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In the ever-evolving landscape of personal computing, certain devices leave an indelible mark on the industry. One such device is the Macintosh SE FDHD, a compact personal computer introduced by Apple on August 1st, 1989. Although its lifespan was relatively short, lasting just over a year until its discontinuation on October 15th, 1990, the Macintosh SE FDHD remains a significant part of Apple’s illustrious Macintosh series. Let’s delve into the features and impact of this groundbreaking machine.
The Macintosh SE FDHD boasted impressive specifications for its time, earning its place as a high-end computer. Equipped with an 8 MHz Motorola 68000 processor, the SE FDHD delivered remarkable processing power. Its 9″ monochrome display, although limited in size, showcased Apple’s commitment to delivering high-quality visuals. Users could choose between 1 MB or 2 MB of RAM, allowing for efficient multitasking and smooth performance.
Storage options were also robust, with the choice of a 20 MB or 40 MB hard drive, providing ample space for users’ data. Additionally, the Macintosh SE FDHD featured one or two 1.44 MB floppy disk drives, enabling easy data transfer and backup. Running on the dedicated System Software operating system, the SE FDHD was a reliable and user-friendly machine.
Despite its relatively brief availability, the Macintosh SE FDHD made a lasting impression on consumers. Priced at $3,900 upon its release, it was undoubtedly a premium offering. However, its advanced features and capabilities attracted tech enthusiasts and professionals who sought a dependable and powerful computer.
The SE FDHD held a special place in Apple’s history as the first compact Mac with a built-in fan. Its compact form factor made it a popular choice for those looking for a space-saving option without sacrificing performance. The Macintosh SE FDHD quickly became an integral part of Apple’s Macintosh series, representing the company’s commitment to innovation and technological advancement.
One interesting aspect of the Macintosh SE FDHD is its support for color, albeit not on the internal display. While the SE FDHD’s built-in monitor was monochrome, the device could output 3-bit color to the ImageWriter II printer’s color ribbon. Some enterprising companies even created SCSI video output devices, allowing users to display 3-bit color on an external monitor. This capability added a touch of versatility to an already impressive machine.
Furthermore, the introduction of the FDHD (floppy drive, high density) or SuperDrive, as it was commonly known, was a significant development. This drive not only provided a capacity of 1.4 MB but also allowed the SE FDHD to read and write 3.5″ DOS disks with the help of special software. It was a notable step forward in terms of compatibility and expandability.
The Macintosh SE FDHD, introduced in 1989, may have had a short lifespan, but its impact remains significant. With its powerful specifications, compact form factor, and innovative features, it solidified its place as a sought-after computer for tech enthusiasts and professionals alike. Apple’s commitment to delivering cutting-edge technology is evident in the SE FDHD’s inclusion of a built-in fan, expansion slots, and color support, albeit through external means.
As we celebrate 33 years since the Macintosh SE FDHD’s introduction, we recognize its role as a pivotal device in Apple’s storied history. While technological advancements have brought us far beyond the capabilities of the SE FDHD, we cannot overlook its contributions to the world of personal computing. It will forever hold a cherished spot in the memories of those who witnessed its brief but impactful presence in the market.
Macintosh SE FDHD Details
|Introduced||August 1, 1989|
|Discontinued||October 15, 1990|
|Dimensions||13.6” H x 9.69” W x 10.9” D|
34.54 cm H x 24.61 cm W x 27.68 cm D
Mac SE FDHD Tech Specs
|Processor Speed||8 MHz|
|Number of Cores||1|
|System Bus||8 MHz|
Storage & Media
|Media||1 or 2 – 1.44 MB Floppy drive|
|Built-in Memory||1 MB|
|Maximum Memory||4 MB|
|Memory Slots||4 – 30 pin SIMM (Groups of 2)|
|Minimum Speed||150 ns|
|Built-in Display||9” monochrome display|
|Resolution||512 x 342|
|Pixel Density||72 ppi|
|Expansion Slots||1 – SE PDS|
|Hard Drive Interface||SCSI|
|Original OS||System Software 5.0|
|Maximum OS||System 7.5.5|
|SCSI||1 – DB-25|
|Floppy Port||1 – DB-19|
|Audio Out||1 – 3.5-mm mono output jack|
|Backup Battery||3.6 V lithium|
|Maximum Continuous Power||100 W|
Further Reading and References
- Macintosh SE FDHD: Technical Specifications – Apple Support
- Macintosh SE – Wikipedia
- Mac SE – Low End Mac
- Apple Macintosh SE SuperDrive – Retro Viator
- Today in Apple history: Macintosh SE gets supersized storage – Cult of Mac
- Macintosh SE FDHD – iFixit
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Last updated: May 20, 2023