I am interested in a Mac to play with.

Discussion in 'Community' started by markjs, Dec 3, 2002.

  1. markjs macrumors member

    Dec 3, 2002
    I haven't got a lot of cash, but I do computers for a living (PCs) and I'd like to have a mac around just to play with. Maybe learn about networking them to windows computers, as well as generally learning to run one. What's the slowest one I should consider for getting a feel for how they work, and how much should I pay? I just want something at least roughly equivelent to a 500MHz PC, maybe a bit more, and also would like (it's not a must) one that will run Yellow Dog Linux, as well as mac os. Don't forget I don't have a fortune to spend on it. It'd also be nice if it was somewhat upgradeable, but I am not so sure thats possible, andyway what do you think?
  2. strider42 macrumors 65816


    Feb 1, 2002
    Re: I am interested in a Mac to play with.

    Do you want to run OS X, if so, i would really recommend something with at least a G4 in it for best performance and something that supports quartz extreme. The lowest end mac that has both of those things is the eMac.

    If OS X performance isn't a huge issue for you, don't consider anything less than a 350 mhz iMac (anything earlier does not have a video card that is properly supported under OS X). Imacs can have their hard drives and ram upgraded and thats it. they are cheap and will run OS X acceptably. If you want a tower system thats more upgradeable (though I personally find upgrasdes to not be all that cost effective), more or less the same logc applies: if OS X performance isn't a big deal, pretty much anything will work for you. If OS X performance is important, you want something that supports quartz extreme.

    One other consideration with G4 towers is that you need a monitor, and not all monitors will work without an adaptor, depending on the generation of G4 (apple switched to the ADC plug somewhere in the middle of the product life cycle)

    One other issue of course is that if the machine you buy doesn't already have OS X on it, you'll have to buy it if you want to play with it.
  3. vniow macrumors G4

    Jul 18, 2002
    I accidentally my whole location.
    I've got a 300Mhz Blueberry iBook running 10.2 and it's not slow at all.
    Definately not a speed demon, but most laptops aren't built for performance, they're made for portability. I just put a 5400rpm 40GB IBM Travelstar with 8MB cache replacing the stock 6GB Figitsu and everything's much smoother running.
    I would give anything to have a brand new one that can support Quartz, but if you can't afford one, then a used Mac is for you. OSX likes lots of ram and a fast hard drive over processor speed so even if you get an older Mac, stuff it with lots of RAM, a fast hard drive and a newer video card if applicable and OSX will run fine on it.
  4. markjs thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 3, 2002
    I don't know much about this stuff, but it sounds to me like this is all $500+ stuff you're talking? Do the older OS's basically work similarly to OSX in the way they feel? Are the only G3s and G4s in imacs and better? Are any of the old power macs upgradeable to at least G3? I am looking to spend $400 or less if I can, and if the older OSs feel similar to OSX then I don't need anything to poweful...I just want to get a feel for it is all....thanks for the reply though.
  5. Mr. Anderson Moderator emeritus

    Mr. Anderson

    Nov 1, 2001
    You might have to see what's available at ebay or some place like that - you can run OSX on a G3, but its slow and it does require or is happier with more memory. Even one of the old blue and white PowerMac G3s (350 MHz) might not be enough - and you'll want something that big so you have expansion options - the iMacs don't have that (extra drives, PCI cards, etc.)

    Good luck,

  6. markjs thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 3, 2002
    My big question though is, are the older OSs similar enough to OSX that if I learned on of them on say a 200MHz Power Mac similar enough that I would at least have some idea of what I am doing on an OSX equipped machine?
  7. strider42 macrumors 65816


    Feb 1, 2002
    OS X is an utterly different OS. There are similarities of course: the global tool bar for instance. But OS X does a number of things very differently. That said, the learning curve for someone familiar with the older mac OS is not terrible for going to OS X for everyday tasks. In fact, in many ways OS X is a lot easier for everyday tasks. But if you really want to play with the guts of OS X, its unix basis makes it very different. its all a matter of what you want to get out of it, what you want to do with the older mac and OS.

    I would recommend at least a G3 class processor. They existed before the iMacs, so you could get one, or upgrade an older one than that to a G3 or G4 (though there is more to speed than the processor, so even an upgrade is going to get choked back a bit in terms of speed). If you just want to play and want something simple, you could probably get a tray loading iMac (333 mhz or lower) super cheap nowadays. Look around on ebay and what not and see whats out there.
  8. scem0 macrumors 604


    Jul 16, 2002
    back in NYC!
    I would just get on eBay, and see the best mac you can find for
    the price you were looking for. But before I bought it, I would get
    on dealmac and make sure there isn't
    the same thing for a cheaper price. Dealmac is a great site.

    Hope that helped :D.
  9. markjs thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 3, 2002
    Well I am a linux user so hopefully that will also give me a bit of an edge with OSX.
  10. Nipsy macrumors 65816


    Jan 19, 2002
    Do not under any circumstances buy anything that does not run X. Learning OS9 now is about as valuable as learning Be or OS/2.

    For your budget, you can get a Blue & White G3 (buy a Rev 2 [Rev 1s have some hardware glitches]), or a decent iMac CRT.

    If you wanna tinker, get the Tower. If your just concerned with learning software, you can get more iMac CRT with less $$$.

    Do not worry about Quartz Extreme if you are going to be doing only light graphics. It's nice, but not huge. In a terminal session you'll not miss it...

    I also beleive all recent Macs have VGA ports, but I may be wrong.
  11. Les Kern macrumors 68040

    Les Kern

    Apr 26, 2002
    iMac and Jag

    I have a smattering of most every iMac since the 233, and Jag runs best on 400Mhz and up. I particularly like the Graphite DV edition. Right now on eBay they run 300-400 bucks. Anything over 400 will do, but be sure it has a LOT of ram, otherwise your first Mac experience will not be as pleasant as it could be. Good luck.
  12. sickboy_osX macrumors regular

    Aug 27, 2002
    Pocatello, Idaho
    I have a G3 400 Pismo running Mac OS X, 10.2 and OS 9 and Yellow Dog Linux, and I love it, I need to sell it.

    And the cool thing is, if you know the unix/linux CLI commands, you know the Apple CLI. I think the smartest thing apple has done is base OS X on the Free BSD project, doing what many people have been trying to do for many years...put a pretty face on an ugly OS.

    These are just my opinions.

  13. DakotaGuy macrumors 68040


    Jan 14, 2002
    South Dakota, USA
    Anything G3 400MHz+ would work well for you. I am sure there are some great buys on older iMacs and B&W G3 towers out there.
  14. dricci macrumors 6502a

    Dec 15, 2001
    I have an iMac 266 (Lime) that I'm setting up for a family member. I've got it running OS X 10.2 Jaguar now, and while it's no speed demon, it's not too slow... as long as you don't ask too much of it... 3D graphic acceleration is out... but apps are usable, web browsing, e-mail, even iTunes and QuickTime/RealPlayer are fine... I think it has several years of life in it.

    Since you just want to tinker, I'd say an old revision iMac (at least 266MHz) will run X fine for your needs. Avoid any machine that won't run OS X, as OS 9 is dead..there's really no need to learn it.
  15. scem0 macrumors 604


    Jul 16, 2002
    back in NYC!
    Re: iMac and Jag

    And if it doesn't have a lot of RAM shop for some at 18004MEMORY ,
    which has the best RAM prices out there.

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