create your own original Macintosh

create your own original Macintosh
create your own original Macintosh
  • Matt Evans has used an RP2040 microcontroller and some other components

  • You now have hardware capable of emulating even a few of the original Macintosh experiences.

He Original Macintosh It has an interesting history. Not only is it the predecessor of the Macs we use today, it is also a faithful representation of the Apple philosophy of the 1980s. Although the apple company had been on the market since 1977, it was in 1984 when it decided to confront the industry leader with this product presented with an epic advertisement during Super Bowl XVIII.

Four decades have passed since Apple attempted to “free” users from IBM’s dominance with a computer that featured a small 9-inch monochrome screen, a Motorola 68000 processor, 128 KB of RAM, and a 3½-inch disk drive. Now, in the middle of 2024, someone has decided to create their own low-cost Macintosh, we are talking about the MicroMac based on a Raspberry Pi.

A microcontroller that is also a “Macintosh”

It’s no secret Raspberry Pi is a delight for technology enthusiasts. These boards can be used to create everything from retro video game consoles to mobile phones. A maker named Matt Evans has assembled his own Macintosh 128 K. The basis of the project has been a RP2040 microcontroller with a dual-core Arm Cortex-M0+ processor with 264 kB of RAM and support for various peripherals.

The first step to materialize this curious initiative was to combine a series of current components to emulate the experience of the old Apple machine with the greatest possible realism. So in addition to the RP2040, Evans had to get a VGA monitor with its corresponding cable, a USB keyboard and mouse, a Micro-B to Micro-A USB OTG adapter, a 5V DC “power supply” and a pair of resistances.

At the hardware level, as we see in the images and is meticulously detailed on GitHub, Evans adapted the RP2040 so that it was capable of handling the peripherals and outputting the video signal. As for the software, in addition to the modules necessary to do the emulation work, the young man obtained an image of System 3.2 (the last version compatible with the Macintosh 128 K) from WinWord, which included several programs from that time.

After several days of work, the Raspberry Pi RP2040 became a “Macintosh 128 K” in 2024. In the shared images we can see Evans using some programs such as MacWrite word processor or the MacDraw vector graphics solution. As we say, all the details of the project have been shared by its creator so that anyone can create their own version of the team.

Images | Matt Evans

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