The Mac IIvx began its life in development as a proof-of-concept to see how an internal CD-ROM drive could be added to a Mac. But after Apple CEO John Sculley gave a speech at MacWorld Tokyo which promised a Mac with a CD-ROM drive, the IIvx was rushed into production. Several shortcuts were taken in its design; most notably, its 32 MHz processor was crippled by a 16 MHz bus, making it slightly slower than the popular but aging Macintosh IIci. Its serial port was limited to 57.6 kbit/s, which could cause problems with serial connections and MIDI hardware. The Macintosh IIvi (a slower version of the IIvx with a 16MHz processor) was introduced at the same time but discontinued only four months later. The high-end member of the original Performa family, the Performa 600 was also based on the same architecture. The IIvx was the only model in the series with a 32K L2 cache.
The much-more-powerful Macintosh Centris 650 was released four months after the IIvx for $250 less, immediately rendering the IIvx obsolete. The IIvx's base price was slashed by over a third and it would remain on sale for another eight months. For a while afterwards, people who bought an expensive Mac that quickly became outdated were said to have been "IIvx-ed".