Many, if not all of the Performa and Quadra systems seemed to have two names. For example the LC 475 was also known as the Quadra 605.

2 Answers 2


Many, if not all of the Performa and Quadra systems seemed to have two names.

In the early 1990 Apple (re)named their machines as different lines, according to capabilities, to target different markets.

  • Macintosh LC (for low cost *1). Introduced in 1990 as new low end Mac developed (*2) mainly for the education market, with a special focus to replace Apple II installations (*3,*4).

  • Next (1991) the Quadra line was introduced. All new, 68040 based machines marking the upper end and replacing the Macintosh II as the professional line

  • 1992 the Centris models were added. Meant to be the, well, center offering from Apple.

  • Starting in ~1993 the Performa line was added to cover the lower end / consumer market (the educational market was covered with the LC). Also, for sales through many general outlets (department stores and alike), it should avoid finding the same machine at lower prices than with a certified Apple dealership (where Centris and Quadra were sold).

  • And finally, mostly unknown, there was the Work Group Server line. Basically re-badged Centris/Quadra models with larger/multiple hard drives and one or more network cards.

This scheme was kept even until after introduction of the PowerPC based Macintosh. At that time the 68k Centris models were phased out or better sold as Quadras. Except for a few machines all new ones were named Power Macintosh. At the time the naming scheme changed for Power Mac, all of the old names were phased out.


While above naming system was purely marketing related, the numbers were meant to give a rough classification - at least in the beginning, with

  • 2xx denoting the most basic (68020) based all in one machines
  • 4xx being the pizza box compact machines
  • 6xx denoting 'real' desktop
  • 7/8/9xx for tower/Workstation machines.

Later the 5xx got inserted to denote more powerful all in one.

This numbering was kept (mostly) constant across all marketing lines and usually an indicator for the type of machine and its relative power. Between LC and Performa the numbers were often the same. The system even carried (mostly) over into the 4 digit power PC names.

For example the LC 475 was also known as the Quadra 605.

This isn't completely true. While they were technically close and had compatible boards, they were different machines. The LC475 had the tilted pizza box in the intermediate design between snow white (as LC/LCII had) and what the Quadra would be, while the Quadra 605 finished the transition with the new flat case with four wide feet.

Designation wise there were four (or 9) siblings

  • LC 475
  • Performa 475/6
  • Quadra 605
  • LC 575
  • Performa 575/6/7/8

This variety makes it one of the largest (the other being the 630-alikes (*5)) family of Macs - and eventually the best known.

The difference (beside the price) was due to the case used and features included. The LCs were usually the very basic configuration, but always sold in a bundle with a colour screen (*6), while the Perfomas came without, but with way larger disks and memory. The Quadras were usually available in similar configurations to the Performa, but with more options available and most importantly, only sold through authorized dealers.

Effectively Sculley just adapted the same strategy car makers use to tap different markets. The same engine and undercarriage is complemented by different bodies to make different cars. Much like VW built the Jetta, Scirocco, Corrado, Caddy, New Beetle and Touran around the VW Golf 'core' with different bodies and configurations, Apple built several differently-housed and configured models under different names based on the same core components.

Which is, if I may add, a great strategy - at least as long there is something like a brand awareness and not just a huge sea of compatible parts like on the PC side.

*1 - Code name Elsie

*2 - AFAIR IIsi and Mac Classic are part of this line

*3 - The original design asked for a machine much like the IIc, with an integrated keyboard, so all, except the monitor, would be in one case.

*4 - This includes the Apple IIe card for the LC PDS, so all/most Apple IIe software could still be used, even the 5.25 Drive could be attached (Which only works if the LC has 12 MiB RAM maximum - for more 32 Bit addressing must be enabled, making it incompatible with the IIe card).

*5 - Like Performa 630/1/5/6/7/8/DOS/CD, LC630/DOS, Quadra 630, LC580, Performa 580/8/CD, ...

Like with the 475 family there are different board versions - like the double slot Performa 630CD DOS which is eventually the best 68k Mac board to have - up to 136 MiB of RAM and tweekable to 50 MHz. A true rocket - and I still have no idea how to fill so much RAM on an 68k Mac :))

Then again, there are versions of the 475 board that do accept some 128 MiB SIMMs, as well as being tweeked for 40 MHz.

*6 - Until the LC575 was introduced at least.

  • 1
    Wikipedia puts the Mac LC release on October 15, 1990. Same place says the Quadra entered production in October 1991, but does not appear at a glance to give a release date.
    – user
    Sep 6, 2018 at 11:49
  • Laptops (PowerBooks) were numbered 1xx without, and 5xx with the 68040 CPU.
    – DrSheldon
    Sep 6, 2018 at 15:58
  • IIRC, "LC" stood for "Low cost Color". But I could be wrong.
    – cbmeeks
    Jan 9, 2019 at 13:14
  • @cbmeeks So there was as well a low cost without colour? :)) I guess, as tih many designators people made up various long form - don't you think so? Beside, it was sold to schools often as a package with a B&W screen.
    – Raffzahn
    Jan 9, 2019 at 13:33
  • @Raffzahn ancientelectronics.wordpress.com/tag/macintosh-low-cost-color en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macintosh_LC_family (look for "elsie") It appears both "Low Cost" and "Low-cost Color" are correct.
    – cbmeeks
    Jan 9, 2019 at 13:40

To quote the wiki:

The model names reflect a decision made at Apple in 1993 to follow an emerging industry trend of naming product families for their target customers -- Quadra for business, LC for education, and Performa for home.

  • 1
    I'm not sure how the quoted text explains why the same product was sold under more than one name. It merely states that it was, which OP already knows. Yes, you could argue that it says it was for market segmentation, but why sell the same product under different names for market segmentation, rather than selling different products?
    – user
    Sep 6, 2018 at 11:29
  • @MichaelKjörling - because building one product with N names is cheaper - you're selling more of them with the only difference being the case badge, so you get greater economy of scale. Sep 6, 2018 at 12:30
  • 2
    @MichaelKjörling What's gained (for the manufacturer) is being able to set a different price point for the same item when being sold to different end-users. IOW, charge less for an item being sold to families through department stores, charge more for the same item sold to 'professionals' through a dealer. Sep 6, 2018 at 16:32
  • 2
    @MichaelKjörling: This is called price discrimination. (Note: "discrimination" here is used in the literal meaning of "distinguish", not the legal meaning.) Ideally, you want to sell the same product to each individual at exactly the maximum price that this individual is willing to pay, i.e. you have a different price for every buyer. This is called individual pricing or first-degree price discrimination. Achieving this is hard, however, so there are two other strategies of approximating this. Third-degree PD / group pricing means selling to different groups at different prices. Sep 7, 2018 at 12:52
  • 2
    Examples are student discounts, senior discounts, or different pricing in different countries. Second-degree PD / Product variants means that you create different brands of essentially the same product. This is essentially a "trick" to get the buyers to sort themselves into groups: you market the same product under, for example, a luxury brand and a cheap brand, and the buyers who have more money will want to buy the luxury brand, whereas the ones that can't afford it will buy the cheap brand. The thing that you are essentially missing is that the prices for A, B, C are not the same! Sep 7, 2018 at 12:56

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