First some historical tidbits. Although I had previously used C-64's and Radio Shack computing devices in the early 80's, my first introduction to a "real" home computer was the Macintosh 128k and ImageWriter I that my father purchased for our family in early 1984. Being only 13 at the time and a techno-geek, I had no need for computer classes to teach me all the ins-and-outs of this revolutionary new machine. Of course, I supplemented my hands-on knowledge with tech news from various sources, including Macworld, MacUser, Byte, and MacWeek magazines. Unfortunately, I never got onboard the DTP bandwagon because I couldn't afford a Laserwriter. But I always loved wowing school teachers and friends with reports and printed graphics on my ImageWriter I (and later ImageWriter II) that were impossible to reproduce on any other kind of home computer at the time. Then in 1989, a tidal wave of new, jaw dropping machines came out, starting with the SE/30 and concluding with the IIci and Mac Portable a few months afterward. That was the year I began working as a service tech at the now defunct Micro Age Computers in Fresno, CA, and allowed me some serious hands-on. Suffice it to say I was green with techno-lust while working there. It was only "window shopping" for me though because even the black-and-white SE/30 cost in excess of $5,000 with hard drive at the time. Ownership of those glorious 1989 machines was merely a dream for me.
Skip forward to 2004. Now living in Japan, I found myself nostalgic for the glory days of computing back in the '80s. I opened an EB*Y account and made my first purchase from Sun Remarketing. (I had known about Sun for many years, seeing their ads in Macworld and MacUser magazines in the early 1990's.) It wasn't long after that I had acquired my first SE/30, and for less than 6% of original cost in 1989. In the months that followed I studied up on the SE/30 and spent way to much money on enhancements for it. Specifically:
- • DayStar Turbo 040 40MHz PDS card
• The outlandishly expensive TS Adapter from Manabu Sakae at ARTMIX in Japan that allows you to install multiple PDS cards at once.
• DiiMO 50MHz 030 PDS accelerator (because it's more software compatible than the Turbo 040, albeit slightly slower)
• MacCon PDS Ethernet card (connects great with my G4 Cube and gets my SE/30 on the internet)
• 128MB RAM (16MB SIMMs)
• 4.5GB SCSI IBM DGHS hard drive mechanism originally used in servers back in the day
• External Apple HD20 SCSI hard drive enclosure
• Apple IIgs ADB keyboard
• Apple Pro powered speakers
• PowerKey Classic (purchased new from the manufacturer)
• Replacement logic boards
• Replacement 1.4MB internal floppy drive
• External 800k floppy drive (Apple)
• Floppy drive cleaning kit
• Recapping kits from our very own Trag
• Silenx fan to replace the mind-numbingly loud stock Elina
• Secondary PSU to allow me to install lots of upgrades and the SCSI drive internally without overtaxing the primary PSU
• Another fan to cool the Secondary PSU inside the SE/30
• All topped by some RetroBrighting, 3% H202 courtesy of our very own Lumpydog
It was after this that our very own Gary_W acquired the coveted Grayscale setup for his SE/30, and I while reading of his purchase in these forums, I was happy for him while green with envy at the same time. I wrote to Gary privately to ask if he had seen any other sales of such devices. Being the kind soul Gary is, he promised to keep an eye out for me and let me know if he ever saw another grayscale setup for sale. And you know, those were not just idle words. Gary kept his promise.
The first recommendation I received didn't work out, but the second did. I was skeptical at first because Gary's second recommendation was a Craig's List sale for the San Francisco area, and I didn't know anyone in that area. But I spoke to the seller and it just so happened that he was driving down South for vacation, and he kindly agreed to deliver it to one of my family members in Fresno. Knowing that I would take a vacation in June this year to visit family at home, I made a deal with the seller. And even though I paid the seller a bit extra to drop it off in Fresno, the total sale didn't come anywhere close to the outrageous $700 I'd see on E*BAY for the Xceed grayscale setups alone. With the socketted Daystar boards being even more rare than the grayscale Xceeds (I myself not having spotted a single one on E*AY through the years), I would expect their value to be at least as much as the Xceeds, if not more.
Prior to purchasing from the seller in SF, I knew only two things about what he was selling: (1) This setup couldn't be booted due to SimasiMac (which is no surprise as virtually every SE/30 these days is now in need of recapping), and (2) his Mac definitely had the Micron Xceed PDS video card and CRT yoke board that would drive grayscale on the internal monitor. However, what I wasn't told was the extra bonus that I only discovered upon opening up the Mac in Fresno last month -- the elusive Daystar 50MHz 030 accelerator that attaches directly to the logic board via the CPU socket. That is a goldmine find because it means one can then add an Ethernet card to the mix, making the ultimate SE/30 experience.
I have since returned to Japan, and I am having the machine shipped to me now. As such, I cannot report on anything further until I have recapped the logic board and got it booting.
For now, I would like to share the Micron Xceed photos I took while in Fresno last month:
https://picasaweb.google.com/jameswages ... ccelerator
(I put these on Picasa instead of my normal Flickr account since Picasa allows me to upload larger photos than Flickr without being forced into a paid PRO account. So be sure to click the magnifying glass icon to zoom in on the photos.)
I will provide more photos and screen captures of the grayscale once I get the Mac up and running, which may be another month or so in the future.
I post this not to gloat, but to share an important find. I also seek to share this information to show that perseverance, patience and friendships here on the 68kMLA pay off. If you have been seeking something rare, don't give up. It's still out there somewhere. And even if you cannot find it yourself, perhaps a kind soul can lend a hand.
Once again, special thanks to Gary_W for being a true friend. You promised me you would keep an eye out for an SE/30 grayscale kit, and that you did. Bless you, Gary! And thanks to the owners of the 68kMLA for giving vintage Mac enthusiasts a wonderful venue to share useful information and enhance their computing experience!