The Macintosh SE was the first in a new line of computers made by Apple, which eventually evolved into the modern Macs that we know today. Five Mac models preceded it, the Mac XL (Lisa), the 128K, the 512K, the 512Ke (the e is for extended), and the Mac Plus.

The SE expanded on these models by introducing new interfaces and protocols. The old-style Mac keyboard cable was replaced with the Apple Desktop Bus (ADB), which grew to support mice and other useful desktop devices.

The SE debuted in 1987, with a retail price of $3,130. It clocks out at 7.4 MHz. It included a built in 9" monitor, and two floppy drives. A 20 MB hard drive could be substituted for one floppy drive, although SCSI support made this option less popular. It shipped with 1 MB of RAM, upgradable to 2 MB, 2.5 MB, or 4 MB.

Comparably, an SE today costs $50 or less at any respectable retailer. My reference model finally stopped working after fifteen years of faithful service when the ADB bus burned out, making it unable to recieve input without replacing most of the internal hardware. Nonetheless, there's something to be said for Mac OS 7 on a 45 MB hard drive that never managed to be filled halfway.

Two hardware notes: The SE originally shipped with 800K floppy drives, but was upgraded to the FDHD high density drive (SuperDrive) in later production. You can tell which kind it is by inserting a formatted 1.44 MB Mac disk into the drive and seeing if it's recognized. Typically, FDHD systems include the internal hard drive. Also (particularly for those considering a used SE), SEs with blue power switches tend to have strange electrical difficulties, whereas SEs with the more reliable black supplies generally function without a whimper.

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