Macintosh Performa

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The Macintosh Performa 5200, an all-in-one desktop

The Macintosh Performa is a family of personal computers designed, manufactured and sold by Apple Computer, Inc. from 1992 to 1997. The Performa brand re-used models from Apple's Quadra, Centris, LC, and Power Macintosh families with model numbers that denoted included software packages or hard drive sizes. Whereas non-Performa Macintosh computers were sold by Apple Authorized Resellers, the Performa was sold through big-box stores and mass-market retailers such as Good Guys, Circuit City, and Sears.

The initial series of models consisted of the Macintosh Classic II-based Performa 200, the LC II-based Performa 400, and the IIvi-based Performa 600. After releasing a total of sixty-four different models, Apple retired the Performa brand in early 1997, shortly after release of the Power Macintosh 5500, 6500, 8600 and 9600, as well as the return of Steve Jobs to the company. The Performa brand's lifespan coincided with a period of significant financial turmoil at Apple due in part to low sales of Performa machines.


The Macintosh Performa 6300, a desktop-cased model
The Macintosh Performa 6400 is one of the few Performas to use a tower case.

With a strong education market share throughout the 1980s, Apple wanted to push its computers into the home, with the idea that a child would experience the same Macintosh computer both in the home and at school, and later grow to use Macintosh computers at work. In the early 1990s, Apple sold computers through a chain of authorized resellers, and through mail order catalogs such as those found in the latter third of MacWorld Magazine. A typical reseller sold Macintosh computers to professionals, who purchased high-level applications and required performance and expansion capabilities. Consumers, however, purchased computers based on the best value, and weren't as concerned about expansion or performance. To reach these customers, Apple wanted to sell their computers through department store chains (such as Sears), but this would conflict with existing authorized reseller agreements, in which a geographic area had only one reseller.

To prevent these conflicts, Apple split the Macintosh line into professional and consumer models. The professional line included the Classic, LC, Centris, Quadra, and Power Macintosh lines, and continued to be sold as-is (i.e., no consumer software bundles or limited features). The consumer line was given the name "Performa", and included computers similar to the professional line. Early Performa models were not sold with the "Macintosh" brand in order to get around the authorized reseller agreements.[1]

The Performa line was marketed differently from the professional line. To satisfy consumer-level budgets, the computers were sold bundled with home and small business applications. Most models were also bundled with a keyboard, mouse, an external modem and either a dot-29 or dot-39 pitch shadow mask CRT monitor. Professional models, in contrast, were sold à la carte with keyboard and mouse bundles chosen by the dealer or sold separately; monitors sold with high-end Macintosh models typically used Trinitron tubes based on aperture grille technology.

While the Performa models resembled their professional counterpart on the system software and hardware level, certain features were tweaked or removed. The Performa 600, for instance, lacked the level-2 cache of the Macintosh IIvx it was based on.

Unlike the professional Macintosh lines, each individual Performa bundle was given a unique model number, in some cases varying only by the software bundle or the specific retailer that sold that model. This was intended to accommodate retailers, who could advertise that they could beat their competitors' price on equivalent models while at the same time ensuring that they did not actually carry the same models as their competitors. To help consumers choose between the options available to them, Apple created multiple paid advertisements including "The Martinettis Bring Home a Computer", a thirty-minute "storymercial" about a fictional family that purchases a Performa computer that aired in December 1994.[2]

Apple's strategy for selling Performa machines in department and electronics retail stores did not include the sort of specialized training Apple offered to its dealers. This resulted in situations where Performa display models were often poorly taken care of; the demo computers crashed, the self-running demo software not running or the display models not even powered on.[3][4][failed verification] Apple tried to address the training issue by hiring their own sales people to aid the store sales staff, most of them recruited from Macintosh user groups. Despite this, however, many returned Performa computers could not be serviced properly because the stores were not authorized Apple service centers.

The problem was compounded by retailers favoring Microsoft Windows, especially after the introduction of Windows 95. Computers running Windows were generally cheaper, and encouraged by manufacturer spiffs, advertising co-ops, and other promotion programs.[5][6] In addition, many stores preferred to sell their own branded white box PCs, something Apple would not allow.

As a consequence of these issues, Apple overestimated demand for Performa machines in 1995 while also underestimating demand for high-end Power Macintosh models, leading to significant oversupply issues.[7] Introduction of new Performa models slowed as a result: whereas Apple had introduced 20 different Performa models around the world from May to December 1995, the number dropped to four in the first seven months of 1996.

For the late-1996 holiday period, sales of Performa-branded machines had dropped year-over-year by 15 percent, reflective of a company-wide drop in fourth-quarter revenues by one-third compared with 1995.[8]

In February 1997, just days after Steve Jobs returned to the company, Apple refreshed its entire line of desktop computers, retiring a dozen Performa models based on the Power Macintosh 6200 and 6400 with no replacement, and reducing the range of Power Macintosh to six computers (plus a few Apple Workgroup Server variants). The official end of the Performa brand was announced on March 15 as part of sweeping changes at the company that included layoffs of a third of the company's workforce and the cancellation of several software products.[9] By early 1998, Apple's lineup was reduced to four computers: One desktop, one all-in-one, and two minitowers (one of which was sold as a server product). As part of the restructuring of how Apple sold its computers in retail channels, it partnered with CompUSA to implement a "Store within a store" concept. Apple and related products were displayed and sold in a physically separate location by specialized employees (currently done at select Best Buy stores).[10]

Performa-specific software[edit]

The Performa versions of the Macintosh System software introduced some features that were not available on non-Performa Macintoshes. The most notable of these are At Ease (parental controls), the Launcher (an application launcher similar to the macOS Dock), and the Performa Control Panel, which included several unique configuration options.[11] The functionality of all three components were eventually folded into the operating system itself. Versions of System 7 with the additional software had a 'P' appended to the end, such as 7.1.2P which was included with the Performa 630 in mid-1994.

Software bundles usually included ClarisWorks, Quicken, a calendar/contact manager such as Touchbase and Datebook Pro, America Online, educational software such as American Heritage Dictionary, The New Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia, TIME Almanac (on models equipped with a CD-ROM drive), Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing, or Mario Teaches Typing, and a selection of games such as Spectre Challenger, Diamonds, and Monopoly.

Another software package that only the Performa was equipped with was called Megaphone, by Cypress Research. MegaPhone is a screen based telephony application (SBT) that provides a powerful way to manage your telephone calls from your computer desktop. In addition to drag-and-drop dialling, callerID display, and call logging, MegaPhone includes features like VoiceMail, TouchTone Navigator, and Smart Speed Dial and facilitates Fax communications via a separate software package included in the Performa.


Timeline of Macintosh Centris, LC, Performa, and Quadra models, colored by CPU type
Power MacintoshMacintosh QuadraMacintosh CentrisMacintosh PerformaMacintosh II seriesMacintosh Performa 6410Macintosh Performa 6410Macintosh Performa 6410Macintosh Performa 6400Macintosh Performa 6360Macintosh Performa 6320Macintosh Performa 6310Macintosh Performa 6300Macintosh Performa 6230Macintosh Quadra 950Macintosh Performa 6118Macintosh Performa 6117Macintosh Performa 6116Macintosh Performa 6115Macintosh Performa 6112Macintosh Performa 6110Macintosh Quadra 900Macintosh Quadra 840AVMacintosh Quadra 800Macintosh Quadra 700Macintosh Quadra 650Macintosh Quadra 630Macintosh Quadra 610Macintosh Quadra 605Macintosh Quadra 660AVMacintosh Quadra 650Macintosh Quadra 610Macintosh Performa 6290Macintosh Performa 6260Macintosh Performa 5440Macintosh Performa 5430Macintosh Performa 5420Macintosh Performa 5410Macintosh Performa 5400Macintosh Performa 5400Macintosh Performa 5400Macintosh Performa 5320Macintosh Performa 5300Macintosh Performa 5280Macintosh Performa 5270Macintosh Performa 5260Macintosh Performa 5260Macintosh Performa 6220Macintosh Performa 6218Macintosh Performa 6216Macintosh Performa 6214Macintosh Performa 6210Macintosh Performa 6205Macintosh Performa 6200Macintosh Performa 5220Macintosh Performa 5215Macintosh Performa 5210Macintosh Performa 5200Macintosh Performa 640CDMacintosh Performa 638Macintosh Performa 637Macintosh Performa 636Macintosh Performa 635Macintosh Performa 631Macintosh Performa 630Macintosh Performa 588CDMacintosh Performa 580CDMacintosh Performa 578Macintosh Performa 577Macintosh Performa 575Macintosh Performa 476Macintosh Performa 475Macintosh Performa 560Macintosh Performa 550Macintosh Performa 520Macintosh Performa 467Macintosh Performa 466Macintosh Performa 460Macintosh Performa 450Macintosh Performa 430Macintosh Performa 410Macintosh Performa 405Macintosh Performa 275Macintosh Performa 250Macintosh Performa 600Macintosh Performa 400Macintosh Performa 200Macintosh LC 580Power Macintosh 5300 LCPower Macintosh 5200 LCMacintosh LC 575Macintosh LC 630Macintosh LC 550Macintosh LC 520Macintosh LC 475Macintosh LC IIIMacintosh LC IIIMacintosh IIvxMacintosh LC IIMacintosh LC
Macintosh Performa models
Performa system Equivalent Macintosh system Configuration Introduction
Notes CPU RAM cache? Extra RAM Slots RAM HDD VRAM Modem? FPU Socket? Monitor CD
Performa 200[12] Macintosh Classic II 16 MHz 2, 30-pin SIMM 2 MB 40 MB Yes No 1992-09-14
Performa 250[13] Macintosh Color Classic 4 MB 256 KB Yes 1993-02-01
Performa 275[14] Macintosh Color Classic II 33 MHz 1, 72-pin SIMM 80 MB 1993-10-01
Performa 400[15] Macintosh LC II 16 MHz 2, 30-pin SIMM 512 KB No 1992-09-14
Performa 405[16] 256 KB .39 RGB 1993-04-12
Performa 430[17] 120 MB 512 KB
Performa 450[18] Macintosh LC III 25 MHz 1, 72-pin SIMM Yes .29 RGB
Performa 410[19] Macintosh LC II 16 MHz 2, 30-pin SIMM 80 MB No .39 RGB 1993-10-18
Performa 460[20] Macintosh LC III+ 33 MHz 1, 72-pin SIMM Yes
Performa 466[21] 160 MB .29 RGB
Performa 467[22]
Performa 475[23] Macintosh LC 475 50 MHz No
Performa 476[24] 230 MB
Performa 550[25] Macintosh LC 520 33 MHz 5 MB 160 MB 768 KB Yes Trinitron
Performa 560[26] 1994-01-01
Performa 575[27] Macintosh LC 575 66 MHz 250 MB 1 MB No 1994-04-26
Performa 577[28] 320 MB 1994-02-01
Performa 578[29] 8 MB
Performa 580CD[30] Macintosh LC 580 2, 72-pin SIMM 500 MB 1995-05-01
Performa 588CD[31] 1995-04-13
Performa 600[32] Macintosh IIvi/IIvx 33 Mhz No 4, 30-pin SIMM 4 MB 160 MB 512 KB Yes 1992-09-14
Performa 600CD[32] Same as the 600, but with CD Drive 2x CD-ROM
Performa 630[33] Macintosh LC 630, Quadra 630 66 Mhz 1, 72-pin SIMM 250 MB 1 MB No 1994-07-01
Performa 630CD[33] Same as 630, but with CD Drive CD300i
Performa 630CD DOS Compatible[34] 1995-05-01
Performa 631CD[35] 1 8 MB 500 MB Yes Yes 1995-07-17
Performa 635CD[36] Performa 630 with some changes 5 MB 2x CD-ROM 1994-07-01
Performa 636[37] Same as 630, only sold to higher-education market.
Performa 636CD[37] Performa 636 with CD-ROM, only sold to higher-education market.
Performa 637CD[38] 636CD with a 350 MB HDD and a monitor
Performa 638CD[39] 636CD with 350 MB HDD and a TV/video in card
Performa 640CD DOS Compatible[40] Macintosh LC 630 DOS Compatible 631CD with modem and the 630CD DOS Compatible's 486 processor card 1995-05-01
Performa 5200CD[41] Power Macintosh 5200 LC The Power Macintosh 5200 LC with a 790 MB or 1 GB hard drive.
Performa 5210CD[42] Identical to the Power Macintosh 5200 LC, sold only in Asia and Europe.
Performa 5215CD[43] The Performa 5200CD with a different software bundle.
Performa 5220CD[44] The Performa 5215CD with a 500 MB hard drive, sold only in Asia and Europe.
Performa 5300CD[45] Power Macintosh 5300 LC Consumer version of the Power Macintosh 5300 LC. 1995-10-17
Performa 5300CD DE[46] Special "Director's Edition" of the 5300CD with additional software.
Performa 5320CD[47] 120 MHz version of the 5300CD, only sold in Europe and Asia.
Performa 6110CD Power Macintosh 6100/60 250MB HDD; business software bundle 1994-11-01
Performa 6112CD 250 MB HDD; kids' software bundle
Performa 6115CD 350 MB HDD; business software bundle
Performa 6116CD Power Macintosh 6100/66 350 MB HDD 1994-03-14
Performa 6117CD
Performa 6118CD Power Macintosh 6100/60 500 MB HDD; combined software bundles from Performa 6110CD and 6112CD 1994-11-01
Performa 6200CD[48] Power Macintosh 6200 1 GB HDD, a 14.4k modem, bundled monitor and software 1995-05-01
Performa 6205CD[49] The 6200CD with a 28.8k Global Village TelePort modem instead of a 14.4k one 1995-08-28
Performa 6210CD[50] The 6205CD with a different software bundle. 1995-10-12
Performa 6214CD[51] The 6200CD with a different software bundle. 1995-08-28
Performa 6216CD[52] The 6200CD without the monitor. 1995-07-17
Performa 6218CD[53] The 6200CD with 16 MB of RAM instead of 8 MB.
Performa 6220CD[54] The 6218CD without the monitor, but with a TV / video in/out card.
Performa 6230CD[55] The 6220CD with a hardware MPEG decoder card.
Performa 6260CD[56] The 6290CD with an 800 MB hard drive. Only sold in Europe and Asia. 1996-06-19
Performa 6290CD[57] The Power Macintosh 6200 with a 100 MHz 603e processor and a 1.2 GB hard drive. Only sold in North America. 1996-01-27
Performa 6300CD[58] The 6290CD with 16 MB of RAM and a bundled monitor. Sold only in North America. 1995-05-28
Performa 6310CD[59] Identical to the 6300CD, but only sold in Asia and Europe. 1996-02-14
Performa 6320CD[60] The 6290CD with a 120 MHz 603e processor, with a bundled monitor and a TV/video card. 1996-04-22
Performa 6360[61] Power Macintosh 6300/160 Identical to the Power Macintosh 6300/160, sold only in North and South America. 1996-10-01
Performa 6400/180 Power Macintosh 6400 180 MHz CPU; sold in North America 1996-08-05
Performa 6400/200 200 MHz CPU; sold in North America
Performa 6400/200 VEE 32 MB RAM, Avid Cinema card and software
Performa 6410 180 MHz CPU; sold in Europe and Asia 1996-11-12
Performa 6420 200 MHz CPU; sold in Europe and Asia


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Chapter 2: The Macintosh Family". The Macintosh Bible, 6th Edition. Peachpit Press. 1996. pp. 45–46. ISBN 0-201-88636-7.
  2. ^ Braxton, Greg (November 24, 1994). "Latest Amazing Discovery: The Un-Infomercial : Television: Storymercials cost more to shoot and don't look like infomercials--they look like real shows. The soft-sell approach is more appealing to corporate America". Los Angeles Times.
  3. ^ "The Roots of Apple's Retail Stores". During the mid-90s, Mac users were prone to dealing with poorly trained and ill-maintained Mac sections in big box computer and electronics stores. These environments did not foster customer loyalty, nor did they help differentiate the Mac user-experience from Windows.
  4. ^ "Before there were Apple Stores".
  5. ^ Schorr, Joseph (1994). Macworld Macintosh Secrets. IDG Books. p. 156. ISBN 1-56884-025-X.
  6. ^ Kelby, Scott (2002). Macintosh...The Naked Truth. New Riders. p. 96. ISBN 0-7357-1284-0.
  7. ^ Hill, Charles W. L.; Jones, Gareth R. (2011). Essentials of Strategic Management. p. 17. ISBN 978-1133387121.
  8. ^ Lohr, Steve; Markoff, John (January 26, 1997). "The Incredible Shrinking Apple Computer". New York Times.
  9. ^ Markoff, John (March 15, 1997). "Apple to Trim Jobs and Its Product Line". New York Times.
  10. ^ "The Roots of Apple's Retail Stores".
  11. ^ Pogue, David (January 1997). "Ch. 15: A Puny Performa Chapter". Macworld Mac Secrets (PDF) (4th ed.). Hungry Minds. pp. 511–519. ISBN 0764540068.
  12. ^ "Macintosh Performa 200:Technical Specifications". Apple.
  13. ^ "Macintosh Performa 250:Technical Specifications". Apple.
  14. ^ "Macintosh Performa 275:Technical Specifications". Apple.
  15. ^ "Macintosh Performa 400:Technical Specifications". Apple.
  16. ^ "Macintosh Performa 405:Technical Specifications". Apple.
  17. ^ "Macintosh Performa 430:Technical Specifications". Apple.
  18. ^ "Macintosh Performa 450:Technical Specifications". Apple.
  19. ^ "Macintosh Performa 410:Technical Specifications". Apple.
  20. ^ "Macintosh Performa 460:Technical Specifications". Apple.
  21. ^ "Macintosh Performa 466:Technical Specifications". Apple.
  22. ^ "Macintosh Performa 467:Technical Specifications". Apple.
  23. ^ "Macintosh Performa 475:Technical Specifications". Apple.
  24. ^ "Macintosh Performa 476:Technical Specifications". Apple.
  25. ^ "Macintosh Performa 550:Technical Specifications". Apple.
  26. ^ "Macintosh Performa 560:Technical Specifications". Apple.
  27. ^ "Macintosh Performa 575:Technical Specifications". Apple.
  28. ^ "Macintosh Performa 577:Technical Specifications". Apple.
  29. ^ "Macintosh Performa 578 – Technical Specifications". Apple.
  30. ^ "Macintosh Performa 580CD:Technical Specifications". Apple.
  31. ^ "Macintosh Performa 588CD:Technical Specifications". Apple.
  32. ^ a b "Macintosh Performa 600 and 600CD:Technical Specifications". Apple.
  33. ^ a b "Macintosh Performa 630 and 630CD:Technical Specifications". Apple.
  34. ^ "Macintosh Performa 630CD DOS Compatible:Technical Specifications". Apple.
  35. ^ "Macintosh Performa 631CD:Technical Specifications". Apple.
  36. ^ "Macintosh Performa 635CD:Technical Specifications". Apple.
  37. ^ a b "Macintosh Performa 636 and 636CD:Technical Specifications". Apple.
  38. ^ "Macintosh Performa 637CD:Technical Specifications". Apple.
  39. ^ "Macintosh Performa 638CD:Technical Specifications". Apple.
  40. ^ "Macintosh Performa 640CD DOS Compatible:Technical Specifications". Apple.
  41. ^ "Macintosh Performa 5200CD:Technical Specifications". Apple.
  42. ^ "Macintosh Performa 5210CD:Technical Specifications". Apple.
  43. ^ "Macintosh Performa 5215CD:Technical Specifications". Apple.
  44. ^ "Macintosh Performa 5220CD:Technical Specifications". Apple.
  45. ^ "Macintosh Performa 5300CD:Technical Specifications". Apple.
  46. ^ "Apple Macintosh Performa 5300 "Director's Edition" (1995) Full Tour and Disassembly". Jason's Macintosh Museum.
  47. ^ "Macintosh Performa 5320CD:Technical Specifications". Apple.
  48. ^ "Macintosh Performa 6200CD:Technical Specifications". Apple.
  49. ^ "Macintosh Performa 6205CD:Technical Specifications". Apple.
  50. ^ "Macintosh Performa 6210CD:Technical Specifications". Apple.
  51. ^ "Macintosh Performa 6214CD:Technical Specifications". Apple.
  52. ^ "Macintosh Performa 6216CD:Technical Specifications". Apple.
  53. ^ "Macintosh Performa 6218CD:Technical Specifications". Apple.
  54. ^ "Macintosh Performa 6220CD:Technical Specifications". Apple.
  55. ^ "Macintosh Performa 6230CD:Technical Specifications". Apple.
  56. ^ "Macintosh Performa 6260CD:Technical Specifications". Apple.
  57. ^ "Macintosh Performa 6290CD:Technical Specifications". Apple.
  58. ^ "Macintosh Performa 6300CD:Technical Specifications". Apple.
  59. ^ "Macintosh Performa 6310CD:Technical Specifications". Apple.
  60. ^ "Macintosh Performa 6320CD:Technical Specifications". Apple.
  61. ^ "Macintosh Performa 6360:Technical Specifications". Apple.
  62. ^ "Apple Macintosh Performa Specs (Mac Performa Specs):".

External links[edit]