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Not a Macintosh SE build

chillin

Well-known member
I'm starting with an empty SE case with internal chassis CC_333 is kindly selling to me. There's going to be a lot of preliminary work getting the case ready, but I want to think ahead towards what its brain could be to give a longer lead time before I pull the trigger.

One way to go is just drop a small computer in, such as a Mac mini. But a Mac mini is just fine the way it is, no reason to hide it in a case. So I'm researching what possible logic boards I can install in an SE case, and build out components.

First of all, will someone please provide me the precise dimensions of an SE or SE/30 logic board? Thanks.

I think that is the best place to start. I know any Mini-ITX board and smaller will easily fit inside a compact mac, but I'd like to investigate the larger 9.6" sq.in. Micro-ATX form factor to see if there may be a slightly smaller Micro-ATX board somewhere that may precisely fit and slide into the chassis where the SE logic board once fit.

The Raspberry Pi is probably the simplest and most affordable option here, and I'd probably be satisfied with the Raspberry Pi 4, or maybe one of the Turing Pi, but max. RAM is limiting on Pi, the storage bus is limiting (with only micro SD card or USB2/3 available, no SATA), as well as choice of OS (maybe about 20 similar mostly Debian-variant OS available: the macOS themes and System 6/7 emulators on some are compelling, as well as the support community, but no hackintosh option will ever likely be possible), so I want to explore other options, such as Intel NUC (which I find to be outrageously expensive), other Intel, AMD & ARM motherboards and SBCs.


I would consider some other 68k Mac logic board, but as far as I know, there is no other 68030/40 Mac logic board that will fit that is superior to the SE/30 logic board (that takes a decent amount of RAM). You can't fit a Quadra 950, 800, or 700 logic board in a compact Mac, and the other smaller Quadra or LC logic boards that might fit, such as the Quadra 605, use the 68LC040 processor with no co-processor. One option that is attractive, that possibly could be shoehorned, perhaps vertically, is the LCIII+ logic board... but bare classic Mac logic boards aren't usually readily available, and I do not want to cannibalize any viable classic Mac.

I'm going to need help with many portions of this project, and I really appreciate the community's support. I'll keep everything to do with this one confined to this thread, and I'll post updates and pics here too. Using CC_333's images here because I haven't seen the piece first hand yet.

Thanks CC_333, and thanks all.
 

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AndyO

Well-known member
I'm not sure in what way the RAM is limited with a Raspberry Pi, the 4b can be had with 8Gb RAM, which is considerably more than the SE or SE/30 could be maxed out at, and from experience I know Sheepshaver can be set to boot up to MacOS 9 - mine is set to allocate 500Mb of RAM, which is still quite extravagant for a 68k Mac.

That's probably what I would use at least, because it, (Pi 4b 8Gb/current Raspi OS/Sheepshaver/MacOS 9), works and works extremely well for me, though I need a full-sized display rather than 9-inch, so I'd be more likely to install it in an empty Compaq Portable III case I have than a compact Mac.

Performance isn't in quite the same league as a G4 mini natively running MacOS 9 (I have one of those also), but it's about as good a Mac to actually use as far as I can tell. It is likely going to depend on what you want to use the resulting system for, since emulators aren't universally compatible... but then neither is a G4 mini!
 

chillin

Well-known member
Hi AndyO, my info was out of date. I thought the Pi B maxed out at 4GB, which is a bit confining. 8GB is much better, but I think a minimum of 16GB would be best for my purposes, if not 32GB or 64GB. But I'll have to keep the Pi in consideration now I know it supports 8GB RAM, so I thank you for the information.

The various emulators for System 6/7/8/9 are fine for fun and games, but I honestly don't have much interest in them other than for curiosity or demo purposes.

But a goal I do have is to emulate A/UX, which until very recently was only possible with Shoebill, which is a binary that only runs on OS X 10.8 (and hopefully subsequent) and Windows XP and up, though development stalled permanently in 2015.

But as of late August this year, due to qemu now being able to emulate 68k Macs, especially the Quadra 800 if one has the ROM file, A/UX may now be virtualized in a special binary qemu 68k emulator, that, again, unfortunately, is only going to be available on late macOS versions and Windows 10/11.

Maybe something will change, as qemu 68k variants can be built from source on any platform, including Debian, and I've done this in Mojave using MacPorts, and now I have a qemu binary that supports 68k hardware emulation. But my understanding is that only the alpha binary, "qemu-system-m68k", can emulate A/UX.

Also, I'm not aware of developer tools available for Raspian or the other Pi OS options, as usually linux distros rely on binary package managers, such as apt, in conjunction with various repositories. Though binary distribution is convenient, I prefer, when possible, to role my own software.
 
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robin-fo

Well-known member
But a goal I do have is to emulate A/UX, which until very recently was only possible with Shoebill, which is a binary that only runs on OS X 10.8 (and hopefully subsequent) and Windows XP and up, though development stalled permanently in 2015.
You could compile Shoebill for the Raspberry Pi yourself (I’ve done it before). I really love this emulator because its source code is so easy to read and understand (much easier than BasiliskII or Mini vMac).
 

chillin

Well-known member
Well, sure. Thanks robin-fo. For abandonware, Shoebill is a nice piece of alpha code, even stuck indefinitely at version 0.0.5. I could even build NetBSD for Pi and build Shoebill there. Raspberry Pi is definitely a viable option.

But I'd still like to explore the possibility of Intel and AMD Micro-ATX and SBCs. Anyone have an SE or SE/30 logic board handy and a ruler? I would appreciate those dimensions.
 

jeremywork

Well-known member
the other smaller Quadra or LC logic boards that might fit, such as the Quadra 605, use the 68LC040 processor with no co-processor.
FWIW, if this is the only downside for you, it's easy to swap a full 040 onto these boards to gain use of the coprocessor. I don't know if the dimensions fit, that would still need to be determined. I'm reminded I actually do know the answer to this... Yahoo Auction pics attached. Unfortunately the LC series video system isn't supported by A/UX though.


i-img900x1200-1616485631u8g9hv955488.jpeg
i-img900x1200-1616487105hbfi8h12389.jpeg
i-img900x1200-16164856791dynmv952554.jpeg
i-img900x1200-16164856878nqrga68066.jpeg
i-img1116x1200-1616485702bbbv0n13803.jpeg
 

chillin

Well-known member
I'd like to see how the modder got the video working, unless that's just a 9" VGA monitor with a DB-15 adapter. That is very interesting jeremywork.
 

jeremywork

Well-known member
I'd like to see how the modder got the video working, unless that's just a 9" VGA monitor with a DB-15 adapter. That is very interesting jeremywork.
If I recall correctly someone commented that it looks like the electronics of a 12” LC monitor driving the original SE/30 tube. The Apple logo in the menubar is usually drawn solid black when in monochrome mode, so this is probably the color model driving the monochrome CRT in grayscale.
 

chillin

Well-known member
That'd be an amazing coincidence if the LC monitor tube pins just happened to be the same as the tube in the SE/30. That is not an SE/30 neck board, I don't think, so maybe it was just that easy.
 

jeremywork

Well-known member
Hmm, the 12" RGB neckboard looks like this, so can't be that one...
img_003.jpeg

Potentially the innards of the large shielded Color Classic neck board? Not many 512x384 models, though that could be 640x480 on the display (if resolution is even relevant.)
alubox.jpeg
 

chillin

Well-known member
Looks more like 832x624. With 512k of VRAM, the LC 475 supports 512x384 @16-bit color, 640x480 and 832x642 @8-bit color and 1024x768 and 1152x870 @4-bit color. With 1 MB of VRAM, it supports up to 832x624 @16-bit color and 1024x768 and 1152x870 @8-bit color.

It is about the same size as the SE/30 neck board, just without the cardboard on the back, so maybe it is from SE/30 and cleverly modified to work with the LC monitor electronics. I know they're out there, but I've never seen an SE/30 with a tube with pins in that orientation, can tell by the horizontal neck board. I've only seen them such that the neck board is vertical. Again, if that really is an SE/30 tube.
 

jeremywork

Well-known member
You might be correct about it being a different tube. I don't think it's 832x624, based on the ratios in the UI. It probably is 640x480 rather than 512x384 though.

640x480:
IMG_9567.jpg
832x624:
IMG_9568.jpg
 

Fizzbinn

Well-known member
Electronics from an Apple 12” Monochrome Display? It definitely does 640x480 8bit grayscale (256 shades of gray). If you select 256 colors in the Monitors Control Panel you do see a grayscale “color” Apple menu icon vs the black icon if you select 256 grays.
 

chillin

Well-known member
I must have forgot how roomy 640x480 is in System 7. That resolution is barely useable in OS X.
 

jeremywork

Well-known member
Electronics from an Apple 12” Monochrome Display? It definitely does 640x480 8bit grayscale (256 shades of gray). If you select 256 colors in the Monitors Control Panel you do see a grayscale “color” Apple menu icon vs the black icon if you select 256 grays.
That could be it. I can't seem to find any pictures of the internals online...

256 colors does show the colored Apple, but 256 grays only shows solid black. I'd assume the 12" monochrome display wouldn't present color as an available option via the sense pins, but I don't have one to check.
 

chillin

Well-known member
Anyone have the precise dimensions of SE/30 logic board? As I recall, it's close to 9 sq.in., and Micro-ATX is close but just a bit too large to fit. Thanks.
 

Fizzbinn

Well-known member
That could be it. I can't seem to find any pictures of the internals online...

256 colors does show the colored Apple, but 256 grays only shows solid black. I'd assume the 12" monochrome display wouldn't present color as an available option via the sense pins, but I don't have one to check.
I opened up my Apple 12” Monochrome Display, the neck board doesn't match the picture. It also doesn't match the one from a Color Classic...

Trivia - I just checked to reconfirm my memory and "Color" does indeed show up as an option in the Monitor's Control Panel with the Apple 12” Monochrome Display and when selected you do get a grayscale version of the color Apple Menu icon. Same thing on my PowerBook Duo 230 (which can do 16 grays).
 

Fizzbinn

Well-known member
I have the second one, officially the "Macintosh 12” Monochrome Display"

I don't think either of these Apple Macintosh monochrome monitors had their own sense code:
I think they just use "Hi-Res (12-14") 1 1 0 66.67" that the color 640x480 Macintosh monitors used.
 

jeremywork

Well-known member
Trivia - I just checked to reconfirm my memory and "Color" does indeed show up as an option in the Monitor's Control Panel with the Apple 12” Monochrome Display and when selected you do get a grayscale version of the color Apple Menu icon. Same thing on my PowerBook Duo 230 (which can do 16 grays).
Thanks for confirming this! Another tidbit to log away :)
 
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