A couple of years after upgrading my IIe to the
I passed by a garage sale on the way into work and saw a
IIe available that wasn't too different from what I had at the beginning. I
figured it'd be nice to have one again as a relatively "unmolested" model,
and at $35 for the complete system, it was a steal. (My parents forked out
over $2200 for a comparable system back in '85...it's amazing how cheap this
stuff has become!) That $35 bought the following:
The computer itself.
Two Disk II 5.25" floppy drives, with controller.
A 128K standard-slot memory expansion card of unknown
manufacture...I have no idea how (or even if) it works, or what
Star NX-20 9-pin dot-matrix printer, with a no-name parallel card
Apple Super Serial Card, probably to drive a modem that wasn't sold
with the computer.
Zenith 13" composite amber monitor.
I've since added these items to bring it a bit more up to spec:
Applied Engineering RamWorks II memory expansion card with 1MB
ALS Z-Card Z-80 coprocessor card, for running CP/M software (snagged
this as a freebie years ago, but have never really done much with
Sometime I might get around to adding a hard drive to it; I have some SCSI cards
and drives sitting idle. I might even have a SCSI drive enclosure sitting idle,
so all it'd be is a matter of putting it all together.
I also wouldn't mind getting hold of some of the other add-ons I had before
upgrading my first IIe to the Stealth GS:
Applied Engineering 65816 option for the RamWorks, which got you the
same processor as in the IIGS.
RocketChip 10-MHz accelerator...the fastest ever made for 8-bit
Apple IIs, but exceedingly rare as Zip Technology put its
manufacturer out of business over a patent violation.
Applied Engineering Timemaster H.O. real-time clock card (a
Thunderclock would also be acceptable...but since the Timemaster
kept track of the year, using its ProDOS 8 driver instead of the
built-in Thunderclock driver means you don't have to patch the year
table in ProDOS 8 every six or seven years to keep the date
Applied Engineering DataLink 2400 internal modem...not much use for
a modem today, especially at 2400 bps, but it was the shiznit when
I got mine back in 1990. :-) Fully Apple SSC-compatible, and with a
simple built-in comm program to get you dialed out.
ProTERM also works
great with it, and I ran the Skunk Works BBS
(1990-1994) with it for the first year or so, until I built a 286-12
clone box so I could have my Apple back. :-)
Here's the out-of-the-box configuration for a IIe:
1.0-MHz 6502 or 65C02 processor, depending on age (the 65C02 was
used beginning in 1985 and included some additional instructions).
64K RAM, which was expandable by several methods into the
Seven standard Apple II expansion slots, plus an auxiliary slot to
enable 80-column text and double Hi-Res graphics. (The most common
card to find in this slot is an Apple IIe Extended 80-Column Card,
which added 64K. Other cards, such as Applied Engineering's
RamWorks series, could add 3MB or more, plus RGB video (analog or
digital) and other goodies. At one time,
Microsoft (I'm not kidding)
produced a card with 64K and a Z-80 processor
that worked in this slot; I've never had one, but I think it was
supposed to be significantly faster than the cards that went in the
regular expansion slots.)
Integrated graphics that supported the following modes:
With an Extended 80-Column Card (or equivalent), these extra modes
were also available:
Lo-Res: 40x48, 16 colors
Hi-Res: 280x192, 2 colors or 140x192, 6 colors
mixed mode: four lines of text at the bottom with a reduced
amount of Lo-Res or Hi-Res graphics above
Colors were generated by taking advantage of quirks in the way NTSC
video works. Some color monitors, such as the AppleColor Monitor
IIe, had a switch to enable Hi-Res and double Hi-Res graphics to be
displayed as either monochrome (for higher resolution) or color.
This wasn't software-selectable. The IIGS dealt with this in its
RGB video generator by providing a soft-switch to enable or disable
color for older Apple II video modes.
double Lo-Res: 80x48, 16 colors
double Hi-Res: 560x192, 2 colors or 140x192, 16 colors
Integrated keyboard capable of generating all 128 ASCII characters.
Models produced after 1987 or 1988 also included an integrated
numeric keypad. For older models, an external keypad was available
as an option.
Integrated DB-9 and DIP-16 joystick ports.
Input and output jacks for an audio-cassette recorder for data
storage, though this was mostly an anachonism by the time the IIe
was introduced in 1983. I did include support for the
cassette-output jack in SoftDAC,
a digital-audio player I wrote in 1990 for the II. I rigged
the circuit board from a busted cassette recorder with a plug, a
speaker, and a fairly aggressive low-pass filter so that my computer
would play a randomly-selected sound file every time it started up.
Try getting your computer to do that! (Playing a sound file is no
biggie, but I'm not aware of any add-on for Win9x/NT/2K that selects
a startup sound at random.)
It's worth noting that the Apple IIe holds the record for longest production
lifetime of any personal computer. It went on the market in January 1983
and remained in production until November or December 1993—nearly
eleven years! Scores of 'em found their way into schools; I wouldn't be
surprised at all if they're still in use here and there, as a huge library
of educational software was built up over the years that can still get the
job done, and the computers are nearly indestructible (as opposed to your
average modern PC, which will sometimes let out its "magic smoke" if you
just look at it funny, let alone pound on it as kids are sometimes wont to
do). It was the first computer I was able to fairly thoroughly understand
in terms of how it works (both hardware and software). If I had to pick a
favorite 8-bit computer, it would have to be the IIe.
Most of the links at the bottom of my
page are also of value to IIe users, so there's no sense
duplicating them here.
Original content copyright © 1997-2013
Scott Alfter; all rights reserved.
Archived materials are the property of their respective owners.