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sweet1 Jul 6, 2000 10:13 PM
Beefing up an old SE/30
I have this old SE/30 that my daughter handed back to me a year ago...I'm putting it back in shape to network to a Quadra 800 that my husband uses in his office. To be honest, I don't really need the thing, but I'm too attached to let it go. Here's the has 20 meg of RAM installed (I'm not sure about the configuration) I want to install some more RAM in it and pick up a cheap accelerator from the auctions I've seen online.I checked out the specs from apple's site and they say it has 8 memory slots for a total of 32 meg max but everything else I read including MacSecrets and two sources of MacWorld say its max is 128meg. Has anyone out there ever used larger than 4mg SIMMS in one? I know about the Mode32 thing (it's already installed) and that they have to be installed with like SIMMS in banks of fours. Thanks in advance for anything you can add. I'd love to get any written material regarding upgrading.
reader50 Jul 7, 2000 12:00 AM
Here is another written page with product data on the SE/30. There is also a link for upgrading data & instructions. That link (near top of page) concerns the SE, not the SE/30, but the physical instructions & much of the other information should be useful.

Apple often cites maximum memory values that are smaller than the actual memory ceiling. I think it has to do with marketing & legal matters. The hardware often supports modules 2x or 4x the maximum available on the market when a Mac model is introduced. But if Apple advertised a maximum memory value that consumers could not reach, Apple could be sued for false advertising. Well and good, but I wish they would update older spec pages when larger modules become available.
The Wolfe Jul 7, 2000 03:24 AM
I had an old SE/30 that I couldn't part with too, and I utilized it as a simple file server (just a place to dump my unsorted files...) for a while until I found somebody who needed a small stable computer to type letters on. I let her have it for as long as she needed it, and that was two years ago, so it's still working well for her. I really love that computer and I think it's one of Apple's finest machines.

When I used it as a file server I put a 1GB SCSI drive into it and had it plugged into my SyQuest drive as well. Consider beefing up it's internal storage, as they make great little servers (with a PDS Ethernet NIC). They're quite, small and very cute.

Eliott Wolfe
Winnetka, Calif
DougMac Jul 8, 2000 03:14 PM
The maximum memory is 128 MB, while I'm not running that (I just moved up from 8 to 20), I know people who do. You get to 128MB by using eight 16MB SIMMS. The different numbers are (apparently) because when the SE/30 was introduced no one made 16MB SIMMS, the largest was 4MB (8 slots X 4MB = 32 MB). Apple doesn't officially support this configuration but it does work.

That said, I think an upgrade to 128MB is overkill and a waste of money - 16MB SIMMS run around $20 each which would cost you $160 for this upgrade plus you still need an accelerator card. Also, there are very few no '030 software applications that need more than 10MB of memory anyway and being old software you will have a hard time finding it so you will probably be running whatever software you have now. Figure out what you want to do with the machine, if its just email and light word processing then the machine is fine as is (surfing on a 9" B&W screen with that processor is only for the real die hard with lots of time on their hands).

Here is a great website to get you started:

BTW, please don't take this in the spirit of 'get rid of that crappy computer', I love old macs and would never say that. I'm just suggesting that you do a cost/benefit tradeoff and use the computer for what it can do best instead of trying to make it competitive with todays machines.
iBenDVSE Jul 9, 2000 06:11 AM
An SE makes a great fish tank!
Anthology123 Jul 24, 2000 06:33 PM
I have to agree with the previous message regarding RAM in 68K Macs. The older non-power mac software really does not have the same memory hog settings as PPC ones have. Therefore, I would strongly agree that 128 mb for an SE/30 is really a waste. You could not run that many 68K apps because of the limit to the number of openfiles in OS7 and OS8. If you must, having 64mb is all you will ever need in an SE/30 for the rest of its life.
Tim Michael (finboy) Jul 24, 2000 09:09 PM
An SE makes a good fishtank if it isn't working -- otherwise it makes a good kid computer, along with a $10 imagewriter printer and some old software.

The SE/30, though, with it's 68030 processor and FPU and some beefy RAM (I'm not sure you can put only 64M in one, though) makes a fine computer for a high school or college student. With a big, fast hard drive, it is totally reliable and useable. As for accelerators, go to, and call them if you're interested. They might have something for you and the listed prices may not apply.

Even without an accelerator, though, with an old copy of MS Office or the now free downloadable WordPerfect, an SE/30 with even 20M RAM is a formidable workhorse. Of course, it can't surf the web, but what's the harm in that?

In fact, the SE/30 has many advantages over the iMacs and iBooks of today, including floppy drives built in, SCSI ports built in, ADB ports and serial ports for older peripherals and Appletalk networking to Laserwriters. What more can you ask for, really?
l008com Jul 25, 2000 05:50 PM
An SE makes an even better Step Stool.

I see dead people.
sweet1 Jul 26, 2000 11:06 PM
Thanks to everyone who sent links for resources I knew nothing about. I had Macs for years but used them to work, never played with them until now. I've got a neat little collection that has worked it's way through all my kids from grade school into college. Beefing up the SE/30 is just a little hobby (a piece of history if you will)...I've had G3 for over a year for real work. When the hobby wanes...maybe I'll set up a couple of them with a piece of glass on top for a coffee table.
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