Mac Chimes of Death

We’re all familiar with the Mac’s startup chime. While it has changed over the years, it has greeted users with its friendly tone for decades.

What you may not know is that for years, the Mac also came with a death sound, that would play when the machine was unable to properly boot.

And they are glorious:

Macintosh II

The Macintosh II line used several different chimes. These large machines combined the Macintosh operating system with the open hardware of the Apple II, and while they aren’t as charming as the original Mac’s design, they were lusted after by many users in their day.

I think the IIcx is the nicest, but the IIfx chime feels the most deathy to me.

Macintosh II

Macintosh IIcx

Macintosh IIfx

Macintosh LC

The LC, short for “low cost,” was designed to get the Mac into more homes than ever before. The Macintosh II line ran circles around it, but it was how many people experienced the Macintosh for the first time. I think its death sound is pretty good, building on that of the IIfx, which was on sale at the same time as the original LC:

Quadra AV

The Macintosh Quadra line brought the Motorola 68040 to more people when it replaced the outgoing Macintosh II line in 1991. Most of these machines used the death chimes from the LC line, but the high-end Quadra AV systems got something a little more … funky:

This sound would also be used on the ill-fated Centris AV machines.

Power Mac 6100, 7100 & Performa 6100

Uhhhh, this one just sounds like a car crash, which must have been very upsetting to hear as your Mac died:

Thankfully, it was just used on these super-early PowerPC Macs in 1994.

Some Random Performas

The low-cost, sold-in-big-box-stores Macintosh Performa may have been a hot mess of a line of personal computers, but in the confusing list of models, it’s easy to tell Motorola 68k models from PowerPC ones: the former have names with three digits, while the latter use four digits in their names. A good number of the PowerPC models used this menacing sound:

PCI-based Power Macs

Thankfully on the pro sides of things, Apple showed some restraint once PCI became the standard expansion slot in these machines:

The death chime has been gone for over 20 years, and I’m not sad about that … especially when hearing that car crash one.