Apple Macintosh 512K

Released 1984: The Macintosh 512K is a personal computer that was designed, manufactured and sold by Apple Computer, Inc. from September 1984 to April 1986. It is the first update to the original Macintosh 128K. It was almost identical to the previous Macintosh, differing primarily in the amount of onboard memory. The increased memory gained the ability to run more advanced software and turned the Macintosh into a more business-capable computer. It’s the earliest Macintosh model that can be used as an AppleShare server.


  • Type: All-in-one
  • Manufacturer: Apple Computer
  • Product family: Compact Macintosh
  • Released: September 10, 1984
  • Discontinued: April 14, 1986
  • OS: System 1.1 – 4.1
  • Introductory price: $2,795
  • CPU: 68000 @ ~¨8 MHz (effectively 6 MHz)
  • Memory: 512 KB RAM
  • Graphics: 512 x 342 pixel, 1 bit
  • Audio: 8-bit mono 22 kHz
  • Display: 9″ black and white CRT
  • Storage: 3.5″ FDD, single side (400 KB)
  • ROM 64 KB
  • Predecessor: Macintosh 128K
  • Successor: Macintosh Plus, Macintosh 512Ke

The Mac 512K originally shipped with Macintosh System Software 1.1 but was able to run all versions of MacOS up to System 4.1. It was replaced by the Macintosh 512Ke and the Macintosh Plus. Support for the Mac 512K was discontinued in 1998.

Like the Macintosh 128K before it, the Macintosh 512K contains a Motorola 68000 running at 7.8 MHz and has a 16-bit data bus. Though the memory had been quadrupled, it could not be upgraded. The large increase earned it the nickname Fat Mac. The video controller used 22 KB of the system RAM and shares the data bus. This design reduces CPU performance up to 35%.

It shared a revised main board with the re-labeled Macintosh 128K, previously just called the Macintosh. This streamlined manufacturing.

The applications MacPaint and MacWrite were still bundled with the Mac. Soon after this model was released, several other applications became available, including MacDraw, MacProject, Macintosh Pascal. Microsoft Excel was first written specifically for the Macintosh and required at least 512 KB RAM, but helped the Macintosh being seen as a serious business computer.

Apple Macintosh with Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs with an Apple Macintosh 128K or 512K in his lap.

Macintosh 512K enhanced
An updated version replaced the Macintosh 512K and debuted as the Macintosh 512K enhanced in April 1986. It had an 800 KB floppy disk drive and the same improved ROM as the Macintosh Plus. With the exception of the new model number “M0001E”, they were otherwise cosmetically identical. The stock 512K could also use an 800 KB floppy disk drive as well as the Hard Disk 20, the first hard disk manufactured by Apple exclusively for use with the 512K, but required a special system file (not required by the 512Ke) that loaded the improved ROM code into RAM, thus reducing the RAM available for other uses. Apple offered an upgrade kit which replaced the floppy disk drive and ROMs, essentially turning it into a 512Ke.

Macintosh 512K
Macintosh 512K

My Macintosh 512K and repair



Macintosh 512K

Remi Jakobsen

I'm collecting classic computers and video games, stretching from the 70's into the 90's. Restoration, history, usage ...

Post navigation

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *