The SE/30 is essentially a Macintosh IIx in the same case as the Macintosh SE, with a black-and-white monitor and a single PDS slot (rather than the NuBus slots of the IIx) which supported third-party accelerators, network cards, or a display adapter. Although officially only able to support 8 MB, the SE/30 could expand up to 128 MB of RAM, and included a 40 or 80 MB hard drive. It was also the first compact Mac to include a 1.44 MB high density floppy disk drive as standard (late versions of the SE had one, but earlier versions did not). Conversion sets were sold to convert a regular SE to a SE/30. The SE would then have the exact same specs as an SE/30, with the difference only in the floppy drive if the SE had a 800k drive. The set included a new front to replace the original SE front with that of an SE/30.
Apple had indicated the presence of a 68030 processor by adding the letter "x" to a model's name, but when the Macintosh SE was updated to the 68030, this posed an awkward problem, as Apple was not willing to name their new computer the "Macintosh SEx". Thus, "SE/30" was the name chosen. Internally, code names like Green Jade and Fafnir were used.
With some software hacks and the correct processor upgrade card, it also becomes possible to run OS 8.0 or OS 8.1, whereas without one, the SE/30 is limited to a maximum Mac OS version of 7.6.1 (only if you have a 32-bit 68030 upgrade), the last non-68040 version of the classic Mac OS.
Additionally, the SE/30 is able to run A/UX, Apple's older version of a Unix that was able to run Macintosh programs.
Though there was no official upgrade path for the SE/30, several third party processor upgrades were available, specifically a 68040 upgrade made it possible to run Mac OS 8.1, which kept the SE/30 relevant and productive for many more years than it would have otherwise been.
This machine was followed in 1991 by the Macintosh Classic II, a machine which was only 60% as fast as the SE/30, supported no more than 10 MB of memory, and lacked an internal expansion slot. Apple at this time was de-emphasizing the compact, all-in-one nature of the Macintosh in favor of a more expandable, PC-like system architecture as seen in the Macintosh II and Quadra series.