Semi-decent mac for 500 dollars?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Alacres, Jun 7, 2008.

  1. Alacres macrumors member

    Jun 7, 2008
    Hey everyone, I'm new to the forums, and new to mac also.

    I know my price range is a bit ridiculous, but I'm not looking for anything overly fancy. I do, however, want something that can run an older game somewhat decent. Some of you might have heard of an MMO called Everquest. Well, the mac server has completely different rules (which I really prefer) than the pc servers, and since you can't play on the Mac server from a PC - here I am :).

    Since it's an older game, I'm hoping to find a gaming-specced mac that's around 2003-ish.

    I wanted to make sure I got the most bang for my buck, so I figured this was the best place to ask. If any of you have some suggestions on a decent mac in my price range, I'd really appreciate it. :)

    Thanks in advance.
  2. aross99 macrumors 68000


    Dec 17, 2006
    East Lansing, MI
    The only Intel Mac's in that price range would be the Mac Mini. If you are coming from a PC world, you can use your old PC monitor, and keyboard (although Apple keyboards are nice).

    The problem with all of the low end mac's though is the lack if a dedicated graphic's card. All have intel onboard graphics, which can be an real issue with games.

    I am not familiar with the game you are talking about, so you would want to find out what the minimum system requirements are. If the Mac Mini is listed, this is the cheapest way you can go. I found one MR posting that said you could play Everquest on Intel Mac Mini's - but that isn't much of a confirmation.

    Intel Mac Mini's retail for $599-$799 new with 1G ram. Refurbs can be had for about $499-$599, and used ones are available on eBay.

    Refurb iMac's or MacBooks are going to be more like $849...

    Don't underestimate the Mac Mini. it certainly has some limitations, in expansion and hard drive size/performance, but for a basic machine, you can't beat the price if you have a monitor...

    Just make sure you are looking at an Intel Mini, and not a PPC...
  3. MattZani macrumors 68030


    Apr 20, 2008
    I would be looking at the G5 Era, a PowerMac G5 should do the job.
  4. Alacres thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 7, 2008
    Thanks for the quick replys :).

    Hmm, the mac mini sounds intriguing, but I know what you mean about onboard graphics. I've had my fair share of those problems when my friend got an older model Dell. I'll definitely have to look into it though.

    Powermac G5 huh? I think I read something on the EQmac (Everquest Mac) forums where someone mentioned that a G4 was able to play the game, albeit with the graphics settings at the lowest. If that's the case, the G5 should be great. Do you think I'd actually be able to find one for 500?

    Also, I had a question about PC and mac hardware. You said I'd be able to use my PC monitor and keyboard (which I am so relieved to hear lol), but is that about as far as it goes? I mean, would I be able to use, say, my Geforce graphics card from my old PC in the mac, or can you only use specific "mac-only" hardware? I honestly don't know enough about macs to know how it all works hehe.
  5. aaronw1986 macrumors 68030

    Oct 31, 2006
    A G5 for under $500, no.
  6. flopticalcube macrumors G4


    Sep 7, 2006
    In the velcro closure of America's Hat
    Occasionally some of the early G5 PowerMacs come on eBay for around $500. You might even be able to pick up a pre-iSight G5 iMac for that on a good day.
  7. tdhurst macrumors 601


    Dec 27, 2003
    Phoenix, AZ

    I've played everquest on a 15", 1.33 powerbook, a 1.8ghz, 17" iMac G5 and my current 12", 1.5ghz powerbook and haven't noticed a TON of difference.

    Everquest isn't all that demanding of a game, but an iMac G5 would be suitable. Or an early coreduo iMac, if everquest is universal.
  8. Alacres thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 7, 2008
    Excuse my cluelessness, but could you guys fill me in on the main difference between all of these difference macs?

    Imac, emac, and powermac are all the desktops macs, right? What's the main different between them and which do you think would be the best bargain?

    The world of macintosh still eludes me :p
  9. tcmacintosh macrumors regular

    Feb 5, 2008
  10. SkyBell macrumors 604


    Sep 7, 2006
    Texas, unfortunately.
    Yep, that's what I recommend. I bought mine for $485 on eBay and use it as my main machine. Pop in a GB of RAM or so (Which I really need to do...) and you've got one speedy machine. :)

    Be warned of 4200 RPm hard drive, it's noticeably slow when doing large file transfers.

    Not sure if this is any help, but it plays Halo on medium settings with minimal lag (it would do better on low, for sure).

    EDIT: Forgot to post my specs for a comparison. :p
    12" TFT Display.
    512 MB of RAM (1 GB or 1.25 GB would be much better if you can afford it)
    4200 RPM 40 GB Hard drive.
    I'm running Tiger, but it can do Leopard easily. (I ran it, but I didn't like the way it looked)
  11. marioman38 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 8, 2006
    Elk Grove, CA
    I will go ahead and vouch for the iBook 1.33ghz G4.... it was my last mac, a 14", for its age, It was quite reliable, and played halo as said above, as well as UT2k4 - Medium, and even WOW all on medium settings... *misses the old PPC* :rolleyes:
  12. Alacres thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 7, 2008
    Thanks for all the info everyone.

    The ibook sounds tempting, but I really wanted to stick with a desktop so I'd be able to use my 19" monitor - I'm spoiled by it :). Plus, I was hoping to get something that I could upgrade later on when I have more money to spend.

    At this point, I'm leaning towards a powermac G4 or maybe a newer model emac. The two questions still on my mind though - which of those is more suited for gaming, and which would be a better bargain in the end.
  13. zap2 macrumors 604


    Mar 8, 2005
    Washington D.C
    Are iMac G5 still over 500?

    I'd bet you could find one for around that if you find a good deal.
  14. QCassidy352 macrumors G4


    Mar 20, 2003
    Bay Area
    I got a single 1.8 rev. A with 2 GB RAM for $400 on craigslist. Such deals do exist. A dual for that price? I don't know.

    I don't think an ibook is a great idea. I had an ibook G4 1.33 and although I really liked it, suggesting it for gaming isn't that smart, IMO.
  15. acearchie macrumors 68040


    Jan 15, 2006
    Have a look for a powerbook G4, top spec in their hay day! I write on one right now that's doing fantastic for an almost 4 year old laptop although the battery could last a bit longer!

    It would benefit over the iBook by having a larger and faster hard drive! It also has its own dedicated graphics card and can play most games that current macbooks can play! The portability of it is great and although it would take some searching you could probably find one between $500 - 550 in good condition! Scour eBay and find out what sort of prices they are going for, then check craigslists and other shops!

    Good luck with your buy!
  16. ButtUglyJeff macrumors 6502a


    Mar 9, 2008
    New York. The state, not the toilet.
    If you could swing a G5 PowerMac, then when you upgrade, this machine would make a great server/NAS...............

    PowerMacs are the most upgradable machines, in discussion here. In theory, it should outlast any other Mac mentioned. But its going to be hard to find a $500 flavor.
  17. ktbubster macrumors 6502a


    Jan 20, 2007

    a mac mini (even with integrated graphics) should hold you fine for everquest, It's not overly demanding, and they kick the g4's butts.

    I'd atleast give that a good look, or find someone with one and test it out.

    You can find a low end core2duo for just about 500 .. and a coreduo for under.
  18. ButtUglyJeff macrumors 6502a


    Mar 9, 2008
    New York. The state, not the toilet.
  19. imaketouchtheme macrumors 65816

    Dec 5, 2007
    Why would the bidding ever go past the Buy it Now price? Most of those have Buy it Now prices of about $600.
  20. ButtUglyJeff macrumors 6502a


    Mar 9, 2008
    New York. The state, not the toilet.
    There's a couple hundred machines listed right now, of them these have the lowest "Buy it Now", but many others have current bids below that. Those are the one's I think will end up higher.
  21. gazfocus macrumors 68000


    Jan 3, 2008
    Liverpool, UK
    To be honest, if you're looking at Macs, they're not very upgradeable anyway...apart from hard drives and ram, etc.

    I'm a bit confused by your statement above saying you're tempted by the ibook but what to stick with a desktop so you can use your 19" monitor, but then say you're considering an emac (which is all built inside a CRT monitor???)

    I would definately go for either a Mac Mini or a Powermac if you're looking to use an external display (although, you can use external displays with the ibook too). But don't go by the deception that macs are upgradeable because they're generally not...especially with PC components as you mentioned earlier in the thread. The main upgrades will be in the form of Hard Drives and Ram I'm afraid.
  22. SkyBell macrumors 604


    Sep 7, 2006
    Texas, unfortunately.
    To me, it sounds like you're looking for a PowerMac G4. I believe the Quicksilver models are your best option, coming in at 1, 1.25 and 1.42 GHz. They're probably the most expandable Mac in your price range, but they do go for $5-600 easily.

    By the way, you don't have to use an iBook or PowerBook as a laptop. You can use an external monitor with either one of them (I do routinely) and a real keyboard and mouse.

    Just trying to help out. :)
  23. teflon macrumors 6502a


    May 28, 2007
    I think a mac mini is your best option. It'll kick any PPC machine's butt found in this price range. You can get a C2D 1.83/1gb/80gb refurb for $499, inspected by Apple and a one year warranty included. Most PPC won't have their warranty now, and the C2D is a lot faster than the single core PPCs.
    The integrated graphics are not as horrific as some may believe. It should be able to handle your game just fine.
  24. Eric Lewis macrumors 68020

    Eric Lewis

    Feb 4, 2007
    CANADA? eh?
    get a 1200 dollar imac..its worth point buying a cheap 500 dollar one...there is no will be slow

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