In the chips
After I freed the system tray from within my supposedly original Bondi Blue iMac and began looking around, I noticed that there was a two-sided SO-DIMM in the slot labeled SGRAM SO-DIMM Only. The original Bondi Blue had only 2MB of video SGRAM soldered onto the logic board, and a SO-DIMM slot in case you wanted to upgrade to 4MB or 6MB.
Being a "glass half-full", optimistic, Polyannaish kinda guy, I at first thought: "How nice — the previous owner must have upgraded the video RAM in this original iMac from its stock 2MB to its max 6MB."
With a two-sided SGRAM SO-DIMM, the Bondi can be equipped with 6MB of video memory (click to enlarge)
But then I got out my magnifying glass and read the ID info on the graphics chip sitting next to the SGRAM slot — and discovered that what I had thought for years was an original Rev. A iMac was instead a Rev. B.
The Rev. A's display was powered by an ATI Rage IIc with a core clockspeed of 60MHz and a memory bandwith of 480MBs. My now-unmasked Rev B., on the other hand, has an ATI Rage Pro Turbo PCI chip, which has a 75MHz core and talks to SGRAM at 800MBs.
The Rage Pro — and notice also the CPU's heat sink through the cage holes at left (click to enlarge)
Yeah, the Rage Pro is a better performer than the Rage IIc, but I miss the cachet of owning the original.
At least the CPUs in the Rev. A and Rev. B are identical: a 233MHz Motorola PowerPC 750, aka the G3, running on a 66MHz system bus. It may be hard to stretch your memory back to 1998, but a 233MHz G3 was a respectable part at that time. Jobs, however, when introducing the iMac, went well beyond respectable: "This thing screams," he said.
The daughtercard cantilevers over the logic board, snapped securely into two multi-pin sockets. On the top of the daughtercard lives the CPU — the aforementioned XPC750-ARX233SE, and one 2-inch, 144-pin SO-DIMM slot. On the bottom of the daughtercard is the Motorola XPC106ARX66CG bridge/memory controller chip and a second SO-DIMM slot, albeit a 1.5-inch one.
The Bondi Blue shipped with 32MB of RAM in one SO-DIMM — no RAM was soldered onto the logic board. Again, to quote Jobs from his intro spiel: "Let's go ahead and put a lot of memory into this thing: 32 megabytes standard — it's expandable to 128." Actually, it was expandable to 256MB, but not from Apple.
The bottom of the daughtercard, with the bridge/memory controller chip in the lower left (click to enlarge)
One distinct advantage of the daughtercard setup was that third parties could and did offer CPU upgrades for the Bondi Blue and the next two iMac revisions, which were also daughtercarded.
Sonnet Technologies, for example, offered the 600MHz PowerPC G3 Sonnet Harmoni G3, which also added a FireWire 400 port that poked through that aforementioned screwed-in plate behind the Bondi's port door.
Which brings us to...
Next page: The mysterious mezzanine
You so nearly got through without your inner fanboi escaping but fluffed it at the end:
"I'm surrounded by the guts of the personal computer that saved Apple, arguably jump-started the internet age, helped kill off the floppy, and brought translucency to everything from George Foreman grills to Rowenta Surfline steam irons."
Jump-started the internet age? My arse. I'd love to see any accurate statistics you may have for the number of people who first experienced the internet or first had the internet at home on an iMac. I'd be prepared to make a healthy wager that the true figure is vanishingly small.
Helped kill off the floppy I can't really sit still for either. Yes it helped but so did about a billion other factors. Claiming the iMac was significant is like trying to take credit for keeping the worlds trees alive because *I* produce CO2. The iMac is way down the list behind CD-R, CD-RW, freefalling drive prices, USB memory sticks, software bloat etc.
You probably deliberately left out the 'i'. We're into our second decade of marketing wonks insisting that anything can be cool if you put an 'i' in front of it. Shoot them, shoot them all.
Translucent everything - oh yes, that's thanks to the iMac for sure which is a marmite thing in itself but you should have highlighted the bigger truth I'd credit the iMac with. It started a revolution in design. We see attempts at aesthetically pleasing design in the most mundane of items these days from cheap radios to phones to, well, you name it. Nothing in a poorly designed or plain beige box stands a prayer. Much as I dislike Apple the iMac deserves a beer for that so here's one.
@Christian Berger re: 56k
It's all comparative.
If you had moved up from 1200/75b/s, through V.22bis, V.32 and V.32bis, then V.90 was fast.
If you were using it for commercial use, then it was almost certainly the upload speed that was your issue, as it was asymmetric and the upload channel was a fraction of the download speed. IIRC, if you did V.90 modem to V.90 modem directly, you could only get 33.6kb/s anyway. You needed something like a DS0 setup, which could directly inject digital signals into the phone system, to give you the 56k download speed to end-users.
Most home users mostly downloaded data, so this was not a big issue.
Don't compare your 20Mb/s ADSL line, or even channel-bonded ISDN with what home users had available at the time, because ISDN was far too expensive for home users to consider, even the 'reduced-cost' Home Highway that BT tried to sell.
I wan my whole household (several computers with thin-wire Ethernet, and then wireless as it became available - we're a techie household) on a dial-on-demand 56K modem for several years, until BT got round to upgrading our exchange to ADSL.
The best-selling computer of all time is the Commodore 64 - by a significant amount.
There's a tendency amongst both Apple execs and fans to re-write history in their favour - Commodore had the best-selling computer ever with the 64, and the first colour DTP machine with the Amiga.
I'm sure we all remember Bill Gates' and his hilarious on-stage USB "demonstration".
Whatever the bitter and twisted anti-Apple-tards might post in these articles, Apples resurgence redefined the PC industry - and that's why *every* major tech company is now scrambling to keep up with them.
A pint for Mr Jobs.
Windows 95 shipped with MSN preinstalled and I daresay other PCs shipped with AOL or other apps preinstalled. So a good few PCs doubtless existed way before your "first personal computer to ship that was ready to connect to the internet in seconds" that did exactly that.
Of course maybe Apple bragged they were the first, but it wouldn't be the first time they made baldfaced lies in ads. See also claims about the Mac being the first 64-bit OS, the fastest PC ever etc.