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B&W Mac to play around with: Mac SE or Classic II


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#1 BydoEmpire ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 13, 2017 7:51 AM

Hi all.  I want to get a b&w mac as I never had one growing up.  I see Classic IIs tend to go for about $100 more than a basic SE.  I'd like to have the 030, but I'm not sure how much of a difference it will really make just for playing games from a FloppyEMU, or maybe poking around Hypercard or doing some C programming.  SE/30s seem to be the machine to get but they tend to be a bit more expensive and at this point I don't think I need the expansion possibilities of the SE/30.  What say ye?



#2 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:21 AM

I say don't mess with old hardware.

Truly lazy option: emulated in a browser, no muss no fuss. https://archive.org/...warelibrary_mac

If you want to get your hands dirty (or *gasp* save your work), MiniVMac is cool. http://www.gryphel.com/c/minivmac/

 

Failing that, I would go with the newer and presumably more reliable option, which would be a Classic II. 

 

What floppy emulator are you thinking of using? Something like this? https://www.bigmesso...com/floppy-emu/

That looks neat as an engineering feat, but as an end user, a hack like that on top of old hardware seems like a circle of hell. Maybe not the deepest one, but why go to hell at all?

 

Yeah, I know I'm on AtariAge and people like their old beige plastic, but it just seems like there are other options nowadays. If I had known there would be all these "historians" coming out of the woodwork, I wouldn't have thrown away all my classic Mac stuff many years ago. 



#3 BydoEmpire ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:00 AM

Yeah, that's not unreasonable.  I've thought about the emulator route. It certainly would save a bit of cash, and I happily use emulation for some computers, but you can pick up vintage macs pretty cheap.  I do enjoy using real hardware for computers I still have from the 80s (2c & c64).

 

I bought the BMOW floppy emu so I could use it with my 2c as well as potentially a classic Mac.  Seems pretty simple to use, but I guess I'll find out.


Edited by BydoEmpire, Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:47 AM.


#4 RodLightning OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:16 AM

I love the idea also and I picked up a couple of classics and a few Performa/LC "pizza box" models years ago when they were cheap in thrift stores.

I dug them out of a closet a few months back to find that some are dying in storage. Power supply died in one, HDD won't spin up in one of the classics and the other had a CMOS battery explode and damage the mobo.

I am sort of down on Macintosh at the moment for these reasons, but don't let me spoil your ambition. It helps to have friends who are also into the old Macs to help keep them going, which I dont!

Prices on SCSI hard drives of the era and pretty much anything else for these systems are very high. That said, I haven't given up yet and my Mac Classic is currently on the "to-do" list of things to repair.

#5 fimbulvetr OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 13, 2017 8:05 PM

SE's are the most reliable of the compact macs, and rarely need any work. A Classic II is absolutely guaranteed to need a recap. That said, I prefer my SE/30 to either of the others (I have all three), but they are pricey and also must be recapped. If you don't mind the limitations of the SE, it is the best starter compact mac as they are cheap, easy to find, and reliable. Look for a SuperDrive version so you can use high density disks.

#6 Osgeld ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 13, 2017 8:19 PM

 Look for a SuperDrive version so you can use high density disks. 

 

 

I have an SE with a 800K floppy its such a pain in the ass to use its mostly for show on the shelf 



#7 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 13, 2017 8:29 PM

Wow, I didn't know (or maybe I forgot!) there was such a thing. 

https://en.wikipedia...cintosh_SE_FDHD

 

SuperDrive always meant other things to me. I see there are reasons for that. Maybe they should have just named the iPhone X the SuperDrive. 

https://en.wikipedia...wiki/SuperDrive



#8 fimbulvetr OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 13, 2017 8:30 PM

Of course, as you already have the floppy emu, you can use it in HD20 mode with an SE, which is really fantastic, and you can emulate 800K floppies if you can't find a SuperDrive version.

#9 eightbit OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:02 PM

I say don't mess with old hardware.

 

But you always say that ;) Yet you are here in the forums that are pretty much dedicated to doing just that. Just sayin' :)

 

It's all old hardware sometime. All of the vintage game consoles that people collect and cherish here on AA...old hardware. The carts...old hardware. Hell, even my "new" hardware (like the Z97 Intel based system) I built two years ago is "old hardware". I guess to really be safe you can not deal with any hardware at all...or always run on bleeding edge hardware and emulate everything. But then those posts would have to go in a "Emulated Classic Computing" forum. 

 

I don't mean to be rough...just being straight. This might not be the best thread to point it out, but I have to point it out somewhere. If I were looking for assistance getting back into something I loved from the past and I got a "don't bother, not worth it" response I would be quite disappointed. Granted you usually follow it up with very useful information, but I just don't understand the rational of posting in forums dedicated to a topic and denouncing that very thing. Again, no hate here, just being brutally honest.

 

I don't think it would sit nicely with people in the 2600 forums for example if they were told not to bother restoring their Atari 2600 (or hunting one down) because it was old antiquated dying hardware and just to use the Stella emulator instead...if you catch by drift ;)

 

I hope you don't take offense to what I have just said as it is not my intention to cause a stir. It just appears that nearly every post in every thread in these forums regarding working on vintage computers has a post from you saying not to do it, waste of time, money pit, worthless, dying hardware, etc.  Again, just speaking as I see it.

 

 

 

And to the original post starter, sorry it had to be YOUR thread to voice my opinion but I feel it had to be done.


Edited by eightbit, Wed Sep 13, 2017 11:02 PM.


#10 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Sep 14, 2017 4:29 AM

Fair point! You are just stating your opinion, just as I like to do. I think my perspective is valid too. Not everyone knows about the relatively new Macintosh section at Archive.org, which has been curated with tons of experience and love.

My memories and nostalgic feelings are mainly for the software. Hardware was always a necessary evil, but it is increasingly expensive and unreliable, giving diminishing returns for someone like me. Software is the thing that shows the creativity and versatility of the platform, that provides a sense of the past. Hardware is just old guts. I know a lot about both, but new Classic Mac threads here are usually about hardware.

If you follow me a bit more you will see that I dont solely hate on old hardware. I also hate on modern Atari™, modern Coleco™, and the premise that the Jaguar has anything to offer in 2017.

Thank you for acknowledging that I do follow up with useful information. Im not actively trying to be a jerk, at least not all the time, and not always on purpose. When someone is like, hey check out this free computer I found, now I plan to spend a bunch of money I do not have to make it marginally more functional, I think a reasonable person (as opposed to a retro hardware enthusiast :wink:) is obliged to ask, why?

#11 fimbulvetr OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Sep 14, 2017 6:37 AM

Why? Because it is fun!!! It is a hobby! Hobbies don't need justification. And there is a significant difference between using old hardware and emulating software on a modern computer. The experience of old keyboards, mice, tiny b&w screen, floppy drive, sound of the hardware, etc of using a real compact mac cannot be replaced with emulation.

I mean, you might as well ask why eat good food when a bland meal supplement will provide all required nutrients. Why drive a manual sports car when a cheap basic compact will get you from point a to b. It is the experience!

#12 fimbulvetr OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Sep 14, 2017 6:41 AM

And, of course, a real compact mac looks super cool.

#13 Tempest OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Sep 14, 2017 7:25 AM

I use a Classic (I not a II) and it works great for older B&W games.  I'd go with an SE because the speed will be 100% correct for games.  I believe the Classic II was a faster machine (an 030) which will be too fast for many early games.



#14 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Sep 14, 2017 7:57 AM

Why? Because it is fun!!! It is a hobby! Hobbies don't need justification. And there is a significant difference between using old hardware and emulating software on a modern computer. The experience of old keyboards, mice, tiny b&w screen, floppy drive, sound of the hardware, etc of using a real compact mac cannot be replaced with emulation.

I mean, you might as well ask why eat good food when a bland meal supplement will provide all required nutrients. Why drive a manual sports car when a cheap basic compact will get you from point a to b. It is the experience!

Well said. Im going to quote this verbatim when the flip phoners on here start gassing off about how much they hate modern Apple hardware.

#15 cbmeeks OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Sep 16, 2017 8:59 AM

As I sit here with my nearly 80 vintage computers, I can say that emulation isn't my "go to" choice.  :-)

While I do use emulation....mainly for programming old computers before I transfer the software over to the real device.  But to each his own.

 

One aspect of the collecting and owning actual hardware (for me) is the peaceful and relaxing hobby of restoring them.  Seriously.  I love taking an old computer or console that doesn't work, clean it up...re-cap it, etc. and watching it come to live.  

 

I do admit, however, that I have a collecting problem.  It's hard finding hidden places to store my computers so that the family doesn't have to step over them.  lol



#16 Ed in SoDak OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 25, 2017 1:24 AM

Oh, the hours I'd spend just coding and recoding my own programs on the Timex and the Texas Instruments. And I did my share on the hardware side to keep costs down and just enjoy seeing it work (eventually). I still have all the hardware, but "run" them most of the time in emulation. Too many years on the Mac that's always been a bit beyond my grasp to do much programming or hacking on. Besides, the Macs ran well enough I didn't feel the need. Oh, I sure had the Macs apart and kept 'em going ang growing. But other than the usual internal/external upgrades and a few repairs, MB swaps or accelerator installs, I generally left well enough alone.

 

A couple years ago, I came across a TS1500, but it didn't work. Man, I wish I'd had that model instead of the TS1000 back when I was getting into computers. It works well enough as it sits I might not have been driven to hack on a keyboard and solder the RAMpack so it would no longer lose data, built into a bigger case to eliminate the heat buildup. I might instead have delved into more ML programming. Especially so, since just adding an external 16k RAMpack to the TS1500 makes that so easy to "hide" machine code.

 

What I discovered while repairing the balky TS1500 was that the fixing was the most fun of all. When I finally got it going, I kinda lost interest in using the thing! My interests come and go, and I'm kinda gettin' the bug again to drag out some vintage iron and revisit the ol' Timex machines.

 

I have several BW Macs sittin' around. Here's a crappy pic of my Classic II, an SE20 and an SE dual floppy with '03 accelerator card and HD stuffed inside. Back in the 80's and 90's, the SEs were my main machines along with my TI99 till in '95 I bought my new 636 '040 Performa and went color with scanners and laser/inkjet printers and all that. The Classic II was my brother's. I don't really use any of 'em these days. Send me a PM, maybe I can help ya out.

-Ed

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Edited by Ed in SoDak, Sat Nov 25, 2017 1:49 AM.


#17 BydoEmpire ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 27, 2017 10:44 AM

For what it's worth, I ended up finding a Classic II for a good price on eBay - works fine, had no issues with FloppyEmu other than not having as many disk images as I thought I had (most of what i found was .sit files, not actual disk images, so one of these days I have to look into making or finding them).

 

Regardless, there's something about playing games on the B&W screen that's really enjoyable.  On the Classic II a small number of games run too fast (one shareware space invaders clone in particular), and a few games aren't compatible, but for the most part I haven't had too many problems.  I've spent a bit of time with Crystal Quest and Fool's Errand, both of which are really fun.  I've been meaning to try the Mac version of Defender of the Crown one of these days, but just haven't found the time.



#18 Tempest OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 27, 2017 10:47 AM

Regardless, there's something about playing games on the B&W screen that's really enjoyable.  On the Classic II a small number of games run too fast (one shareware space invaders clone in particular), and a few games aren't compatible, but for the most part I haven't had too many problems.  I've spent a bit of time with Crystal Quest and Fool's Errand, both of which are really fun.  I've been meaning to try the Mac version of Defender of the Crown one of these days, but just haven't found the time.

 

I agree.  There's just something about that super sharp monochrome screen.  I love it.

 

You may run into issues with some puzzles on The Fool's Errand.  IIRC some are speed based and may move too fast unless there's a slowdown option.  






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