inexpensive mac to run OS X

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by wPod, Aug 27, 2004.

  1. wPod macrumors 68000

    wPod

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2003
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    #1
    what are your recomendations for a minimum machine to run OS X? all i want to do is have a machine sitting in the corner connected to my network and storing music on it. and i dont want to spend much :) the iMac's sound good. and can be had for pretty cheap. but how much ram and such do you think is required? or would a b&w be ok? the only problem with that is it would take up more room and id have to pay to get a monitor also. just curious so if you have any fun ideas let me know. oh yeah, and i would like to be able to upgrade the HD to something sizeable, but i can do that on my own once i have a system. thanks for your input!
     
  2. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2003
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #2
    I'm doing this exact thing with a Cube, and it's not taxing it at all. I'm sure a B&W or even a CRT iMac would work as well. Obviously the problem with the iMac is the difficulty in upgrading the HD. Since older iMacs don't even have firewire, you couldn't even have a usable external one. So I'd say either a B&W or a Cube would be ideal (but Cubes tend to be expensive).

    For RAM, I don't think you need more than 128 Megs. All you're doing is serving files, right?
     
  3. wPod thread starter macrumors 68000

    wPod

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2003
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    Denver, CO
    #3
    yeah, pretty much serving files and using iTunes on occasion. the cube would rock, but im pretty sure those are too expensive. which iMacs have firewire? ive been looking at some (on e-bay and such) and i know the older ones dont have firewire. i would like firewire for either an external drive or to hook up an iPod.
     
  4. strider42 macrumors 65816

    strider42

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2002
    #4
    All iMacs 400 mhz and up have firewire. These are slot loaders and so can take up to 1 gig of PC100 or PC133 ram. i'd probably recommend having at least 256 megs in there just to be sure everything runs smoothly and since ram is rpetty cheap nowadays. you can upgrade the hard drives without too much trouble if you're a little patient. Here's the instructions: http://www.macworld.com/2001/10/howto/imac.html of note is that this article states 7200 rpm drives are too hot, This is totally bogus. the faster drives are fine.

    check out everymac.com for specs for all mac models.
     
  5. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2003
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #5
    According to Applehistory.com, the first iMac with firewire was the iMac DV, and the iMac SE. I think if you get any iMac with DV or SE, you should be all right.
     
  6. FoxyKaye macrumors 68000

    FoxyKaye

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    Jan 23, 2004
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    San Francisco, Terre d'Ange, Bas Lag, Gallifrey
    #6
    Any iMac would do the trick nicely, although in my experience upgrading the RAM (depending on the model) and the hard drive can be a bit tedious. I'd also suggest 256MB of RAM, only because 128 is really the bottom floor in terms of running OSX.

    Another way you could go about this is using an older Beige G3 desktop or tower - they have the advantage of being a little more expandable than an iMac (though you'd need a PCI card for USB/Firewire) and you could toss in more than one HD. They're also dirt cheap right now, running from $50-$150 depending on the model.

    It might be fun to also set up FTP and/or remote desktop management as well...

    Have fun!
     
  7. strider42 macrumors 65816

    strider42

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2002
    #7
    Just a couple of things. I would definiltey not recommend a 233-333 mhz iMac (the tray loading ones) they run OS X very slowly since the graphics card isn't supported. The also have slower system buses, and adding ram is a bit difficult (not relaly hard, but not super easy either).

    A slot loader, preferably 400 mhz and up so you get firewire, runs Os X much better, and adding ram to a slot loader is probably easier than any machine ever created. you open the door on the bottom and put it in. Thats it.

    Upgrading the hard drive is a bit tedious, but with the instruction I linked to above, its quite doable.

    I do like the beige G3 idea though.
     
  8. jayscheuerle macrumors 68020

    jayscheuerle

    #8
    RAM is the key

    I run OSX on a beige 400Mhz at home and RAM is much more important than processor speed. I wouldn't think of running OSX on anything less than 512 megs of RAM. Virtual memory eats it for breakfast, lunch AND dinner...
     
  9. wPod thread starter macrumors 68000

    wPod

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2003
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    #9
    cool, thanks for the input. im sure i can find a 400mhz or faster iMac in my price range. then just load it up with as much RAM as i can affoard. and i already have a HD that would do the trick. now, to start looking for something good!. . . well and maybe saving a little more money first :-/
     
  10. strider42 macrumors 65816

    strider42

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2002
    #10
    check out ramseeker.com for prices and vendors once you get your machine.
     
  11. rueyeet macrumors 65816

    rueyeet

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2003
    Location:
    MD
    #11
    Not sure what your price range is, but [url="http://www.macofalltrades.com]Mac of All Trades[/url] has a Cube going for $600. That'll get you a G4 processor...you may also want to check out their other PowerMacs, which are even cheaper.

    Also, I think that you can run a headless server remotely from another Mac, using stuff already built into OS X, but you'd have to consult more expert heads than mine on that.
     
  12. paxtonandrew macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    Location:
    I Come From A Land Down Under
    #12
    Do you think that the Beige G3's video card would support X either? The answer is NO. The beige G3's have a 2 meg graphics card. The Tray load iMacs are not slow running X, load them up with Ram, and they are really quite fast, the downside tho them is no firewire port, so a slot load iMac, or a rev A G4 would be the best bet. There is two on Ebay for ~$250 They would offer a much better OSX experience than the G3's or imacs.
     
  13. pianojoe macrumors 6502

    pianojoe

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    Jul 5, 2001
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    #13
    Why not just get a stand alone file server for $99, attach a HD in a USB 2.0 enclosure?
     
  14. alexf macrumors 6502a

    alexf

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2004
    Location:
    Planet Earth
    #14
    I have Panther installed on a first gen. iBook (clamshell) with around 256 MB of memory and it is running fine (All it's really used for is e-mail and surfing the Internet). However, if you want to store music on it, this is not the way to go, as it only has a 3 GB hard drive, 90% of which is filled by the OS...

    Just though you might like to know, for what it's worth.
     
  15. strider42 macrumors 65816

    strider42

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2002
    #15
    call it a difference of opinion then, but I would never call a tray loading iMac running OS X "fast". Compared to OS 9, I found it absolutely painful to use.
     
  16. wPod thread starter macrumors 68000

    wPod

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2003
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    #16
    sounds interesting. . . where can i get this? the price is right. . . but i do want a mac for the playback of the songs. i want to be able to run iTunes. let people at a party select songs on an old machine rather than risk damage to my PB.
     
  17. Cordless_Drill macrumors regular

    Cordless_Drill

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2004
    Location:
    Montgomery, Ala., USA
    #17
    I saw a clamshell iBook (FireWire model) on craigslist.org the other day for $95. A machine like that can run Jaguar OK, and would be good for this use.

    UPDATE: There's a lot of B&W (Yosemite) 400/G3s around to be had for $250 or so. That would be a goodun.
     

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