Macintosh IIci

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Macintosh IIci
Macintosh IIci.png
Release date September 20, 1989
Introductory price USD $6269
Discontinued February 10, 1993
Operating system System 6.0.4-System 7.1.1(Pro), System 7.5-Mac OS 7.6.1
CPU Motorola 68030 @ 25 MHz
Memory 1 MB or 4 MB, expandable to 128 MB. (80 ns 30-pin SIMM)

The Apple Macintosh IIci was an improvement on the Macintosh IIcx. Sharing the same compact case design with three expansion slots, the IIci improved upon the IIcx's 16 MHz Motorola 68030 CPU and 68882 FPU, replacing them with 25 MHz versions of these chips. The IIci came with either a 40 or an 80 megabyte hard disk. A logic board upgrade was available for IIcx owners. The Quadra 700's case uses the same form factor, and a logic board upgrade was made available for both the IIcx and IIci upon the Quadra's introduction in 1990.

The IIci introduced a lot of technical and architectural enhancements, some of which were important in preparing for System 7 (which was then called the Blue project) and would influence future Macs, though some of them came at the cost of compatibility:

  • a new, 32-bit clean ROM with built-in 32-bit QuickDraw that consists of 2 parts: one part that is the same across all Macs, and another area (called the overpatch area) that is specific to each Mac.
  • discontiguous physical memory that are mapped into a contiguous memory area by the MMU. Some of the System 7 VM functions had to be added to the ROM to support getting the physical address of the memory.
  • an optional 32KB Level 2 cache. The cache card, which fit into a special slot on the motherboard, was later included in all systems at no charge. Third-party cards offered up to 128KB, but the added cache size yielded little benefit over the base card.[1]
  • a first for a non-all-in-one Mac — onboard graphics for an external display. This freed one of the system's three NuBus slots. However, because the integrated graphics used the system's RAM for its frame buffer, some users used a NuBus graphics card to reclaim the lost memory. Also, it was popular to install faster memory in the first bank of SIMM slots, as this is the bank used by the video subsystem.

The IIci was one of the most popular and longest-lived Mac models of all time. For much of its lifespan, it was the business "workhorse" of the Macintosh line.[2] For a short time in 1989, before the introduction of the 40 MHz Macintosh IIfx, the IIci was the fastest Mac available.

Possible upgrades include 25, 33, 40 or 50 MHz Daystar 68030 boards, a Quadra 700 motherboard, a couple of different third-party 68040 upgrades, and two PowerPC 601 upgrade cards running at either 66 MHz or 100 MHz, exclusively from Daystar Digital, which was bought by XLR8, which still holds the Daystar product logo and name for its line of products. 68030 and 68040 upgrades were also made by Sonnet, Diimo and other companies.

An easter egg exists in the IIci ROM. If the system date is set to September 20, 1989 (the machine's release date) and the Command - Option - C - I keys held during boot time, an image of the development team will be displayed.

The signatures of the product design team can be seen in the molded plastic of the case if one removes the motherboard.


  • Macintosh Buyer's Guide, vol. 7 no. 3 (Summer 1990)
  1. ^ LowEndMac, The Cache:
  2. ^ "The Macintosh IIci Site". 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Macintosh IIcx
Macintosh IIci
March 7, 1989
Succeeded by
Macintosh Quadra 700