The Macintosh IIfx was a model of Apple Macintosh computer, introduced in 1990 as the fastest Mac, and discontinued in 1992.

At introduction it cost from USD 9,000 to USD 12,000, depending on configuration. However, it is now worth only a few hundred dollars US. The rapid acceleration of future Macs introduced after the IIfx, and the general depreciation of new, high-tech Macs, were factors contributing to the rapid depreciation of the IIfx. In China, an IIfx went for well over CNY 100,000 -- beyond the reach of the vast majority of Chinese in the early 1990s.

It was the fastest Macintosh on record when it debuted on March 19, 1990, and it stayed that way until the Macintosh Quadra was introduced in 1991.

Apple called the computer "wicked fast", as it ran at a clock rate of a then-astounding 40 Megahertz, had 32KB of Level 2 cache, and included various complicated tweaks that were included in the name of speed. Interesting to note is that when Apple said 40 Megahertz, they really meant it. That speed referred to both the main logic board clock, as well as the speed of both processors (a Motorola 68030 CPU and a Motorola 68882 FPU).

The IIfx featured specialized high-speed RAM using 64-pin SIMMs, at a time when all other Macintosh models used 30-pin SIMMs. The extra pins were a separate path to allow latched read and write operations. The IIfx also included two special dedicated processors for sound and serial communications. These I/O chips featured a pair of embedded 6502 CPUs, meaning that this Mac also had the core of two Apple II machines inside it (albeit at 10 MHz rather than the 1 MHz of the Apple II). However the machine's architecture did not expose these CPUs to developers. It made it a great choice for high-end applications, including 3D, professional DTP, and science-heavy applications. The integrated 32K static RAM cache also adds to the speed of the IIfx.

The IIfx used SCSI as its hard disk interface, as had all previous Macintosh models since the Macintosh Plus. The IIfx required a special black-colored SCSI terminator for external drives, however.

The IIfx was the apex of Apple's 68030 machines, and was replaced at the top of Apple's lineup by the Macintosh Quadra series.

Easter eggs

If you reset the IIfx to its date of its introduction -- March 19, 1990 -- and set the screen to 256 colors, then restart holding down command-option-F-X, you are treated to a digitized color picture of the design team that made the Macintosh IIfx.

Software Included with Macintosh IIfx

  • System 6.0.5
  • Finder 6.1.5
  • Multifinder 6.0.5
  • LaserWriter 5.2

Sources and References

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Macintosh II

Macintosh II | Macintosh IIx | Macintosh IIcx | Macintosh IIci | Macintosh IIfx | Macintosh IIsi | Macintosh IIvx | Macintosh IIvi |

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