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Apple Macintosh SE

Apple Macintosh SE

Speed8 MHz
Memory1024 KB
Hard Drive20  MB

What's this?


Release Date: 3/2/1987
Manufacturer: Apple
Original Retail Price:
Adjusted Inflation Price:
Donated By: George R. Carruthers
The Macintosh SE personal computer marked a significant improvement on the Macintosh Plus design and was introduced by Apple at the same time as the Macintosh II. It had a similar case to the original Macintosh computer, but with slight differences in colour and styling.

The SE's notable new features, compared to its similar predecessor the Macintosh Plus, were:

  • First compact Macintosh with space for an internal hard disk (originally 20 MB or 40 MB), or, if the user preferred, dual floppy drives.
  • First compact Macintosh that featured an expansion slot (SE stood for "System Expansion").
  • Used the Apple Desktop Bus (ADB), introduced with the Apple IIGS, for keyboard and mouse interface.
  • Improved SCSI support with faster data throughput.
  • Originally the SE could use only Single Density (SD) (400 KB) and Double Density (DD) (800 KB) formatted floppy disks. In August 1989, Apple introduced the Macintosh SE FDHD with the new SuperDrive, a floppy disk drive that could handle 1.4 MB High Density (HD) floppy disks. Some Macintosh SE FDHDs were labeled "Macintosh SE Superdrive" and are more rare. HD floppies would become the de-facto standard on both the Macintosh and PC computers from then on.
The SE was designed to accommodate either two floppy drives or a floppy drive and a hard drive, although an after-market bracket was designed to allow the SE to accommodate two floppy drives as well as a hard drive. After Apple introduced the Macintosh SE/30 in January 1989, an SE/30 motherboard was marketed as a high-cost upgrade for the SE.

Additionally the SE had a special PDS slot that allowed for expansion cards, such as accelerators, to be installed. Later on the SE/30 continued by having one slot. Still today accelerators can be purchased and installed in this machine. The SE can be upgraded to 50 MHz and more than 5MB with the MicroMac accelerators, which are still sold. In the past other accelerators, such as the Sonnet

User Comments
Anonymous on Tuesday, August 25, 2015
"Apple Macintosh SE" was in many ways seen as a successor to "Macintosh Plus". While created at the same time as "Macintosh II" color computer with 'modular' design both would introduce 'snow white design language' to Macintosh series created for Apple by Frog Design in 1984 beginning with "Apple IIc" this clearly evident in off-color case color to horizontal and vertical lines. "Single Expansion Card slot" (hidden in 'Accessory Access Port' at back of the case) was added as a industry non-standard 96-pin euro-din connector, but is not compatible with "Macintosh II" expansion cards a sought-after card was 8086 PC emulator card for running MS-DOS programs inside a window. Apple did release their own 5.25" MS-DOS Floppy Disk Drive Controller Card with Apple 5.25" MS-DOS Floppy Disk Drive for reading MS-DOS disks. "Apple Desktop Bus" was commonly used for daisy-chaining a keyboard, mouse, joystick, graphics tablet and other devices. Keyboard sold separately, two options were: "Apple Keyboard" 81 keys including numeric keypad and cursor keys. "Apple Extended Keyboard" 105 keys, including 15 function keys, T cursor pad, 10-key numeric keypad. Configurations available were: 1 megabyte of RAM, one or two 3.5" double-sided 800Kb floppy disk drives or alternatively one 3.5" double-side 800kb floppy and internal 20SC 20Mb SCSI hard disk. It first Macintosh to include cooling fan providing 10 cfm cross flow. Initially shipped with System 4 on release in March 1987 which is pretty rare as more came with System 5 in October 1987 or the most common System 6 in April 1988 onwards. One of the better compact Macintosh computers of it's time!
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* Inflation data courtesy of Values are approximate using our own calculations.