Macintosh SE

Released 1987: The Macintosh SE is a personal computer by Apple Computer, Inc. It marked a significant improvement on the Macintosh Plus design and was introduced by Apple at the same time as the “high-end” Macintosh II.


  • Type: All-in-one
  • Manufacturer: Apple Computer
  • Released: 1987
  • Discontinued: 1990
  • OS: System 4.0-7.5.5
  • Introductory price: $2900 (2 x FFD), $3900 (with 20 MB HDD)
  • CPU: 68000 @ 7.8 MHz
  • Memory: 1 MB RAM (upgradable)
  • Graphics: 512 x 342 pixel, 1 bit
  • Audio: 8-bit mono 22 kHz
  • Display: 9″ black and white CRT
  • Internal storage: optional 3.5″ 20 MB SCSI HD
  • Removable storage: 1 or 2, 3.5″ FD (800 KB)
  • ROM 256 KB
  • Dimensions: 13.6″ x 9.69″ x 10.9″
  • Weight: 17 lb (7.7 kg)
  • Predecessor: Mac 512Ke, Mac Plus
  • Successor: Mac SE/30, Mac Classic, Macintosh Portable

The SE retains the same Compact Macintosh form factor as the original Macintosh computer released in 1984 and uses the same design language used by the Macintosh II. An enhanced model, the SE/30 was introduced in January 1989, the original SE continued simultaneously. The Macintosh SE was updated in August 1989 to include a SuperDrive (1.44 MB High Density floppy disks), with this updated version being called the “Macintosh SE FDHD” and later the “Macintosh SE SuperDrive”.

The Macintosh SE was replaced with the Macintosh Classic, a very similar model which retained the same CPU, monochrome monitor and form factor, but at a lower price point.

I think this was the first Macintosh with an internal expansion slot. The model name “SE” stands for “System Expansion”.

My Macintosh SE
I got this Macintosh locally at a pickup, the seller also had the next model in the line for sale, the 1990 “Macintosh Classic”, and might found it a bit strange I choose the oldest of the two. I found out later, there was some value expansions inside, so I’m very happy I choose this one. This model as many others got a backup-battery soldered directly onto the main board that with time will start to leak and make some serious damages.

Replace battery
Luckily there was no battery leak yet, so I removed the old battery that is long dead anyway by now, and replaced it with a non-rechargeable coin-cell type battery with holder and a diode to avoid charging as you can see in the image.

I also adjusted the monitor a bit when I had it open, as the display didn’t fill the hole screen like it’s supposed to.

Accelerator card ‘030 
As a big surprise, there was  an accelerator board inside, with a 25 MHz 68030 CPU and 4 MB of 32 bit RAM. This board makes the Macintosh SE about 6 times faster. The board also got a display controller to use an external screen with higher resolutions, but that video signal requires a special monitor I think.

Macintosh SE main board
Macintosh SE main board with an 68030 accelerator and the battery replaced

HD floppy drive (SuperDrive)
Someone in the past also upgraded this machine with a HD floppy drive 1.44 MB from the original DD 800 KB drive. This makes it easier to transfer files from a modern PC using a cheap USB floppy drive. This upgrade also required to replace a couple of chips on the main board I think.

Hard drive
Someone had replaced the original 20 MB SCSI hard drive with a 52 MB drive.

My Macintosh SE
My Macintosh SE
Macintosh SE

Remi Jakobsen

I'm collecting classic computers and video games, stretching from the 70's into the 90's. Restoration, history, usage ...

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7 thoughts on “Macintosh SE

  1. I just thought I’d correct one thing you stated. You said someone upgraded the floppy from 800k to the 1.44mb version. The FDHD (Floppy Disk High Density) came with a 1.44mb drive from the factory. In fact as far as the SE line is concerned, the online with the 800k drive is the base model with no hard drive. It had two 800k drives.

    1. Thank you for respond but I don’t agree in your correction. The later models that came with HD disk drive was labeled Macintosh SE FDHD and later Macintosh SE SuperDrive, mine is only labeled SE.

      1. I see were my confusion came in. At the very top of this page, there’s a picture of an FDHD, but later on in your post it is not the same one pictured as it does not say FDHD below the “SE”.

        I retract my previous statement LOL.

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