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iFixit Tears Apart Apple's Macintosh 128K from 1984

By - Source: iFixit | B 17 comments

Vintage Mac meets iFixit.

iFixit has made a name for itself tearing down the hottest gadgets as soon as they become available. The company will even fly across multiple timezones just to get its hands on the technology first. This week, iFixit is switching its focus completely. The company is celebrating 30 years of Mac with a teardown of a Macintosh 128K.

 

Initially released as just the Macintosh (it was later re-named the Macintosh 128K when the Macintosh 512K launched in September of '84), the Macintosh 128K is Apple's first PC and was released in January of 1984. Though it was discontinued just under two years later, in October of 1985, the machine holds a special place in personal computer history. Under the hood, it had a Motorola 68000 processor clocked at 7.833 MHz and, as the name suggests, 128 KB of RAM. It had just 400 KB of storage and shipped with System 1.0. 

The model in iFixit's video actually comes courtesy of Cult of Mac writer Adam Rosen. Rosen actually cobbled this Macintosh together from parts he had at home before shipping it off to iFixit to be taken apart all over again. Not quite as special as tearing down a brand new product, but Macintoshes are rather hard to come by these days, and no one does a teardown quite like iFixit.

The computer scored a respectable 7/10 on iFixit’s repairability scale. Unlike today’s Apple machines, iFixit said that once you got the case open, it was pretty easy to replace any of the components, from logic board to display. There was also no adhesive. Something else modern Mac users aren’t used to. What remains the same is that the case is pretty hard to open. Though Apple wasn’t using its infamous Torx screws to keep tinkerers out, iFixit did say that the screws were deeply recessed and the panel fit in general was quite tight. Check the video below to see for yourself:

Macintosh 128K Teardown

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  • 1 Hide
    gtvr , January 26, 2014 6:09 AM
    First of all, I'm fairly certain that the original did have Torx screws, just not a proprietary version. Second, you had to watch out for the back of the display, there was a big capacitor in there somewhere that could zap you if not discharged correctly.
  • 6 Hide
    levin70 , January 26, 2014 7:17 AM
    "the Macintosh 128K is Apple's first PC and was released in January of 1984"That's funny because i specifically remember that during Hanukkah in 1979 i received an APPLE IIe and that was 5 years before the first mac.
  • 2 Hide
    erichlund , January 26, 2014 7:38 AM
    Agree with levin70. But, he's in error about one thing. My first computer was an Apple II+, not IIe, and I bought it in January 1981 in San Bernardino, CA, after completing USAF pilot training and moving to my first assignment. The IIe did not come out until later. The Apple I was Apple's first PC, but the II series was the first commercial success. It literally owned the PC industry until Apple went insane and became hyper-proprietary.
  • 0 Hide
    bluestar2k11 , January 26, 2014 7:50 AM
    Quote:
    "the Macintosh 128K is Apple's first PC and was released in January of 1984"That's funny because i specifically remember that during Hanukkah in 1979 i received an APPLE IIe and that was 5 years before the first mac.
    Yeah, a simple google search showed me the first apple device (partial computer) marketed by steve jobs and steve wozniak was the Apple I which went on sale July of 1976, though it was little more then the motherboard itself, users had to supply and add their own PSU, display, case and storage system, as well as keyboard.The Apple II which was a more complete computer was introduced in April 1977, and went on sale in june. And went on to spawn multiple Apple II's for years to come, starting with the Apple II plus in june 1979.
  • 0 Hide
    mrcoolbreeze704 , January 26, 2014 7:56 AM
    I remember using these in school in the early 90's we got them lol outdated tech for the time but new to us I suppose.
  • 0 Hide
    doyletdude , January 26, 2014 8:11 AM
    Well he probably meant the first PC using the Mac name, which they still use today.
  • 0 Hide
    Dean428 , January 26, 2014 9:05 AM
    Journalistic integrity requires the author check his or her facts. Obviously this author didn't. It was the abandonment of all of the Apple II computer owners which caused me to never buy another one of their arrogantly overpriced products to this day. It is rather obvious the author was writing about something about which she knows very little. Maybe she is the victim of an editor, but that means the editor didn't check their facts. An example of poor journalism.
  • 0 Hide
    sjc1017 , January 26, 2014 9:21 AM
    A wealthy american student left me an old Mac SE in 1993, it looked just like this and I wrote my PhD thesis on it. Back then, the money for English students was about the equivalent of benefits and while all the international students had laptops, any kind of personal computer was beyond the means of poor students in crappy subjects that you couldn't use to earn a living. Anyway, the Mac Se was a revelation to me and I wrote my first book and did most of my work on it for the next six years.
  • 1 Hide
    Littlun , January 26, 2014 3:57 PM
    I remember playing Dark Castle and King's Quest III on this machine...
  • 0 Hide
    deadmeow , January 26, 2014 3:57 PM
    In the early days of computers, we had home computers and business computers. "Personal Computer" is a brand name of IBM, and PC clone, or PC for short means any computer based on the x86 processor family as we still have today. The Apple I was Apple's first home computer, followed by the Apple II 8 bit line, the Apple III, the Mac, and the Apple II 16 bit, power pc macs, to finally the x86 pc macs we have today.
  • 0 Hide
    gggplaya , January 27, 2014 8:00 AM
    Quote:
    You pay a lot for only the design when it comes to Apple devices
    Apple doesn't create anything new as a whole per se, they do polish and perfect the user experience. Take the apple PC for example, they did create a totally new innovative user experience, especially with the mouse (which they didn't invent but were first to adopt it). No other pc manufacturer wanted the mouse, apple saw it as an oppurtunity and embraced it fully into their OS. Look at the ipod, mp3 players were all over the place, but it was hard to search through folders and find your musis. The ipod changed all that with it's menu system and scroll wheel. Look at the iphone, icons were nothing new. pop ups and stuff were nothing new. However, they were installed on crappy windows os as overlays and slow and choppy. Apple integrated the icons and apps, and polished the user experience. They didn't do anything really totally innovative, but it was so well polished that it felt like something totally new.But with steve jobs gone now, who knows what will happen to apple. I think you may be right for the future of apple, it'll just be high priced equipment in which you're paying for the cool factor.
  • 0 Hide
    gggplaya , January 27, 2014 8:00 AM
    Quote:
    You pay a lot for only the design when it comes to Apple devices
    Apple doesn't create anything new as a whole per se, they do polish and perfect the user experience. Take the apple PC for example, they did create a totally new innovative user experience, especially with the mouse (which they didn't invent but were first to adopt it). No other pc manufacturer wanted the mouse, apple saw it as an oppurtunity and embraced it fully into their OS. Look at the ipod, mp3 players were all over the place, but it was hard to search through folders and find your musis. The ipod changed all that with it's menu system and scroll wheel. Look at the iphone, icons were nothing new. pop ups and stuff were nothing new. However, they were installed on crappy windows os as overlays and slow and choppy. Apple integrated the icons and apps, and polished the user experience. They didn't do anything really totally innovative, but it was so well polished that it felt like something totally new.But with steve jobs gone now, who knows what will happen to apple. I think you may be right for the future of apple, it'll just be high priced equipment in which you're paying for the cool factor.
  • 0 Hide
    gggplaya , January 27, 2014 8:00 AM
    Quote:
    You pay a lot for only the design when it comes to Apple devices
    Apple doesn't create anything new as a whole per se, they do polish and perfect the user experience. Take the apple PC for example, they did create a totally new innovative user experience, especially with the mouse (which they didn't invent but were first to adopt it). No other pc manufacturer wanted the mouse, apple saw it as an oppurtunity and embraced it fully into their OS. Look at the ipod, mp3 players were all over the place, but it was hard to search through folders and find your musis. The ipod changed all that with it's menu system and scroll wheel. Look at the iphone, icons were nothing new. pop ups and stuff were nothing new. However, they were installed on crappy windows os as overlays and slow and choppy. Apple integrated the icons and apps, and polished the user experience. They didn't do anything really totally innovative, but it was so well polished that it felt like something totally new.But with steve jobs gone now, who knows what will happen to apple. I think you may be right for the future of apple, it'll just be high priced equipment in which you're paying for the cool factor.
  • 0 Hide
    festerovic , January 27, 2014 9:56 AM
    I had one of these. I still have the audio tape tutorials on how to use it! This was a great computer, it was way ahead of PCs at the time.

    Littlun - my friends owned the company that made Dark Castle (Airborne and Enchanted Scepters too). I beta tested their games!
  • 0 Hide
    stuffedtiger , January 27, 2014 2:01 PM
    I'm surprised no one has mentioned this yet, but in the video the woman says that the Apple had a 3.5 inch floppy disk drive. It most certainly did not. The first computers used a 5 1/4 inch floppy drive. The 3.5 inch wasn't invented until later.
  • 0 Hide
    festerovic , January 27, 2014 2:58 PM
    ^Um, this particular model has a 3.5 inch drive, I promise.
  • 0 Hide
    urbanman2004 , January 28, 2014 4:19 PM
    overpriced and unupgradeable - Apple's logic today