Second hand machine for game development advice

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by gameprogrammer, Feb 11, 2005.

  1. gameprogrammer macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2005
    #1
    Hi,

    i'm hoping someone can advise me in what i should be looking for/expect to get for the price i can afford.Money is very tight(have a family/unemployed currently etc)so its important in making the right choice.

    I'm an indie game dev and am a newbie to Mac.But after using a friend of my sisters machine for a couple of days with OSX,i really love the design of the Mac and the look and feel of OS X.

    So i set my mind on getting one.I got a loan for 700 british pounds,i had 75 pounds saved so i had 775 pounds to get a second hand Mac.

    I made the mistake of 'jumping in' after scanning the local papers,and found a G3 I-Mac 333 (grape colour) revision D i think,with 64mb of memory.The asking price was 275 pounds..i bought it.After getting it home,i realised this would be no good to me for what i needed it for.

    Although i asked when viewing it if it would run 3D stuff quite well(he demonstrated poser 4 and some 3d open gl app's running well)because i thought i was getting such a great deal(only 275 for a mac) i didn't check out (or was really up on) finding out what gfx card it had,memory,OS etc etc for game development.

    After a lot of googling and looking on e-bay,and spending another 40 pounds on another 128 mb memory from crucial,i realised that i had payed too much(i couldn't even upgrade the video card in it) :eek:

    I have always been a windows only developer mainly c/c++/DirectX/OpenGL and more recently Blitz3D,Blitz Max and REALBasic.Though now BlitzMax supports windows/mac/linux,i want to develop 2D/3D stuff for the Mac also.The min requirments for BlitzMax(Mac version) is MacOSX 10.2...the i-mac i had bought was only Mac OS 8.6.

    I have cut my losses with the i-mac G3 now,and put it in the kids bedroom for them to mess around on.

    I now have 500 pounds (UK)and the choice of either to buy a used/second hand Mac(that would be good enough for developing opengl 3D stuff on)or just upgrading my PC for developing windows only stuff on :confused:

    Iv'e spent 2-3 days looking/hoping to find something fairly decent for this price via e-bay(obviously the G5 models are way out of my price range)and was hoping to find a good G4 model(that can be upgraded easily..i.e replace video card when i have the money,more memory etc etc).

    But since i am completely new to these comps,i have no idea what i should really be looking for,or (realisticlly)expect to get,for 500 pounds.

    Iv'e seen a lot of G4-iMac's on e-bay(but they are all-in one/built in type)machines like the one i had just bought,and only have the older G-Force 2 32 Mb gfx cards in them.

    Someone recently mentioned getting a Mac-Mini with good memory,combo drive...but these also,only has a 32mb gfx card with it,and wouldn't be very easy(if not possible at all) to just buy a newer card and upgrade like with my pc in a year or so..(if i'm wrong about this,please let me know).

    I'm really thinking of in a year or so's time.At least if i use the 500 pounds to upgrade my current PC,i will be ok for a while longer.

    So,realisticlly(i know that Mac computer's are much more expensive than PC's)but what should i really expect (second hand/used)to get for 500 pounds?,that would last me for a while,and be fast enough/good enough for what i need it for? (developing low budget 2D/3D games and applications for the Mac),what would be my best bet on a budget like mine?.

    Thanks for any help/advice,and sorry for the long post :)

    Cheers!
     
  2. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #2
    I would check the Apple UK Refurb page for a couple of Wednesdays in a row. Your best bet is likely an eMac, although I wouldn't rule out a mini. Yes, true, the GPUs aren't as nice as the high-end systems, but, from a developer point of view, perhaps isn't all that bad to create low-budget games on the kind of system most of your customers will be using. The GPU performance is only bad relative to the better cards, not bad in an absolute sense. For £500, you can't be incredibly picky.

    Do you have a monitor, KB, and mouse, or will you need those as well - i.e., does the £500 need to cover everything or just the CPU?
     
  3. Patmian212 macrumors 68020

    Patmian212

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2004
    Location:
    NYC
    #3
    Im not sure but i think you could gget a used g4 500mhz(maybe dual processor) powermac. Those are pretty upgradeable and arent bad machines just make sure you have ATLEAST 384mb of ram if your running panther(OS10.3).
     
  4. Patmian212 macrumors 68020

    Patmian212

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2004
    Location:
    NYC
    #4
    Also if you are interested in selling that imac you bought email me absolut_patmian@hotmail.com or add me to your msn.. We can work somthing out
     
  5. gameprogrammer thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2005
    #5
    Thanks JSW,it makes sense in what you said about the system specs of the customers i will be developing for.

    "Do you have a monitor, KB, and mouse, or will you need those as well - i.e., does the £500 need to cover everything or just the CPU?"

    No,i have no other Mac hardware(i.e monitors)though i do have 3 PC's in total with monitors( i don't know if i could use a standard PC monitor with a Mac).

    My set up is i have one high spec PC i use P4 machine,1GB RAM,has a good/latest DX9 Radeon card(bought 2 weeks previous),also has 3 other gfx cards in it for DX7/8 stuff(for running stuff on lower spec systems,mainly the Blitz3D stuff i develop),a lower spec machine(still good for DX8 stuff)and a really low machine just for the internet.The lower 2 have '17' inch moniters,and my main dev machine has a '19' inch monitor.So,i don't know if it might be possible to use one of these PC monitors somehow?

    @Patmian

    Thanks,i saw a couple on e-bay,but they wasn't dual.(though i'm still looking /searching).

    About selling the imac,i would be quite happy to get around the 150 pound mark back for it(its just sitting here not being used at all now) it came with a lot of app's...poser4,photoshop 6,Amapi3D,Infini D,AfterEffects,Illustrator,Flash5,Director,Freehand,Quark Express,Virtual PC etc...quite a good deal software wise,but just not good for me developing my 3D stuff on.

    The guy i bought it from was a student that had just done a design degree,its a well looked after machine though.

    Let me know if your interested in it around that price and we can sort something out via e-mail.I have no idea how much it will cost to post if you are interested,though as said if i get around half of what i bought it for,that would be nice...also allow me to bid a bit higher on e-bay :)

    Cheers!
     
  6. Patmian212 macrumors 68020

    Patmian212

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2004
    Location:
    NYC
    #6
    Email me because I dont have your email and i owuld like to contact you about your imac
     
  7. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #7
    The mini comes with a DVI->VGA adapter, so if your monitors are either DVI or VGA, you'll be OK. The eMac, obviously, has its own monitor. For just about any headless Mac made over the past decade, you'd be able to either plug in your PC monitor directly or do so with an inexpensive adapter.
     
  8. gameprogrammer thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2005
    #8
    Hi,

    sorry,i should have checked back here earlier this morning(wasn't sure if that price was too much after posting prices etc)...
    i sold the i-mac this morning to my brother for £125.00 for doing his website stuff on.

    Lost £190 with buying the memory for it,but at least i got something back for it ;-)

    Hopefully i will find something on e-bay for that price,otherwise it looks like the Mac-Mini will be what i will be getting.

    Thanks again guys for the help.

    Cheers!
     

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