Despite these shortcomings, the Quadra 700 reinforced some of the same conclusions from my timing roadtesting a refurbished Macintosh IIsi some time ago. The gap between an ‘040 powered Mac and modern PCs doesn’t feel nearly as wide as it should. This computer was released almost 30 years ago. On paper, it should be inconceivable that this can at all fit into a modern workflow. Present-day computers are gigascale monstrosities that should smoke something as old and plucky as the Quadra. And yet, they just… don’t.
Computers today weld supercomputer levels of power by the standards of the Quadra 700, but they don’t seem any faster in terms of responsiveness for the end user doing normal tasks like typing in a word processor.
Dan Luu measured response latency in some vintage modern hardware and the results are surprising.