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Beginners Guide to the Vintage Macintosh

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This will be a simple guide with tips on how to work with vintage Macintosh computers.

Getting Started

This section will cover the basics on types of Macintosh models and where you can frequently find them.

Which Macintosh is for me?

From my own personal experience, I decided to get into Macintosh models I either used or really wanted when I was younger. We'll take a look at some considerations to help you decide which vintage Macintosh you may want to look for.

68k or PowerPC?

There was a major shift in the Macintosh architecture right around 1994 as the release of the "Power Macintosh" models replaced the Motorola 680x0 based CPUs with the PowerPC processor. The Power Macintosh models will generally run most 68k applications, but there are some things to consider.

  • Early Power Macintosh models may run 68k applications slower than the actual 68k systems. For example, a 68k-only application may run slower on a Power Macintosh 6100 than a Macintosh Quadra 840av despite the PowerPC being the faster CPU. 68k software runs in behind-the-scenes emulation on PowerPC.
  • Some very early 68k software for the original black and white compact Macs may not run properly on later systems.
  • System 6 or earlier will require an older 68k. Mac OS 8 will technically run on a Motorola 68040 but is better suited for PowerPC. Mac OS 8.5 and up will only run on a PowerPC.

Laptop, desktop or AIO?

Models in high demand

Buying a Vintage Macintosh

Things you need to know