Quadra 840av with Mac OS 8.1, a Vintage Mac Workhorse

This is the second in a series of articles showing how Adam Rosen uses four vintage Macs to read, recover, convert, transfer, and return files to his clients. Today we look at how he uses his Quadra 840av running Mac OS 8.1.

The 680×0 Macintosh era spanned over a decade and four generations of Motorola processors. My first Vintage Mac Workhorse, the Mac Plus (see the previous column), uses an 8 MHz 68000 CPU, the same version found in the original 128K Mac.

At the other end of the spectrum is the Motorola 68040 CPU and the Macintosh Quadra line. These speedy machines (for their day) remain useful today as bridge machines between the very old and the less old among early Macinti.

The Quadra series of Macs replaced the 68020/030 based Mac II line and was named after the fourth-generation 68040 processor.

Quadra 800The Quadra 840av was the ultimate 680×0 Macintosh: 40 MHz CPU, fastest NuBus architecture, 16-bit stereo sound with video input/output, and the ARTA (Apple Real Time Architecture) multimedia chip, which integrated the 67 MHz AT&T 3210 digital signal processor with the Mac OS – another fine technology doomed before its time.

Outfitted in the same sporty minitower case as the earlier Quadra 800, this machine was faster for many tasks than the first generation PowerPC machines introduced a year later.

Quadras are equipped with both LocalTalk (RS-422 serial) and ethernet ports. They also contain floppy drives (1.44 MB SuperDrives) and internal and external SCSI ports. These technologies allow for the bridging of formats and generations. An external SCSI Zip drive completes my setup.

At the Vintage Mac Museum, an 840av runs Mac OS 8.1 and Apple’s free LocalTalk Bridge software, which links ethernet and LocalTalk networks. Personal File Sharing is enabled on the Quadra, which is compatible with the AppleShare in System 6.0.8 on the Mac Plus. Files copied from floppies on the Plus can be transferred (via PhoneNet) to the Quadra, and from there up the chain.

Mac OS 8 uses AppleShare IP, which is forward compatible with shared volumes from Macs running Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X (up through 10.4.11). The primary server for the Vintage Mac Museum is a Power Mac G4 Cube running OS X 10.4 Tiger (which we’ll look at next time), and my Quadra can copy files to and from the Cube over ethernet.

How’s that for multigenerational file sharing?

Quadras are also capable of running most 32-bit 680×0 programs, so software used on the Mac II, SE, and early Performas usually runs fine on the ‘040 processor. For help with file conversions, this 840av contains copies of Photoshop 4, Illustrator 5, Digital Performer 5, Excel 4, Word 5.1a (really, who needs more?), and Retrospect 4.

I’ve used a PowerBook 540c for the same tasks as the Quadra where space was more constrained (read: my last apartment). The PowerBook 190 and 500 Series are portable Quadras (‘040 based systems), so their capabilities are similar.

Next: WallStreet PowerBook G3 Running Mac OS 9

This article was originally published on Adam’s Vintage Mac Museum Blog. It has been adapted and reprinted here with his permission.

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