: Low End Mac’s Comm Slot FAQ, Tommy Yune, 2018.03.20

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