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Apple Macintosh IIfx

The Macintosh IIfx was a model of Apple Macintosh computer, introduced in 1990 and discontinued in 1992. At introduction it cost from US $9,000 to US $12,000, depending on configuration, and was the fastest Mac. It had many code-names, including Stealth, Blackbird, F-16, F-19, Four Square, IIxi, Zone 5 and Weed-Whacker.

Dubbed "Wicked Fast" by the Product Manager, Frank Casanova - who came to Apple from Boston-based Apollo Computer where the term "wicked" was commonly used to define anything extreme - the system ran at a clock rate of a then impressive 40 megahertz, had 32 KB of Level 2 cache, six NuBus slots and included a number of proprietary ASICs and coprocessors designed to speed up the machine further. These required software written specifically for the IIfx to take advantage of them. The 40 MHz speed referred to the main logic board clock (the bus), the Motorola 68030 CPU, and the computer's Motorola 68882 FPU. The machine had eight RAM slots, for a maximum of 128 MB RAM, an enormous amount at the time.

The IIfx featured specialized high-speed (80 ns) RAM using 64-pin SIMMs, at a time when all other Macintosh models used 30-pin SIMMs. The extra pins were a separate path to allow latched read and write operations. It was also possible to use parity memory modules, being the only stock 68K Macintosh to support them. (There were special versions of the Macintosh IIci that used parity 30-pin SIMMs.) The IIfx also included two special dedicated processors for sound and serial communications. These I/O chips featured a pair of embedded 6502 CPUs, meaning that this Mac also had the core of two Apple II machines inside it (albeit at 10 MHz rather than the 1 MHz of the Apple II). However the machine's architecture did not expose these CPUs to developers.

The IIfx used SCSI as its hard disk interface, as had all previous Macintosh models since the Macintosh Plus. The IIfx required a special black-colored SCSI terminator for external drives, however. SCSI would remain the standard internal storage connector on the Macintosh line until Apple began transitioning to IDE with the Quadra 630's release in 1994. The IIfx was the apex of Apple's 68030-based Macintosh II series and was replaced at the top of Apple's lineup by the Macintosh Quadra series in 1991.

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