Apple Macintosh SE/30

Computer facts

CompanyApple Computer Inc.
Type home
Year 1989
End year 1990
CPU Motorola MC68030
Speed 16 MHz
RAM 32 MB max
ROM 256 KB
Sound stereo, 8 bit
Apple Macintosh SE/30


The Macintosh SE/30 is a personal computer that was designed, manufactured and sold by Apple Computer from 1989 until 1991. It was the fastest and most expandable of the original black-and-white compact Macintosh series.

The SE/30 is essentially a Macintosh IIx in the same case as the Macintosh SE, with a black-and-white monitor and a single PDS slot (rather than the NuBus slots of the IIx) which supported third-party accelerators, network cards, and even a display adapter that supported 8-bit grayscale on the internal monitor, the Micron Xceed. Although officially only able to support 8 MiB, the SE/30 could expand up to 128 MiB of RAM, and included a 40 or 80 MB hard drive. It was also the first compact Mac to include a 1.44 MB high density floppy disk drive as standard (late versions of the SE had one, but earlier versions did not). Also (expensive) conversion sets were sold to convert a regular SE to a SE/30. Your SE would then have the exact same specs as an SE/30, with the difference only in the used floppy drive if your SE had a 800k drive. The set even included a new front to replace the SE front with that of an original SE/30.

Apple had indicated the presence of a 68030 processor by adding the letter "x" to a model's name, but when the Macintosh SE was updated to the 68030, this posed an awkward problem, as Apple was not willing to name their new computer the "Macintosh SEx". Thus, "SE/30" was the name chosen. Internally, code names like Green Jade and Fafnir were used.

Although sold as a 32-bit computer, the SE/30 ROM, like the IIx ROM, included some 24-bit code, rendering the ROM "dirty". This limited the actual amount of memory that could be accessed to just 8 MiB. The solution was to use a program called MODE32 which enabled access to the extra memory (if installed). Alternatively it has been found that replacing the ROM SIMM with one from a Mac IIsi or Mac IIfx makes the SE/30 32-bit "clean" and thereby enables use of up to 128 MiB RAM.

With some software hacks, it also becomes possible to run OS 8.0 or OS 8.1 (whereas the SE/30 normally can only run up to System 7.5.5. However, it has been confirmed that a stock SE/30 can also boot off a System 7.6 boot disk). Additionally, the SE/30 is able to run A/UX, Apple's older version of a Unix that was able to run Macintosh programs.

This machine was superseded in 1991 by the Macintosh Classic II, a machine which was only 60% as fast as the SE/30, supported no more than 10 MiB of memory, and lacked an internal expansion slot. Apple at this time was de-emphasizing the compact, all-in-one nature of the Macintosh in favor of a more expandable, PC-like system architecture as seen in the Macintosh II and Quadra series.

Apple Macintosh SE/30 images