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Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh Processor Upgrade And Discussion Page - Performance Of Latest G3 Processor Upgrades

TAM Facts at a Glance

  • Processor: 603e, 250 MHz
  • L2 Cache: 256K
  • System Bus:50MHz
  • Slots: 1 PCI, 1Comm II
  • Installed RAM: 32MB
  • Max RAM: 128MB
  • RAM Slots: 2, 168-pin DIMM
  • Min RAM Speed: 60 ns
  • Installed SGRAM: 2MB
  • Drive: 2GB ATA
  • CD Drive: 4X
  • Ethernet: 10baseT
  • Introduced: 6/1/97
  • Discontinued: 3/98
  • Initial Retail Price: $7,500
  • Additional Features

  • TV &FM Tuners
  • Remote Control
  • Bose Sound System & Sub-Woofer
  • S-video In
  • Geoport Modem
  • Supported OS: 7.5.3 - 9.X

TAM Upgrade
Discussion Forum


Introduced in the summer of 1997, the Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh (TAM) was meant to showcase the Macintosh on the milestone of its existence. Sleek elegant, and futuristic, the machine was packed with home entertainment features including; TV and FM radio tuners, a tremendous Bose Acoustimass sound system complete with a hefty sub-woofer, and S-video in - allowing you to connect VCRs and camcorders. The TAM was considered to be a collectors item and only a little over 10,000 of the machines were ever produced. However, probably due to the initial price tag of the TAM, they did not sell all that well and Apple had to reduce the price from $7,500 to around $2,000 to clear out the remaining inventory of the machines.

The TAM stands upright and has a 800 x 600 SVGA Flat Panel Active Matrix Display (12.1" Diagonal) capable of 16-bit color. Inside the main unit is a 603e processor running at 250Mhz with a 50Mhz system bus.

For graphics the machine has the ATI Rage II 64-bit 3D multimedia & graphics chip and 2MB of video SGRAM making graphics on the machine, at the time of its release, quite impressive. The logic board has two DIMM slots and RAM can be expanded up to 128MB using either EDO RAM or fast-page mode DIMMs. There is one PCI slot and a Comm II slot. The machine shipped with 256K L2 cache which can be expanded up to 1MB. Increasing the Cache to 1MB should improve processor performance by about 25%. A front loading CD ROM drive, side loading floppy drive and 2GB ATA hard drive round out the machines attributes.

The main unit of the TAM was connected to the base unit, which also housed the computers power supply, by a thick cable. It is recommended for best results that you place the base unit on the floor where it can pound out its booming low notes to its hearts content.

The TAM unfortunate was conceptualized and engineered in the pre Amelio era at Apple when quality control was not what it should have been. As a result many of the TAMs suffer from a buzzing from one of the speakers and Apple, as of the date this was written, has not yet entirely figured out what is causing it.

The processor of the TAM is soldered to the logic board and so is not removable. However some manufacturers have processor upgrades that plug into the L2 cache slot of the computer and wrest control from the truly sluggish 603e, giving you close to modern type processor performance.

Below you will find the MacBench 4.0 results for all of the current processor upgrades available for this machine. Results marked in blue indicate that benchmark results were done by us. All other results were provided by the upgrade manufacturer. The bar graphs below express results as a percentage of improvement over the base machine, which receives a score of 100%. Further down the page you will find a table with the actual MacBench score.




MacBench Absolute Scores

Processor Upgrade Card

MacBench 4.0 Processor Score

Twentieth Anniversary M acintosh 603e/250 364
Sonnet Crescendo L2/PCI G3/250/125/512K 775
Sonnet Crescendo L2/PCI G3/300/150/512K 930
Sonnet Crescendo L2/PCI G3/350/175/1MB 1138
Sonnet Crescendo G3/L2 400/200/1MB 1300
Newer MAXpowr G3-L2B 400/200/1MB 1415
Sonnet Crescendo G3/L2 500/250/1MB 1625