Want a baby Macintosh Quadra 700? You can build one using Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi-fueled Quadra 233
(Image credit: Brachus Creations)

We love Raspberry Pi projects here at Tom’s Hardware, and we especially love ones that take us back to the retro history of computing. Coming across one that makes the single-board computer look and act just like the Macintosh Quadra 700 made me check the calendar to make sure Christmas wasn’t already here. 

The maker, Branchus Creations, not only took the time to build his own baby Macintosh Quadra 700 but also to document it so anybody else could follow in his footsteps. While you can buy computer cases to give you that retro feel, sometimes building your own is much more fun. The build required a 3D printed case he designed himself, a Raspberry Pi 4, and a few other readily available DIY electronics parts. You could also make this project with a Raspberry Pi 5.

Building a Baby Macintosh Quadra 700 - YouTube Building a Baby Macintosh Quadra 700 - YouTube
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Branchus originally designed the Quadra 700 case for another project but wanted to see how it looked when 3D printed. Since his 3D printer, the Creality K1C, doesn’t provide enough build volume to print it full-size, he shrunk it down to about a third of full-size.

Using the web-based 3D design tool OnShape, Branchus developed the case to look just like the Macintosh Quadra 700. OnShape has a library of other creations, since one requirement of using the took is a share-alike license. This made it easy for the designer to find a model of the Raspberry Pi 4 board to create mounting studs and holes inside the case.

Internal components of the Raspberry Pi Quadra 700 project

Internal components of the Raspberry Pi Quadra 700 project (Image credit: Branchus Creations)

The maker added a mounting space above the Pi’s CPU for a cooling fan to the case. He’s using the case ridges of the design as the air holes for the fan. While the Raspberry Pi will happily send audio over HDMI, Branchus wanted a more vintage sound from the computer. So, he added a pair of 40mm 250 mW speakers and a stereo amplifier development board to the inside of the case. Once the hardware was assembled, it was time to make it act like a vintage Macintosh. Using the RetroPie operating system, he added the Basilisk emulator to allow the distro to run Macintosh System Software. In his build, Branchus is using a ROM from a Macintosh Performa 630, making the installed OS likely to be System 7.5.3.

Running Doom on the emulated Macintosh Quadra 700

Running Doom on the emulated Macintosh Quadra 700 (Image credit: Branchus Creations)

After a bit of tweaking and setup, Branchus had a Raspberry Pi booting up just like a Macintosh Quadra 700. Calling it the Quadra 233, he shows off how well it performs by playing a quick level or two of a retro game that someone back in the Quadra 700’s heyday could have installed for blowing off a bit of steam at the end of the workday.

You can check out the full build tutorial and find everything you need to make your own in Branchus Creations’s YouTube video for the project.

Jeff Butts
Contributing Writer

Jeff Butts has been covering tech news for more than a decade, and his IT experience predates the internet. Yes, he remembers when 9600 baud was “fast.” He especially enjoys covering DIY and Maker topics, along with anything on the bleeding edge of technology.