My Newest Oldest Computer

2015-04-08 23:04

There’s no better way to play old computer games than on an actual old computer. Emulation sucks, and trying to coax a modern machine into running ancient programs sucks more, so I keep some old systems around. The one I’ve been working on most lately is a Quadra 700 from 1991 that belonged to my neighbor until I rescued it from the garbage. It’s 25MHz of 68040 muscle, and I have it loaded with the full 64MiB RAM and 2MiB VRAM SIMMs and paired with an AppleCD 600e, a Yamaha 8x4x24 SCSI CD-RW, ADB Gravis gamepad, EMAC Silhouette trackball, and the original A9M0330 Alps ADB keyboard from the IIGS.

PowerPC Macs can run all the 68k software, but most of the games are better on the actual era’s hardware since they usually want to adjust your resolution and color depth down to 1991 levels.

Right now it has partitions for System 7.6.1, Mac OS 8.1, and A/UX 3.1 even though I don’t have A/UX running yet. I’m not sure if that OS will be more than a novelty but SysV System 7 seems too interesting to not check out. This machine was one of the first from Apple with onboard ethernet and it happily sits on my network today using a 10BASE-T transceiver and can even connect to my NAS thanks to the magic of netatalk.

The original hard drive was a horribly loud 420MB Seagate SCSI drive that I couldn’t stand to be in the same room with. Now it boots off a Compact Flash card instead. The only thing I’d still like to find for it some day is a QuadDoubler or other upgraded 68040, but the weird Amiga people make them too expensive.