Two Macs and an HP

The pizza delivery folks have been stopping by my house a lot lately, and not just with pineapple and ham!

Do Macs really belong here?

In “What is a Workstation?”, I declared that “a workstation is a computer system designed to be used by a professional”. In the classic Mac era, Apple targeted three markets: home users, education, and “creatives” - desktop publishing, image processing, video editing, and sound recording. The final category certainly fit in to my definition of “professional”, even if the first two don’t.

Apple helpfully separates Macintoshes into different brands:

They’re not perfectly aligned: home and education computers were also sold as PowerMacs, some Mac II models were more “home” than “workstation”, and the Centris line doesn’t really fit. While they all ran the same software, used the same chips, and were sold by the same company, the clear market positioning makes it easy for me to declare that yes, some Macs were sold and used as workstations.

A busted-up Quadra

The first of the two macs (both in production date, and in joining my collection) is a Quadra 605. While it’s one of the lowest-spec Quadras, it is decidedly the most pizza-box-y. The “LC” form-factor Macs (named for the first such Mac) are probably the first machines I ever heard called a “pizza box”, so they occupy a special place in my heart. The Quadra 605 is sadly unable to run A/UX, Apple’s Unix-combined-with-System-7 offering - it wasn’t available with an FPU, and even if you replace its CPU with one that does have an FPU, Apple never made A/UX enablers for it. Thus, a Quadra 610 is still on my “to acquire” list.

This particular specimen arrived in pretty poor condition. It was shipped to me in a battered old NewEgg box, lightly wrapped in bubble wrap, sitting in a pile of packing peanuts. Unfortunately, there was nothing to hold the bubble-wrapped pizzabox in place in box, so it looks like it bounced around inside a ton.

The sides of the case were cracked, the back plate broken clean off, and inside the case, all of the obnoxious tiny pieces of plastic that held the motherboard and drives in place without screws had sheared off. Everything inside was free-floating around the case.

I’m not really sure what I can do about this - I’m keeping my eye out for spare cases (not holding my breath, though) and folks selling 605s for parts. Perhaps one day I’ll do a detour in to plastic case manufacturing (could it be 3D printed?) and looking for the original case schematics, but it’s back-burner for now.

An intact PowerMac

I had better luck with a Power Macintosh 6100 - it was properly secured in shipping, and so the only bits snapped off are ones that I did opening up the case (oops). Things seem to be in order - it plays the original PowerMac startup chime:

I haven’t been able to test this one out further than that, though. The original PowerMac models (6100/7100/8100) had an unusual video jack - the HDI-45. It’s…a frankly unusual square-ish connector that also holds keyboard, mouse, and audio (reminds me of the NeXTstation’s DB19!). Despite having an 8100/80av a decade ago, I forgot this detail, so verifying that its video works is blocked on me getting an adapter.

The HP that’s over exactly 9000!

The HP 9000 line was one of the longest surviving - HP made HP 9000 computers until 2008, after SGI had become a Supermicro reseller, Sun was swallowed by Oracle, DEC only a memory, and NeXT long-since transformed into Apple. The one I picked up is a model 712 - a lower-cost pizza box from the end of the first generation of PA-RISC HP 9000 workstations:

I believe this is the first workstation I’ve bought that didn’t come with a hard drive (several of the models I have could have been configured without one). It also doesn’t have a floppy drive, so moving forward is gonna mean I need to figure out how to netboot old versions of HP-UX. I love a challenge!