Desktops: Mac Quadra 950 / Apple Workgroup Server 95


Designed as a replacement for the Quadra 900, the Quadra 950 may not have grown any outside but inside Apple upped performance from 25MHz to a far speedier 33MHz. This helped overall system performance enormously but by removing certain 'wait states' from the video circuitry, video performance increased by 20% over the older machine.

Like the 900, the 950 was aimed at the server market and there was plenty of space inside to mount several hard drives and two seperate SCSI busses were available to handle them (although System 7.0-7.1 'folded' the two together so that there were still only 7 possible SCSI IDs - the final one being reserved for the system as per usual). In addition to the enormous drive potential, Apple made plenty of provision for expansion in the card department and the motherboard allowed 5 NuBus cards to be plugged in (2x25 watt slots and 3x15 watt slots).

The motherboard still retained the 16 SIMM slots (allowing a potential of 256Mb of RAM to be installed) but at the end of the day the 950 was basically a 900 with a bit of a speed increase. The real difference came when users opted for the alternatively titled Apple Workgroup Server 95. This was a special version of the 950 that came with an Apple Workgroup Server PDS card installed that allowed the machine to run Apple's version of Unix - removing the card turned the machine back into a 'standard' Mac (when installed, the machine can't behave as a standard Mac).


Machine Macintosh Quadra 950 / Apple Workgroup Server 95
Introduced 18/05/1992
Retired 14/10/1995
Cost $8500
System 7.0.1-8.1
Code Name(s) Amazon, Zydeco
CPU/Speed Motorola 68040 @ 33MHz
Addressing 32 bit
RAM Min/Max 4Mb/256Mb (80ns 16x30 pin SIMM slots)
ROM (Size) 1Mb
Floppy Drive 1xSuperDrive
Hard Drive 230Mb - 1Gb
Drive Bay(s) 3x3.5" Half-height
Network LocalTalk, Ethernet
Audio Stereo in, stereo out
Video 1Mb
Resolution(s) 512x384 (24 bit), 640x480, 832x624 (8 bit) (24 bit - 2Mb), 1152x870 (8 bit)
Ports 2xADB, 2xSerial, SCSI (25 pin), 1xVideo, Audio (out), Audio (in), 1xAAUI-15
Expansion Slot 1xPDS, 5xNuBus
Dimensions 18.6" x 8.9" x 20.6"
Weight 36.8 lb
Power Supply Mains (IEC) More...

From Experience...

The first thing that strikes you about a Quadra 950 is its size: the thing is HUGE. Sat on the floor it still easily allows floppy disks to be inserted without having to leave the comfort of your favourite chair. Of course size isn't a guarantee of anything and my Quadra 950 was in something of a mess when it first turned up.

Yet another eBay 'bargain' this was once again considered to be 'dead' by the seller and at first glance it was easy to see why - no chimes, no whirring fans, no spinning hard disks. Popping the side panel it instantly became clear why: the poor thing had been pretty much gutted. No hard drive (or mounting bracket), no floppy drive (or mounting bracket), missing SIMMs and a layer of black soot like dirt over everything. That said, while the machine looked huge from the outside it's positively enormous inside, and with good reason. With 16 30-pin SIMM slots, two SCSI cables, 5 NuBus slots and a PSU the size of France this thing had to be big.

Pulling the RAM and checking the PSU connection resulted in a slightly more promising situation and we did get a chime. Start adding the RAM though and we got nothing more than the chimes of death. After much swearing and time it turned out that one of the SIMMs was damaged and, when replaced, we were looking good again. Time to lose the black soot and the sight of this gigantic case being scrubbed clean in a kitchen sink is not one to be missed (Note: Just to assauge any fears, I DID remove all of the electronics before adding water).

The missing drives were easily replaced (all standard stuff) but the drive brackets were more troublesome. Eventually British ingenuity, pluck and inventiveness came to the rescue and with various drive brackets from other Macs (all spares I hasten to add - no canabalising) everything fitted in place. While long SCSI cables are plentiful, long floppy connectors aren't (and we're talking about 50cm here). The solution? Take a regular SCSI cable and cut it lengthways to make it fit. Ok so it's not conventional but if you superglue the end connectors properly (to stop them flying open) then it does the job admirably.

16Mb SIMMs are a commodity that I sadly have little of so instead 4Mb SIMMs replaced/supplemented what was already there and the machine boasted an impressive 64Mb. With a chunky 68040 CPU I opted for OS 8 and hit absolutely no problems installing it. The 950 tears along quite impressively for an 68k antique and has enough horsepower to even fire up a good game of Quake (although maybe not at quite full screen).

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