I'm curious about useing macs

Ecodisk

macrumors member
Original poster
Mar 8, 2005
64
0
Portland, OR
I have been wanting to try out a Mac for awhile now. I've been finding really cheap iMacs with 333mhz and around 96mb of ram for about $50. I just want a cheap one for playing around on right now and testing it out . Can a Mac with those stats run itunes and surf the web decently? Since those are the main things I would be doing.
 

Ecodisk

macrumors member
Original poster
Mar 8, 2005
64
0
Portland, OR
Another question I had was about upgradeing the hard drive. Most of these deals I'm finding only have 6gb hard drives. Macs take there own hard drives right? Where can I get them?
 

Palomino

macrumors member
Mar 6, 2005
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0
Adelaide, South Australia
It'll do it, however you have to remember that more recient operating systems require more system resources, as such maxing out the RAM in that system would be a worth while upgrade. A new HDD would also help. Funny how 6 GB then was huge but now seems so small.

Jordan
 

Lacero

macrumors 604
Jan 20, 2005
6,639
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I was editing broadcast quality videos running a 400mhz mac with 128MB RAM so it is entirely possible to run itunes and surf the web on a 333Mhz machine.

The only problem is if you want to run iTunes, you'll need OSX and that'll require a machine with at least 256MB of RAM.
 

Hemingray

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Jan 9, 2002
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Ecodisk said:
I have been wanting to try out a Mac for awhile now. I've been finding really cheap iMacs with 333mhz and around 96mb of ram for about $50. I just want a cheap one for playing around on right now and testing it out . Can a Mac with those stats run itunes and surf the web decently? Since those are the main things I would be doing.
Hi Ecodisk, welcome! The old gumdrop G3 iMacs will run OS X, but very very slowly. They won't do the system justice. Plus you should run OS X with a bare minimum of 128MB of RAM. 96 really won't cut it. If you can, pick it up for $50 but put at least 256MB of RAM in it. It will make a difference, but it will still be pretty dog slow.

Those machines were really made to run OS 8.X/OS 9.
 

yippy

macrumors 68020
Mar 14, 2004
2,087
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Chicago, IL
Macs can use any hard drive a PC can. They don't take special hard drives.

However, older ones like that won't recognize more than 128Gb of a drive. Also of note is that the iMacs are not the easiest of computers to open and replace a drive, but it can be done.
 

TEG

macrumors 604
Jan 21, 2002
6,570
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Langley, Washington
Ecodisk said:
Another question I had was about upgradeing the hard drive. Most of these deals I'm finding only have 6gb hard drives. Macs take there own hard drives right? Where can I get them?
All Macs made since 1996 (or so) use standard IDE/ATA Hard Drives (PM G5s use SATA). An I Mac should be able to take any ATA/33 or 66 drive. I'd suggest looking into an older G4 Tower, or getting a mini. Small investment, but able to run modern software (quite well).

TEG
 

mcgarry

macrumors 6502a
Oct 19, 2004
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0
Ecodisk said:
Is OS 9 any good? What music program does it have? which is more important processor speed or RAM?
There are older versions of iTunes for OS 9, and there are other music programs available, but as others such as Applespider have said, it really is a different world from OS X. Using OS 9 today is not going to give you a good idea of what using a Mac is like, at least anytime recently.

As for your other question, with OS X both the CPU and the RAM will be holding you back on the machine in question, but probably the RAM moreso. It will be easier, cheaper, and more effective to upgrade the RAM.

I also agree with Lacero and Hemingray that for OS X you want at least 256MB RAM ... but even then, it will still run slowly on this computer.
 

Ecodisk

macrumors member
Original poster
Mar 8, 2005
64
0
Portland, OR
Okay I guess I have to go with a Mac mini. Can you guys give me all the upsides to the Mac OS X over Windows XP? I'm going to have to ditch my Computer to get $500 :( . The main reason I'm interested in a mac is because they supposedly do not have near as many problems as windows. Is this true? If they do have problems what are they?
 

jsw

Moderator emeritus
Mar 16, 2004
22,819
41
Andover, MA
Ecodisk said:
Okay I guess I have to go with a Mac mini. Can you guys give me all the upsides to the Mac OS X over Windows XP? I'm going to have to ditch my Computer to get $500 :( . The main reason I'm interested in a mac is because they supposedly do not have near as many problems as windows. Is this true? If they do have problems what are they?
Currently, there are no Mac viruses or spyware - none. This might change, but it won't be anything like the PC world. Also, pretty much anyone who switches doesn't switch back, so that's strong evidence that it's a compelling OS. Generally, people find it easier to work with the OS, harder to screw things up, and more fun just to use. The gaming scene is nothing compared to that in the PC world in terms of variety and, often, speed, but otherwise OS X is a superior alternative. A lot of people on this site use Windows variants all day long at work and return home to their Macs - something we wouldn't do if Windows worked as well. See here for some summary info - including a look at Tiger, which will be out before July of this year. As a Tiger beta user, I can tell you it's phenomenal - and Panther (the current OS X version) is pretty sweet on its own.

One thing: you'll need a few days to get accustomed to some of the minor differences in use, but, once used to it, you'll love it.
 

jsw

Moderator emeritus
Mar 16, 2004
22,819
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Andover, MA
One thing: you can get one of the old cheap macs to try out OS X, but it'll be so slow - esp. with low RAM - that it'd be like seeing if you like motorcycle riding when you can only try them out in a swamp. It'd give you an idea of how things will work, but not the full flavor. I have a 400MHz G3 PowerBook with 320 MB RAM, and it works OK. I wouldn't recommend trying OS X on less than 400 MHZ (maybe 333MHZ) or less than 256MB RAM. It'll run on 128MB, but it won't run well. You'll also see a world of difference between 256MB and 512 MB of RAM - a $75 delta when ordering the mini. But a mini with 256MB works fairly well.
 

Hemingray

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Jan 9, 2002
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Ecodisk said:
Okay I guess I have to go with a Mac mini.
Well, there is some middle ground between a G3 iMac and a Mac mini! You could probably get an upgraded B&W PowerMac G3 or an early PowerMac G4 for somewhere in the middle between a $50 iMac and a $500 Mac mini. Check out eBay.
 

Mechcozmo

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Jul 17, 2004
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Hemingray said:
Plus you should run OS X with a bare minimum of 128MB of RAM.
You mean to say, the bare minimum of RAM to run OS X with is 128 MB. 96 won't do it.


512 MB is the sweet spot right now, or 768 MB if you get a machine that comes with some RAM already. Minis only have 1 slot so 512 MB it is.
 

Hemingray

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Jan 9, 2002
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Mechcozmo said:
You mean to say, the bare minimum of RAM to run OS X with is 128 MB. 96 won't do it.
Actually, the installer let me go ahead and install OS X on a rev.A iMac with 96MB of RAM, but the installation went so slowly that I finally cancelled it and just waited for the 256MB chip to arrive in the mail. So technically it is possible, but no one would ever want to put themselves through that hell!
 

mcgarry

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Oct 19, 2004
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Hemingray said:
Sure: http://www.smalldog.com/

But I would definitely give eBay a look to get an idea what B&W PowerMac G3s and early PowerMac G4's are getting nowadays.
Those are good suggestions. Someone recently posted about an upgraded B&W they got for $100 that sounded pretty good for the price.

More generally, a G3 system with enough RAM will run OS X acceptably, especially for all the little stuff, but once you ask it to do something CPU-intensive, it really shows its age. Ripping from a CD can be dramatically faster with a G4, while rendering a transition in iMovie is like night and day, G3-to-G4. I have also noticed a difference with the newer G3s with 100MHz FSBs, instead of the older 66MHz ones, being noticeably faster. If you have to get a G3, pay at leat as much attention to the other aspects of the CPU (FSB, cache) than just MHz. Of course, these are limited experiential observations and your mileage may vary.
 

Mechcozmo

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Jul 17, 2004
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Southbridge said:
yeah... and also OS X crashes a lot...
You seem to suck at sarcasm, if I do say so myself. My iMac is currently looking at 24 days of uptime or something close to that, 24/7 with no breaks. PowerBook was about 4 days and 13 hours but then I installed the hacked scrolling drivers and had to restart.

My PC can't stay running for more than an hour before it crashes. I'm looking for my XP install CDs.
 

Mechcozmo

macrumors 603
Jul 17, 2004
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Hemingray said:
Actually, the installer let me go ahead and install OS X on a rev.A iMac with 96MB of RAM, but the installation went so slowly that I finally cancelled it and just waited for the 256MB chip to arrive in the mail. So technically it is possible, but no one would ever want to put themselves through that hell!
Interesting! The minimum requirements DO say 128 MB of RAM... but I guess if you want to torture yourself, 96 MB is OK.

I have a Mac running OS 8.6 that has 96 MB of RAM. :D Damn, that was huge back in the day.
 

flyfish29

macrumors 68020
Feb 4, 2003
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New HAMpshire
Southbridge said:
yeah... and also OS X crashes a lot...
Assume this is sarcasm? IF not, you tweak the Mac too much.

I am running an iMac with OSX (flatscreen) and have not had a crash in 9 months and that was my first crash in the life of the iMac which is a year and a half old! Last year around July I had some software programs that froze up and had to force quite but none of those required a hard restart. Only clicking the icon for the software program to restart it.

There is very little maintenence to a mac.

The software just works together seamlessly and you get lots of great software programs for free.

As far as OS9- don't do it. Like using 95 isntead of XP if you ask me.
iTunes sucked for OS9 and I don't think you can download music on OS9 iTunes. I would go for a mini or something in between either refurb or used. The HD in that old iMac would not have much space left over for music, etc. after installing OSX.


Your other option is to find someone that has amac, try it out for a while doing many things you would normally do, explore some of the things you don't think you would do but might get into if it was easy like video editing, digital photography, etc. and then jump right in and switch into a really nice mac.

Another option is to sell your entire system including monitor and get an emac or used iMac including monitor for less than $500.
 

Mechcozmo

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Jul 17, 2004
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flyfish29 said:
As far as OS9- don't do it. Like using 95 isntead of XP if you ask me.
iTunes sucked for OS9 and I don't think you can download music on OS9 iTunes. I would go for a mini or something in between either refurb or used. The HD in that old iMac would not have much space left over for music, etc. after installing OSX.
You can't download music from the iTMS in OS 9, and that hard disk would have 2 GB of free space (maybe less) which hits a point where OS X goes wacky. (Anything less than 3 GB is bad news, less than 8 GB isn't recommended)