The original Macintosh took the the world by storm with its small form factor, and above standard speeds. This project aims to show you how to upgrade your original 1984 macintosh to the specification of a modern day machine.

The original Macintosh had an 8mhz processor, my upgrades will boost it to a speed 200x faster than that. Giving us enough speed to install Mac OS X Snow Leopard.

My main objectives were.
  1. Do not alter, cut, deform, change, or break the original Mac in anyway, I wanted to be able to return it to its original state if I chose to.
  2. Not to let myself cut costs on the project just to make it more 'amazinger' (cheap instructables are great, but we do see a lot of 'wow make an awesome uber computer for like $10 dollars yeah'. This was an epic project, I cut costs where I could, and used recycled parts, but I spared no expense in making this the best I could. This 1984 Macintosh deserved no less.

Here are a few glory shots, then we delve into the bulk of it, I started this project in June '09, but getting married, and moving house did put a bit of a delay on finishing it. 

Be sure to vote for me in the Dead Computer Contest, the Netbook prize would allow me to upgrade my 1984 Macintosh to being wireless, portable, and a 9inch screen to boot.
We all want to see pictures in the newspaper/on the internet of me sat on the train, or chilling in starbucks with a 1984 Macintosh now, don't we?

I also encourage creative constructive comments.

The first ten constructive comments get an ampersand vintage mac patch! 

1-40 of 274Next »
nerd74731 month ago
what version of Mac did you use?
VegarH2 months ago

I have been inspired by your post, and also those of Ersterhernd and EmerytHacks to do a similar project to yours. My main concern is that the chosen display is too small compared to the original. EmertyHacks has shown how to connect an iPad Retina display to a PC, but that is a 9.7" screen compared to the Mac's 9" CRT. I have thought about using the 8.9" LCD of the Fire HD 8.9, but I have yet to determine how to connect it to the mini-ITX board which boasts LSDV and eDP connectors. Any thoughts on a more suitable display? The simplest would of course be if I could find a ~9" USB powered LCD which is also HD capable. I would say at least 1920x1200 should do it.


Hadis12136 months ago
What's the name of the speakers ?

impressive, i can't even get my first version of the ipad on to the latest iOS.

This looks sooooo cool

That's amazing
fschilling1 year ago
Is there a monitor you can get to fit it better? Because I have been wanting to do this for a while using a mac mini inside of the case but I cant find a screen to the same size to make it look more realistic. Any help as to were I could get a 8 or 9 inch monitor for this?
KryptoTSD1 year ago

That looks cool! I wish I could download the pdf...

nerd74731 year ago
pretty cool I would like to do something similar to a dell that ran on windows vista
Beautiful work!
Sounds like a nice way to keep up with the computer generation without the total cost. I might keep these instructions in case I ever go dead broke.
nice one
The real challenge: Don;t make a hackintosh and use mac mini or mac g4 cube parts
phoenix67432 years ago
This is the coolest instructable. Wow
Those pictures are amazing. I made this with my science class, but never that much. Wowzer.
Thank you so much for sharing this! I did this project in school- many years ago and forgot how to do it. Now that I have a son I have been wanting to share this with him.
JensonBut2 years ago
Those instructions are amazing.
Please, share more instructions!
jkelley112 years ago
Can this same kind of hacking and modding be used for a Macintosh SE? Or any other first generation Macs?
Tomcat945 years ago
I need to know where I can find an old classic macintosh. I've literally looked everywhere for one, and I just can't find one (well, not at a reasonable price). And they're all working too, which is not what I need... Can anybody help?

happened across this site just yesterday. Wonderful romp thru old computers and companies history, etc LOVE IT. They also have people listing systems to sell or buy!

I hadn't looked close at cost, workability, etc; but thought it may be a good place to look.
s2gz Tomcat944 years ago
any public schools near you? i went to my old highschool and picked up an old mac, classic mice and other junk that they just had in storage.
My school auctioned them all off, they went for about $20 apiece. Oh well, I guess I'll just do a different case mod. :P
I have at least 6 classics, Mac, Mac+ and newer, most work. Can ship within US with or without internals. Without would be cheaper shipping. Have keyboards and mice for same. And older software.
Live in middle of USA, 2 miles from its dead center.

gmjhowe (author)  Tomcat945 years ago
Before this project I had been checking ebay semi occasionally for about 6 months, saw this one for about £20 and snapped it up.
I've been doing the same for about two weeks now. I'm trying to nab one for about $15, and I just might get it at an affordable price. If it works, I'll keep it in good running order. If not, then I'll gut it and do something cool, like this instructable. :)
I finally found one. :D And it wasn't as expensive as I thought it would be! I don't know if it works or not, but if it doesn't, I'll be using this instructable. Thank you!
Let us know what doesn't work and we can probably help you fix it :D
I just got it in today. I plugged it into a power source, and I heard the startup "bong" macs make, but the screen remained black while the hard drive and fan was spinning. I intend to fix it before I do this instructable, so I can have the option of putting it back together if I want. :)
have you figured this out? i have a quadra 601 that does the same thing. i found it dumpster diving, no power supply was with it, and the case was a little broken at the back. not ot mention it had some water from some rain. (i got it just after it rained, so i let it dry out for a couple days) if you figured this out, could you send me a pm on how you did?
bethmwl2 years ago

happened across this site just yesterday. Wonderful romp thru old computers and companies history, etc LOVE IT. They also have people listing systems to sell or buy!
cadams212 years ago
Its missing http://www.instructables.com/id/Retro-Wireless-Apple-Mouse/ also needs a paint job
You could add a USB floppy to match the slot on the front. Just connect it inside of the case, it works on Windows and Mac OS X.
tinker2343 years ago
for the screen i was wondering if i could use a a replica of the org anal and hook it up to work on usb power so it could run
jlauve3 years ago
Thanks for the great article, and for sharing the great results to your effort. I recently retrieved my old original 512ke from the attic with the intent of doing something with it. You have inspired me. Now, on to some USB screen action. Again, Thanks.
kamakiri3 years ago
Coming from one who bought the 512kE when it first came out, that's an astonishing piece of work. Too bad you can't take it back in time to 1984, plunk it down onto Steve Jobs' desk and say "How do you like MY operating system?"

I eventually made my 512kE into a cactus garden (a functioning aquarium was too difficult) and it looked great, with lights and everything.

I stumbled on here looking for completely the opposite -- some kind of shareware that would emulate on my MacBook the desktop of the original Macintosh . . . you know, desk accessories, trash bin, everything. Anyone seen anything like that around? Email nickATmontrealfood.com.

Good job, mate!
gmjhowe (author)  kamakiri3 years ago
Mini VMac


An emulator that runs on Mac OS and Windows, go check it out!

I was tempted to put some much cheaper slower hardware in the mac and just run this on it.

Thanks for the comment!
amarelli4 years ago
Beautiful work but....on a 128 k 1984 mac :-( Tried to resurrect it?
gmjhowe (author)  amarelli3 years ago
Afraid I did not have the tools to make it into a working system. I did however package all the internals into a box, so it could be rebuilt in the future.
What was the total cost of the build?
gmjhowe (author)  spiceyweasel3 years ago
I spent £100gbp on the USB screen that I used (Note I had already bought this, and did not specifically buy it for the project. You can get small screens that run of a 12v power from the computer's PSU.

I got the original mac for a steal of £30gbp incl postage off ebay.

The PSU was a compact one from an old Dell, the entire dell was also £30gbp off ebay.

The motherboard was the first generation of the intel Atom mini itx boards, and was £60gbp incl ram from ebuyer.

The hard drive was given to me by my friend.

Add in a few other costs, £20 on cables/adapter/extenders, £15 on the iMac style speakers, £10 for perspex and styrene.

Total of £245 if you shop around a bit, and scrounge some parts from places.
1-40 of 274Next »