Mac Classic 2/40: one good Apple – Apple Macintosh Classic 2/40 – Hardware Review

Mac Classic 2/40: one good Apple – Apple Macintosh Classic 2/40 – Hardware Review – evaluation

Liza Schafer

Also: A B.O.S.S.

Handheld Organizer, a

Hard Disk on a Card, and A Low-Priced Laser

Mac Classic 2/40:

One Good Apple

Macintosh Classic 2/40

Rating: * * * *

AT A GLANCE: The newest of the familiar, compact

Macintosh family. Takes the place of the Mac

Plus and SE; performs on the level of an SE.

DOCUMENTATION: Clear and complete.

SETUP: Just a few simple steps; includes easy-to-follow

illustrated instructions.

EASE OF USE: Outstanding; a great computer for


VALUE: Excellent for a low-end system. Price is

no longer as much of an issue when deciding

between a Mac and IBM compatible.

SUPPORT: Telephone support is available from

Mac dealers; Apple has a toll-free

LIST PRICE: $1,499

MANUFACTURER: Apple Computer, 20525

Mariani Ave., Cupertino, CA 95014; (408)


MICROPROCESSOR: 7.883-MHz Motorola


MEMORY: 2M of RAM, expandable to to 4MB

DISK DRIVES 1.4MB floppy-disk drive; internal

40MB Apple SCSI hard-disk drive

PORTS: Apple Desktop Bus, two serial, SCSI,

one 3.5-inch floppy-disk drive


DISPLAY: 9-inch monochrome

DIMENSIONS: 13.2 by 9.7 by 11.2 inches


Software 6.0.7, Macintosh Basic training disk,

HyperCard 2.0

WEIGH: 17 lbs.


With a name like Macintosh Classic, Apple clearly has high hopes for its new, inexpensive computer. Coca-Cola had been around for 100 years before its chief executives considered it fit to be dubbed “classic.” Is the Classic really that good? Will it withstand the test of time’? After using the Classic for several weeks, I certainly think so. The Macintosh Classic comes in two configurations. The first, the Macintosh Classic 1/SuperDrive (which lists for 999), has 1MB of RAM and a floppy-disk drive. The second, the Macintosh Classic 2/40 (which can be found for as little as $1,250), has 2MB of RAM, a high-density floppy-disk drive, and a 40MB hard-disk drive. For the majority of home-based entrepreneurs, the Classic 2/40 is certainly worth the extra $400-the benefits of a hard-disk drive are apparent. Many programs I use, such as Microsoft Word and HyperCard, require a hard-disk drive. The 40MB hard-disk drive has room to store a myriad of files, and the computer is also powerful enough to run most Mac applications-including the yet-to-be-released System 7.0 software.

The Macintosh Classic 2/40 looks and functions a lot like its predecessors, the Macintosh Plus and SE. The Classic keyboard is a bit smaller and the keys are closer together, but my fingers were fully acclimated within a few days. The Plus, SE, and Classic are all-in-one computers with the same compact dimensions, housed in a similar platinum-gray chassis. Although the Classic 2/40 is by no means a speed demon at 8 MHz, it costs about half the price of a similarly equipped SE and performs on the same level. Before it was discontinued, you could find a Mac Plus selling for about $900-but that was with no hard-disk drive, only 1MB of RAM, and slower performance.

You may be asking yourself, “Hey, what’s the catch?” Rest assured, there really isn’t one. The price slash can be attributed to the latest skirmish in the computer wars. With the advent of Microsoft Windows, MS-DOS computers have appropriated a large segment of the “user-friendly” market. And Apple’s lower prices are its way of fighting back-they have, at last, brought out two computers that will give the competition a run for its money.

As a freelance writer, I am often asked to turn in my stories on disks-often MS-DOS disks. The Classic has the ability to convert most Mac files to MS-DOS files (and vice versa) in a few simple steps, saving me countless headaches. This is credited to the floppy-disk SuperDrive and the included utility software, Apple File Exchange.

Screen size is occasionally a problem with the Classic. The screen is only 6.5 inches by 4.5 inches (9 inches diagonally)I find it hard to design a page when I can’t see all of it at once. For that reason, in combination with its slow microprocessor, the Classic is probably not for you if your business requires that you do a lot of desktop publishing. You are also limited to a black-and-white monitor.

In the ease-of-use department, however, the Classic gets high marks. Setup is a breeze. Basically, all you have to do is pull the unit out of the box, plug it in, and connect the keyboard and mouse. On-screen instructions walk you through the few required steps necessary to set up the hard-disk drive if need be. The documentation is brief. It told me, in simple terms, everything that I felt I needed to know. I liked that I didn’t have to navigate my way through a tricky, encyclopedia-size manual.

For those new to Apple products, a Macintosh Basics tutorial disk comes with the computer to get you acquainted with the mouse, pull-down menus, file folders, and other features. The Classic also includes a system-startup disk, a systems-additions disk, and HyperCard 2.0 software–equipped with an appointment calendar and ready-to-use address stack so that you can clear the coffee-stained datebook and overstuffed Rolodex off your desk for good.

At some dealerships, the Classic is sold with a group of programs called the Smart-bundle. The Smartbundle (which can also be purchased separately for $349) from T/Maker includes the easy-to-use and highly regarded WriteNow 2.2 word processor, Full Impact 1.1 spreadsheet program, RecordHolderPlus database, and SuperPaint 2.0 paint and draw program.

I recommend the Classic to those interested in an easy-to-use, compact computer that is suitable for most Macintosh business applications. I’d also recommend the Classic to those who have been waiting to buy a Mac but were put off by the price. Those who shouldn’t buy the Classic include anyone interested in high-end graphics, color applications, or extensive desktop publishing-and people wanting to expand their system in the future should be reminded that the Classic has no expansion slots. The Classic’s value is more impressive than its performance, but its performance will get you working on that novel, database, or spreadsheet.


COPYRIGHT 1991 Freedom Technology Media Group

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