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Macintosh/Macintosh 128K
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Macintosh / Macintosh 128K

The computer that gave us it all!
• 128K of memory - at that time most computers had 64K of memory.
• Designed as a computer "appliance" - no need to add anything inside.
• Had a single sided 400K drive - at that time most computers had 180K single sided drives.
Debuted officially at $2495 on January 24th
MacWrite and MacPaint was bundled with the Macintosh

Macintosh logo Macintosh 128K logo
The logo on the left was on the first Macintosh, the one on the right was on the Macintosh 128Ks
when the Mac 512K was released.

Macintosh 128K
Do you want to add a fan, learn how to use a single floppy drive Mac, or get more historical information on the original Macintosh?

Follow me to the fifth newsletter from The Mac 512 User Group

1984 commercial picture
The now famous 1984 commercial which launched Macintosh from Chiat/Day is available from their historical page!
I'm pleased to present my Macintosh! (After a long search...)

It is proper to call the Macintosh by Macintosh or Macintosh 128K. Once the Macintosh 512K came out, it was important to come up with some modified name. If you say you have a Macintosh nowadays, most people will not think of this model.


The Macintosh 128K is used today yet for word processing, painting, telecommunications and the like. 128K of memory is still useful and enough for many tasks if you play by the Mac 128K's rules. The make sure you have two disk drives, otherwise the disk swapping will drive you nuts.

This is the only Macintosh where memory could be an issue. Using the basic applications (MacWrite, MacPaint, etc.) allows this computer to be useful. IF those applications went away, the Macintosh would just be used as an aquarium!


The Macintosh came with a bunch of industry firsts!
• 1984 - Graphical User Interface
• 1984 - Built-in LAN networking
• 1984 - Built-in sound
• 1984 - 3.5 inch floppies
• 1984 - Self-configuring LAN networking
• 1984 - Keyboard bus
• 1984 - Desktop metaphor
• In 1984, Apple took the pioneering work on the graphical user interface done at Xerox PARC and turned it into a
commercial success with the original 128K Macintosh.
• In 1984, Apple introduced the AppleTalk network, a self-configuring local area network technology.

The box the Macintosh was shipped in

A page from the user manual

(Top row) The Test Drive disks - one of Apple's promotions. (MacWrite & MacPaint / Multiplan & Chart / MacProject & Multiplan)
(Bottom row) Three of the six original disks that came with the Macintosh. (MacWrite & MacPaint / Guided Tour / System Disk)

Macintosh manual Macintosh Tour tape
The original Macintosh manual and the original Macintosh Guided Tour Tape.

Macintosh plastic box holding the diskettes, cassette tape and manual.

MacWrite manual, MacPaint manual, a manual errata sheet and the packing list pamphlet.

Here are a few links to the early Macintosh advertising brochures:

1984 Apple 32 SuperMicros brochure

1984 original Newsweek insert

1984 brochure

1984 Ad in Byte magazine

1984 Apple 32 SuperMicro brochure

1984 Computers and Electronics article on the original Macintosh

(Several are courtesy of

Third-party companies have created a SCSI add on board which will complete the transformation of the Macintosh 128K to a Macintosh Plus. The other way was to obtain an Apple upgrade kit which consisted of the Macintosh Plus logic board and new case (the back part only.)

Apple's recommended System Software version: System 2.0 and Finder 4.1 (Macintosh System Software 0.3 & 0.5)

For AppleShare use: Can not be used as an AppleShare file server or workstation.

Below the software chart shows the AppleTalk Version as n/a. I have not successfully networked a Macintosh 128K on an AppleTalk network. The Macintosh 512K will work, the Macintosh 128K won't.  It must be a memory issue. :(

I have printed from a Macintosh 128K to a LaserWriter Plus. This is the only bit of "networking" the Macintosh 128K can do!

For telecommunications use: Can use 9600 baud modem or lower, anything higher may cause problems. Stock Macintosh cannot be placed on the Internet, Internet needs 4MB of RAM, possible with a memory upgrade.

Hard Drive use: One of the best expansion options for these older Macs was a hard drive which attached to the floppy port. It required a special INIT. The INIT and hard disk were called the HD20. Unfortunately the Macintosh 128K cannot use this drive. My testing confirmed this. :(

Quick answers to your questions here!

Apple official specs


  • Introduced: 1/24/84
  • Discontinued: 10/1/85
  • Floppy Size: 400K
  • Internal HD: none none
  • Upgrade From: none
  • Upgrade To: 512Ke, Plus
  • Form Factor: 128
  • Weight: 16.5 lbs.

Logic Board

  • Main Processor: 8 MHz 68000
  • PMMU: none
  • FPU: none
  • Data Path: 8 MHz 16-bit
  • Secondary Processor: none
  • Slots: none
  • MIPS Rating: .7


  • Memory on Logic Board: 0.125MB
  • RAM Range: 0.125MB to 0.125MB
  • RAM Slots: 0 n/a
  • RAM Type: ns n/a SIMMs in groups of n/a
  • Notes: This system has no built-in memory expansion, however third-party upgrades could take this system to 512K.


  • Built-in Display: 9" monochrome CRT
  • VRAM Configuration: built-in CRT
  • VRAM Speed: n/a
  • VRAM Expansion: built in
  • Color Bit Depth by Screen Resolution:
    • 512x384: 1-bit
      (1-bit = Black & White, 2-bit = 4 colors, 4-bit = 16 colors, 8-bit = 256 colors, 16-bit = thousands, 24-bit = millions)

      The maximum color depth listed for 640x870 is 8-bit, reflecting the capabilities of the Apple 15 inch Portrait Display

  • Notes: Screen size is 512x342.


  • Sound In: none
  • Sound Out: mono, 8-bit
  • Microphone Port: none


  • ADB: none
  • Video: none
  • Floppy: DB-19 - Disk Drive Port: 500K baud
  • SCSI: none
  • GeoPorts:
  • Ethernet: none
  • Microphone Port Type: none
  • Ports: Printer Modem Speaker
  • Notes: The serial ports in this system do not support handshaking or synchronous modems.

Serial Port specs

  • AppleTalk: 230.4K baud
  • Asynchronous: 57.6K baud (maximum rate)
  • Synchronous: 920K baud (maximum rate with external clock)


  • Source: .5A 105-125V 50-60 Hz
  • Consumption: 60 W or 205.2 BTU
  • Battery Type: 4.5V alkaline, #523


  • Addressing Modes: 24-bit
  • Original System Software: 0.0
  • Original Enabler: none
  • ROM ID: $0000
  • ROM Version: n/a
  • ROM Size: 64K
  • AppleTalk Version: n/a
  • System Software Supported:
    • <1.0, 1.0, 1.1, 2.0, 2.0.1, 5.0, 5.1, 6.0, 6.0.1, 6.0.2, 6.0.3, 6.0.4, 6.0.5, 6.0.7, 6.0.8

All technical information from

[ System Showcase ] [AppleTalk-ing ] [ Mac Resources ] [ Help ]
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