Planning on making the switch, but still have some questions

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by jwakley78, Sep 21, 2003.

  1. jwakley78 macrumors newbie

    Sep 21, 2003
    I'm finally ready to make the switch to the Mac. However, before I do so I still have a few questions....

    First, I plan on using the computer for school work (word processing, spreadsheets, internet/email, etc.), as well as for java programming and familiarizing myself with a Unix environment.

    However, price is an issue. Basically, I'm looking for advice on what type of specs I'm going to need on the computer in order to run OS X at a decent speed? I've been doing some searches on eBay and have found quite a few of the older emacs (333 - 600 mhz) for about the right price I'm looking at to get started.

    Would a 333 mhz machine run OS X fairly well? If so how much RAM would you suggest having in it?

    Also, please keep in mind that while I'm trying to get the best bang for the buck, I don't want to buy something that isn't going to be any good to me in the near future. If I need something faster, please let me know what you think.

    Thanks for your help!
  2. Freg3000 macrumors 68000


    Sep 22, 2002
    New York
    First off there are no eMac with a clock speed lower than 700 MHz. So I assume you are talking about the iMac (It looks quite similar). The older iMac has a, I'd just say no to that.

    Secondly, if you really want to get a nice switching experience, a pretty old G3 iMac won't impress you. I would recommend waiting until you have some more money, or going straight for the eMac. It has a G4, and is an incredibly good value (lowest priced eMac is $800, educational prices will be lower).

    Good Luck.

    P.S. Rams always does help. I'd recommend 512 MB the minimum of OS X. Apple says 128 MB but that is a travesty. A G4 and 512 MB is perfect for what you want it to do.
  3. QCassidy352 macrumors G4


    Mar 20, 2003
    Bay Area
    I agree. Don't make your first mac an old imac, or you'll probably be disappointed with how it performs and be soured on macs altogether.

    That said, I did run OS X on a 600 mhz ibook with 8 VRAM for quite a while, and although it wasn't great, it was acceptable.

    Still, I suggest getting something a bit more expensive because the power difference will be huge. The emac is a fantastic value and a great choice right now.
  4. ebow macrumors 6502a


    Apr 30, 2001
    Trapped in a world before later on
    Well, a 333MHz iMac will technically run OS X, and some may claim fairly well, but you likely won't be very impressed. I'm running OS X on a 500MHz iMac (which has a faster bus and video card, as well as CPU) with 256 MB of RAM and it suits my needs fairly well. I do word processing, browsing, etc. and tinker with the unixy stuff underneath it all. I don't do any programming, but I get the feeling I might find it a bit sluggish. It was snappier when I had 640 MB of RAM (before one stick suddenly "went bad").

    I haven't looked over the used Mac market recently, but if you're committed to not spending much, I'd say you should get at least a 600 or 700MHz model. They have 16MB of video RAM, so they *might* be able to take advantage of some graphics optimizations in OS X 10.2 (someone correct me if I'm wrong).

    At the very least get an iMac with a multiple of 100 speed: 400MHz, 500, etc. One with FireWire ports (in case you want to buy a sweet sweet iPod sometime in the future). Load it with as much RAM as you can afford/fit: preferrably 384MB, though 640 is quite nice.

    A final thought... a new version of OS X, 10.3 "Panther," will be released sometime later in 2003, and so far people have reported significant speed boosts on even 500MHz iMacs. So regardless of what you buy, run out and buy Panther when it's out (if you're a student it'll only be about $70 thru the Apple Store for Education, otherwise it's $129).

    Edit: Okay, others who have had more experience with OS X on newer G4s have weighed in with reasonable advice. The early-model eMacs may be selling for similar prices to the better G3 iMacs. I'm still pretty happy with my own iMac most of the time, but I'm also eagerly awaiting buying a G5 PowerMac next spring... :D
  5. jwakley78 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 21, 2003
    Hey thanks for your help (yes, I did mean iMac, but had recently looked at the eMacs before submitting my post). I think I'll try to hold out for one of the new eMacs.

    Thanks Again!!

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