While the Macintosh II was certainly revolutionary
from the point of view that yes, it could be expanded by the user without
voiding the Apple Limited Warranty, the Macintosh II was also
revolutionary from an architectural standpoint. The Mac II had a 32-bit
physical address space and was the first Apple product to fully implement
in hardware the IEEE 754 floating-point numeric standards as well as
Apple's own Standard Apple Numerics Environment.
The Mac II provided the jumping-off point for Apple's hardware department
to move into the computing world of the 1990s
More technical information from Ken:
The macintosh II was one of the first expandable
macintoshes. It featured 6 NuBus slots. It had a video card. The standard
RAM was 1MB and could be expanded to 68MB using both 4-SIMM banks of 120NS
It also supports 256KB, 1MB, 4MB, and 16MB SIMMS, the SIMMS over 4MB must
be PAL type. To use 4MB or larger SIMMS requires Apple's M6051/C upgrade,
or a 3rd party accellerator that supports large SIMMS. 4 or 16 MB SIMMS
cannot be used in bank A without first upgrading to FDHD.
The Mac II sported an ADB (Apple
Desktop Bus) port for a keyboard and mouse, DIN-8 serial ports, a DB-25
SCSI connector which had a maximum of 11,20 kbps throughput, and a DB-15
The Mac II also had the PRAM battery soldered to the motherboard.
It had 24-bit addressing, 32-bit
with Mode32. Unfortunately, the Mac II was manufactured before Apple's
Superdrive (1.44MB floppy) and was never shipped with them. You can
upgrade a Mac II to use a superdrive. With the superdrive and some
software, a Mac II can work with 3.5" DOS disks. If a superdrive is
added without upgrading, the Mac II can read and write 800K disks in the
The Mac II's SCSI port is rated at
1.25MBps by Apple, though it is closer to 1.4MBps. For maximum SCSI
througput, you should use a SCSI device that has a buffer.
About the Macintosh video standard, Allan Crain
The Mac II didn't use a VGA monitor. Apple had a proprietary RGB monitor
standard which used a DB15 (15 pin d-sub in two rows. Like a PC joystick
port) instead of an HD15 (15 pin d-sub in three rows, the size of a DB9
serial port but with more pins. HD==High Density) VGA port.
The two were...not entirely compatible. The Mac video had extra logic in
it so the monitor could tell the computer what resolution it ran at, which
is why Macs were using all sorts of wacky resolutions at that period in
time when PCs were mostly just using 640x480.
The Mac didn't gain the ability to use a VGA monitor until, as I recall,
the Mac LC. And even then, it still had the DB15 connector. You needed to
use an adapter to use a VGA. Apple didn't start using actual VGA ports on
their machines until the really recent ones. I know the G4 cube has it,
and I know the Beige G3 desktop doesn't. So the switch happened somewhere
Mark Satterthwaite clarifies:
Apple started using standard VGA output ports with the Blue & White G3
towers, thought they could actually have been introduced inside the
Bondi-Blue iMac, but that would be hard to verify unless you want to take
a perfectly good computer to bits.
Further information from Jhonathan
The mac used a special card that upgraded the 16 color that was included
with the system. To up to 2.0 million colors which surpassed most
computers of its time.This made this mac special.However more color means
more memory then thats when the problems came in.Mac's slowed too much
down because of the complex colors
from John Ball:
In order for the Macintosh II to run apple unix 2.0 (or A/UX in short) you needed the tape backup 40SC and it's matching driver boot floppy. The driver is still easy to find but the tape drive is hard to find and their roller by now has become sludge. The tape is also hard to find and the documentation....forget looking for all of that. Fish feet are more common that the 5-binder set that makes up the documentation.