Learning to upgrade

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by Cordless_Drill, Jul 11, 2004.

  1. Cordless_Drill macrumors regular

    Cordless_Drill

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2004
    Location:
    Montgomery, Ala., USA
    #1
    I want to buy a cheap PowerMac and make inexpensive upgrades to it. Adding a HD, a graphics card, etc. Use it like an erector set and learn how these wonderful machines work.

    Which boxes would you recommend for this purpose?

    I have some money to spend, but I don't want to go beyond $450 on the box itself...
     
  2. Horrortaxi macrumors 68020

    Horrortaxi

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2003
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #2
    It works just like a PC inside--IDE hard drives and cards in PCI/AGP slots. If you want "cheap" upgrades then practice on a PC--the knowledge will transfer.

    The key here is "cheap" and on the Mac there is no such thing. A hard drive is a hard drive, but video cards are Mac specific and much more expensive. And then why do you want to upgrade the video card? Games? The processor in any Mac you find for $450 isn't going run any of the latest games. You can upgrade the processor, but that's far from cheap.

    At $450 you're looking at a 4-5 year old G4 PowerMac. By the time you modernize it you will have spent about as much on upgrades. For $900-$1000 you could have bought the computer you upgraded the old one to.

    Just something to think about. Macs are great to use, but I don't see the logic in buying one just to work on.
     
  3. Cordless_Drill thread starter macrumors regular

    Cordless_Drill

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2004
    Location:
    Montgomery, Ala., USA
    #3
    I grew up in the San Diego Unified school district, which meant I used Apples from age 7 through high school. I know Apple. I love Apple. I'd never own, service or even consider messing with a Wintel box. Period.

    I have no specific need that this tinkering box would address. I don't game. I just want to mess around and learn how things work and have fun piecing together a Mac system. That's all.

    I was thinking of a Yosemite, Yikes or Sawtooth. Any of those strike you all as being highly/easily upgradeable?
     
  4. FuzzyBallz macrumors 6502a

    FuzzyBallz

    Joined:
    May 2, 2003
    Location:
    Home of Al-Qaida
    #4
    With Macs, you're stuck w/ "upgrading" the HD, and maybe the CPU, but it's better to just buy a new system. You can add more RAM, but only the same kind that came w/ the system. You could switch out the optical drive, but there's not guarantee it'll be compatible. You can't put in a PC video card, and Mac dedicated video cards are very expensive, and doesn't update as fast as PC versions. You can't switch the motherboard, 'cause it's more proprietary than Dell systems. There's no point in changing the PSU either, nobody sells upgraded versions, only replacement units.

    So you get the picture. If you want to learn to upgrade a computer system, PC is the only option.
     
  5. Horrortaxi macrumors 68020

    Horrortaxi

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2003
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #5
    They're all equally upgradable--and it's very easy in each case. Get one with AGP graphics--I know Sawtooth has it but not sure about the others.

    I really don't see the point in upgrading--especially if you don't care about the added performance you'd get. Why not just buy the Mac, strip it, and put it back together. You'd be doing exactly the same thing you'd be doing if you upgraded--but for much less money. I also don't agree with the idea that taking a computer apart will tell you much about how things work. It'll tell you where things go. Buy the Sawtooth and use it. You'll get more valuable information that way.

    I didn't go to school in San Diego, but I did learn math. What you want to do is going to cost a lot of money and I don't see any benefit from it.
     
  6. BornAgainMac macrumors 603

    BornAgainMac

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2004
    Location:
    Florida Resident
    #6
    The old Powermac G3's are very easy to service. The case opens up by a door on the side so you have easy access to the hard drive, video card, memory, and CPU. You might find a cheap one at a local yard sale. Ebay tends to be top dollar for those machines. The prices are very high, so don't pay more than you would on eBay. Usually the seller tries to bundle software to jack the price up. Video and CPU are probably the most expensive upgrades. I think there was a hard drive size limit on those old machines. ~120 MB if memory recalls. You will have fun working on these machines at the hardware level.

    The old iMacs are easy to upgrade memory, hard drive, and CPU. You are stuck with the video card. The only problem is that the newer CRT iMacs have no fan so if you use components that generate more heat than it was designed for it could cause some damage to the machine. I really liked those machines because they were so quiet (when used with a quiet HD).

    Both machines should be in your price range.
     

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