Macintosh Server G3/300 Minitower (1998)

The Macintosh Server G3/300 Minitower was released in 1998 as the final beige tower design by Apple. This G3 Server used a 300 MHz PowerPC 750 G3 processor, a single 4.0 GB SCSI hard drive (with space for a second drive), and a 24x CD-ROM drive.

This minitower also contained a “Whisper personality card” that added audio input and output ports. According to LowEndMac, Apple had planned various “personality cards,” but only audio (“Whisper”), audio/video (“Wings”), and audio/video/DVD playback (“Bordeaux”) were ever produced.

The case design of this minitower includes a removable side panel and two internal tabs that, when released, allow the entire tower to tilt 90 degrees on a hinge allowing easy access to all internal components. Interestingly, the side door panel latch and internal tabs are made from translucent blue-green plastic, a design aesthetic that would soon become the Mac design norm that same year when the original iMac was released.

Ports on this computer include SCSI; ADB (Apple Desktop Bus); Ethernet (10-100); Mac serial and printer ports; Apple Video (DB-15), line-out and microphone 3.5 mm jacks. Three card slots are available: the first is empty, but ready for a high-speed SCSI port; the second slot has a second high-speed ethernet port; and the third slot adds two USB ports.

The exact factory configuration of the server is shown as: 1MB Cache/128MB/2x4GB UW/CD/10-100 ENET. The model is M4405, and the serial number area specifies a production date of May 27, 1998, at 3:30 PM.

Sources: EveryMac, LowEndMac

Mac Pro (Quad Core, 2.8 GHz, Mid-2010)

The Mac Pro Quad Core 2.8 uses a single 2.8 GHz Quad Core Xeon W3530 processor. The “quad core” designation refers to its single processor with four independent “core” processing centers that can work independently or together to increase computing speed and efficiency. It used 3 GB of RAM (DDR3 ECC SDRAM), a 1 TB Serial ATA hard drive, an 18X dual-layer SuperDrive, and an ATI Radeon HD 5770 graphics card.

The design of this tower was identical to its Power Mac G5 predecessor, using the same anodized aluminum alloy case with a removable side panel. The sides of the tower were solid aluminum with a light gray Apple logo printed on center. The front and back used a pattern of aluminum perforations as a design element, a structural feature, and as part of the ventilation for the internal systems.

The front of the tower included spaces for two optical drives at the top. On the lower-right was the power button and five ports: 3.5 mm headphone jack, two USB ports, and two FireWire 800 ports.

The back of the tower included five slots. Slot 1 includes a dual-link DVI port and two Mini DisplayPorts. Slot 2 is unused (and uses a ventilated cover), while slots 3–5 are unused. Rear ports include three USB 2.0 ports, two FireWire 800 ports, optical digital audio in/out ports, a 3.5 mm line-out audio jack, a 3.5 mm line-in audio jack, and two independent Gigabit Ethernet ports. Internally, wireless networking options include AirPort Extreme (802.11a/b/g/n) and Bluetooth 2.1.

Inside, the Mac Pro includes two 5.25-inch optical drive bays (both are outfitted with Apple SuperDrive drives in this example); four internal 3.5-inch cable-free, direct-attach hard drive bays (this model has three 512 GB drives); and four PCIe 2.0 slots, one with a graphics card installed.

Source: Everymac

Power Mac G5 (Dual Core, 2.3 GHz, 2005)

The Power Mac G5 tower represented a major design departure from the four previous Mac “pro” tower designs. The Power Mac G5 used an anodized aluminum alloy case design with a removable side panel that replaced the hinged door on previous Mac towers.

The sides of the Power Mac G5 were solid aluminum with a light gray Apple logo printed on center. The front and back used a pattern of aluminum perforations as design elements, structure, and as part of the ventilation for the internal systems.

This model is a Power Mac G5 Dual Core running at 2.3 GHz. The same design was available in a G5 Dual Core (2.0 GHz) and a G5 Quad Core (2.5 GHz) variation, with all models using 970MP G5 processors with two independent cores on a single chip. This tower included 512 MB or 1 GB RAM (SDRAM), a 250 GB (Serial ATA) hard drive, a 16x dual-layer SuperDrive, and a NVIDIA GeForce 6600 video card.

The front of the tower included a single optical drive, the power button, and three ports: one 3.5 mm headphone jack, one USB port, and a FireWire 400 port.

The back of the tower included four slots. Slot 1 includes two DVI ports (one single-link DVI and one dual-link DVI port), while slots 2–4 are unused. Rear ports include two independent Gigabit Ethernet ports, one FireWire 400 port, one FireWire 800 port, optical digital audio in/out ports, a 3.5 mm line-out audio jack, a 3.5 mm line-in audio jack, and three USB 2.0 ports.

Internally, the tower supports AirPort Extreme (802.11g) and Bluetooth 2.0 wireless protocols. Everymac reports that the inside of Power Mac G5 models were divided into “four different thermal zones with nine computer-controlled fans for optimum cooling.” Also, this Power Mac G5 has two internal hard drives.

The case design with its front and back aluminum perforations and handles is, indeed, reminiscent of a cheese grater—albeit a beautiful one.

Source: Everymac

Power Mac G4 (1.25 GHz, “mirrored drive doors,” 2003)

The Power Macintosh G4/1.25 GHz “Mirrored Drive Doors” tower used a 1.25 GHz PowerPC 7455 G4 processor, 256 MB RAM, an 80 GB hard drive, a 12X DVD-ROM/CD-RW “Combo” drive, and allowed wireless using an optional AirPort (802.11b) card. This model was released along with new Power Macintosh G5 models to provide a lower-cost alternative for users who did not need the power of the G5 and still wanted to boot with the MacOS 9 operating system.

While similar to the previous “Quicksilver” model, the front of this tower retains the silver opaque color, but adds a mirror-finished plate over the two available optical drive doors in the center. Although two drive spaces are available, this example only uses one “Combo” (CD/DVD reader/writer) drive in the top position. The prominent drive doors also include the power button at the top-center and an “interrupt” button off to the right. A single speaker is placed above the doors. Four conspicuous ventilation holes span the bottom of the front of this tower.

The back of the tower was flipped compared to previous similar tower designs (G3 blue and white, G4 graphite, and G4 Quicksilver), in that the expansion slots are placed at the top. This tower has spaces for five slots, but only uses slot 1 (at the bottom) to house a VGA port and ADC (proprietary Apple Display Connector) port; slots 2–5 are unused. Ports are included below with two USB, two FireWire (400), one ethernet, a space for a modem port, and side-by-side microphone (line-in)/speaker (audio-out) 3.5 mm jacks. A dedicated Apple speaker port is included to allow Apple’s crystal-clear spherical speakers to be used.

The right side of the tower included a latch with a circular rubberized grip that allowed the entire side of the tower to be opened on a hinge, revealing and providing relatively easy access to all internal components. Plug-in slots (such as video, memory, and wireless) were attached to the hinged side, while components such as drives and fans remained attached to the internal metal frame of the tower.

A design concept worth noting in this tower is its two-layer round-hole pattern on the back. The internal layer features smaller, closely spaced holes in silver metal, while the larger outer holes are spaced further apart in light-silver plastic. The concept is similar to the somewhat-maligned “cheese grater” design used in the 2019 Mac Pro tower. The 2019 Mac Pro uses a “machined spherical array” of ventilation holes in a distinctive design—”The lattice pattern on the Mac Pro is based on a naturally occurring phenomenon in molecular crystal structures.” To be clear, the 2019 design is a single piece of machined metal—not two separate layers—but the designs are related visually. In both the 2003 and 2019 towers, the holes are used simultaneously as design, structure, and ventilation.

Source: Everymac, Apple

Power Mac G4 (1.0 GHz, “Quicksilver,” 2002)

The Power Macintosh G4/1.0 GHz was nicknamed “Quicksilver” because of its new silver color and its significant speed upgrades from the previous graphite G4 model. Internally, it included dual 1.0 GHz PowerPC 7450 (or 7455) G4 processors, 512 MB RAM, an 80 GB hard drive, and a wireless connection was available with the addition of an optional AirPort (802.11b) card. A few Quicksilver models were available with different levels of processors, drive capacities, and RAM options.

The front of the Power Macintosh G4 “Quicksilver” was opaque silver (replacing translucent plastics of previous designs). The top included spaces for two optical drives. This example includes a DVD-ROM drive in the top space and no device in the lower space. Below the optical drives was the power button, and two additional smaller buttons—reset and “interrupt” buttons—both used to recover from system-level issues. The bottom-center features a prominent chrome-finished speaker (without a protective grille).

The ports on the back included stacked headphone and line-out speaker 3.5 mm jacks; a modem (telephone) port; one ethernet port; two FireWire (400) ports; and two USB ports. Five slots were also available. This model included slot 1 with a standard VGA port and a proprietary ADC (Apple Display Connector) port, while slots 2–5 are unused.

The right side of the tower included a latch with a circular rubberized grip that allowed the entire side of the tower to be opened on a hinge, revealing and providing relatively easy access to all internal components. Plug-in slots (such as video, memory, and wireless) were attached to the hinged side, while components such as drives and fans remained attached to the internal metal frame of the tower.

The four corners of this tower serve as feet and/or handles. They are cast in crystal clear acrylic.

Source: Everymac

Macintosh Server G4 (500 MHz, 1999)

The Macintosh Server G4/500 was designed similarly as its G3 blue and white predecessor, but used a translucent graphite and white case. Internally, it had a 500 MHz PowerPC 7400 G4 processor, 256 MB RAM (512 GB RAM maximum), an 18.0 GB (or 36.0 GB) hard drive, a 5X DVD-ROM drive, and a Rage 128 Pro graphics card. This server is identical to the Power Macintosh G4 series tower, but included faster hard drives, more RAM, and shipped with a server operating system. The two Apple server operating systems of the time included MacOS 8.6 with AppleShare IP 6.3.1 and MacOS X Server.

The front of the Macintosh Server G4 was translucent graphite (gray) with an underlying pinstripe pattern. The top included spaces for two optical drives. This example includes a DVD-ROM drive and no device in the lower available space. Below the optical drives was a speaker, the power button, and two additional smaller buttons—reset and “interrupt” buttons—both used to recover from system-level issues.

The back of the tower included all ports: two FireWire (400) ports, one ethernet port, two USB ports, and stacked 3.5 mm microphone (audio-in) and audio-out jacks. A space for a modem port is included, but unused in this example. Four slots were also available. This model includes slot 1 with a standard VGA port and a DVI port; slot 2 with a high-speed SCSI (LVD/SE) port; while slots 3 and 4 are unused.

The right side of the tower included a latch with a circular rubberized grip that allowed the entire side of the tower to be opened on a hinge, revealing and providing relatively easy access to all internal components. Plug-in slots (such as video, memory, and wireless) were attached to the hinged side, while components such as drives and fans remained attached to the internal metal frame of the tower.

This Macintosh Server G4 includes three internal hard drives.

Source: Everymac

Power Macintosh G3 (300 MHz, “Blue & White,” 1999)

The Power Macintosh G3 was the first new tower desktop to be released after the original iMac in 1998. The iMac at the time was originally released in “Bondi” blue—a translucent blue-green hue reminiscent of the waters off Bondi beach in Australia—that was replaced in 1999 with a brighter translucent set of colors including a shade of blue called “blueberry.” The Power Macintosh G3 was closer in color to the blueberry iMac, but it was not an exact match.

The Power Macintosh G3 was known as the “blue and white” tower. The tower used a translucent white outer case on both sides and featured both a glossy, translucent blue Apple logo and the characters G3 boldy printed under the frosted white translucent plastic to achieve a blurred, shadowy effect.

The front of the Power Macintosh G3 was translucent blue with an underlying pinstripe pattern. The top of the front included spaces for two optical drives. This example includes a CD-ROM and a Zip drive (from the company Iomega). Below the media drives was a speaker, the power button, and two additional smaller buttons—reset and “interrupt” buttons—both used to recover from system-level issues.

The back of the tower included ports, including two FireWire (400) ports, one ADB port, one ethernet port, two USB ports, and side-by-side 3.5 mm microphone (audio-in) and audio-out ports. A space for a modem port is included, but unused in this example. Four slots were also available. This model includes slot 1 with a standard VGA port, slot 2 with AV ports including a DB-15 (“Mac Video”) port, two S-video, and one yellow video-in RCA port. Slots 3 and 4 are unused.

The port choices represent an interesting mix of legacy and brand new technology. While the desktop was the first to include FireWire 400 ports, it also included the then-new USB standard, but curiously included one then-outdated ADB port. The slots below show a similar mix of old and new: VGA and the old-style “Mac Video” DB-15 port. Thus, while the iMac was only looking forward, this tower allowed old and new peripherals to be used.

The right side of the tower included a latch with a circular rubberized grip that allowed the entire side of the tower to be opened on a hinge, revealing and providing relatively easy access to all internal components. Plug-in slots (such as video and memory) were attached to the hinged side, while components such as drives and fans remained attached to the internal metal frame of the tower.

Internally, this Power Macintosh G3 uses a 300 MHz PowerPC 750 G3 processor, 64 MB of RAM, a 6 GB hard drive, a 32X CD-ROM drive, and an ATI Rage graphics card. The hard drive was a faster, server-grade Ultra ATA/33 model when iMac computers of the time included IDE/ATA hard drives.

A highly specious rumor of the time noted that the design of this tower included a Disney reference. When viewed sideways, a Mickey Mouse ears shape can be seen in the negative space between the “bite” in the Apple logo and the inside of the Helvetica Bold “3” in the “G3” logo on the sides of this tower. The conspiracy theory speculated that Disney was contemplating the purchase of Apple.

I used versions of this blue and white tower in two of my educational technology leadership positions. In both cases, I used this tower to create videos and other multimedia using early versions of iMovie and other multimedia creation software.

Source: Everymac

Apple PlainTalk Microphone (platinum, unopened)

This is the second version of the PlainTalk Microphone produced by Apple. The first version was round. This model has a unique curvy shape with a flat bottom with a lip to allow it to sit flat on top of a computer display. This microphone was compatible with desktop Power Mac models up to and including G3 iMac models. It measures 50 x 25 x 60 mm.

The microphone is powered by an internal amplifier that receives its power from its elongated tip of its 3.5 mm jack plug. The extra-long tip makes this connection proprietary.

The microphone is omnidirectional, but records only in mono.

Source: Radio Museum

Stickers for programmable function keys (for original iBook, 1999)

The original “clamshell” iMac shipped with a set of Stickers for programmable function keys in various icon designs. These stickers were designed to be used above the top row of F (function) keys across the top of the iBook.

Many of the iBook F-keys were pre-assigned:
F1 and F2—brightness (down and up)
F3 and F4—volume (down and up)
F5—num lock (number lock to allow use of a built-in number keypad)
F6—mute

However, the F7–F13 keys were unassigned. Using the Keyboard System Preferences, users could easily assign functions to these keys. The set of stickers were included to allow users to mark the functions with a custom sticker to help them remember the key’s function.

Although these stickers shipped with all original iBook “clamshell” laptops (blueberry, tangerine, graphite, indigo, and key lime), I have found no Apple documentation that explains their use. I have two versions of the stickers, a blue-gray set from the original iBook release, and a light gray version from the later iBook models.

Source: EveryMac

Macintosh Display (DA-15) to VGA Adapters (platinum, clear, and black)

During the 1990s when Apple produced external CRT displays, they built DB-15 video ports into Macintosh computers. Product manuals of the time referred to the port as the “Macintosh video port” and in the later 1990s, the “Monitor port.”

An Apple Service Source document for the Power Macintosh/Server G3 Minitower shows the port in a diagram labeled as the “Monitor Port.”

I have three different versions of this adapter that allows a Macintosh with this DB-15 monitor port to be used with a “standard” VGA monitor. The three versions I have are platinum, clear, and black. The black example is unopened. All three designs have the Apple logo.

Source: Apple