Macintosh Color Classic The Macintosh Color Classic, also called the Performa 250, was introduced on February 1, 1993 with a price of $1,390. It was the last model of the classic Macintosh line sold in the U.S. and the only one to include a color monitor. There was a second classic form-factor Macintosh produced with a color monitor, the Color Classic II, but it was only sold outside the U.S. mainly in Japan and Europe . While the Color Classic was sold worldwide, the Performa 250 was only sold in the UK and Australia. The machine shipped with System 7.1, requiring System Enabler 401, and is capable of utilizing up to System 7.6.1. The Color Classic would be discontinued on May 1, 1994.

The most striking difference between this machine and other compact Mac's is the fact that it has a built-in 10" color monitor, based on a Trinitron tube, vice the standard 9" b/w monitor included in all other models since the original Macintosh 128k. The Trinitron tube used in the Color Classic produces a very sharp and bright picture at a resolution of 512 x 384 and 256 colors with 256k of VRAM on the mainboard. The VRAM is further upgradable to 512k with the addition of a standard 256k VRAM SIMM for 16-bit (32,000 simultaneous) color.

Another interesting aspect of the machine is it's upgradability. It's mainboard, based on the LCII, is easily removed through the rear of the machine by removing two screws, removing the rear port cover and sliding the mainboard out of the casing. It is then a simple job to upgrade the RAM, VRAM, or PRAM battery. Like the LCII, there is also a LC-style PDS slot for use with video, ethernet, Apple II emulation, or accelerator cards. The mainboard has 4meg of RAM mounted directly to it and it is expandable using two standard 30pin SIMMs of at least 100ns. Also mounted directly to the mainboard and coming out the rear of the machine are the two ADB ports, 2 DIN-8 serial ports, a DB-25 SCSI port, a mic and an earphone jack. The CPU is a 16mhz 68030 with a socket for a 68882 co-processor. The non-U.S. Color Classic II used a 33mhz 68030, thier mainboard's being interchangeable between the systems. The Color Classic is powered on and off by it's keyboard mounted power switch and the volume and screen brightness controls are located on the front of the case next to the floppy drive opening.

Unfortunately, since it is based on the LCII, the Color Classic also inherits that system's limitations, including the 16bit data path and a maximum RAM of 10meg. It is possible to install two 4meg SIMMs into the two sockets, but 2meg will not be recognized. The 16bit data path caused the machine to be quite slow, and earned it a reputation from some as being one of the worst machines produced. In comparison, the Color Classic II had a full 32bit data path and it's RAM could be expanded to a full 36meg using 72pin SIMMs.

Despite it's lackluster performance and other problems, the Color Classic has remained quite popular due to it's small size and it's sharp color screen. Especially in Japan it is highly sought after, with many upgrades being done to improve it's performance, including the replacement of it's mainboard with that of a LC575 (33mhz 68040 cpu). Greater levels of performance are also gained by modifying the internal structure of the casing to install logic boards from other Macintoshes, including some getting G3 upgrades! Among the most popular ugrades are accelerators which plug into the PDS slot and a modification of the analog board for the video which gives it a normal 640 x 480 resolution on the internal monitor. This screen modification is required for most of the mainboard replacements. The system has been labled by many as 'cute', with dimensions of 14.5"x9.9"x12.6" and a weight of 22.5 lbs.

This Color Classic is relatively stock, with 10meg of RAM, an internal 80meg hard disk with System 7.1 installed, as well as an external 1gig hard disk with System 7.5.3 installed. The built-in screen is just gorgeous and I've increased the VRAM to 512k in order to get the full 16bit color. I've also added an Asante PDS 10base-T ethernet card internally. I don't intend on doing any major modifications internally, but I would like to add a 68040 accelerator and move the 1gig hard disk inside the system casing.

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