Macintosh LC 500 series

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The Macintosh LC 500 series is a series of personal computers that were a part of Apple Computer's LC line of Macintosh computers. It was Apple's mid-1990s upper low end-range series, positioned below the Centris and Quadra but above the Classic II and Color Classic models. All of these computers were also sold under the Macintosh Performa brand, in some cases under slightly different model numbers. These computers all shared the same all-in-one desktop case that included a 14" CRT display, CD-ROM drive, and stereo speakers. Designed as a successor to the compact all-in-one Macintosh, the case was reminiscent of Apple's earlier Compact Macintosh series but considerably larger and bulkier, with a larger screen (compared to the Compact's 9- or 10-inch displays) and a bulging midsection to contain the larger electronics, in stark contrast to the compact Macs' slimmer designs.

The 500 series included four main models, the 520, 550, 575, and 580, with the 520 and 550 being very similar to each other, and the 575 and 580 sharing a new processor and motherboard but differing somewhat on the rest of the hardware. The LC models in particular became very popular in schools for their small footprint and durability. The Macintosh TV is closely related to this series, using the same case (in black instead of platinum) and a motherboard similar to the Macintosh LC 550, as does the Color Classic series, but in a compact case.

LC 520[edit]

Macintosh LC 520
LC520.jpg
Release date June 28, 1993
Introductory price $2,000 US$
Discontinued February 3, 1994
Operating system System 7.1-Mac OS 7.6.1, or with 68040 upgrade, Mac OS 8.1
CPU Motorola 68030 @ 25 MHz
Memory 5 MB, expandable to 36 MB (80 ns 72-pin SIMM)

The Macintosh LC 520 (codename: "Hook") was introduced in June 1993, and was the first of the LC 500 series. The LC 500 case design was larger than the compact Macs, with a significantly larger screen. The 520 was discontinued in February 1994, when it was replaced by both the faster but otherwise essentially unchanged Macintosh LC 550 and the new, 68LC040-equipped Macintosh LC 575.

The LC 520 got its start as a design project codenamed "Mongo". Following the success of the Color Classic, The Apple Industrial Design Group (IDg) began exploring the adaptation of the Color Classic's design language, dubbed Espresso, for a larger display version that would also include a CD-ROM drive. However, IDg hated the design so much that they permanently shelved the final concept. In 1992, Apple CEO John Sculley demanded a large screen all-in-one design to fill out his market strategy in less than 6 months. Over IDg's objections, Apple's engineering team retrieved the shelved design and promptly put it into production. Because IDg universally detested the design, they immediately began the re-design project that would become the Power Macintosh 5200 LC series less than two years later.[1]

The logic board of the 520 is essentially that of the Macintosh LC III, based on a Motorola 68030 CPU and an optional Motorola 68882 FPU. The case would later be used for the LC 550, the Macintosh TV, the LC 575 and its successor, the LC 580 as well. Apple later offered a logicboard upgrade package to the LC 575 logic board.[2]

Models[edit]

  • LC 520
    • Initially sold only in Japan and Canada, and to U.S. educational institutions for $2,000. It also looked like the Macintosh TV that came in an LC-520 style case except was colored differently. The computer was discontinued on February 1994.[3]
    • Also sold to consumers as the Performa 520
    • Featured a caddy-loaded CD-ROM drive, unlike newer members of the series.

Macintosh TV[edit]

Main article: Macintosh TV

Introduced in October 1993, the Macintosh TV has a black 520 case with a modified variant of the yet-to-be released Macintosh 550 logicboard, which filled the LC PDS slot with a custom TV tuner card integrating video inputs. Despite the updated 32MHz processor speed, the bus speed was cut in half (but can be changed from 16-bit to 32-bit by the control panel "Memory") and RAM was limited to 8MB. Selling fewer than 10,000 units, it was discontinued in February 1994 with the introduction of the LC 550, which it most closely resembled.

LC 550[edit]

Macintosh LC 550
Release date October 18, 1993 (MP550)
February 2, 1994 (MLC550)
Introductory price 1200 - 2500
Discontinued March 23, 1995
Operating system System 7.1-System 7.5, Mac OS 7.5.1-Mac OS 7.6.1
CPU Motorola 68030 @ 33 MHz
Memory 5 MB, expandable to 36 MB (80 ns 72-pin SIMM)

The Macintosh LC 550 (codename: "Hook 33") replaced the LC 520 in February 1994, and was discontinued in favor of either the LC 580 on the lower end or the PowerPC-based Power Macintosh 5200 LC models at the higher end. The Performa variants were in fact introduced earlier, the 550 in October 1993 and the 560 in January 1994, and remained available for more than a year longer, until April 1996.

The main difference between the 550 and the 520 is the faster 68030 CPU, clocked at 33 MHz instead of 25 MHz, with the bus speed also increasing from 25 to 33 MHz. The Performa variants differ only in the software bundle that was included, with the 550 including only consumer applications and the 560 including additional business applications. Like the 520, the optical drive did not use a loading tray, but instead utilized a caddy in which the disk was first inserted, and then the caddy was loaded into the drive.

This motherboard is essentially the same one used in the Macintosh Color Classic II, an upgrade to the original Color Classic not available in the United States. Apple also offered the same upgrade package for the 520 to the LC 575 logic board.[2]

Models[edit]

  • LC 550
    • Also sold to consumers as the Performa 550
    • Performa 560, the Performa 550 with bundled business software

LC 575[edit]

Macintosh LC 575
Macintosh LC 575 Picture 2.JPG
Release date February 1, 1994
Introductory price 1700 - 2500
Discontinued April 1, 1996
Operating system Mac OS 7.1.1 to 7.5.1, 7.5.3 to 7.6.1, 8.0 to 8.1
CPU Motorola 68LC040 @ 33 MHz
Memory 5 MB, expandable to 68 MB (80 ns 72-pin SIMM)

The Macintosh LC 575 was available from 1994 to 1996. They had the same "all-in-one" case as the LC 520/550, but used a LC 475/Quadra 605-related motherboard with a Motorola 68LC040 CPU (at a speed of 33 MHz instead of 25 MHz). Note that the CPU clock is sometimes given as 66 MHz, since the clock signal is of that frequency - however, the processor itself only runs at 33 MHz. The LC 575 also introduced the comm slot, which was included in most later LC models as well. The LC variant was succeeded by the Macintosh LC 580, while the Performa variants were sold until the end of the 580 line; the LC 580 Performa variants were only available outside of the United States.

This model is a favorite motherboard donor for those wishing to upgrade the Color Classic to a faster class of processor. Apple also offered an upgrade path in the form of a PowerPC Macintosh Processor Upgrade.[2]

Models[edit]

  • LC 575
    • Also sold to consumers as the Performa 575
    • Performa 577, the Performa 575 with a 320 MB hard drive
    • Performa 578, the Performa 577 with 8 MB of RAM instead of 5 MB

Specifications[edit]

  • Introduced: February 1, 1994
  • Discontinued: April 3, 1995 (LC 575) / April 1, 1996 (Performa variants)
  • Codename: Optimus
  • CPU: Motorola 68LC040 at 33 MHz
  • RAM: 5 MB (expandable to 68 MB with 1 72-pin SIMM)
  • Hard drive: SCSI, 160 MB (LC 575) / 250 MB (Performa 575) / 320 MB (Performa 577, Performa 578)
  • VRAM: 512 KB (640x480 8-bit) (expandable to 1 MB (640x480 15-bit) using 1 80 ns VRAM SIMM)
  • Floppy drive: 1.44 MB (can read 400 KB and 800 KB diskettes as well)
  • Optical drive: 2x CD-ROM
  • ROM Size: 1 MB
  • Level 1 Cache: 8 KB
  • Expandability: 1 LC PDS, 1 comm slot
  • Case type: LC 520 all-in-one
  • Built-in Display: 14" Sony Trinitron Color CRT (supports up to 32,768 colors)
  • Supported Mac OS: System 7.1.1 to 7.5.1, 7.5.3 to 7.6.1, 8.0 to 8.1
  • Weight: 35.0 lbs.

LC 580[edit]

Macintosh LC 580
Release date April 1, 1995
Introductory price 1300 - 1500
Discontinued May 1, 1996
Operating system System 7.1.2P, 7.5 to 7.5.1, 7.5.3 to 7.6.1, 8.0 to 8.1
CPU Motorola 68LC040 @ 33 MHz
Memory 8 MB, expandable to 68 MB (80 ns 72-pin SIMM)

The Macintosh LC 580 was sold in 1995 and 1996. Like their immediate predecessor, the LC 575, it used the Motorola 68LC040 processor at 33 MHz. However, instead of being based on the LC 475/Quadra 605 like the 575 series was, the 580s are based on the Performa 630 series. This meant a few changes, most of them leading to lower prices, but also lower performance: Most notably, the hard drives of the 580 were IDE drives instead of SCSI drives. Also, the video RAM was no longer mounted on a SIMM, but used 1 MB of the 4 MB of main RAM soldered to the motherboard. Lastly, the Trinitron display of the 575 was replaced with a cheaper shadow mask screen. One benefit of this change was the ability to accommodate the same video capture and TV tuner cards designed for the Performa 630. This allowed LC 580 users to watch and record video, essentially performing the function of a television as well as a computer.

As with the LC 575, the CPU clock is sometimes wrongly given as 66 MHz. The LC 580 was the last all-in-one type model to include a Motorola 68000 series processor, as it was phased out in favor of the Power Macintosh 5200 LC which featured a PowerPC processor. As with the 575, Apple also offered an upgrade path in the form of a PowerPC Macintosh Processor Upgrade.[2] The 580 can also be upgraded with the following logicboards: 5200, 6200, 5260, 5300, 6300, 5400, 6400, 5500 & 6500.

Models[edit]

  • LC 580
    • Also sold in Canada, Asia and Australia as the Performa 580CD
    • Performa 588CD, a Performa 580CD with a 500 MB hard drive, sold only in Asia and Europe

Specifications[edit]

  • Introduced: April 1, 1995
  • Discontinued: March 2, 1996 (LC 580) / February 1, 1996 (Performa 580CD) / May 1, 1996 (Performa 588CD)
  • Codename: Dragonkid
  • CPU: Motorola 68LC040 at 33 MHz
  • RAM: 8 MB (expandable to 52 MB with 2 72-pin SIMM's)
  • Hard drive: IDE, 250 MB or 500 MB
  • VRAM: 1 MB of the 4 MB RAM soldered on the mainboard is used as video RAM
  • Floppy drive: 1.44 MB (can read 400 KB and 800 KB diskettes as well)
  • Optical drive: 4x CD-ROM
  • ROM Size: 1 MB
  • Level 1 Cache: 8 KB
  • Expandability: 1 LC PDS, 1 comm slot
  • Case type: LC 520 all-in-one
  • Built-in Display: 14″ Color CRT (supports up to 32,768 colors)
  • Supported Mac OS: System 7.1.2P, 7.5 to 7.5.1, 7.5.3 to 7.6.1, 8.0 to 8.1
  • Weight: 35.0 lb.

Timeline of Macintosh LC models

Power Macintosh G3#All-In-One Power Macintosh G3 Power Macintosh Macintosh Quadra Macintosh Centris Performa Macintosh II Apple IIe Card Macintosh LC 630 Power Macintosh 5260 Power Macintosh 5500 Power Macintosh 5400 Power Macintosh 5200 Macintosh TV Macintosh LC 580 Macintosh LC 575 Macintosh LC 550 Macintosh Color Classic Macintosh LC 520 Macintosh LC Macintosh LC 475 Macintosh LC Macintosh LC Macintosh LC


Sources[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kunkel, Paul. AppleDesign: The work of the Apple Industrial Design Group, with photographs by Rick English. New York: Graphis, 1997, p.243
  2. ^ a b c d Macintosh Family: Upgrade History
  3. ^ New York Times: PERSONAL COMPUTERS; Apple Offers Teachers An Extra-Value Deal
Preceded by
Macintosh Color Classic
Macintosh LC 500 series
Performa 500 series

June 28, 1993
Succeeded by
Power Macintosh 5000 series