The Macintosh SE/30 is a personal computer designed, manufactured and sold by Apple Computer, Inc. from January 1989 to October 1991. It is the fastest of the original black-and-white compact Macintosh series.
A Macintosh SE/30
|Also known as||"Green Jade"|
|Manufacturer||Apple Computer, Inc.|
|Product family||Compact Macintosh|
|Release date||January 19, 1989|
|Introductory price||US$4,369 (equivalent to $8,831 in 2018)|
|Discontinued||October 21, 1991|
|Operating system||System 6.0.3 – System 7.5.5|
With a 32-bit clean ROM upgrade, Mac OS 7.6 - Mac OS 8.1
|CPU||Motorola 68030 @ 16 MHz|
|Memory||1 MB RAM (120 ns 30-pin SIMM), expandable to 128 MB|
|Dimensions||Height: 13.6 inches (35 cm)|
Width: 9.6 inches (24 cm)
Depth: 10.9 inches (28 cm)
|Mass||19.5 pounds (8.8 kg)|
|Successor||Macintosh Classic II|
|Related articles||Macintosh IIx|
The SE/30 has a black-and-white monitor and a single PDS slot (rather than the NuBus slots of the IIx, with which the SE/30 shares a common architecture) which supported third-party accelerators, network cards, or a display adapter. Although officially only able to support 32 MB, the SE/30 could expand up to 128 MB of RAM (a significant amount of RAM at the time), 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). The power of the SE/30 was demonstrated by its use to produce the This Week Newspaper, the first colour tabloid newspaper in the UK to use new, digital pre-press technology on a personal, desktop computer. In keeping with Apple's practice, from the Apple II+ until the Power Macintosh G3 was announced, a logic board upgrade was available to convert a regular SE to an SE/30. The SE would then have exactly the same specs as an SE/30, with the difference only in the floppy drive if the SE had an 800 KB drive. The set included a new front bezel to replace the original SE bezel with that of an SE/30.
In the naming scheme used at that time, Apple indicated the presence of a 68030 processor by adding the letter "x" to a model's name. When the Macintosh SE was upgraded with the 68030 processor, this posed an awkward problem; Apple was not willing to name their new computer the "Macintosh SEx". Thus, "SE/30" was the name chosen. Internally, code names such as Green Jade, Fafnir, and Roadrunner were used.
This machine was followed in 1991 by the Macintosh Classic II, which, despite the same processor and clock speed, was only 60% as fast as the SE/30 due to its 16-bit data path, supported no more than 10 MB of memory, lacked an internal expansion slot, and made the Motorola 68882 FPU an optional upgrade.
Although it uses 32-bit instructions, the SE/30 ROM, like the IIx ROM, includes some code using 24-bit addressing, rendering the ROM "32-bit dirty". This limited the actual amount of RAM that can be accessed to 8 MB under System 6.0.8. A system extension called MODE32 enables access to installed extra memory under System 6.0.8. Under System 7.0 up to System 7.5.5 the SE/30 can use up to 128 MB of RAM. Alternatively, 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 MB RAM and System 7.5 through OS 8.1.
Though there was no official upgrade path for the SE/30, several third-party processor upgrades were available. A 68040 upgrade made it possible to run Mac OS 8.1, which extended the SE/30's productive life for many more years. The Micron Technology Xceed Gray-Scale 30 video card fit into the SE/30's PDS slot, enabling in to display greyscale video on its internal display, the only non-color compact Mac able to do so.
Bruce F. Webster wrote in Macworld in March 1989 that the SE/30 did not "break new ground. It does, however, establish Apple's commitment to the classic Mac product line, and it provides users with an Apple-supported alternative to either a small, slow Mac or a large, powerful one. More important, it fills a gap in the Macintosh family ... a new level of power and portability for the Macintosh community".
In a January 2009 Macworld feature commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Macintosh, three industry commentators – Adam C. Engst of TidBITS, John Gruber of Daring Fireball, and John Siracusa of Ars Technica – chose the SE/30 as their favorite Mac model of all time. "Like any great Mac," wrote Gruber, "the SE/30 wasn't just a terrific system just when it debuted; it remained eminently usable for years to come. When I think of the original Mac era, the machine in my mind is the SE/30."
The SE/30 remains popular with hobbyists, and has been described as “the best computer Apple will ever make,” with used models selling for a significant premium to other machines of the era. Contemporary PDS upgrades allowed an SE/30’s internal monitor to be upgraded to support 256 shades of gray (the only original-design Macintosh to support such an upgrade) or a 68040 processor, and the SE/30’s standard RAM limit of 128MB greatly exceeded that of even much later models such as the Color Classic and Macintosh LC II. In 2018, add-ons and software became available to add WiFi and even streaming Spotify support to the SE/30.
In the NBC TV series Seinfeld, Jerry has an SE/30 sitting on his desk during the first seasons. This would be the first of many Macs to occupy the desk, including a PowerBook Duo and a Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh.
In the FX series It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, the Waitress is seen with a Macintosh SE/30 on her bedroom desk in the episode "The Gang Gives Back".
Timeline of compact Macintosh models
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Macintosh SE/30.|
- Pogue, David; Schorr, Joseph (1999). MacWorld Mac Secrets, 5th Edition. IDG Books. pp. 461–462. ISBN 0-7645-4040-8.
- Linzmayer, Owen W. (2004). Apple Confidential 2.0. No Starch Press. p. 48. ISBN 1-59327-010-0.
- "Mac Classic II, a Compromised Mac". Low End Mac. March 12, 2014.
- "25 Years of the Mac SE/30". Low End Mac. January 19, 2014.
Minimum requirements for Mac OS 7.6 included a 68030 CPU, "32-bit clean" ROMs, 8 MB of RAM (12-16 MB recommended), and 70 MB of hard drive space. It no longer supported 24-bit addressing or classic Mac networking (it used OpenTransport exclusively).
- "A/UX FAQ".
A/UX 3.0 works on the Mac II (with PMMU or 68030 upgrade with FDHD ROM's installed), IIx, IIcx, IIci, IIfx, SE/30, IIsi (with 68882 chip) and the Quadra 700/900/950 computers.
- "SE/30 GrayScale ScreenShots".
- "Micron Xceed for Mac SE/30". Low End Mac. September 2, 1999.
- "Macintosh SE/30: Technical Specifications". Apple.
- "InfoWorld March 27, 1989".
- Webster, Bruce F. (March 1989). "The Mac SE Turns 030". Macworld. pp. 112–117. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
- By (September 26, 2018). "Apple's Best Computer Gets WiFi". Hackaday. Retrieved August 10, 2019.
- "Micron Xceed for Mac SE/30". Low End Mac. September 2, 1999. Retrieved August 11, 2019.
- Coward, Cameron (December 26, 2018). "A Macintosh SE/30 Spotify Music Player". Medium. Retrieved August 10, 2019.