Just purchased a used iMac to test the switching water. Will my iMac be fast enough?

Discussion in 'Switch Stories' started by lsutiger, Jul 31, 2003.

  1. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2003
    #1
    I've been a Windows only user all my life. A couple of weeks ago I bought a new 15gb iPod. Love it, love it, love it.

    Since my iPod purchase I've been frequenting some of the iPod message boards. This has exposed me to a lot of Mac post that I otherwise never would have read. I decided to buy an inexpensive used iMac to use with my iPod (can't wait to try iTunes) and to test out a Mac for the first time.

    I'm pretty confident that this machine should run fine with the iPod, but the more I read on all the Mac boards the more I want to switch to the Mac for everything. I'm concerned that the iMac I purchased will leave a bad and unfair (Mac) taste in my mouth because it will run too slow. I'm thinking I should have just purchased a brand new 1ghz G4 iMac instead of buying this used 600mhz G3 iMac.

    What do you guys (and gals) think? Will this machine be fast enough to give me a good introduction to the Mac? I mainly use my pc for music, pictures, and lots of internet surfing. I bought the airport card so I can hook into my 802.11b network.

    My hope is that I will fall in love with the Mac OS X and sell my iMac in a couple of months to upgrade to a G4 iMac. Just don't want my underpowered iMac to ruin the experience. My iMac specs are below. I should receive it next Wednesday. Thanks in advance for any replies!!

    Graphite iMac 600 MHz processor
    40 Gig HD
    512 MB memory
    Slot-loading CDRW
    OS X 10.2
    Apple Keyboard w/2 USB ports
    Apple one button optical USB mouse
    Two additional USB ports on CPU/Monitor
    Two firewire ports
    15" Display
    56k modem
    10/100 Base T ethernet (cable/DSL ready)
    Airport ready
    Extra rear cover for T.V. conversion
    All original system paperwork and install/software disks including OS X, OS 9.2.1 and restore disks
     
  2. Moderator emeritus

    edesignuk

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2002
    Location:
    London, England
    #2
    I think you should be ok with it, you have 512MB RAM (which is key, OS X loves memory!), and a decent speed G3. See how you go, see if you like how the OS and apps work, but also have in mind that a 1GHz G4 or above would be significantly faster. So if you like OS X on a 600MHz G3, you will love it on a G4 iMac :)
     
  3. macrumors 68040

    patrick0brien

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2002
    Location:
    The West Loop
    #3
    -lsutiger

    It'll be a little pokey- especially in the GUI, but otherwise fully functional.

    I think what you are doing is a very wise thing - easing yourself in. That way, when you do get up to a current machine, a brave new world - that you already know your way around in.
     
  4. macrumors 68020

    Horrortaxi

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2003
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #4
    As previously stated, get as much memory as you can. Apart from that, this computer should do everything you listed quite well. The thing that might suck coming from Windows is the mouse. The 1 button mouse trips up a lot of people. You can use 2 buttons and a scroll wheel in OS X though--so if you already have a mouse you like a lot you can continue to use it (as long as it's USB). In fact, if your iMac has the round mouse I'd suggest getting another one--they kinda suck.

    If you're a proficient Windows user you should be able to figure out OS X in a couple hours. It's not that different. For basic things just think "how would I do this in Windows" and you can probablly do it the same way as long as you don't need the start menu. Later on you'll get yourself in trouble thinking too much about Windows, but in the beginning it'll work.
     
  5. macrumors G5

    nagromme

    Joined:
    May 2, 2002
    #5
    No speed demon, but it will be a way to get used to the benefits of Mac OS X Jaguar, and will be a productive computer for some time to come. Three members of my family have almost that system, and they're still going strong.

    You'll be glad when you upgrade to a G4, though! Not to mention Panther.
     
  6. thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2003
    #6
    I've been testing out my new iMac for 5 days now. My first impressions are a little dissapointing, but I'm hanging in there.

    I knew it was going to be slow compared to my 1.7GHZ AMD machine, but it's a little slower than I expected. Just opening, closing and websurfing seems pretty sluggish. If I decide to make the switch I'll probably be getting either a dual 1.25G4 or a G5 so I would hope that all speed issues would go away.

    What I find more dissapointing than the speed is my machine has crashed several times since I've had it. The whole system doesn't freeze up, but applications like mail just quit responding. I can close the applicatoin, but if I open it again I get the same problem. I end up having to reboot to clear things up. I also had to reboot a couple of times because iTunes wasn't recognizing my iPod.


    I'm still enjoying learning something new, and I'm going through the missing manual book Switching to the Mac. I was thinking about getting the Tackyshirt OS X training DVD. Anyone know if it's worth it?
     
  7. macrumors 68040

    patrick0brien

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2002
    Location:
    The West Loop
    #7
    -lsutiger

    Well, I had hoped we'd set your expectations to the performance of the machine, perhaps I should have said very slow. That is a G3. OS X really was designed for the G4 or above.

    As for your freezes, hmm. Have you repaired permissions yet?

    Consider it a lesson in UNIX/Mac.

    Some of the .plist (preferences) files and other system files might have a tripped permission - in fact, I can all but gaurantee something is tripped.

    You should only be experiencing speed issues, not app screwyness. I assume you are running the latest OS X (10.2.6) right?

    I've found some folks trying to run Safari on 10.0. Now there's some application funkyness, and an element to the Mac world. In Windows, there are applications that can run on older OS's - like Office XP running on Win2k.

    With Macs, if the software says "10.2 or greater" they mean it - it's not just a casual marketing recommendation.

    The reasoning behind this is that Apple actually adds a lot of functionality and makes significant changes to its OS, even in the "Third Dot Position" updates (10.2.X). OS X is young, and developing very rapidly.
     
  8. macrumors 6502a

    kylos

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2002
    Location:
    MI
    #8
    Since you got it used, it might have some software issues. Another possibility is fragmentation. If it was my mac, I'd partition the drive and reinstall OS X. I'm not sure how eager you are to do all that work so my first advice would be to see if you can get a mac-head friend to check it over for you and see if they can spot any problems and fix them. Alternatively, if you don't have any of these best of friends, don't shy away from seeking advice here. MR loves to help (aside from the few grumps) and the people are very knowledgeable; the only reason I don't recommend it as your first option is that long distance troubleshooting can be a pain. Good luck.:)
     
  9. macrumors 68040

    Powerbook G5

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2003
    Location:
    St Augustine, FL
    #9
    I'd definitely do a full partition and reinstall, it's something I find to be very beneficial for any system when you get it whether it be old or new. That way you can start fresh from the ground up. Since it's used, it's a good possibility it's a software headache. From there, you can tweak things and do the regular system maintainence to keep it running to its full potential.
     
  10. thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2003
    #10
    I don't mind trying the reformat/partition path. It's not causing me a lot of problems, but I'm used to a Windows machine so my source of reference may be skewed.

    I don't have any Mac-Friends at all so I'm kind of on my own. I don't even know how to do a format/partition. I have the system restore disk that came with the machine OS 9, OS 10.1 upgrade and OS 10.2 upgrade.

    Where do I start in order to reformat and partition the hard drive? What's the purpose of partitioning it anyway? Is it to put OS 9 on on one partition and OS X on the other?

    Thanks for everyones help.
     
  11. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2003
    #11
    since your new to mac dump os 9 don't even bother putting it on
     
  12. macrumors 68000

    Fukui

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2002
    #12
    Put the CD in and restart holding the 'c' key. Go through the steps and make sure to choose a 'format and install'

    Also, you should check if your iMac needs a firmware (Bios) update. Link here you'll need to boot OS 9 from the HD first before doing anything to install the firmware...it can fix ALOT of probs.
     
  13. macrumors 6502a

    kylos

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2002
    Location:
    MI
    #13
    I would suggest a separate partition for applications, the OS, and your home folder. It will keep fragmentation isolated more to your home folder. The install cd contains a copy of the Disk Utility app. It contains a tab to partition your disk. It's pretty straightforward.
     
  14. thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2003
    #14
    I'm formatting and re-installed 10.2 right now. How do I repair permissions?

    Thanks.
     
  15. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Calgary, AB
    #15
    Run 'disk utility' inside of the 'utilities' folder which is inside of the 'applications' folder. It's under the 'first aid' tab.
     
  16. macrumors 65816

    plinkoman

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2003
    Location:
    New York
    #16
    if you have the $$ for a G5, go for it, but a G4 really does make a difference. i have both a 2.2GHz P4 and a 700 imac G4 and in everyday tasks(music, internet, mail...) i see very little speed difference, and sometimes the imac can even be faster because of windows doing something screwy like it always manages to do
     
  17. thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2003
    #17
    That's good to know. My plan is to first go through the entire "Switching to the Mac" book and then decide for sure if I want to switch. Another thing that is hampering my experience is this 15inch CRT. I'm used to my 19 inch LCD. I tried hooking it up to the iMac, but the video card won't do a high enough resolution. Anyway, I'm trying to let speed, and monitor size influence me.

    I reformatted, reinstalled OS X, repired permissions, and so far no more appication crashes =)
     
  18. macrumors 68040

    patrick0brien

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2002
    Location:
    The West Loop
    #18
    -lsutiger

    Glad to hear it.

    Just periodically repair permissions from now until Panther. Panther is supposed to some level of self repair and defrag.

    How does it feel? Just a little slow?
     
  19. thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2003
    #19
    Well, I jinxed myself. Right after I posted my last message my applications started freezing up. First iTunes, then the others. I could get them to close by using force quit, but then when I'd try to open iTunes again nothing would happen and the little pinwheel would just keep spinning. I couldn't get the machine to restart either without hitting the "hard" reset switch.

    I'm learning to deal with the slowness because I know a new G4 or G5 would eliminate it, but the crashes are kind of disapointing. Another thing that keeps happening is when I wake my machine up (after sleep) the keyboard quits working. I have to unplug the keyboard and plug it back in for it to work again.
     
  20. macrumors 68040

    patrick0brien

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2002
    Location:
    The West Loop
    #20
    -lsutiger

    We might have hit upon something. What's on your USB bus?
     
  21. thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2003
    #21
    The only thing I have hooked up is my Apple keyboard (logitech mouse plugged into the keyboard), and my new 15gb iPod through one of the fire wire ports.
     
  22. macrumors 6502a

    kylos

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2002
    Location:
    MI
    #22
    Sounds like you have some serious hardware issues.:( I've been told that the problems you describe with the keyboard *may* be due to the flimsy usb cables on the keyboard and mouse shorting out and freezing the usb circuits. I can't verify the veracity of that, but when my mom replaced her shorting mouse, her keyboard functioned better. Also, if you have the hardware test cd, run that and see if you have bad ram or something. Someone earlier mentioned checking for newer versions of firmware. Try it. There could be any number of issues here. After all, computers are *rather* complex.
    Oh, and I wish you the best of luck trying to fix it
     
  23. thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2003
    #23
    I'll try another mouse and keyboard and see what happens. I've already updated the firmware. I do have the hardware test cd so I'll run that too. Thanks.
     
  24. macrumors 6502a

    aethier

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2003
    Location:
    Montréal, Canada
    #24
    Maybe its a hardware problem, that could be why the other guy put that imac up for sale in the first place

    aethier

    ps, my school has 600 mhz imacs, and has no problems with them
     
  25. thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2003
    #25
    Good News/Bad News

    I ran the system check and I'm geting Error Code mem_/2/4.

    My system has 2 256K Dimms installed. Is there any way to tell by the error code which one has the problem? If not then I'll just remove one at a time and see if it fixes it.
     

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