Macintosh SE

Macintosh SE b.jpg
Release date March 2, 1987
Introductory price $2900 (dual floppy) US$3900 (with 20MB hard drive)
Discontinued October 15, 1990
Operating system 3.3-3.4,,, 7.0-7.5.5
CPU Motorola 68000 @ 8 MHz
Memory (150 ns 30-pin SIMM)

The Macintosh SE was a personal computer manufactured by Apple between March 1987 and October 1990. This 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 color 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 Expandable").
  • Used the Apple Desktop Bus (ADB), introduced with the Apple IIGS, for keyboard and mouse interface.
  • Improved SCSI support with faster data throughput.
  • Better reliability and longer life expectancy due to the addition of a fan.

The SE was designed to accommodate either one or two floppy drives, or a floppy drive and a hard drive. After-market brackets were designed to allow the SE to accommodate two floppy drives as well as a hard drive, however it was not a configuration supported by Apple. In addition an external floppy disk drive could also be connected, making the SE the only other Macintosh besides the Macintosh Portable which can support 3 floppy drives, though this is mostly academic as its increased storage capacity, 2-4x available RAM and optional internal hard drive rendered the external drives less of a necessity than for its predecessors. After Apple introduced the Macintosh SE/30 in January 1989, an SE/30 motherboard was marketed as a high-cost OEM upgrade for the SE, consisting of a new logicboard, case front and internal chassis to accommodate the upgrade components.

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 5 MB with the MicroMac accelerators, which are still sold. In the past other accelerators were also available such as the Sonnet Allegro.

The SE along with the Macintosh II, were the first Apple computers (since the Apple I) to be sold without a keyboard. Instead the customer was offered the choice of the new ADB Apple Keyboard or the Apple Extended Keyboard.

Apple produced ten SEs with transparent cases as prototypes for promotional shots and employees. They are extremely rare and command a premium price for collectors.[1]

Macintosh SE FDHD

Originally the SE could use only Single Sided Double Density (SSDD) (400 KB) and Double Sided Double Density (DSDD) (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. Originally marketed as FDHD (Floppy Disk High Density"), later some Macintosh SE FDHDs were labeled Macintosh SE Superdrive, to conform to Apple's marketing change with respect to their new drive. HD floppies would become the de-facto standard on both the Macintosh and PC computers from then on. An upgrade kit was sold for the original Macintosh SE which included new ROM chips and a new Disk controller chip, to replace the originals.

In Europe, the Macintosh SE FDHD was sold under the labeled name Macintosh SE 1/20 and was shipped 1MB RAM and an internal 20MB hard drive, as well as the Macintosh SE 1/40 which likewise shipped with a 40MB drive.[2]

The SE FDHD was discontinued in October 1990, with the introduction of the Macintosh Classic to succeed it.

Inside the Macintosh SE.


  • Processor: Motorola 68000, 8 MHz
  • System Bus Speed: 8 MHz
  • ROM Size: 256 kB
  • Data Path: 16-bit Level 1
  • RAM Type: 150 ns 30-pin SIMM
  • VRAM Type: Built-in
  • Standard RAM: 1 MB
  • Maximum RAM: 4 MB
  • RAM Slots: 4 (in pairs)
  • Standard Hard Drive: 20 MB
  • Int. Hard Drive Type: SCSI
  • Standard Disk: 3.5 in, 800 kB, 800 kB x 2 (auto)
  • Exp. Slots: SE PDS
  • Battery Type: 3.6 V Lithium
  • Display: 9 in monochrome
  • Supported Mac OS:,
  • Avg. Weight: 17.0 lb/7.7 kg