One of my main vintage desktop machines has been a Mac LC 475. I have it running Mac OS 7.6.1, and aside from being my main Classic box, it’s SuperDrive was previously the only practical way I was able to transfer files into my Apple IIgs using 800K diskettes.
I like the slim form factor of the LC 475. It does have its limitations. The LC 475 comes with an FPU-less 68LC040 in its default configuration. It’s easy to replace the CPU with a full 68040, but you’ve got to be cautious in providing a better cooling mechanism. The most frustrating limitation is the single LC PDS expansion slot in the LC 475. I’d like to have my systems all connected via Ethernet, but an Ethernet card takes up that single expansion slot. And I want to use that slot for the Apple IIe card.
I do have several SCSI-Ethernet adapters that works with the LC 475. However, I just decided to shop around for another system. Several systems I looked at included the Quadra 660AV (slim, but too wide, and has the same expansion card limitations), and a Mac IIci (small, but not too powerful, and no built-in CD drive). I came to settle for the Quadra 650.
Quadra 650s, for some reason I don’t understand, are cheaply available on eBay (at least, at the time I was looking). However, because of its weight, its shipping cost is usually higher than the product cost. I waited a couple of weeks, and snagged one from the local Craigslist for $10 (sans hard drive).
First step was to bump the RAM up to the maximum of 136MB. 32MB RAM sticks sell for about $5 shipped. I installed a spare 4GB SCSI drive because I intended to use the machine as a quad-booting system. I also had a spare manta-ray-like Farallon AAUI-Ethernet adapter so I could use Ethernet and TCP/IP. Finally, I installed a Radius Rocket Stage II in one of the three NuBus slots to be used as another virtual system.
Since A/UX was one of the systems I wanted to use on it, it was the first to be installed. The A/UX disk partitioning utility does not check for an Apple-branded hard drive and was able to perform the initial partitioning: 1GB for Mac OS 7.6.1, 1GB for Mac OS 7.5.5, 1GB for Mac OS 7.1, 500MB for the A/UX boot partition (7.0.1), 500MB for the A/UX root partition, and the leftover for the A/UX swap partition.
I quad-boot using the SystemPicker utility, so I could run different versions of Mac OS (Apple IP Gateway, in particular, only runs over Classic networking, so it does not run on Mac OS 7.6.1 which uses Open Transport). The Rocket Stage II is running a virtual system with Mac OS 7.1. There’s a chromivncserver VNC server available on the net, but performance was not suitable for regular use – it’s good when you run your Mac as a headless server and only need occasional access to the screen. I’ve also been able to install Apple’s MacX and use the Quadra 650 as an X11 terminal into my Linux box.
Among the vintage machines on my desk, the Quadra 650 saw more use than my Windows 98 system in the past few days. I hope the LC 475 is not jealous.