Macintosh SE

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Macintosh SE
CPU: 8 MHz Motorola MC68000
RAM Type:30-pin SIMM
Maximum RAM: 4 MiB
Expansion slots: SE-PDS
Supported OS: System 4.1 - System 7.5.5
Introduced:March 2 1987
Discontinued:October 15 1990
MSRP:$2900 or $3700 with HD (US)
Full Specifications

Released alongside Apple's new flagship Macintosh II desktop machine, the Macintosh SE was designated as being Apple's mainstream business machine. Far more than just being 'the next Mac', the SE actually brought a lot of new features to the series.


The original Macintosh and the Mac 512k both had one major drawback: a total lack of expansion. The original Macintosh ethic had eschewed expansion of any kind and it was only with the release of the Macintosh Plus and its SCSI port that users had been able to expand their machines without having to pop the hood and delve inside the maze of electronics. The most common accessory that users were adding at the time were hard disks and Apple decided that maybe the time was right to give the venerable Mac some serious storage - especially as the new Macintosh II was shipping with an optional hard drive.

The SE shipped in two flavours: either a dual floppy version (retailing for $2900) or a floppy-hard drive version (retailing for $3700). For that extra $800, users were rewarded with an internally fitted 20 MiB SCSI hard drive. But, drive aside, the two machines were identical, so users were not only able to add a hard drive at a later date but could, with a little ingenuity, fit a hard drive and still retain the dual floppy drives. Originally shipping with 800 KiB floppy drives, Apple switched to using the new 1.44 MiB 'SuperDrive' in August 1989. The new floppy controller and ROMs were also available as upgrades.

As well as the switch in drives, the SE also provided users with another first for an all-in-one (AIO) Mac: an expansion slot. Now users could add clever gadgetry such as network cards, video cards and even accelerator cards. The final trick in the SE's expansion arsenal was the adoption of the Apple Desktop Bus (ADB). ADB theoretically allowed multiple devices to be hooked up to a single port but in reality only mice and keyboards ever really made use of it — the SE ditched the serial mouse and phone-style connected keyboard used in the Macintosh 128k, 512k and Plus.

The SE certainly brought a lot to the all-in-one Macintosh line but it also lost one thing, as all of the extra drives meant that cooling was becoming a problem. For this reason the SE was the first all-in-one Mac to ship with an internal fan. No longer would the Macintosh run silently.

Note that some SuperDrive-equipped machines are designated as "FDHD" and others as "SuperDrive". The switch to "SuperDrive" labeling was done sometime in 1990 and the written "Macintosh SE" became somewhat smaller at this point as well.

Although the SE was apparently discontinued in October 1990, some SEs have been found with manufacture dates as late as January 1991. This could have been done to use up inventory of parts.

Full Specifications

  • General
    • CPU: 8 MHz Motorola MC68000
    • ROM: 256 KiB
    • Bus Speed: 8 MHz
    • Data Path: 24-bit
    • RAM Type: 30-pin SIMM (150 ns)
    • Standard RAM: 1 MiB
    • RAM Slots: 4
    • Maximum RAM: 4 MiB
  • I/O & Expansion
    • ADB: 2
    • Serial: 2
    • SCSI: 1
    • Floppy Connector: 1
    • Audio Out: 8-bit 22 KHz mono (mini-jack)
    • Built-in Speaker: Mono
    • PDS Slot Type: SE
  • Storage
    • Hard Drive: 20 MiB
    • Hard Drive Type: SCSI
    • Floppy Drive: One or two 800 KiB 3.5" (1.44 MiB SuperDrive as of 01/08/1989)
  • Video
    • Built-in Display: Internal B&W 9" CRT
    • Max Resolution: 512×342 (1-bit)
  • Miscellaneous
    • Apple Model Number: M5010 (SE), M5011 (SE FDHD)
    • Codename: PlusPlus, Maui, Aladdin, Chablis, Freeport, Z^2, Mac ±, Midnight Run
    • Gestalt ID: 5
    • Power: 100W
    • PRAM Battery: 3.6V Lithium
    • Case Style: Macintosh SE
    • Dimensions: 9.6" x 10.9" x 13.6" (W x D x H)
    • Weight: 17 lbs.
    • Mac OS Support: System 4.1 - System 7.5.5
    • Introduced: March 2 1987
    • Introduced: October 15 1990
    • MSRP: $2900 or $3700 with HD (US)

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