The Apple IIgs

Codename: Cortland, Phoenix, Rambo, Gumby
CPU: Western Design Center 65SC816
speed: 2.8 Mhz
FPU: none
motherboard RAM: 256 k
maximum RAM: 8 MB
number of sockets: n/a
minimum speed: n/a
ROM: 128 k - 1 MB
L1 cache: n/a
L2 cache: n/a
data path: 16 bit
bus speed: 2.8 Mhz
slots: 7 proprietary (compatible w/Apple II)
SCSI: available via expansion card
Serial Ports: 2
ADB: 1
Floppy: 5.25" Disk ][ or 3.5" Sony 800k, via floppy port
HD: supported
Display: 2 bit color at 640x200, 8 bit color at 320x200
IIe enhanced: 80 column
Sound Output: built in speaker
power: ??
introduced: January 1986
terminated: mid-1993

The last member of the Apple II line, The Apple IIgs was a also the most powerful. Announced in September 1986, the IIgs was built around a Western Design Center 65C816 processor running at either 2.8 or 1 Mhz. It included expanded graphics and sound functions, and was initially offered with 256k of RAM, expandable to 8 MB. The IIgs also offered 128k of ROM, expandable to 1 MB. The IIgs shipped with a Mac-like interface and a IIgs-specific OS, and introduced the Apple Desktop Bus (ADB) port. (It also ran most other Apple II software.) The IIgs was later offered with 1 MB of RAM, and 256k of ROM. It could also hold a SCSI adapter card, and was discontinued in December of 1992. Many 3rd party refinements and expansions have been offered for the Apple IIgs (including processor upgrades up to 18 Mhz), and there is still a fairly large installed base.


Date: Tue, 15 Apr 1997 20:46:11 -0700
From: spartan@proaxis.com (The Anderson Family)
To: glen@apple-history.pair.com
Subject: IIgs processor

Why don't you mention on your site that the Super Nintendo Entertainment System runs on a IIgs motherboard with the exception of accelerated graphics and enhaced 16-bit sound? Make those PC users cry!
Date: Fri, 21 Nov 1997 21:57:31 -0500
From: chinp@ms.com (Peter Chin)
To: glen@apple-history.pair.com
Subject: Nit picking / Apple IIGS

Not totally true. The SNES doesn't use the Apple IIGS motherboard, because that would have required Nintendo to have licensed the IIGS ROMs from Apple! If this were the case, since tens of millions of SNES have been sold, Apple would probably have enough money now to have bought out Bill Gates and turned Microsoft into Apple's Redmond Market Center.
What IS true: The SNES uses a special 40-pin version of the 65816, licensed from Western Design Center. It's fast enough to act as the controller for the special Nintendo graphics chips; it doesn't do much except shuffle data to them and let them do the work. How do I know this? I met Bill Mensch, the inventor of the 65816 and the President of WDC at an AppleFest a looooong time ago who told me.
Date: Thu, 5 Aug 1999 23:36:27 -0700 (PDT)
From: g_alan_e@yahoo.com (Gregg Eshelman)
Subject: More Apple IIgs / Super Nintendo history.
To: corrections@apple-history.com

In the early days of the SNES, Nintendo actually used some IIgs computers for game development and debugging. They wrote a SNES emulator for the IIgs! Don't get your hopes up. It was terribly slow and had no graphics at all. The only reason for doing this was because of the similar CPUs in the IIgs and the SNES. Eventually when gamers demanded more complex games and regular computers became powerful enough, Nintendo created a SNES emulator/development system for the PowerMacintosh, complete with full graphics and sound. Sometime later the two principal people who worked on the PowerMac SNES emulator left Nintendo with the intent of making a commercial SNES emulator for Macintosh computers. After some announcements and plenty of fanfare, the project sank out of sight, most likely under the weight of the entire Nintendo legal services department.

Previous Next