Upgrade Mac or buy new computer?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by musicpyrite, Jun 21, 2004.

  1. musicpyrite macrumors 68000

    musicpyrite

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    Location:
    Cape Cod
    #1
    Well I have about $400 dollars to spend on a computer. The thing is that I cant decide weather to upgrade my Mac or buy a new one. My Mac is pretty basic, 15" iMac, 256 MB RAM, 80 GB HD. But I also build computers and for $400 I could build an AMD system with 256 MB RAM, AMD 2500+, 40 GB HD, DVD-ROM, with Windows home and Red Hat installed.

    But I have a few questions: My Mac seems really slow, so I was gonna upgrade it to 768 MB of RAM, and buy an external 160 GB HD for backups.I want to get the AMD system but the thing is that my iMac's HD keeps making this clicking noies, and I'm afrade that the drive migh fail.

    So I basically have 3 options:

    1) Buy a 512 stick of RAM, and a 160 GB HD to put in my iMac.

    or

    2) Get the AMD system (and eventually save up enough money to buy an internal HD, put it in the AMD, and net work the computers together and transfer the files that way)

    What do you think is best?
     
  2. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2003
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #2
    Let me get this straight. You're trying to decide between a Windows system and an iMac with more ram, more HD space, and a superior monitor (does the Windows system even have a monitor?). Granted the Windows machine will have a superior CPU, but the lack of RAM and HD space will cripple it. I say stick with the iMac. The bigger HD and RAM will give it new life.
     
  3. musicpyrite thread starter macrumors 68000

    musicpyrite

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    Location:
    Cape Cod
    #3
    ill keep that in mind, btw, I've got a few of 19"ctr monitors lying around, so i dont need to buy one.

    and this computer will mostly be use for linux. red hat, gentoo, ect.
     
  4. Horrortaxi macrumors 68020

    Horrortaxi

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2003
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #4
    I'm not sure what you expected to hear on a Mac board. The way I see it is you're trying to decide whether to enhance a modern and functioning Mac or start from scratch with a PC. Let's ingore the fact that I would only wish Windows upon my worst enemies and stick with simplicity. Use the Mac. Upgrade the RAM, buy an external drive for storage and backups. If your HD does die then you have backups and replacements are fairly inexpensive (though you could still boot from an external Firewire drive). Why go mucking things up with another system? I'd say that even if you were thinking about getting a 2nd Mac. You haven't demonstrated a compelling need to have multiple systems or a network. Unless there's something you didn't tell us, stick with your iMac.
     
  5. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2003
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #5
    If you're mainly going to be running linux, get the new machine, assuming the CRTs you have are servicable. If it was windows versus Mac, I'd say stick with the Mac. If you're going to be running linux, the RAM/HD on the new box will slow you down in some cases, but not as much as the iMac's slower CPU will.
     
  6. -hh macrumors 68020

    -hh

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2001
    Location:
    NJ Highlands, Earth
    #6
    With a $400 budget on an iMac, I'd be generally inclined to recommend making minimal changes and putting the rest in the bank towards a newer Mac. As such, I'd invest in just RAM - - an external HD isn't going to make the boot drive any faster.

    I also thought about recommending a "Trade Up" approach - - you can get a 600MHz iMac for $500 or so, and the old iMac's probably worth something, so that's probably within budget - - - however, I was at a loss to figure out what the full specifications are of the machine in question to see if this is worth doing. For example, I can't find any 15" with an 80GB hard drive listed on lowendmac, so I don't know if a 600MHz iMac is a big - - or zero - - CPU speed improvement and thus worth -- or not worth -- considering.

    In simplest terms, the "cheap" ways to make an existing PC/Mac run faster are as follows:

    1) Reduce HD dwell time
    2) Free up CPU clock cycles

    Adding RAM helps the first of these, as does also replacing an existing HD with a faster HD, as well as to defrag the existing HD (which costs nothing).

    RAM can also help the second, but what can also be done here includes decreasing the number of background processess running. For example, on the PC side, its absolutely essential to continuously run an Anti-Virus program, and this is going to steal performance. If you look through at all of what you have running, you may find that you've loaded down your Mac with a lot of bells-n-whistles that suck away power, so you can get a free "power boost" just by undoing some of this fluff. This also applies to how smartly you're using your existing RAM...if your system's RAM is scarce, deleting that huge image file that you're using for your desktop picture will make the system run faster...and again costs nothing.


    -hh
     

Share This Page