Is this a good mac?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Bloo Ice, Jan 11, 2006.

  1. Bloo Ice macrumors regular

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    May 4, 2005
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    Kansas
    #1
    Ok...I want a mac really bad. I've been thinking about it a lot, I can wait until oh, about December and get a new one, or I can get something else now. Is a 400mhz g3 256mb 12gb dvd/cd for $150 from wegenermedia.com. Is this a good deal? Will it run tiger? If so, how smooth will it run?
     
  2. spinne1 macrumors 6502a

    spinne1

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Hermitage, TN USA (near Nashville)
    #2
    No, it is not a good deal. It is either a Blue and White G3 or an upgraded Beige G3 or possibly (gasp) an updated earlier Powermac. A G3 Blue and White at 400 Mhz with 256mb ram and a 12 GB hard drive (this hard drive is essentially trash for most users these days as it is too small) can be had on ebay now for about $40-100 plus shipping. The 256 mb ram is really too small and 512 should be considered a minimum to run OS X (but shoot for at least 768-->256 plus two 256 mb sticks you buy).

    The Mac will run Tiger (okay, but not well-no core image support or quartz extreme). If all you want to do is surf the web, write emails, and type papers it is fine. Realistically it is a useable computer, but for games--generally forget it (unless they are older games ala late 80s-mid 90s). For Garageband, forget it (you can do SOMETHING with it but you will be very limited and will have to freeze all your tracks instead of using software synths or effects real-time). For Photoshop, you can do basic things well, but for advanced processing, you will wait during every process. For video editing, it will be very slow to encode files or burn discs, etc.

    It can play DVDs but most likely it is not a DVD burner. DVD players for this machine are on ebay for $5-20, so that is no great bonus. A DVD burner for this machine can be had for under $50 very easily.

    If you are wanting to learn OS X and are on a VERY tight budget, a Blue and White G3 is the only way to go (it MUST be a Rev. 2 motherboard!!!!!!). But you can do better on the price. In fact, I myself will be selling a Blue and White G3 soon and for much less than $150, but I can't sell it yet as I am piecing it together from two computers and the second computer is not yet in my possession. When done, mine will be perfectly clean, operational, and will be run a while to make sure it is A-1.

    If you could stretch the budget at all, I would suggest to you that the Powermac G4 (Digital Audio) should be considered your minimum jump in point. These came in speeds of 466, 533, 667, and 733 Mhz (thus are easy to identify). Why this machine as a minimum? Firstly, you definitely don't want a Yikes G4, as this is a Blue and White motherboard in a G4 case with a G4 processor slapped in (essentially). The upgrade possibilities are therefore very limited. The group of machines after the Yikes and right before Digital Audio are called Sawtooth. They are in the 350-500 Mhz range generally, but again your upgrade options have limitations such as a 100 Mhz system bus, a PCI based video card (no 9800 Pro for you!), and processor upgrades that have less high end potential (speeds not as fast in some cases, or for some machines no dual-processor upgrades are possible). Digital Audio have a 4x AGP video slot, meaning you can use the fairly awesome 9800 Pro in it (but not the 9800 Pro "Special Edition"--it is for the G5 only). You can also use MANY lesser cards as well. The system bus is 133 Mhz and therefore you use faster ram (PC 133) than on some of the earlier macs (but Sawtooth's can use PC 133 at a slower speed I believe), and you get a faster bus. Your upgrade options on a Digital Audio are good, usually about as good as any other G4 ever made. Therefore to save money you should get only a 466 or 533 and then upgrade the processor and video card later as money rolls in. This is the way to go if there is no way to get a larger chunk of cash at one time. If you CAN save about $1200-1500, simply get someone's used Dual 1.8 or 2.0 G5 (or get a refurb from Apple). Even an iMac G5 is a decent option depending on your uses.

    I hope this helps.
     
  3. Bloo Ice thread starter macrumors regular

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    Kansas
    #3
    Ok. That was helpful. A quick peek on ebay turned up a few g4 pms for around $150, but I don't know if they were Yikes or Sawtooth or Digital Audio. Its all a little overwhelming right now. What are the specs on that b&w you are going to be selling? I'm serious about getting a "starter" mac right now, and later around christmas time getting a good one, maybe intel imac or something, but thats later. But now I want something to get started on, for about $150. I won't be able to buy until next Friday at the soonest though. If you find a good deal, don't be a stranger. thanks
     
  4. spinne1 macrumors 6502a

    spinne1

    Joined:
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    Hermitage, TN USA (near Nashville)
    #4
    Well, ebay auctions worth their salt will say whether they are Yikes, Sawtooth, or Digital Audio. However, since you really only want the Digital Audio as a minimum, keep in mind that the processor speeds of 466, 533, 667, and 733 were ONLY offered on the Digital Audio macs so finding them is easy: simply search for "G4 466" or "G4/466" or "G4 533" etc. etc.

    When I get my Mac going, I'll check back here to see if you have purchased anything yet and we'll see. I'm sure that I would charge under $100. Depending on a few things the machine I will sell will have 256 mb ram (the bare minimum you would want), a Rage 128 Pro video card (16 mb and the card the machine shipped with when new), a nine or 16 gb scsi hard drive (again, really a throw away--you need to plan to buy a big IDE hard drive for any G3 or G4 you may buy). It will not come with a keyboard or mouse, although I have a crappy keyboard (graphite color) of the exact style it came with but it is not worth having really and I use it as a spare when I need a USB keyboard (I use an OLD Apple keyboard with a USB-ADB adapter because that particular keyboard has a fantastic key feel and is large with full size buttons all over and no other keyboard feels anywhere near as good to me), and I have a crappy blue and white hockey puck mouse that goes with it but it too is not worth having (but I would throw it in if wanted--but believe me YOU WON'T WANT TO USE IT)

    I just bought my computer (a Digital Audio/533) for $232 on ebay and it came with a nice Apple Studio Display (a nice 17" CRT which I gave to my parents to use with their matching Blue and White G3), so occasionally good deals do come along. I got lucky I think because many of the 533s go much higher, and because I happened to win from a local seller so I could pick up and save the shipping charge.

    I'll check back later when my Blue and White is ready for selling.
     
  5. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #5
    I'm still going to say get a refurbished Mac Mini. If you're low balling with old Power Mac G4, you DON'T need ZOMG expensive super upgrades, and just want a simple machine go with a Mini. The new refurbs should come with iLife 06 and keep you pleased until you can get an Intel Mac.


    $429 for the 1.25 Ghz G4 model refurbished in the Apple Refurb Store.
     
  6. spinne1 macrumors 6502a

    spinne1

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    Hermitage, TN USA (near Nashville)
    #6

    Eidorian gives good advice as you really are only looking at a transitional machine, not an upgrader. However, I know how life is for many and perhaps you will not be ready for a full-blown Mac in December. If that might be the case, either a Mac Mini or a Digital Audio with a processor upgrade is a good option. I personally like Powermacs because the options are many and you can make a very good machine out of them (like I just did--I have a nice video card, processor upgrade, and 1 GB of ram in the mail as we speak). Sure you spend almost as much for upgrading a G4 as you would if you got a used G5 Powermac, but there are also other variables, such as if you can pony up the $1000-$1800 at one time for a used G5. Many (like myself) simply cannot do that because of tight budgets (not to mention the wife simply would not understand the need for it). Either way is a good plan in my book.
     
  7. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
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    Indianapolis
    #7
    I like the upgradabilty of the G4 too. I've tricked out my Quicksilver with a new x16 Dual Layer, 1.25 GB of RAM, a Radeon 9000, and dual 17" LCD's. But unless you're the kind of person that had and G4 back then and want to keep it on life support longer it's a waste of money in my eyes.

    $429 and you get good machine with a warranty in case something goes wrong. You get the latest OS and latest iLife with it too.
     
  8. maz94protege macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2005
    #8
    www.powermax.com, i post that site alot, but they have full older G3/G4, beige systems for cheap and with warranties. As well as other systems parts and stuff. So yea that was a lil pricey for that one you were lookin at. id go for an imac with slot load and dvd, be good for basic stuff not using high powerd games or apps.
     
  9. spinne1 macrumors 6502a

    spinne1

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Hermitage, TN USA (near Nashville)
    #9
    I just looked at their prices and they seem really high. For example, they want $679 for their cheapest Digital Audio (a 466). It has 512 mb ram, a 60 gb hard drive and a cd-burner, along with the Rage 128 pro video card.

    Compare that to mine (real and fictional because I bought bigger ram):

    G4/533 $232 on ebay and mine came with a Radeon 7200 32 mb video card
    256 ram stick (to add to the 256 that will come will most machines): $40
    80 gb hard drive on ebay: $70 (or less)
    cd-burner: $10-20 on ebay

    TOTAL: $362

    The problem with almost all Mac resellers is their prices. Warranties are not worth anything to me because if a seller knows his machine and is honest you will know if anything is wrong with it, and generally on Macs it either works or doesn't.
     
  10. Bloo Ice thread starter macrumors regular

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    Kansas
    #10
    Wow, I forgot about refurbs. I think that is a better deal. A lot more computer, for not a whole lot more money. And, its cheap enough I could keep my pc for gaming. How smoothly does tiger run on the 1.25? Do you get the cool visual effects like on the imac/powermac?

    Right now I'm really thinking about the mini. I'd have to wait about 2 months to get one though, gotta get the cash. Not dead set on it right now, especially because of the intel switch? How long until refurb intels will come out? Will they be less/more/same?
     
  11. jamesi macrumors 6502a

    jamesi

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2005
    Location:
    Davis CA
    #11
    if you buy that, the buy a G4 upgrade to 1.7 gigs and then its better. as is, it wont satisfy. ditch it
     
  12. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #12
    It supports Quartz Extreme but not Core Image. You're not going to see the ripple effect from Dashboard widgets but you're still getting a perky OS experience. I have a Radeon 9000 and it's great even on dual monitors. Just as long as Exposé is quick and pretty.
     
  13. Bloo Ice thread starter macrumors regular

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    #13
    Huh, you saying if I buy a mini to upgrade the ram?

    Also, I saw on AOTS when the mini first came out that they upgraded it to the 4.2 by just removing a jumper. Is that true?
     
  14. Bloo Ice thread starter macrumors regular

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    #14
    I just realized that the 1.25 doesn't come with bt or wifi. I can live without the wifi, but the bt, I really want. Can this be installed later or does it have to be done at apple?
     
  15. OldCorpse macrumors 65816

    OldCorpse

    Joined:
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    Location:
    compost heap
    #15
    You're not kiddding powermax.com is a total ripoff... take a look at this:

    http://www.powermax.com/cgi-global/generate_css_temp.cgi?p=C-NiB-M9426LL/A

    I had to go down to the basement for an extra case of WTF... I mean a 12" iBook 1Ghz, for $799??? I got a brand new current 12" 1.33 for $785 AR with a full year warranty... pshaw... I looked around at their prices - all very, very expensive. I'd avoid them at all costs.
     
  16. therevolution macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 12, 2003
    #16
    There are Bluetooth USB adapters you can add on later. I don't think you'd be able to add it later internally.
     
  17. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #17
    The 1.42 Ghz with the Combo Drive and wi-fi/Bluetooth isn't listed on there right now. I believe it's $479. Just wait a day or two. The refurb stock changes from day to day.
     
  18. Bloo Ice thread starter macrumors regular

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    #18
    All right. A little longer wait, but I gotta have the bt. And I'll get a little more speed :)
     

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