Sonnet Presto Plus in my Color Classic

Color Classic with Presto Plus!

Most of what I know about Macs I learned either on the Low End Mac website or on a webpage I found by starting at that website; it's a real treasure trove of info about Macs old and new, and I wish I had known about it before I went out and bought my first Mac. Anyway, I thought I'd make a partial return of the favor by submitting to the site a "first look" review of the Sonnet Presto Plus accelerator card that I just installed in my Color Classic; I won't repeat that detailed discussion here, but I wanted to post a couple of photos and screen shots here to add to the commentary in the article.

Presto Plus installed on motherboard

The above photo shows the Presto Plus card installed in the Processor Direct Slot of the Color Classic motherboard. You can see in this photo the three major upgrades this card gives: the large chip covered by a heat sink is a 66/33 MHz 68040 (you can also get a 680LC40, which doesn't have a floating-point unit, for $100 less) to take over CPU duties from your machine's 68020 or 68030. To the left of this, at the left edge of the Presto Plus card, is a 32 MB SIMM, which adds to the RAM installed in the machine's stock slots--a big plus for the Color Classic, which without an aftermarket card can address only 10 MB of RAM, even if you install 12 MB and turn on 32-bit addressing. Finally, at the right side of the row of ports is an RJ-45 socket for 10Base-T Ethernet!

Screenshot, stock Color Classic

Above and below are a couple of screenshots of the Metronome application that comes from Sonnet with the Presto Plus. A comparison shows that, indeed, my Color Classic's processor is now one generation less obsolete!

Screenshot, with Presto Plus

The other thing shown in the above two screenshots is the "About This Macintosh" or "About This Computer" display from the Apple Menu. Here you can see the boost in RAM and also that, as advertised, this card lets me run MacOS 8.1! Those of you with sharp eyes will note that these screenshots are 640 x 480 pixels in size, whereas the Color Classic's stock resolution is 512 x 384; for $99 you can get this well-known resolution hack installed on your Color Classic by MicroMac. I bought the computer from them (for a pretty good price) rather than buy it on eBay or somewhere and ship it to them.

Screenshot, SE with Ethernet

One final screen shot shows that the Ethernet port also works! This black-and-white, 512 x 342 pixel screenshot tells another story, namely that a Macintosh SE with no hard drive, just dual 800 kB floppy drives, can in fact be an AppleShare client through an Ethernet card. To do this, you need a minimal installation of System 6.0.8 on a floppy, plus AppleShare and the Responder (both available from the same installer as the basic system); you then add EtherTalk capability and upgrade other components with the Network Software Installer 1.4.4 (or 1.4.5, but nothing later supports System 6). This will install drivers for some Apple cards (I don't know if there was such a card for the SE) if you have one, but I of course used the driver that came with my Asante card. I've also installed MacTCP 2.0.6, which lets me get on the Internet via DSL through my Linksys Cable/DSL Router! Note that you have to be booted from some other disk when using the Network Software Installer, since otherwise the necessary temporary files on the disk you're updating are too large for the available space. Also, unlike my other Macs, the SE with System 6.0.8 can't be an AppleShare server with this setup, i.e., you can't use the Chooser from another machine to see its disks; but who needs Ethernet access as long as the other machines can read its disks via Sneakernet?

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new 1 March 2000, revised 24 March 2001

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