Apple introduced the LC 580 on April 3, 1995. I purchased this LC 580 in the summer of 2003 from Shreve Systems for $39. My LC 580 was new-old stock and had never been used. I can remember speaking to the Shreve Systems rep over the phone about the origins of this computer. He said that they had basically "taken a bath" on this deal because they had purchased quite a few new LC 580s but had not been able to sell them, so they dropped the price to $39 to clear out their inventory. The LC 580 originally cost about $1300.
The LC 580 is the last "LC" labeled Macintosh to use the LC 520 form factor, but not exactly the best example of the line. It is essentially the same as the LC 575, but with a cheaper, less flat monitor. Previous LC 520 form factor all in ones had a high definition Sony Trinitron monitor. However, I still think that the LC 580 has a very good monitor.
The LC 580 has a 2x internal CD ROM drive and an internal 1.4 MB floppy drive. Officially, the LC 580 has a maximum RAM of 52 MB, with 4 MB residing on the motherboard. My LC 580 only has 8 MB of RAM. Originally, Apple shipped the LC 580 with a 500 MB IDE internal hard drive, but my LC 580 came with an 800 MB hard drive. Apple began using these cheaper hard drives instead of the formerly standard Macintosh SCSI internal hard drives because they were cheaper due to their widespread adoption in the PC world.
LC 580 CD drive
The immediate upgrade path for the LC 580 is the Macintosh Processor Upgrade Card. It ramps up the speed from the current 33 MHz 68LC040 to a 66 MHz 601. The jump in speed would of course be hampered by the LC 580's archaic 68K architecture. There are also other upgrade cards available, but since upgrading my LC 580 would still make it hopelessly out of date, it is really a pointless, academic exercise. I have no plans to add any cards to my LC 580. The LC 580 has three expansion slots. It has a dedicated comm (communication) slot not found in earlier versions of this form factor before the LC 575. The comm slot could be used for a modem card or an Ethernet card. Another expansion slot is an LC PDS (LC Processor Direct Slot). The PDS on the LC 580 is used mainly to upgrade the processor. The PPC 601 Upgrade Card is installed in the LC PDS. The third expansion slot is a video in/out slot. An example of a card that would use this slot would be an Apple-produced TV tuner card.
The LC 580 has the following standard ports: one ADB port, one DB-25 SCSI port, one serial printer port, one serial modem port, one microphone jack, and one speaker jack. There is also a headphone jack on front of the computer set in between the brightness and volume control knobs. A built-in microphone resides on the front of the computer in the center at the top of the monitor. Other ports are possible but require the addition of a card.
LC 580 ports
The LC 580 shipped with Mac OS 7.5, but officially supports up to Mac OS 8.1. With the addition of the PPC 601 Upgrade Card, the LC 580 can support up to Mac OS 8.5. Since my LC 580 only has 8 MB of RAM, I haven't upgraded its operating system past Mac OS 7.5. An interesting thing to note about the standard factory installed operating system on my LC 580 is eWorld software. eWorld (see desktop captures below) was an online service offered by Apple to Macintosh users, similar to the early 1990s service offered by AOL.
A Vectronic's Apple World reader sent us this email back on July 30, 2003 to describe his experiences with this remarkable Macintosh:
The LC 580 is indeed quite the machine. I have one that I bought in 1996, and have enjoyed a lot of experimenting with it. The original 68K logic board can actually accommodate at least 196 MB of RAM in total, since the one slot will take a 128 MB 72-pin SIMM and the other a 64 MB single banked 72-pin SIMM. I say at least, because I once came across a catalog offering a 256 MB parity 72-pin SIMM, but it was quite expensive. So, I never indulged my curiosity about that. The surfing performance with a broadband connection (comm Slot 1 or LC PDS Ethernet card) and with a stripped down OS and a browser (Internet Explorer 4.01 or iCab 68K version) installed on a 150 MB RAM disk is amazing. The 68LC040 CPU can be exchanged for one with an FPU, which speeds up programs such as Photoshop. OS 8.1, which is the highest OS possible for 68K machines, allows the use of a large hard drive (15 GB in my case, but it could as easily be 120 GB), as long as a small partition is formatted in HFS for the boot drive, the rest can be formatted in HFS+ for data storage. I have four partitions: two boot drives, so that I can switch from one to another for disk maintenance, a partition on which only Photoshop is installed and which also serves as its scratch disk, all of which are HFS, and a data storage partition in HFS+ format.
It is common knowledge that the LC 580 may be upgraded to PPC capability with the non-PCI 52xx/62xx/63xx logic boards. Perhaps less well known is that Power Mac 5500/6500 logic boards work well in the 580 chassis. I haven't tried out the single PCI riser yet, but broadband connection is through a comm slot II Ethernet card with the rear top corner clipped off to allow it to fit in the 580's logic board bay. Since the 5500/6500 boards may be further upgraded with an L2/G3 card, the old 580 can almost become an iMac, not that I recommend this route to any but those whose curiosity and purse have few restrictions.
My LC 580 system uses an AppleDesign full-sized keyboard and Apple Desktop Bus Mouse II. The keyboard is very similar to a standard PC keyboard. It has one ADB port located on the bottom. Since the LC 580 only has one ADB port on the computer itself, hooking up a joystick with this keyboard would require unplugging the mouse if the joystick does not have an ADB splitter (and few I have seen actually have a splitter).
AppleDesign keyboard - single ADB port
Apple Desktop Bus Mouse II
The LC 580 is a beautifully designed computer, but it is an odd design. It is almost like Apple took the base of a Color Classic and on top of that morphed in a 15-inch monitor. It has stunning curves and grills. The base actually sits on top of four feet just like the Color Classic. Also like the Color Classic, it has monitor adjustments on the back of the computer, and sound and brightness knobs on the front. And just like the Color Classic, it is a compartmentalized all-in-one Mac with a separate compartment for the major internal components, which actually plug into the chassis. The motherboard also plugs into the chassis and can easily be accessed by removing a panel on back of the computer.
LC 580 back panel removed
LC 580 brightness and sound control knobs
The LC 500 series was very popular with schools in the 1990s. In fact, the first time I saw one was back in the mid 1990s in a college computer lab. My first impression was "Nice computer!" followed by, "Apple is still in business?" Times certainly have changed.