Author Topic: Scored a vintage Macintosh computer  (Read 12721 times)
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Scored a vintage Macintosh computer « on: February 27, 2015, 10:42:01 PM » Author: themaritimegirl
For the past few weeks I've been regularly visiting a publicly accessible e-waste drop-off box at school, and I've been continually finding awesome stuff, like computer parts and other vintage electronics. The other day I found what has so far been the best find yet - a Power Macintosh 7300.

This is the second Mac I've ever had, and the oldest. The 7300 was sold from early to late 1997. My unit has a 200 MHz PowerPC 604e processor, 96 MB of RAM (upgraded from the original 32 MB), a 2 GB SCSI hard drive, a 12x SCSI CD-ROM drive, and a "SuperDrive" 1.44 MB floppy disk drive. Luckily there were an ADB keyboard and mouse there too, since I don't have any others. Also lucky is that there was an Apple display port to VGA adapter, so a regular monitor can be used.

It works absolutely perfect - the only thing I had to do was lubricate the floppy drive, and I have a new PRAM battery coming for it. It has Mac OS 8.0 installed on the hard drive (it originally would have had System 7.5.5). Interestingly enough, it appears to have been used until 2009, with even someone's recent wedding photos left on it.

There's quite a bit of crap on the hard drive, and it's not running as fast as I think it could, so I'm going to be wiping the hard drive clean and reinstalling an OS. Apple made System 7.5.3 freely available to download some years ago, so the first thing I'm going to do is see if I can get that installed. The great thing about a Mac with a SuperDrive is not only can they read and write IBM-formatted floppy disks, but a PC can format disks for Macs, as well. So getting System 7.5.3 installed should be easy.

This can run up to Mac OS 9.1, so that's what I ultimately want to get running on this. Perhaps in a dual-boot configuration with Mac OS 7.6, if I can procure either version.

I have videos of this in the works which I will be uploading on YouTube. I'm super excited to have this thing - best vintage computer acquisition I've had yet.

As far as Macs go this thing is pretty bland, but it does provide an illustration of an interesting part of Apple's history. This was made in the middle of 1997, which was Apple's darkest period. The company was literally weeks from declaring bankruptcy. A confusingly large lineup of computers lacking quality and innovative design had brought Apple to its knees. This was one of them, and you can sense the company's desperation just by looking at it. Cover the rainbow Apple, and this thing looks just like a cheap PC. Soon after, Steve Jobs would re-gain control of Apple, and overhaul the entire Macintosh lineup, starting with the introduction of the computer which saved the company, the iMac.
This case design was used on one more generation of models, the Power Macintosh G3.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2015, 10:49:45 PM by TheMaritimeMan » Logged

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Re: Scored a vintage Macintosh computer « Reply #1 on: February 27, 2015, 11:33:07 PM » Author: TheUniversalDave1
Cool! The more I learn about computers, the more intereting they become. As you know, I had a misadventure with a generic 486 system back in the summer. That opened my eyes a little bit more to old computers. The more videos I watch from you, UXWBill, and others, the more I learn.

It's also interesting to me that Apple almost filed for bankruptcy, especially since I read it on an iPhone. It gives you another perspective of Apple's history.
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Re: Scored a vintage Macintosh computer « Reply #2 on: February 27, 2015, 11:50:45 PM » Author: themaritimegirl
Ah yes, I remember the short and weird relationship you had with that thing lol. Yeah, old computers, and computers as a whole, can truly spark something in a person. It's so great because the variety of computer hardware there is to see is practically endless. I just wish that they still brought the excitement and wonder to me now that they did as a kid. Although to be fair, this Mac is pretty darn exciting since I have such little experience with them. The last one of this vintage I saw was a Macintosh LC II a sixth-grade teacher of mine had... That was 10 years ago! :o

Yeah, Apple has to be one of the greatest comebacks in the history of business. It's unbelievable how frail and close to death they were in 1996-7, compared to today.

Edit: Another sixth-grade teacher of mine had a Macintosh Classic. I never had enough free time to explore on either of those machines. ::)
« Last Edit: February 27, 2015, 11:53:33 PM by TheMaritimeMan » Logged

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Re: Scored a vintage Macintosh computer « Reply #3 on: February 28, 2015, 12:09:42 AM » Author: TheUniversalDave1
I still don't know what kind of crazy drugs that person selling that 486 system was on. The first time I saw it and asked about it, I was told by another person that it cost $80! :o I was offered it for free, and I was still a bit weary of driving all the way back to Tarrant City for it. I guess the crazy person decided he still wanted the $80 - I have no clue what happened to it.
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Re: Scored a vintage Macintosh computer « Reply #4 on: February 28, 2015, 06:09:16 AM » Author: sol
I've always used Mac computers. The first I had was a second-hand 512Ke and replaced it with a SE/30, both of which I still have although they don't really work. I then had an iBook and two MacBook Pro (the latest on which I am typing this).

Your PowerMac G3 should have an ethernet connector so you might be able to connect it to a high-speed internet connection. With System 7.5, you might not be able to find suitable navigators for most of today's websites, but you could try at least. Email should work. If you can find a suitable printer, then you could use it as a word processor. The only major drawback you would have with using this computer with day-to-day word processing would be saving your work and making a backup. Aging floppy drives and the meagre quality of floppy disks are not the most reliable combination. If it has USB ports you can use a flash drive, but I think the USB was only available in 1998 or in 1999. I believe the first Apple product to boast it was the first iMac.

Sometimes, for nostalgia, I run the Mini vMac emulator on my modern computers. Life was much simpler back then...
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Re: Scored a vintage Macintosh computer « Reply #5 on: February 28, 2015, 01:16:32 PM » Author: sol
The Macintosh Performa series were essentially the same as other "regular" Macintosh computers, but intended to be sold in stores that were not necessarily authorised dealers. They were aimed at the home market whereas the "regular" models were more oriented towards the professional market. The Performa line did not last all that long, though. I believe it started at the Performa 200 which was equivalent to the Classic II. Then there was the Performa 400 (LC II) and the Performa 450 (LC III). There were others up to the Performa 800 which was equivalent (I think) to the Quadra 600.

On the emulator, I have System 2.0 among others (I regularly like to use 7.5.3). You have the option of different speeds, and you can take advantage of most of the processor speed of your actual computer. At maximum speed in the emulator, it runs excessively fast, the startup of System 2.0 is less than one second !
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Re: Scored a vintage Macintosh computer « Reply #6 on: February 28, 2015, 02:11:02 PM » Author: sol
I'll have to check, but I have MS Word 4, Claris MacWrite II, ClarisCAD, HyperCard and Claris MacPaint 2.1. For games, I have Tetris, Dungeon of Doom, Artillery and maybe one or two more. I still have some on floppies that I never transferred to my modern machines. Someday I'll have to dig them out. I also have the Moire screensaver.
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Re: Scored a vintage Macintosh computer « Reply #7 on: February 28, 2015, 02:18:14 PM » Author: sol
The screensaver was written in Australia (I think). It was extremely common on Macs in the area as there was only one Apple dealer (with no showroom ; he sold them from his house). Being shareware/freeware, he installed it on every machine he sold.

I know it has since been re-written for OSX, but I am not sure if it runs on the latest OS. I have it running on a Tiger machine, but never tried it in Mavericks.
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Re: Scored a vintage Macintosh computer « Reply #8 on: February 28, 2015, 02:29:10 PM » Author: sol
Here are some more :
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Re: Scored a vintage Macintosh computer « Reply #9 on: February 28, 2015, 02:30:05 PM » Author: sol
And one more (7.1, in French) :
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Re: Scored a vintage Macintosh computer « Reply #10 on: February 28, 2015, 03:27:17 PM » Author: themaritimegirl
sol: It's not a G3, but it does have Ethernet. I can't say I'm terribly concerned with getting this thing on the Internet, though. Even my iMac G3 is almost unusable, both in terms of speed and website compatibility. I can get a USB card for it, though. I'd like to think I could use this for some useful purpose, but I have a feeling it will end up just a working display piece to play with once in a while, like my iMac.

I've used Mini vMac before. I've also used Basilisk II, which was the first time I used Mac OS for any length of time, many years ago. I ran System 7.5.5 in it. I also tried SheepShaver to run Mac OS 9, but at the time I didn't have a computer powerful enough to run it at a useable speed.


trencheel303: I like to have the latest OS that runs with no problem, so I'll try Mac OS 9; and if it works well I'll keep it. Otherwise I'll put 8.6 on it.

I am indeed aware that the minimum OS for this is apparently 7.5.5, while the free download is 7.5.3. I am going to try just a 7.5.3 boot disk though, and see to what extent it works. I could remove all the crap on it, but I always like to start fresh with a clean install.
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Re: Scored a vintage Macintosh computer « Reply #11 on: February 28, 2015, 07:19:53 PM » Author: themaritimegirl
Well, I tried the System 7.5 Network Access Disk (required to boot from to initiate the 7.5.3 installation), and it wasn't having it. Kind of dumb that Apple makes 7.5.3 free, and the 7.5.5 update free, but you need to install them separately rather than have one complete 7.5.5 install disk set. And the boot disk is 7.5.0, which doesn't help in my case. I guess I'll have to skulk the Internet for install CD images.
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Re: Scored a vintage Macintosh computer « Reply #12 on: February 28, 2015, 10:34:20 PM » Author: themaritimegirl
I wouldn't be against that idea, to be honest. I just looked on Royal Mail's web site, and it looks like a couple of CDs in a bubble envelope could be sent to Canada for less than $5. For now, though, I'll stick it out and see if I can't get something working on my own.

I am making a little progress. I procured a Mac OS 9 CD image. I burned it, tried it, and it did recognize it. Unfortunately though, it really had trouble reading it (old drives don't like CD-R discs), and indeed when I tried booting from it, it just sat at the Happy Mac with the drive grinding for a few minutes before it gave up. So I tried burning it again using another computer, and I burned a lot slower this time. Same thing. So tomorrow I'm going to try a third burner, and a different brand disc if I can find one. If it doesn't work, I'm not sure what I'll do since as far as I know, booting from a disc is my only option for putting a clean install of this thing. Oddly enough, before doing all this I tried a random CD-R I burned years ago, and it read it just fine.

There was another SCSI CD-ROM drive in the e-waste box where I picked up the computer. I didn't grab it, but I will if it's still there next time I'm there, and try it if I can't get the internal drive to work. Failing that, I'll have to find an IDE card.
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Re: Scored a vintage Macintosh computer « Reply #13 on: March 01, 2015, 03:45:41 PM » Author: themaritimegirl
Bingo! Tried a different brand CD-R, and the Mac booted right up from it. I shall proceed to install it.

I've added two pictures, of it booting Mac OS 8 from the hard drive, and running Mac OS 9 from the install CD.
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Re: Scored a vintage Macintosh computer « Reply #14 on: March 01, 2015, 04:17:04 PM » Author: TheUniversalDave1
Cool! Good luck with it!
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