|This article needs additional citations for verification. (February 2012)|
|Release date||January 19, 1989|
|Discontinued||October 21, 1991|
|Operating system||System 6.0.3 – Mac OS 8.1 (with 68040 processor upgrade)|
|CPU||Motorola 68030 @ 16 MHz|
|Memory||1 MB, expandable to 128 MB (120 ns 30-pin SIMM)|
The Macintosh SE/30 is a personal computer that was designed, manufactured and sold by Apple Computer, Inc. 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, or a display adapter. Although officially only able to support 32 MB, the SE/30 could expand up to 128 MB of RAM (a ludicrous 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). 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 a 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 800k 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 typically 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 such as Green Jade, Fafnir, and Roadrunner were used.
Although it used 32-bit data and instructions like all early Macs, the SE/30 ROM, like the IIx ROM, included some code using 24-bit addressing, rendering the ROM "32-bit dirty". This limited the actual amount of RAM that could be accessed to just 8 MB under System 6.0.8. A system extension called MODE32 enabled 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 128MB 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.
A standard SE/30 can run up to System 7.5.5, since Mac OS 7.6 requires a 32-bit clean ROM.
Additionally, the SE/30 can run A/UX, Apple's older version of a Unix that was able to run Macintosh programs.
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.
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. Apple at the time de-emphasized the compact, all-in-one Macintosh in favor of a more expandable, modular system architecture, as seen in the Macintosh II and Quadra series.
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."
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 share the desk, including a PowerBook Duo and a Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh.
Timeline of compact Macintosh models
- Macintosh SE/30 technical specifications at apple.com
January 19, 1989
Macintosh Classic II