Macintosh SE FDHD

In my opinion, the Macintosh SE FDHD was the best value of its day among the compact Macs. It lacked the power of the Macintosh SE/30 in terms of speed and maximum RAM, but initially, its cost was far more reasonable. My SE FDHD runs Mac OS 7.1, has 4 MB of RAM (the max for this form factor), and has a 40 MB hard drive. The SE FDHD originally shipped with Mac OS 6.0.3 and is capable of running up to Mac OS 7.5.5. Unfortunately, it is becoming increasingly hard to find an SE FDHD in good shape. This particular SE FDHD is a combination of four other SE’s that were in various states of disrepair. I combined the largest hard drive, the most RAM, the best-looking case, and the best screen into one decent machine. It is not exactly “mint” but it is still a great running little Mac. The Macintosh SE FDHD cost an astonishing $3700 back in 1989. Although all the Macs I used to put this one together cost me hundreds of dollars, I estimate the actual part value of this Macintosh to be around $50. This was one of my very first old Mac projects. I rebuilt this SE FDHD in 2000.

The SE FDHD replaced the Macintosh SE on August 1, 1989. The primary difference between the earlier SE and the SE FDHD is the inclusion of a 1.4 MB floppy disk drive on the latter. FDHD stands for “Floppy Disk High Density.” The SE FDHD’s floppy disk drive can use 1.4 MB HD disks and is also able to read, write, and format 800K DSDD (Double-Sided/Double Density) disks. The earlier SE cannot properly use 1.4 MB floppy disks. Both models can use 400K SSDD (Single-Sided/Double Density) disks. Otherwise, the form factor is the same. I have seen various examples of SE FDHDs with different labels such as “Macintosh Superdrive” or just plain “Macintosh SE.” As far as I can tell, this is just branding. If the SE has a 1.4 MB internal floppy disk drive, it is an SE FDHD.

The SE FDHD has the same ports as the Macintosh SE. It has two ADB ports, a DB-19 disk drive port, a DB-25 SCSI port, a printer port, a modem port, and a speaker jack. Like the SE, it does not have an internal microphone or a microphone port. Like the other compact Macs, the SE FDHD has a built in 9-inch black and white monitor capable of only one resolution, 512 x 384. The SE FDHD cannot produce true grayscale without extensive modification. The SE FDHD can be expanded using its single 96-pin expansion slot. In its day, this slot was often filled with either an Ethernet card for connectivity or a monitor card to give the SE the ability to mirror an external monitor. Other cards available through Apple and third party vendors included coprocessor cards, various types of network cards, 8086-based cards to run IBM-compatible software, and accelerator cards.


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