Low End Mac Treasure Trove Found on Craigslist


Nathan Thompson

Originally Posted: 2006.01.06

My plan was to release another carefully crafted round of tips and tricks for getting the best Web browsing experience on older Macs, but real life intervened - sort of anyway.

I spent most of Wednesday sleeping to recover from Monday and Tuesday's miscellaneous neglected projects, which had placed claim to time normally allocated for resting. Upon finally waking, I finished wrapping some books for shipping to a kind fellow from Kentucky.

The Journey

The pertinent bit of Low End Mac related news was my Wednesday night trip to the fair Commonwealth of Virginia. Why a nighttime jaunt over state lines you ask? For the purpose of claiming a collection of Mac and Mac related paraphernalia from the Beleaguered Apple Computer Era (a.k.a. BACE, circa 1996).

My exciting journey included a lone, very brave Maryland state trooper picking up debris from the roadway. All by his lonesome, this man of the hour chanced four lanes of Capital Beltway traffic with the motorists waiting impatiently to renew their attempts in trying to run each other off the road. Anyone familiar with the Washington, DC, metropolitan area will know why a nighttime tryst - on foot no less - with Capital Beltway drivers is a somewhat insane proposition.

Treasure Trove

Back to the relevant Macintosh angle. This journey netted me several intriguing items:

  • Performa 6400/200
  • Power Mac 7600/132
  • Apple Extended Keyboard II
  • Apple Design Keyboard
  • Teardrop shaped Apple ADB mice
  • Two bundles of Performa software
  • StyleWriter 1500
  • Apple Multiscan 15AV Display
  • Miscellaneous booklets and other literature pertaining to said items

Maybe at face value that list does not sound very exciting. However, I should mention that all the gear seems to be in clean, working condition. I have not had time to test everything yet, but the cursory exams are promising. Most exciting is the Performa 6400, which came with a 400 MHz G3 upgrade, maximum RAM, a TV tuner card, a video input card, a 2-port USB PCI card, and a PCI ethernet card. Luckily, the TV tuner card also includes the FM antenna and remote control. The Power Mac 7600 is mostly stock except for a RAM upgrade to 120 MB.

I am particularly excited about the 6400 arriving essentially maxed out with upgrades. The 6400 case, while attractive, is not the most user friendly case Apple ever designed. On the other hand, the 7600 is almost perfect for getting into and spending quality time with those well designed innards. As chance would have it, I have several spare 7600 compatible parts lying around. The next week should be fun as I get everything fitted into my work flow.

Back to the Performa 6400. I think this beautifully cared for Mac will work nicely as a media center. Sort of the Low End Mac version of a Front Row equipped iMac, with a dash of Windows Media Center thrown in for good measure. Hmmm, maybe that comparison does not draw a very pleasant mental image after all. Still, I now have a television, FM radio, VCR/DVD/video game input device - and with the ATA bus I also have a chance to throw in a decent sized hard drive for storing all my digital music. All in one convenient package. Well, two parts if you include the monitor.

In case you were wondering how I came about this Mac treasure trove, they were found using Craigslist. If you have a Craigslist that covers your home town or a nearby city, by all means peruse the listings from time to time. Yes, there are occasional spammers and scammers. Yes, some people vastly overprice their items. Yes, searching more than one listing for cities in your area can be a pain. However, listings are free, people are generally friendly, and you get to see the items before you purchase, unlike other more global trading posts/auction sites.

Until Next Time

Please look to the future with anticipation for how I plan on putting these fine Macs to good use. Also, do not forget we have more Web tips coming as well.