Monday, January 21, 2008
The good old days (part II)
Know what these are? Look closely at the handwritten notes on the chips. These are copies of original Macintosh 128k ROM's (B and C). Here's the backstory...
Back when Mac's were based on Motorola 86000 series CPU's, these were the ROM chips that made a Mac a Mac. But why make copies of the ROMs? Simple - Amiga.
See, the Amiga was based on the same chipset, and with a little harware hack, combined with these ROM's, Amiga's could be a full functioning Mac. Sometimes at faster speeds than commercially available Macs.
I know you are asking - why bother? Back then (this was around 1989), Macintosh computers were sold at a premium price. I think my 68030 based Mac IIci A/UX (Apple's first crack at a unix OS) workstation with a 13" monitor 4 MB of RAM and 80MB (that's MB, not GB) drive was retail $13,000! Thank god for the student discount, but even with that I think the whole thing cost me like $5,200. OUCH!
So, with prices like that, being able to run System 7 on an Amiga was a HUGE deal. And Amiga users would pay fairly decent prices for ROMs. Now, I wasn't in the trade of selling ROM's, but as a hacker, I burned my fair share of ROMs for hardware hacking on my IIci and on my friend's Amigas. I loved my PROM burner. ;-) (there's a whole 'nother Apple ][ ROM story coming, but that was almost a decade earlier)
Hmmm, what else did I find in that box of goodies....