October 18, 1992: Quadra 900 Introduced

Discussion in 'MacBytes.com News Discussion' started by MacBytes, Oct 18, 2006.

  1. MacBytes macrumors bot

    Jul 5, 2003
  2. RacerX macrumors 65832

    Aug 2, 2004
    The Quadra 900 was released in 1991... not 1992.

    While it was designed to fill the role of a server (when configured as such), the Quadra 900 was a high end graphics workstation. It was nearly unparalleled in what it gave graphic designers to work with.

    This was, for those of us who were Mac users back then, the fantasy machines we would dream about.

    Those 16 memory slots let you (if you had a few thousand dollars) pack up to 256 MB of RAM in the system... and almost unheard of amount of memory for a desktop (or workstation) system.

    The Quadra's chief rivals at the time were the Color NeXTstation, Silicon Graphics IRIS Indigo and the Sun SPARCstation LX... all of which were running at about the same raw processor speed, but none were as expandable as the Quadra 900. The Indigo and SPARC stations topped out at 96 MB of memory while the NeXTstation could handle 32 MB. The Quadra has two SCSI buses and room for up to three half height drives (the Indigo had room for three smaller drives). Plus the 900 came with 1 MB of VRAM (expandable to 2 MB) which was a lot of memory just for video back in 1991 (note that servers don't need that much VRAM... their just serving files and the like).

    By any standard, the 900 was a monster graphics workstation at the time. And was Apple's answer to the competition which had been shipping faster systems for almost a year by this point (NeXT was using the 68040 for about a year before Apple introduced the Quadras... and both the SPARCstation and Indigo were significantly faster than the Macintosh IIfx).

    What Apple had hoped to leverage at the time was the Mac's software selection... but with Adobe and NeXT working together (which produced a fully Postscript environment, and a port of Illustrator to NEXTSTEP), Adobe and Silicon Graphics working closely (which yielded a version of Illustrator and Photoshop for IRIX) and Sun, NeXT and Silicon Graphics working with both Frame and Agfa (both producing rival products to PageMaker and QuarkXPress on the Mac), Apple was starting to lose the software gap they were relying on.

    It should be noted that Apple was late to the 68040 due to compatibility issues... and while many of the issues were fixed in System 7, the 68040 still presented some issues to software titles of the time. Even if you had the money for a Quadra, it was important to make sure that your mission critical applications would work on the new systems (for example, my copy of Director 2.0 doesn't like the Quadras).

    But yeah, this date thing is a little odd. By October of 1992 the Quadra 950 had been out for almost 5 months.


    Which means my Quadra 950 is over 14 years old. :eek:

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