This is about the PowerCenter 150 Macintosh clone, built by the Power Computing Corporation. The PowerCenter series of Mac clones were 604 based computers running from 120 to 180mhz. PowerCenters were available in three styles: a standard desktop model, low profile desktop and mini-tower. Customers could custom order their PowerCenters during Power Computing’s time in business from about 1995 to the fall of 1997.
Power Computing introduced these Mac clones along with the Power Base and Power Tower series in 1996. The early model PowerCenters came with a Motorola 604 chip, while later models shipped with the Motorola 604e chip. The computers were usually bundled with an internal Toshiba CD Rom drive, 2 GB hard drive, 16 megs of standard RAM memory (upgradeable to a maximum of 512 MB), Apple Macintosh OS 7.6, and a generous software bundle that included Claris Works, Nisus Writer, and Now Contact manager among others.
One of the hallmarks of the PowerCenter is its ability to run both the Macintosh OS as well as the BeOS from BE Inc. The PowerCenter could also run some versions of Linux built for the Power PC. Apple’s own Macintosh computers with 603 or 604 chips and a PCI slot could also run the standard Mac OS of the time as well as BeOS and Power PC Linux.
The PowerCenter was discontinued after Power Computing was forced to sell its Mac OS license back to Apple Computer after a lengthy dispute. As a result, Power Computing sold its remaining inventory and went out of business on December 31, 1997. Apple eventually pulled the licenses on all of the Mac clone vendors, ending a once promising era of low-cost Macintosh computer cloning.
PowerCenters could be upgraded to a G3 Mac using a daughter card that was available from several vendors.
The PowerCenter supports Mac OS 7.5.5, 7.6, 7.6.1, 8.0, 8.1, 8.5 , 8 and OS9.1. Most versions of Apple’s MacOSX will not work with stock Power Computing systems. Apple supported only operating systems up to OS 8.1 for Power Computing and other Mac clones.
Those who own PowerCenter and other Power Computing clones have capable machines that continue today in the area of some content management & creation, word processing and minimal internet use.
I owned a PowerCenter Mac Clone from 1997 to about 2006, when I gave this old tower away to someone who wanted to use it as a Linux computer.
Specs of my old PowerCenter 150 Mac Clone:
Power Center 150 Mini Tower enclosure (15″ H x 7″ W X 16″ D)
Power PC 604 chip @ 150 mhz (can be upgraded to faster processor)
40 mhz bus speed
2 gigabyte Seagate Hard Drive
Built-in 12X Toshiba CD Rom drive
Internal Iomega Zip drive (broken)
1.44mb high density floppy disk drive (broken)
32 MB Ram (expandable to 512 MB)
Apple Macintosh System 8.1 (upgraded)
Built in ethernet and local talk networking
SCSI II port
3 PCI slot card positions
VGA and standard Macintosh monitor port
Power Computing 15″ multimedia color monitor with built in stereo sound
How I Got Rid of the File From Hell
Using the BeOS allowed me to delete a stubborn Macintosh file.
The CDs of Power Computing
Here’s a guy who has a collection of Power Computing CDs
Inside Power Computing
By Dave Winer, August 29, 1997
A short article about the demise of Power Computing
Wikipedia: Power Computing article