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View Full Version : Buying my 1st Mac!


GameGuru
Sep 22, 2004, 04:21 AM
Ok I have been a PC user for years and will continue to use PCs but I also want to dabble a bit in Macs. I have been checking out iMacs on ebay and have bid on a few (the older G3 ones up to 600MHz) but then I came across this deal and was wondering how upgradeable this system will be and if it is a good 1st Mac.

G3 400MHz Blue & White & 17" Monitor (http://www.macofalltrades.com/product.asp?dept%5Fid=3&pf%5Fid=G3400YO5&mscssid=AGHNLV6CTWPP9G3W4VWU54A5PQGEF1C7)

It includes the monitor too so I thought it sounded like a good deal. Anyone know about this company also? Any help would be great!

Björn
Sep 22, 2004, 04:43 AM
First of all: your link does not work.

I would rather go for a iMac G5 than an old G3. Everything is just som much faster, and Panther and OS X is quite demanding on the processor, graphic card and needs a lot of memory to run well. The G3 and OS 9 is from another century.

Abstract
Sep 22, 2004, 04:53 AM
Yeah, great advice.

I'd like a Dual 2.5GHz G5 and a 30" LCD from Apple, but hey, my money tree just died, and I'm currently on hard times. If you have any extra money to lend the guy, then getting a new iMac wouldn't be a big deal, huh.

I'd say a G3 600 is a decent speed unless you actually plan on upgrading the processor. Then you may be able to afford a slower system. But then again, if you don't know much about Macs, it may be a better idea to buy something a bit faster for the money you planned on spending on upgrades.

The link doesn't work. Were you looking at PowerMac G3's, iMac G3's, iBook G3's, etc?? If you buy an iBook, the slowest model I'd get is an iBook G3 600MHz. For models slower than 600MHz, the video card is inadequate at 8MB. The 600MHz model should come with at least 16MB of RAM, if I remember correctly. It'll definitely run Panther. I've used Panther on a 400MHz Mac, and it ran fine for web browsing, iTunes, and chess. :)

GameGuru
Sep 22, 2004, 05:56 AM
Stupid links ha ha. It was a Blue & White G3 400MHz with 17" monitor for $299. I have two high end PCs (3GHz P4 and an Athlon XP 2500+ Barton with a Geforce 6800) that I game on, the Mac is just to play with and learn. I want one where I can upgrade most parts like a PC as I have money. I believe with this I can upgrade CPU, RAM, HD, Optical Drives, Sound and Video cards correct?

http://www.macofalltrades.com/custimage/storefront/G3YOS_17STU.jpg?

GameGuru
Sep 22, 2004, 05:59 AM
Anyone know about that company I linked to in the first post? $299 for a full computer (even an old one) seems like a good deal, is it too good a deal?

GameGuru
Sep 22, 2004, 06:25 AM
Does anyone have a link with the specs for this machine and what the fastest processor I can put in it along with video card options, max RAM etc?

Abstract
Sep 22, 2004, 08:22 AM
That should be upgradable. I'm not sure about upgrading, as I have never done it, but try www.Powerlogix.com. They're the place to go if you need to get yourself upgrade gear.

So there you go. Have fun, and ditch those Windows PCs. Macs are definitely better for everyday stuff, although as someone who doesn't hate WinXP as some other people here do, keep the fastest one for gaming, and that's all. It'll sit and be like a big XBox or something, or maybe use it for Folding or SETI.

whooleytoo
Sep 22, 2004, 09:27 AM
I don't know much about CPU upgrades, though with its slow memory bus it's never going to be much of a speedster. Sound circuitry is on the motherboard, so it's not easily upgradable, and there aren't many Mac sound cards for that reason.

If you just want to mess about with OSX on the cheap, it's fine. I installed Panther on my old B&W 350MHz, and was surprised how snappy it was - though obviously it's no gamer/number cruncher. As long as you have plenty RAM (512MB+), it should be fine.

balconycollapse
Sep 22, 2004, 10:48 AM
This sounds like a good deal. I did some research on second hand Macs a month or so ago because I was considering picking up an old iMac or two for a non profit center. Mac of all trades is a reputable company, i found about 4 all together that i go between to see deals. I think you should be happy just for learning with that machine. I have an old iMac G3 400Mhz with RAM upgraded to 576 and I use it routinely for Photoshop, Illustrator, Ableton Live, Reason 2.5, and lots of other tasks that should be taxing on it but they just aren't. Also you will find that Panther runs like a dream on older systems. If anything give the RAM a shot in the arm and you should be set!

bdomz
Sep 22, 2004, 04:39 PM
Hey Gameguru, I'm a mac noob too and I'm also planning on getting a used system just to have something to play around with. My dad just unplugged his old performa for the last time (actually cuz I gave him my old PC) so I was planning on grabbing the monitor and keyboard and buying an old G3 system to tool around with. I'd like to run OSX on it, not so worried about speed since I just wanna get a feel for the OS before I drop alot of money on a newer system. Good luck!!!

GameGuru
Sep 22, 2004, 05:20 PM
Ok I am thinking I might want to get something more powerful to start with but don't want to spend more than $500 on the machine inself as I want to upgrade everything in it myself to learn the system. What PowerMac should I buy now that would take at least a 1.2GHz upgrade, a 9800 Pro and at least 1GB of RAM down the line?


P.S. Please just recommend a minimum PowerMac rig as I don't want the iMac or eMacs since you can't upgrade the video.

whooleytoo
Sep 22, 2004, 05:38 PM
You can take a look at everymac.com if you want detailed specs about just about every mac ever made (including a lot of clone manufacturers I'd never heard of!).

I just noticed the G3 PowerMacs were ZIF upgradable - but I don't know if anyone sells just the CPUs (the G4s have the processor on a daughtercard).

There isn't a huge choice - it's either a G3 or G4 PowerMac, the CPU speed won't matter since you'll be upgrading the processor, though the bus speed might. Check out the site above to find which PowerMacs have which bus speed; then look for one in your price range.

GameGuru
Sep 22, 2004, 06:03 PM
Can anyone tell me the CPU upgrade ability of the PowerMac G4/733 (http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/powermac_g4/stats/powermac_g4_733.html) which has the PowerPC 7450. Will I be able to take this over 1GHz? Also it does say it has a 4x AGP, will a Radeon 9800 Pro work in this?

paxtonandrew
Sep 22, 2004, 06:26 PM
Can anyone tell me the CPU upgrade ability of the PowerMac G4/733 (http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/powermac_g4/stats/powermac_g4_733.html) which has the PowerPC 7450. Will I be able to take this over 1GHz? Also it does say it has a 4x AGP, will a Radeon 9800 Pro work in this?

I have the 667 G4, of the same model, and the computer is very fast. The G3 and G4 are not in the same boat in terms of performance, so the usefulness of an upgrade-card for that system is unwarranted. My 667 still runs everything as one would expect, and I also have a 350 G3, and the speed margins are large to say the least. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong, but OsX is optimized for the Altivec engine in the G4's, so the 733 will last a few more years yet. I know my 667 will still be running in 5 years, it won't be modern, but it will run very well. Here Is Some G4 Processor Upgrades (http://fastmac.com/products/processors/agp.php)

blackfox
Sep 22, 2004, 06:26 PM
Can anyone tell me the CPU upgrade ability of the PowerMac G4/733 (http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/powermac_g4/stats/powermac_g4_733.html) which has the PowerPC 7450. Will I be able to take this over 1GHz? Also it does say it has a 4x AGP, will a Radeon 9800 Pro work in this?
As to the cpu upgrade question, Powerlogix currently offers up to a 1.3Ghz (maybe 1.4 by now) dual-processor upgrade for DA models (which I believe the 733 was). There are also single-processor upgrades. Certain DA machines cannot accept dual-processor upgrades, but I believe those were the earlier revisions...FWIW...these are expensive upgrades, however.

I cannot comment on the Video card question, perhaps someone else will chime in...

paxtonandrew
Sep 22, 2004, 06:43 PM
The 733 was a Digital Audio Model (sorry, i neglected to mention in my above post) As for the Graphics Card:
System Requirements



Mac® OS X 10.2.5 or later
AGP 4x or 2x capable Macintosh®
128MB of system memory
Installation software requires CD-ROM drive
DVD playback requires DVD drive
Power connection to the computer
RADEON® 9800 PRO MAC EDITION requires connection to your computer’s internal power supply for operation. ATI recommends a 300-Watt power supply or greater to ensure normal system operation where a number of other internal devices are installed.


So, in other words, yes, it will work on your G4.

tateusmaximus
Sep 22, 2004, 07:23 PM
yeah im slowly converting. but my first mac will be the imac g5 20in 1.8.

cant wait!!

GameGuru
Sep 22, 2004, 08:05 PM
Yeah I am excited to get a PowerMac G4 and mess with it. I love building PCs and you can't really do that with the Mac so I just have to get one I can upgrade myself.

I have a 19" monitor for my PC, will this also work for Macs? If it does I think I will get one of those switch boxes to share the monitor.

QCassidy352
Sep 22, 2004, 08:49 PM
I don't encourage ppl to start with a low end mac, and a B/W G3 is VERY low end. Why? Well, because OS X is gonna run like crap, as are most modern programs. You're not going to have a good experience, and as a result you're not going to get the impression of Macs that you should. Using a B/W G3 will be frustrating and not at all like using a modern mac.

and btw, there were 600mhz ibooks with 8 VRAM; I had one. When 600mhz became the low end (the CD-ROM only model) in the next generation, then it had 16 VRAM.

Mechcozmo
Sep 22, 2004, 11:13 PM
You should be fine with that. A G4/733 is a great computer, and it can even run iLife! But honestly, iDVD will take you around a decade to burn on that...it is the minimun for a reason.

Nice choice.

jestershinra
Sep 22, 2004, 11:23 PM
Yeah I am excited to get a PowerMac G4 and mess with it. I love building PCs and you can't really do that with the Mac so I just have to get one I can upgrade myself.

I have a 19" monitor for my PC, will this also work for Macs? If it does I think I will get one of those switch boxes to share the monitor.

It should...all depends on the vid card. What kinda monitor? VGA? DVI? you can adapt almost anything except for vga to dvi (at least I haven't seen) that.

GameGuru
Sep 23, 2004, 12:21 AM
You should be fine with that. A G4/733 is a great computer, and it can even run iLife! But honestly, iDVD will take you around a decade to burn on that...it is the minimun for a reason.

Nice choice.

What is iDVD? Is that a DVD burning app? If it is why would it take so long to burn? Doesn't it burn at the rated speed of the burner and media?

GameGuru
Sep 23, 2004, 12:39 AM
Ok I want a builder computer, I don't want to buy one maxed out for a lot of money. I would love to spend as little now on something that has alot of potentional so I can upgrade slowly. What PowerMac would have the minimum bus speed that everyone recommends?

jestershinra
Sep 23, 2004, 01:22 AM
it really all comes down to how much you want to spend. And if you want a monitor.

Say, if you were to pick up a dual 1.42Ghz G4 (the highest clock speed they made) it would be expensive, but the upgrades sure wouldn't be as costly, right?

A 17" CRT can be had for around $150, a 19" for arund $300. OTOH, an ACD aluminum 20" costs around $1200.

I think the G4 DA 733 is a good option. Do you need (meaning want) dual proc's?

GameGuru
Sep 23, 2004, 02:05 AM
No I don't want dual processors, single is fine. This is a learner system, not a workhorse. Maybe a little gaming. I am confused about bus speeds. I am going to everymac.com for info. Now I see the frontside bus speeds from 100MHz to 167MHz and backside bus speeds of 175MHz to 236MHz on the G4 PowerMacs. What is the difference between frontside bus and backside bus?

JFreak
Sep 23, 2004, 02:31 AM
first of all, if you're buying a system for learning macintosh, don't buy a monitor - just plug your existing pc monitor to the mac you are going to buy. if you don't fall in love with apple monitor design, there just isn't a valid reason to buy used CRT monitor, if it isn't dirt cheap ($50 max).

second, osx runs fine on G3@350MHz if you install at least 512MB ram. even if someone says it will be slow, it's still completely usable and fast enough for the learning process. you can watch dvd:s too, but you might have a problem with the iMovie... i got a cheap iMac with those specs and replaced its hard drive with a current (=fast) 80GB model, and the system is pretty snappy even with photoshop work.

so what i'm trying to say buy whatever you can get cheap enough, and think about what upgrades are worth it. memory? if you already have 512MB, then there's no reason to buy more. hard drive? if it's slow one, buying a faster drive will give a nice speed bump. cpu? come on, this is a system for learning macintosh. no reason to upgrade cpu, and let me say this: cpu upgrades are very expensive and can break your computer.

bottom line: buy a cheap mac and upgrade what is necessary. use it, use it, use it - until you have learned enough to buy a new system :) after that, you can donate your old system for someone else who might want to learn the macintosh way...

GameGuru
Sep 23, 2004, 04:02 AM
Yeah I actually have a few PC monitors I could use. If I was to pick up a PowerMac G4 500 (sawtooth) what would my CPU upgrade choices be?

JFreak
Sep 23, 2004, 04:44 AM
your best choice would be not to upgrade the cpu at all - you are after all only learning the system ;) when you know how much power you would need, then it's time to buy a new computer anyway. at least i'd suggest you save your money and leave the cpu as it is.

however, if you really have to do it, i guess you can go all the way to dual 1.42 or whatever those upgrade firms have available. beware though, it can ruin your system and it will cost a lot anyway.

Macs R Us
Sep 23, 2004, 04:46 AM
No I don't want dual processors, single is fine...

Thats a good system... I would say there no need for dual processors if you not doing graphincs.

Björn
Sep 23, 2004, 06:53 AM
Upgrading an old mac will turn out quite expensive. My local MacWorld tried this about a year ago. New CPU, new graphic card (OS X need a 16 MB graphic card to benefit quartz extreme, which will relieve the CPU), new disc etc ended up with a pricetag almost equal to a new Mac. Still it will not at all be competitive with the iMac G5 in performance, since the G5 is altogether a totally different and much better architecture. The options and prices for upgrading Macs are, unfortunately, not as good as for PCs.

tateusmaximus
Sep 23, 2004, 08:39 AM
ive noticed that macs dont seem to need the heavy duty graphics cards that often are found in PCs like the X800XT. for example doesnt the basic G5 powermac ($3000 computer) come with a $80 graphics card? (all in AUD$)

i can only guess that the OS relies more on the processor in a mac to do what the graphics card does in a PC (to an extent).

Flynnstone
Sep 23, 2004, 09:39 AM
ive noticed that macs dont seem to need the heavy duty graphics cards that often are found in PCs like the X800XT.

i can only guess that the OS relies more on the processor in a mac to do what the graphics card does in a PC (to an extent).

A Power Mac can come with a 9800XT.
These high end graphics cards are for 3D graphics. For 2D, which is what used most of the time, the cards are much closer in performance.

On the second item, you got it backwards. OS X uses the features of the cards more than Windows. Windows is pretty much 2D only. the Windows games use the 3D. OS X uses the graphics cards for speeding up the user interface. A while back, when Apple didn't have a source of higher performance CPUs, performance was a problem. Since the GPU can crunch numbers a whole lot faster than the CPU, Apple decided to use the GPU to speed p the UI. Brilliant move in my opinion.

Flynnstone
Sep 23, 2004, 09:53 AM
Here is my opinion. I am a recent switcher.
Get a reasonable Mac at low cost, so you can get yout feet wet.
Don't plan on upgrading the machine ! Other than RAM perhaps.
Then at a later date, sell that machine and buy what you think is more appropriate. A Mac is a more intergrated system. Its not like you can simply change the motherboard of a B&W G3 and drop in a G5.
I have old Bondi Blue iMacs running Panther. Slow but useful.

Once you determine that OS X is for you, that new G5 iMac looks like a reasonable good deal. I am using a PowerMac Dual processor G4 867 to reply, its a very decent machine.

Some other notes of comparison with PCs.
I think OS X does a much better job of utilizing dual processors than Windows.
I recently bought a new P4 3 GHz for work. Blazingly fast, but ... because of Windows Insecurities, I always install Norton Antivirus. That slowed that puppy right down! So in effect, my P4 2.26 Ghz at home is less speedy than my 1.8 Ghz G5 Power Mac at home.

just my 2 cents

superfunkomatic
Sep 23, 2004, 11:00 AM
Ok I have been a PC user for years and will continue to use PCs but I also want to dabble a bit in Macs. I have been checking out iMacs on ebay and have bid on a few (the older G3 ones up to 600MHz) but then I came across this deal and was wondering how upgradeable this system will be and if it is a good 1st Mac.

G3 400MHz Blue & White & 17" Monitor (http://www.macofalltrades.com/product.asp?dept%5Fid=3&pf%5Fid=G3400YO5&mscssid=AGHNLV6CTWPP9G3W4VWU54A5PQGEF1C7)

It includes the monitor too so I thought it sounded like a good deal. Anyone know about this company also? Any help would be great!

this is a fantastic computer, if you're just dabbling. it'll run all the current apps, supports 1.5 GB of ram, can have an additional harddrive attached, firewire, etc. it'll run 10.3.x no problem, load it with ram. you can always upgrade components as you see fit - video cards, drives, even the processor to a G4.

it's not a rocket, but it's fast enough to use as a main computer without any issues. good luck.

Coca-Cola
Sep 23, 2004, 11:28 AM
I think you need a laptop to go with those two PC's. Get the basic iBook maybe last generation g4 model? You will love it. I think a G3 would be a waste of money. Especially if you feel the need to buy any extra software that you may get for free with a new mac. Software like Quicken, Worldbook, and other goodies. I think you would have to buy Mac OS X and iLife to go with the G3. That is about 200.00. So you will end up spending 500.00. If you plan on upgrading the ram which you will need to, you will have to spend another 150.00. So you will end up spending 650.00 dollars on a very low end mac. I think you should treat yourself to something really fun with your cash. Get an iBook, iMac g5, or eMac.