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I found a mac IIsi, what to do with it?


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#1 Spazmonkey OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 8, 2009 11:14 PM

I just found this computer on the curb, pretty cool. I've been looking it up online and it has a nu bus bridge card to some monitor controller thing in it. There's a cal tech sticker on the side, so hopefully theres instructions on how to build a hydrogen bomb or something.

The big question is, what do I do with it? I might keep it if I can find some games for it. I was looking on ebay and couldn't find any, and then I was thinking what I would even use to control them. It looks like this is more of a work computer than anything. What kind of keyboard/mouse do I need for it? Any mac guru help would be appreciated.

#2 KrazyKaiju OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 9, 2009 12:11 AM

You'll need an ADB mouse and keyboard for it. The IIsi originally shipped with the Extended Keyboard II, which was the finest keyboard Apple ever made. Unfortunately, trying to get that particular keyboard will cost you about five times what your IIsi is worth. The Apple standard keyboard can be had fairly cheap. You could also use a keyboard and mouse from an Apple IIgs, or a IIc mouse.

The IIsi is limited to system 7, which was a pretty solid OS. You can get a lot of useful software here.
ftp://ftp.uu.net/systems/mac/info-mac

One more thing, you might want to check the guts of your IIsi to see if the ROM is soldiered to the motherboard or if the ROM sitting in a SIMM socket. If it's socketed you can sell the ROM to someone with an SE/30 for quite a few bucks. It lets the SE/30 run 32 bit apps without software patches.

#3 nathanallan OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 9, 2009 12:23 AM

I have an aftermarket keyboard that is ADB, had it a while and not planning on using it. DataDesk International, Mac-101, for SE/Mac II. Inrterested in a trade? I'll get a pic if you like. I have a mouse around here somewhere but it's in pretty bad shape.

Edited by nathanallan, Thu Jul 9, 2009 12:23 AM.


#4 akator OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 9, 2009 12:49 AM

I have fond memories of a IIsi I bought while in college. I got it with a LaserWriter LS. After my student discount, the total was $3573.

Sounds like you have 2 boards in yours. The first one attached to the motherboard would be the NuBus adapter board with the nifty math coprocessor. A third-party NuBus video card would then be attached to the NuBus adapter board.

The IIsi had onboard video, but it was beastly slow. I had the NuBus/video card setup to (1) get the math coprocessor required by 3D apps, and (2) because I wanted a bigger monitor than the built-in video could handle. I also bumped up the RAM to 17MB, the most the machine could handle.

IIRC, the hard drives were either 80MB or 120MB. I had the 80MB version, it was cramped even back then.

Back to your original question... what can you do with one now? If you can get the software, you can do a lot. I had Word Perfect, Photoshop, Illustrator, StrataVision, Canvas, and a ton of games. If you can get the right versions (for the 68030 processor, before PowerPC) it could be a lot of fun. Practical no, but fun yes :)

#5 tisaperfectdayelise OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 9, 2009 1:03 AM

You know, I have an old SCSI drive that I've kept for the last fifteen years or so. Every time I come across an old find like this, I've copied the apps and games to that drive. If you'd like, I'd be willing to send you an internal 60MB or 80MB drive with the games and apps that would be relevant to you....and I suppose the OS of your choice. I spent most of my teen years finding, repairing, and donating these machines, and now I've been left with a stockpile of things.

Would that be of interest to you? Send me a personal message if so.

Edited by tisaperfectdayelise, Thu Jul 9, 2009 1:03 AM.


#6 nathanallan OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 9, 2009 1:17 AM

Forgot to mention, an Apple Data Bus cable (ADB) is interchangeable with an S-Video cable. Just wanted to toss that out there.

#7 FlightSuit OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 9, 2009 7:05 AM

The IIsi was my first Mac. Bought it in 1991 with a developer discount that a friend hooked me up with. I eventually wound up maxing out the RAM on mine as well, just to see what would happen. Also, just to see what would happen, I installed OS 7.6.1 and the most current version of AOL that would run on it (3.0 probably, but it mighta been 4.0), and I discovered that the thing was as slow as molasses on the Internet.

Remember, you're dealing with a computer whose processor runs at something like 20mhz.

Regarding video performance, here's a potentially useful tidbit from Wikipedia:

To cut costs, the IIsi's video shared the main system memory, which also had the effect of slowing down video considerably, especially as the IIsi had 1 MiB of slow RAM soldered to the motherboard. David Pogue's book Macworld Macintosh Secrets observed that one could speed up video considerably if one set the disk cache size large enough to force the computer to draw video RAM from faster RAM installed in the SIMM banks.



#8 Spazmonkey OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 9, 2009 8:34 AM

Sounds fun. However, the games route, I do NOT, want any games not original. I'm weird that way. The RAM is maxed out, all the simm sockets are full. I'm interested at whats on the HD, it was from cal tech, so I wanna black mail them so they will let me in for grad school :D

Is there anything I should do in the meantime? Any easy upgrades?

#9 aftermac OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 9, 2009 3:12 PM

IIsi was my first computer also, in fact I still have it! It got regular use until the early 2000's. Lots of games out there for it... some of my favorites are Shufflepuck, Sim City 2000 (freely available for download), Pathways into Darkness, Marathon, Lunatic Fringe (which was actually an After Dark screen saver module), Solitaire 'til Dawn, Maelstrom, Risk... can't even remember everything I used to play.

#10 FlightSuit OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 9, 2009 7:57 PM

What you want is a copy of Mac Playmate!

#11 yuppicide OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 9, 2009 9:31 PM

Turn it into a fish tank.

#12 Spazmonkey OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 9, 2009 10:20 PM

That would be a small, slightly yellow, and rather dense fish tank.

#13 FlightSuit OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 9, 2009 10:20 PM

That would be hard to do, 'cause the Mac in question is not an all-in-one model.

#14 aftermac OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jul 10, 2009 12:36 PM

Personally, I never liked anchovies in my "pizza box". :D

#15 FlightSuit OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jul 10, 2009 2:01 PM

The Mac IIsi is not one of the pizza boxes. Those didn't come along until years later, with the advent of the Centris 610. Yes, the Wikipedia article on the Mac LC also calls it a "pizza box" design, but I don't agree. The Centris and it's PowerPC replacement, the 6100 (and its many variants) are the only Macs that truly resemble pizza boxes.

#16 aftermac OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jul 10, 2009 3:20 PM

The Mac IIsi is not one of the pizza boxes. Those didn't come along until years later, with the advent of the Centris 610. Yes, the Wikipedia article on the Mac LC also calls it a "pizza box" design, but I don't agree. The Centris and it's PowerPC replacement, the 6100 (and its many variants) are the only Macs that truly resemble pizza boxes.


Hate to call you on this, buddy... but you're wrong.

Here is a scan of page 310 of MacWorld Mac & PowerMac Secrets, 2nd Edition. By David Pogue and Joseph Schorr. Published in 1994.

Read the IIsi section very carefully.

IIsi_mac_secrets_scan.jpg

#17 FlightSuit OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jul 10, 2009 3:42 PM

Well OK, but I still maintain that the IIsi looks nothing like a pizza box, whereas the 6100 looks like it should have a Domino's logo on it.

#18 aftermac OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jul 10, 2009 3:50 PM

Well OK, but I still maintain that the IIsi looks nothing like a pizza box, whereas the 6100 looks like it should have a Domino's logo on it.


I'll give you that, but we were using the term "pizza box" long before the 6100 and Centris 610 were released. In hindsight, 20 years later it's easy to say the Quadra 610 form-factor looks more like a pizza box than the LC.

#19 cybercylon OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jul 10, 2009 5:33 PM

The pizza box format really applied to the LC line. That form factor hung around for quite awhile. The IIsi is signifcantly thicker than an LC.

The IIsi was my first computer that I bought with my own money.... 5 mgs of Ram and 1 40 meg hard drive. I almost spent the last of my money back then to get the 17 meg model that came with Apple's variation of AIX, but there was the issue of needing a printer and software.

#20 aftermac OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jul 10, 2009 5:51 PM

The pizza box format really applied to the LC line. That form factor hung around for quite awhile. The IIsi is signifcantly thicker than an LC.

The IIsi was my first computer that I bought with my own money.... 5 mgs of Ram and 1 40 meg hard drive. I almost spent the last of my money back then to get the 17 meg model that came with Apple's variation of AIX, but there was the issue of needing a printer and software.


Yeah, the IIsi was more of a deep-dish. :) But, the term applied just as much to the shape of the computer as it did to how you open the case... like a pizza box. The term did originate (at least with Mac's) with the LC though.

My IIsi had 9 MB of RAM and a 40 MB HD, and 12" monitor. Over the years I added quite a bit to it, a CD-ROM drive, Zip drive (one $20 disc could hold 2.5 times the information of my HD!), a Visioneer scanner, HP Deskjet 640c printer, cache card, Ethernet card, upped the RAM to 17 MB, 250 MB HD...

#21 Spazmonkey OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jul 10, 2009 7:24 PM

I just finished socketing the CPU oscillator. I don't have a new oscillator yet, but supposedly, you can get it really high, 30+mhz if you don't need the floppy disc. 27.5 mhz is the most stable, but I think I'll just go with plain 25. If anyone has any games.... :D

#22 FlightSuit OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jul 10, 2009 11:39 PM

When I bought mine, I ordered it with the B&W monitor, 'cause the thought of a Mac having anything other than the pleasant B&W of the original just didn't make any sense to me.

#23 tisaperfectdayelise OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jul 11, 2009 1:50 AM

I just finished socketing the CPU oscillator. I don't have a new oscillator yet, but supposedly, you can get it really high, 30+mhz if you don't need the floppy disc. 27.5 mhz is the most stable, but I think I'll just go with plain 25. If anyone has any games.... :D


Games that are boxed or original, you mean ;)

#24 yuppicide OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jul 11, 2009 2:16 AM

Maybe next time before I post I'll look stuff up LOL.

That would be hard to do, 'cause the Mac in question is not an all-in-one model.



#25 doctorclu OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jul 11, 2009 3:46 AM

The Mac IIsi was a fun model. It was good for it's expandablility if you can find some of the cards. I loved for example the DOS card to run some really old 286 stuff. Or you can get the 68030 card, and really boost the memory on that sucker.

Good luck finding a lot of this. Might have a video input card around here somewhere for that thing. :)

What I liked most of all though was since it was so old, and yet so expandable, it was capible of running a lot of older software, and yet "newer" software. A good bridge machine and it was used for a really long time.




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