Newbie buying help

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by duckyfred, May 29, 2006.

  1. duckyfred macrumors newbie

    May 29, 2006

    I am new to the Apple Mac world.
    I am looking to join in all the fun.
    I need some advice about buying my first mac.

    While being strapped in the funds dept I have two choices that I am considering.
    I really like the design and look of the cube and would love to find one in my price range.
    Would this be a serious contender to last several more years?

    However, I also have a friend willing to part with the following for $375.00:

    533-MHz PowerPC G4
    graphics card updated to Radeon Pro 9000 Mac Edition
    DVD/CD has been upgraded to a NEC 8x DVD Burner model
    internal 250MB Iomega Zip drive
    original system disks are included both for OS X and OS 9.

    1GB RAM
    40GB (7200 rpm) with an additional 120GB
    Apple 15" LCD Cinema Display
    Harman/Kardon iSub system
    Apple Pro Speakers
    D-Link Bluetooth USB device
    Logictech wireless infared mouse
    Apple Pro Keyboard
    iMic USB device
    original Apple System disks

    Could someone let me know if this is a good deal?
    Should I hold out for a cube in that price range?

    Or should I scrap both of those choices and look into a mini?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated and definately needed.
  2. spinne1 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 12, 2005
    Hermitage, TN USA (near Nashville)
    Because the G4/533 is so complete and comes with so much stuff is and is user ready, I say that is the much better deal than buying a Cube. A Cube will cost close to the same, but with likely less memory, less hard drive space, less video card capability, less processor speed, less expandability, no external speakers, no USB Bluetooth, no Apple 15" Cinema Display, no original system discs. Dude, you should RUN to your friends house and get that setup. You will spend ALOT more to get a marginally better computer going a different route.

    Because I have the same computer, I can tell you it is plenty zippy on almost every task.
  3. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

    Dec 21, 2002
    Yahooville S.C.
    Sounds like a pretty good deal but also you can get refurbished Mini's for about $500 from apple with a warranty.
  4. Acehigh macrumors 6502

    Mar 5, 2006
    Cube seems to hold some value since it is collectible also. Seen a few upgrades for the Cube, so that is always possible.

    Check ebay, for currect prices. But atleast you know your friends isnt abused.

    But what do you plan on doing with the system. It depends what you want to do. If you get either machine do not try to install tiger on it. If you stick with 10.2 and older versions of graphic programs you should be alright.

    If you can save and already have a monitor i will go with a Mini that will last for a few years.
  5. duckyfred thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 29, 2006

    Thanks for the replies.
    I am basically looking for something I can get my feet wet in the Apple world without costing too much and without throwing my money away on something that will be totally obsolete.
    I understand these are older machines that I am looking at but I believe they still have some useful life left.

    Unfortunately, I have been a PCer for a while.
    Really not sure of any of the values etc.

    So would it be fair to say that after purchasing the G4 my friend has I should look towards the mini instead of the cube?

    Is the mini upgradable?
    Is the cube?

    Thanks again for indulging an Apple want-to-be (soon-to-be).
  6. yellow Moderator emeritus


    Oct 21, 2003
    Portland, OR
    Nope. At least not offered yet, if at all.
    Yes, but to a very limited extent.

    Ultimately, both the cube and the PM you're looking at are (nearly) obsolete right out of the door.

    You might want to hold off for a little while and look for Intel Minis in Apple's refurb or off eBay/Craig's List and the like.

    But that's just me, I hate spending less to shackle myself to old tech. Which may be a failing of mine..
  7. 9Charms macrumors regular


    May 19, 2006
    Vancouver, BC
    That G4/533 setup is pretty good, decent price as well. It's enough to get your feet wet, but really, you won't get a real accurate idea of what a Mac is really all about since you'd be basing your opinion on a machine that's 5 years old. Since 2001, Macs have come a long way, baby.

    But I guess it's all about your budget and what you'd be doing with it. Everyone is strapped for funds to some degree, but what do you need or want to do with it? If you want to replace your PC but are hesitant about the Mac OS, then get a Mac Mini with Intel (and a KVM) because you can boot back and forth and hopefully not lose any productivity. If all else fails, you can still run Windows natively on it.

    If you have a decent PC and just want a second computer to mess around with in your spare time, then the G4/533 setup would be fine since I assume you'd just be doing light computer work and web stuff on a second computer.

    Personally, I'd stay away from the Cube. Great looks, but not expandable, so you might regret it later. Especially if you end up liking the G4 and then get a new one and then relegate the old one to file/music/photo server status.
  8. spinne1 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 12, 2005
    Hermitage, TN USA (near Nashville)
    You can install Tiger just fine on a G4/533 and probably a Cube as well. There are no issues. It will run plenty speedy. As for graphic programs, I run Photoshop CS2, which last time I checked is the most up to date Photoshop you can get.

    Sure, you won't want to render 3D animated movies on this thing, but for basic tasks, it shines. For web browsing, Microsoft Office, iTunes, GarageBand, and other basic tasks it is fine. It will bog down a bit on iMovie projects and other heavy number crunching.

    It is all in what you expect. Just know that if you do buy either computer (the Cube or the PowerMac), the value will continue to plummet such that within a few years they will go for less than $100.

    If you want to get more life out of your purchase, by all means get a Mini. However, I don't like the complete lack of expandability with a Mini. The video card is a key example. Without the chance to improve dramatically, you are limited in what you can do with the computer.
  9. Heb1228 macrumors 68020


    Feb 3, 2004
    Virginia Beach, VA
    I doubt the value of a working Cube will ever fall that low. But resale value here is not the point.

    If you have a decent monitor you can use, then buy a refurb or used mini. If you need a monitor, you're probably not going to find a better deal than what your friend is offering. But, I think you'll get frustrated with the speed of the older PowerMac, thats why I'd say go with a mini if you have an available monitor.
  10. spinne1 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 12, 2005
    Hermitage, TN USA (near Nashville)
    No, it is not a good reason to test the Mac waters. However, just for kicks I checked ebay's completed items to get a feel for the Cube's value at this point. Some prices of winning bids:


    I agree that its price is somewhat inflated due to collector's status. As the new Intel Mac Pros take over I think the value will drop. But I don't really know.
  11. Nate4747 macrumors regular

    May 7, 2006
    375 is a steal for that setup. It would be a great starter system, although you would quickly find yourself wanting more.

    It's good that the old G4 towers are so upgradeable, you can pick up a dual 1.6GHz G4 processor upgrade for as low as 400 dollars right now, so I think that setup would be great and would last for a few years at least.

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