Best Buys in Used Macs

Centris 650 and Quadra 650

1998.03.10. Updated 2000.08

We're sorry, but these are very old, very dated articles. Best buys in used Macs is such a moving target that we simply can't keep up to date and have given up even trying. Please read these in their historical context, as some of these articles were written in the early years of Low End Mac.

From the ashes of the Macintosh IIvx and IIvi, Apple created the Centris 650 (which was replaced nine months later by the slightly faster Quadra 650).

What makes the Centris 650 a best buy are a robust power supply, a 5.25" drive bay (for CD-ROM, Syquest drive, etc.), a high RAM ceiling of 132MB, and some excellent upgrade options. Currently selling for about US$50, it's a lot of computer for the money.

The 650 introduced a new, high-speed SCSI bus to the Macintosh line as well as an accelerated internal video architecture, which supports resolutions to 1152 x 870. It also used interleaved memory to squeeze out a bit more performance.

Why is the Centris 650 a best buy, but the Quadra 650 just a good buy? Aren't they nearly identical?

Yes, but the slower Centris has one relatively inexpensive upgrade option not available to the Quadra: the 50 MHz 68040-based QuadDoubler from Sonnet Technologies. Currently selling for $199 with a full 68040 processor (avoid the 68LC040), it nearly doubles performance. There is no similar product for the 33 MHz or faster 68040-based Macs.

On top of that, the Centris can often be had for US$10-25 less than the faster, more popular Quadra, which rates as a good buy.

Typical new memory prices at present are $5-8 for 4 MB SIMMs, $10-16 for 8 MB SIMMs, $21-32 for 16 MB SIMMs, and $40-60 for 32 MB SIMMs. (From ramseeker, the guide to the latest memory pricing.) Remember that memory must be installed in pairs of matching SIMMs.

If you plan on putting your C650 on a network, be sure to avoid the least expensive model that has no ethernet port - unless you have a good source for ethernet NuBus cards.

<go to Best Buys Index, Centris 650, or Quadra 650>

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