The SE is enhanced
Author: Len Massaro
Date: September, 1989
Keywords: upgrade Mac SE superdrive
Text: Apple* announced the enhancement of the Macintosh* SE Aug. 1. The enhanced SE has a built-in Apple* FDHD* (Floppy Drive High Density) 1.4MB floppy disk drive, replacing the 800K drive previously used in the SE. The Macintosh* SE/FDHD is designed to make it easier to work in environments where access to and use of data from other computers is important. The FDHD or ''SuperDrive'' is capable of using 400K, 800K and 1.4MB disks. In addition, it can read from and write to MS-DOS*, OS/2* and ProDOS* formatted disks. The following are some questions and answers I hope will be of interest: Did Apple increase the price? Surprise! No, it didn't. In fact, it lowered the list price by $300, as follows: * SE/FDHD (dual 1.4MB floppy) -- $2,869 * SE/FDHD (20MB hard disk and one 1.4MB floppy) -- $3,469 Is there an upgrade for Mac SE owners? Yes. I'm told the upgrade will be available during the September/October time frame. The upgrade will consist of an internal 1.4 MB FDHD drive, a set of 512K ROMs, a SWIM integrated circuit (a chip that controls the drive and enables it to exchange data between different operating systems), the current system software (v6.0.3 or higher), and an audio extension cable (required between an external audio cable and the Mac's audio jack to reduce interference).
Expected list price: $599 (includes Apple's limited 90-day warranty). How does it work? To work with data created by other operating systems, you first need to ''convert'' them into a Macintosh format. This conversion of data is done with the Apple File Exchange v1.1.1 software which is part of Mac System Software v6.0.2 or higher. It is made easier by third party programs such as DOS Mounter by Dayna or MacLink Plus Translators by DataViz*. DOS Mounter (list price $89.95) is a utility that lets you access MS-DOS disks directly from the desktop. MacLink Plus Translators (list price $159) is a library of file translators that can be used with the Apple File Exchange program. It contains 60 or so translation combinations that provide automatic conversion of file format and contents. The translators are application specific so they retain word processing formats, spreadsheet formulas, database information and graphic files. The three utilities plus the FDHD drive combine to provide very effective file access. Upgrade paths * Mac SE to Mac SE/FDHD -- Apple FDHD Internal Drive Upgrade Kit. Cost: $499. * Mac SE to Mac SE/30 w/o FDHD -- Apple Macintosh SE/30 logic board kit . Cost: $1,799. *Mac SE to Mac SE/30 w/FDHD -- Both of the above kits are required.
Cost: $2,298. Summary When the Mac 512K (400K drive) was upgraded to the Mac 512K/E (800K drive) and then when the Mac 512K/E was upgraded to the Mac Plus, the decision was easy. The programs created at that time, especially the system, required the 800K or higher disk size and 1MB or higher RAM, and the change in ROMs caused major incompatibilities if we didn't upgrade. The decision was made for us; upgrade or sell our computers. Many of us, tired of floppies anyway, decided upon a hard disk drive with our next purchase and hoped the price of SIMMs would come down soon. Apple's August announcement makes the decision to upgrade tougher. If file transfer is not a priority and more floppy storage is not a requirement, the FDHD upgrade is nice, but not necessary. By changing the ROMs, Apple has again made the possibility of incompatibility with current and future software an open question. It is important that Apple is improving its systems to accommodate the higher capacity disks and to be more compatible with other operating systems. It shows progress and understanding of the business marketplace. As a company, we need the file transfer capability and it is a welcome addition to our system.
Copyright © september, 1989 by Len Massaro