Skip to main content

Macintosh SE Buyer's Guide in 2016


The Macintosh SE was released on March 2, 1987 by Apple. Its original price was $2,900 USD with dual 3.5-inch floppy drives or $3,900 USD with a single 3.5-inch floppy drive and a 20 MB SCSI hard drive. It was introduced as a replacement for the Macintosh Plus alongside the Macintosh II, and is visually similar to the original Macintosh 128K.


Processor: Motorola 68000, 8 MHz
ROM Size: 256 kB
Data Path: 16-bit Level 1
RAM Type: 150 ns 30-pin SIMM
Standard RAM: 1 MB
Maximum RAM: 4 MB
RAM Slots: 4
Standard Hard Drive: 20 MB SCSI
Standard Disk: 3.5 in, 800 kB, 800 kB x 2
Exp. Slots: SE PDS
Battery Type: 3.6 V lithium
Display: 512 x 342 pixels, 9 inches monochrome
Video memory: 512x384x1
Mac OS: 3.3–7.5.1, 7.5.3–7.5.5
Weight: 17.0 lb

Innovations of the Macintosh SE:

  • Featured an expansion slot (SE stands for “System Expansion”)
  • It is the first Macintosh to use ADB (Apple Desktop Bus), which was used with the Apple IIGS, for keyboards and mice
  •  Added a cooling fan to mediate temperatures.
The Macintosh SE was the first Macintosh computer to ship without a keyboard. With the new ADB ports, the ADB Apple Keyboard and Apple Extended Keyboards were the only ones on the market.
Transferring media to a Macintosh SE in 2016 is not an easy task, and it has not been for the last 20 or so years. Kevin Rye has the best explanation of the topic, and I got in contact with him to see what he had to say when I asked if it was possible to write to 800K 3.5-inch floppy disks for the Macintosh SE.

Kevin Rye from

It’s not easy. No version of OS X past version 10.5 supports the vintage file formats. No one has ever manufactured a USB Floppy Drive capable of reading or writing to any format other than 1.44MB floppies. Vintage Macs use a variable speed drive. USB floppy drives can only spin at the one speed required for 1.44MB floppies.

You need a vintage Mac that can get on the Internet and read/write to 800K disks, or a way to get images off the internet and onto vintage Mac formatted 1.44MB disks, then onto another vintage Mac that can read both 1.44 and 800K disks. I have a room of about 25 vintage Macs that allows me to shuffles images around and onto 800K disks. As far as blanks, I get them on eBay when I see them.
What this means is that reading or writing 400K or 800K 3.5-inch floppy disks, the only disks compatible with the Macintosh SE, is currently almost impossible with modern hardware. You must use a classic Macintosh, optionally connected to the internet, to read and write 400K and 800K disks. This puts the Macintosh SE in a strange position, making it extremely difficult to use practically in the modern day, even just to run legacy programs or games. Emulating a classic Macintosh with Mini vMac or another application is more practical than buying the equipment.

Equipment costs in 2016:
Currently, the Macintosh SE might be the most affordable early Macintosh computer.

  • Macintosh SE: Around $50-100 USD used, $120-200 USD mint condition
Macintosh SE FDHD's have a SuperDrive. It has a 1.44mb that makes it much easier to work with. It costs about the same, but is miles better with compatibility.
  • ADB Keyboard and Mouse: Around $30-45 USD
  • Mac OS System Disk: System 6.0.8 800K startup disk from RescueMyClassicMac is $10 
  • Software: Anywhere from $0 to $50 USD
These components are about $150-200 total if you get the best prices possible as separate units. Some systems sell with ADB keyboards and mice, which can knock a large portion of the accessory price. If you’re lucky, a Macintosh SE with a keyboard and mouse, along with a Mac OS system disk or hard drive, it should cost $150 USD.

A floppy disk emulator is the most practical way to manage your floppy disk collection. With a 128 GB SD card, you could load 160,000 800K floppy disk images onto the device. Of course, this is impractical, but it is entirely possible. It connects to the external floppy drive port on the back of the SE, so it fits snuggly away. An extension cable can be bought for front access, but this device is highly recommended.

That is about all that I wanted to say, and I hope you take some of my advice when looking into buying a Macintosh SE. It is an excellent machine, but it can be tricky to find the right parts for it. Good luck and have fun hunting for your classic Mac.


Popular posts from this blog

Hackintosh Boot Flags

If this is your first time building or making a Hackintosh, boot flags may seem like a foreign concept. Once you understand what each of them means, you can get started!
Clover Boot Flags:Verbose Mode:

Safe Mode:

Single User Mode:

Zone Postponing: (use if hanging)

Single CPU core mode:

No Kext Cache Mode: (When changing kexts)

Disables VT-x or VT-d:

Verbose Mode:

Enable NVIDIA Web Drivers: (do not use with nv_disable=1)

Disable NVIDIA graphics cards: (do not use with nvda_drv=1)

Kext Dev Mode:

Rootless Mode:  Do not boot with this on El Capitan or macOS Sierra

 rootless=0  If you're stuck at [PCI Configuration Began]:

 npci=0x2000   npci=0x3000 
Set Maximum Memory (RAM): (In megabytes)

 maxmem=4096   maxmem=8192 
Troubleshooting: If you are having any trouble, first try this string. It works on a lot of systems with Intel HD Graphics to get into the OS X Installer from a Unibeast USB.

 -v -x -s -no-zp 

If you have…

Generic Windows Installation Keys

PLEASE NOTE: These are not product keys that will function to activate Windows. These are only for installing Windows.
Windows Edition Product Key Windows Vista
Windows Vista Starter X9PYV-YBQRV-9BXWV-TQDMK-QDWK4 Windows Vista Home Basic RCG7P-TX42D-HM8FM-TCFCW-3V4VD Windows Vista Home Premium X9HTF-MKJQQ-XK376-TJ7T4-76PKF Windows Vista Business 4D2XH-PRBMM-8Q22B-K8BM3-MRW4W Windows Vista Ultimate VMCB9-FDRV6-6CDQM-RV23K-RP8F7 Windows 7 Windows 7 Starter 7Q28W-FT9PC-CMMYT-WHMY2-89M6G Windows 7 Home Basic YGFVB-QTFXQ-3H233-PTWTJ-YRYRV Windows 7 Home Premium RHPQ2-RMFJH-74XYM-BH4JX-XM76F Windows 7 Professional HYF8J-CVRMY-CM74G-RPHKF-PW487 Windows 7 Ultimate D4F6K-QK3RD-TMVMJ-BBMRX-3MBMV Windows 7 Enterprise H7X92-3VPBB-Q799D-Y6JJ3-86WC6 Windows 7 N
Windows 7 Starter N D4C3G-38HGY-HGQCV-QCWR8-97FFR Windows 7 Home Basic N MD83G-H98CG-DXPYQ-Q8GCR-HM8X2 Windows 7 Home Premium N D3PVQ-V7M4J-9Q9K3-GG4K3-F99JM Windows 7 Professional N BKFRB-RTCT3-9HW44-FX3X8-M48M6 Windows 7 Ultimate N HTJK6-DXX8T-…

Hackintosh iMessage Tutorial

iMessage Tutorial on El Capitan and Yosemite Works on OS X 10.10+ Requires Clover boot loader, and has been tested up to macOS 10.12
Clover Configurator:

Sometimes Necessary: Set Up Network Configuration
IMPORTANT:Make sure that your primary network is set as en0. A lot of the time, this is a major issue and is often overlooked. If you use WiFi as your primary network, it has to be en0. Open System Profiler, click Ethernet or Wifi, depending on how you receive your internet, and make sure the network is listed as en0. If not, delete NetworkInterfaces.plist and Preferences.plist in /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration.  In many cases, this is unnecessary.

How To Get iMessage Working on Yosemite and El Capitan Download Clover Configurator and run the program.

For the tutorial, I've selected the iMac 8,1, but I do not recommend it.
If you have a desktop Haskell or Skylake processor:Select iMac 14,2