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Brainstorm Accelerator

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[www].se [ftp].se [mirror].us
brainstorm_accelerator.sit (1.11 MB)
MD5: 243bbeb98526ee4988e29fd4d002bf84
For System 6.x - System 7.0 - 7.6
Guides on emulating older applications

If you really want to speed up your Mac Plus, the one speed upgrade we do recommend is the Brainstorm Accelerator from Brainstorm Products.

  — Upgrading & Fixing Macs for Dummies (1995)

Sometimes, the less said about a product, the better. In the case of the Brainstorm Accelerator for the Macintosh SE, that's praise. This upgrade does precisely what it should: make your SE faster and otherwise remain invisible. In this day of the Power Mac, accelerating an SE might seem absurd. Yet many SEs still lead serviceable lives in schools, homes, nonprofit organizations, and small offices, for which acceleration may be more practical than replacement.

The Brainstorm consists of an accelerator card that fits into the SE's expansion slot, and a Brainstorm Bus Accelerator (BBA) chip. The card contains a 16MHz 68000 processor—twice the speed of the SE's stock 8MHz 68000.

The unique part of the Brainstorm package is the BBA. It replaces the SE's 8MHz bus controller with a proprietary 16MHz chip, increasing the speed with which data shuttles between memory and SCSI peripherals (such as hard drives) on one side, and the processor on the other. The result is an SE that approaches a Classic II in overall performance.

  — Macworld (March 1995)

The Accelerator for the Plus was introduced in 1991 at $249. Its SE counterpart followed, although a planned Classic version ultimately went unproduced. The products' use of revised 68000 chips avoided the software incompatibilities associated with their 68030-driven competitors, while the bus enhancement allowed them to actually outperform such 030-only solutions.

1994 saw the final firmware release for these upgrades, version 2.5, which supported Systems 6.0.7 through 7.5.1. It brought significant benefits to both machines, including fixes for sound-related issues, one of which had been linked to crashes in over a dozen programs. On the Plus specifically, it eliminated the need for special Brainstorm software in the System Folder and improved performance by "about 10%".

The Brainstorm 2.5 disk will update the firmware on either model. (Versions 1.0 and 2.0 of the Plus Accelerator disks are also included, if only for historical interest.)

Architecture: 68k