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airsoftmodels

Your Apple IIgs History?

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I would love to hear from Apple IIgs owners.

 

What made you buy the Apple IIgs?  Did you buy it new in 1986?  What made you chose the IIgs over the IIe/IIc, Macintosh or IBM?

 

Thanks.

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Bought mine used sometime in the early 2000's (I want to say 2004).  It was a Model 3 with a Transwarp card, 4MB RAM card, SCSI card, and a Stereo card so I was all set.  I still have that same IIgs that I use to this day. 

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22 minutes ago, Tempest said:

in the early 2000's (I want to say 2004

where the prices pretty reasonable back then?  i notice they are creeping up now.

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6 minutes ago, airsoftmodels said:

where the prices pretty reasonable back then?  i notice they are creeping up now.

I think for that setup which included the monitor, keyboard, and two 3.5" drives plus one 5.25" drive I paid something like $600.  Even back then Transwarps were pricey.

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I got mine free last year along with a platinum IIe, though I used to play with one at my uncle's house when I was a kid.

I've since upgraded the IIGs to include 4mb of memory and a CFFA 3000 and sold the IIe (which paid for the CFFA).

Edited by bikeguychicago
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I got a IIgs as a high school graduation present in '87 after having a IIe for many years.  Had a blast with it until I got a Mac SE/30 in college.

 

I now own two of them, one to run my BBS, and the other one to play on!

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I'd had a IIc since 1985, after wanting a IIe for several years (the IIc was cheaper, and had most of what I'd have wanted from a IIe built in, so my family got that). The IIGS was the logical successor to the IIe/IIc and did certain things even better than the 16 bit competition while still being compatible with basically all Apple II software and hardware. I lusted after one basically up to the day I finally dumped my IIc in favor of an IBM-compatible. I had my IIc for about 8 years, so I was an Apple II guy through and through, and the IIGS was the best Apple II.

 

I didn't finally get one until my brother ironically gifted me an Amiga 1000 that his friend just had lying around his attic, and I sold that and turned around and finally bought myself the IIGS I'd always wanted. To this day, the IIGS is the only computer I have set up semi-permanently next to my current PC. I have replaced its motherboard twice (they seem easy to fry), its monitor once, and I've installed a CFFA3000 in it to load software. Which is all just to say I pay attention to this thing. It is one of my pride and joys.

 

Some people might consider the Amiga for a IIGS to be a bad trade, but I don't. I played around with the Amiga for a little while and just realized after about a month or so that I have no emotional connection to it, and plus I had one of the very early ones that was kind of a pain in the ass (you had to load the OS from disk before you could do anything, and then I think it was kind of limited because the OS took up a lot of RAM). Because I didn't much care about it, I also didn't care about learning much about it and never really figured out how to do much with it. The IIGS, though, I use all the time, and I know what I'm doing with it. For me it was definitely a good trade.

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42 minutes ago, spacecadet said:

(you had to load the OS from disk before you could do anything, and then I think it was kind of limited because the OS took up a lot of RAM)

Well, GS/OS was the same way, but not a lot of stuff depended on it.

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13 hours ago, Byte Knight said:

as a high school graduation present in '87

Byte Knight,  that is an awesome graduation present!  Between the three: the IIe, the IIgs, and then the Mac SE, which was your favorite?

 

For college in 1991, I bought a Macintosh Plus, and then the 20MB external hard drive.

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8 hours ago, spacecadet said:

I'd had a IIc since 1985

spacecadet,  same here!  i wanted the IIe because thats what they had in the high school lab.  didn't even hear about the IIc until i went to the computer store and they sold it to us (in 1984)

i think they were even sold out of the IIe the day i went, so rather than go home empty handed we grabbed the IIc.  

 

once that decision was made, i couldn't even afford a commodore 64 if i wanted one.  i was committed to the apple ecosystem.  fortunately, at least five other computer geeks in my high school also had apple II's at home

so there were unlimited games available.  

 

i did see an early amiga in somebodys garage one day, but i had no idea what it even was - i think i thought it was an IBM clone.

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I got my first IIgs over the weekend for $129.59 shipped, which included the following: IIgs ROM03, AppleColor RGB Monitor, two 5.25 Disk Drives, one 3.5 Disk Drive, original keyboard, mouse and all cables. Of course, for that price, the pack job was horrendous (but nothing broke in transit!) but I'm having trouble getting it working...Will make a separate post asking for some help.

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10 hours ago, airsoftmodels said:

Byte Knight,  that is an awesome graduation present!  Between the three: the IIe, the IIgs, and then the Mac SE, which was your favorite?

 

For college in 1991, I bought a Macintosh Plus, and then the 20MB external hard drive.

Agreed - I was blown away when I got it.  In terms of gaming, the SE/30 was definitely a step down, so my favorite between the three would be the IIgs.  It wasn't until I got my first color Mac (IIsi) that I felt the GS had been adequately replaced.

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Got my first GS back in 95 from another member of the Southern Nevada user group. Managed to burn up the motherboard while I was in Wyoming in 98. Finally got another GS, about 2008, 8MG of Ram, GS monitor, CFFA 3000.

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30 minutes ago, magnusfalkirk said:

Got my first GS back in 95 from another member of the Southern Nevada user group. Managed to burn up the motherboard while I was in Wyoming in 98. Finally got another GS, about 2008, 8MG of Ram, GS monitor, CFFA 3000.

After graduation in 1992, I moved to the Bay Area.  There was a great used computer store in Berkeley.  I should/could have bought a used IIGS at the time.  I also accidently walked into a store selling Amiga software.

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17 hours ago, Byte Knight said:

until I got my first color Mac (IIsi)

In the 1990s, I would check out the Macintosh machines in CompUSA as well as Sears or wherever I came across one.  But $2,999 was way out of my budget...

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I was a IIe kid (still have it, it is a 1983 rev b, but it still has the white lettering on the keys), and then I painted barns all summer one year in high school to buy a Mac LCII with the IIe card in it (which I sadly no longer have).  I didn't get my first IIgs until a couple of years ago.  In the process of gathering up all the disk drives, monitor, printer, software, etc that I wanted, I now have three.  Well, two and a half, one got destroyed in shipping, but they refunded and told me to keep it for parts.  Sad though.

 

But man the IIgs is such a great machine.  It's a real shame that Apple was in such turmoil then, and the II line died from politics.  At the time, there was just no better home computer than the IIgs out there, except maybe the Amiga.

 

Just imagine where the II might have gone from there.  We might have 32 or 64 bit Woz boxen today.  (Bless you, Woz :D )  Or more likely, they'd have moved to an ARM cpu like Acorn did.  I mean, the Mac was faster at the time, but still only because of politics, and the IIgs blew it away as far as graphics and sound capability.

 

It's a real shame that Orca/C hasn't been released for free.  We need more good retro software for the IIgs, and nobody wants to pay money for a compiler these days.

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CC65 is pretty great, but even though the assembler will target the '816, the compiler won't generate '816 opcodes.  And there's no library support for the IIgs anyway.  😧

 

There's also wdctools, but again, no library support.  😧

 

Orca *is* pretty nice, and with goldengate you can even cross-compile to the IIgs with it, and edit on a modern machine with a modern IDE.  The source code all appears to be out there, but nobody has ever packaged it up into a free version as far as I'm aware.  I wouldn't even begin to know how to compile it.  I think you have to start with the Apple version of the assembler, then assemble the pascal compiler, and then it compiles the rest of the compilers, or something.  It gave me a headache reading about it lol.

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I got my IIgs a few years ago from a friend who wanted to get rid of it. I wasn't looking for a IIgs and honestly hadn't even given the system much thought, but the price was right (free!), and came with the RGB monitor, keyboard (not original IIgs but from some Macintosh system or other), and mouse. And I figured that if I ended up not developing any interest in it, I could pass it on/pay it forward.

 

And I actually considered doing just that, until I got a CFFA3000. The only storage device I had for it was the 5.25" Unidisk that came with my IIe Platinum some years earlier; functionally it was just a snazzier //e. But the CFFA3000 blew the thing wide open. I've been able to check out a good chunk of its game library, play around with customizing the desktop, and even do weird stuff like make a CP/M 2.26 boot disk for my Premium Softcard //e (not that you need a IIgs to do that, but that's where my CFFA3000 lives). It's a really cool and deceptively flexible system that I'm glad to have picked up!

 

I was an IBM/PC kid back in the day and so it's been fun comparing and contrasting the IIgs/GSOS experience with Win 3.1, and how it fits into the "legacy" Apple II picture. It makes me think that the IIgs is what the Mac should have been. Or that Apple might have done better to continue developing the Apple II line and extending/improving that lineage, as happened on the PC side with 286/386/486/Pentium and so forth.

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On 4/1/2020 at 1:58 AM, The Usotsuki said:

Well, GS/OS was the same way, but not a lot of stuff depended on it.

I don't remember my Amiga all that well but I'm pretty sure there was *nothing* I could do with it without loading the Kickstart disk first. I'm not talking about AmigaOS - the very early Amigas had to actually load their firmware from floppy disk, *before* loading the OS. That meant I always had to have that disk ready when I booted up and then it took forever to load. I only had a single drive for my Amiga (the one that was built in) so it was a lot of disk swapping. With GS/OS, before I got my CFFA3000 I seem to remember just keeping the GS/OS disk in one of my drives all the time in case I needed it. (I have two 3.5" and two 5.25" drives with my IIGS, which I got for the same price I sold the Amiga for with a single drive.)

 

Also with the IIGS, you don't have to boot to GS/OS. In most cases I just boot directly into whatever program I want to use, whether it's an 8 bit or 16 bit program. So it's just a much easier system to use. Most Amigas were not like mine; I got a little "unlucky" (though it was free) in getting one of the early ones that was just a big PITA. Maybe I could have upgraded it or something, but I also remember any upgrade I could do seeming really expensive, so it never seemed worth it for a system I didn't much care about.

4 hours ago, BassGuitari said:

I was an IBM/PC kid back in the day and so it's been fun comparing and contrasting the IIgs/GSOS experience with Win 3.1, and how it fits into the "legacy" Apple II picture. It makes me think that the IIgs is what the Mac should have been. Or that Apple might have done better to continue developing the Apple II line and extending/improving that lineage, as happened on the PC side with 286/386/486/Pentium and so forth.

Yes, I've been saying that since 1986! And it makes you wonder what Apple's history would have been if they'd done that. Certainly now they're a huge company but not really in computers, where they're still hovering around 7.5% total market share. (At least that's better than the 3% they had at their nadir!) And they only got where they are now by clawing their way back after the Mac nearly killed them. I feel like the history of Apple and computers in general would be a lot different if they'd stuck with the II instead of trying to get everybody switched over to the Mac, which really never happened the way Steve Jobs wanted it to.

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9 hours ago, BassGuitari said:

few years ago from a friend

A friend of mine had the IIgs back in 1990.  I did not realize he didn't want it anymore, or I would have made him an offer, but he sold it to some company that bought Apple computers.  

Then we both went out and bought $1,000 Mac Pluses without knowing the other did so.  Looking back, the IIgs was just so much more cool than those early Macintoshes. 

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2 hours ago, airsoftmodels said:

 Looking back, the IIgs was just so much more cool than those early Macintoshes. 

I like them both.  I'm not really into the Color Macintoshes but those early monochrome ones are cool.  I like the high resolution monochrome games, they just have a certain charm about them.

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I think had the GS evolved further, it would have eventually sprouted a 68000 and evolved into what the Mac II became.  So the end result wouldn't be that different from what actually happened.

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1 hour ago, The Usotsuki said:

GS evolved further

most likely.  but imagine a scenario where the WDC chip evolves along with the IIGS, and the end result would have been specacularly diffferent!

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It's possible they'd have moved to the ARM architecture, too.  Acorn developed it as a replacement for the 6502 for the Archimedes.  I mean, the early ARM wasn't 6502 compatible, so I 'spect they'd have had to make a "IIgs-on-a-chip" similar to what they did with the IIe-on-a-chip for the IIgs.  But that and the ARM could probably have shared the same bus, kinda like the C128 did with the z80.  Then further evolutions could have phased out hardware 816 support, in favor of emulation, as systems became faster.

 

Just daydreaming though.  But man wouldn't that have been a cool computer.  If it were integrated a little better and the interface was faster, the Apple2Pi would sort of be this.  One of these days in my infinite free time (ha ha, I am still working more than ever right now lol ;_; ) I will rework the A2pi to use a 6522 via instead of a serial interface, and that ought to be considerably faster, although still probably not fast enough to bang video ram and such in real-time.  :(

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