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Apple Desktops Discussion of Apple's desktop machines including Mac Pro, iMac, Power Mac, and mini

noobie: advice & guidance required for 2nd-hand MAC purchase


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iffy9
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My son will shortly be starting a graphics course at college, where all the pcs are Macs. A friend has a Mac that he has never got on with to sell. However, I do not know what model it is, whether it is powerful enough, etc. etc.

The only spec I have so far is:
Mac OS 9.2 (Mac OS ROM = 9.0.1)
256MB RAM
PowerPC Processor 800Mhz
32GB harddrive (at least – that may have been what space was left)
Machine ID = 406 ???
It has :
A CD-RW drive
56k Modem
At least 1 network card
USB + Firewire

There is also a large flat screen, size unknown.

How would I find out what model it actually is?

Is there a direct comparison between PowerPC speed and Intel CPU speed? Does 800Mhz PPC = 800Mhz Intel?

Also are the memory requirements of a Mac similar to a windows m/c? As 256MB doesn't sound a lot nowadays.

Any advice and guidance gratefully received.

thanks

Ian
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Avalon

 
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Location: Luxemburg, Europe
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Mac Specs: PowerMac G5 Dual 2GHz (June 2004), 2.5GB, Airport, black 5G iPod 30GB, white MacBook 2.0 2GB

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If it is a tower, it could be a Quicksilver 2002 model:
http://www.lowendmac.com/ppc/gigag4.html

You didn't mention if the flatscreen was integrated in the computer, in that case it would be an iMac G4:
http://www.lowendmac.com/imacs/imac17.html

This is still quite a decent Mac, you could easily run Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger (the actual Mac OS) on it, as long as you consider upgrading memory (at least 512MB).

The performance of OS X, especially on older Macs, is considerably depending on memory. The more you have, the smoother your system will run.
Mac OS 9 is outdated, and not even supported by Apple anymore, so if you really want to use that Mac, I would recommend OS X.

There's no direct comparison between a PowerPC and an Intel, and because of a totally different CPU architecture, a PowerPC running at 800MHz, is technically faster than an Intel at the same speed.
You can find many many post on this forum about that.
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lil
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Sounds like the Quicksilver 2002 given it has Mac OS ROM 9.0.1, 40GB hard drive (the 32GB you saw is probably the left over space), it came in 800MHz version, 256MB was the base memory, Mac OS 9.2 was the standard OS and like many Macs of that era, it shares the Machine ID of 406. Oh and CDRW was the base option. So all things considered, that has to be a Quicksilver 2002.

*takes of sleuthing hat* :flower:

Avalon's advice is excellent, so I don't have much to add. But if it is a Quicksilver my main upgrades for the Mac would be (in order of priority):

1.) Memory. Get it to at least 512MB, or better still up to 1GB. If your son is studying graphics related stuff, the more memory the better.

2.) Mac OS X Tiger 10.4. Mac OS 9 is old. Period. To run the mnost recent software released in the past 3-4 years, Mac OS X is where it is at.

3.) Hard Disk. Consider sourcing a 7200RPM 3.5" hard drive, 120GB or there abouts should do the trick nicely, and to store all the graphics, you need a large fast hard drive.

As for PPC Vs. Intel, at 800MHz—we're more than likely talking about the PowerPC 7455 (G4) processor which is a great processor. Ok, we won't be charting a space shuttle launch in realtime with this thing, but for graphics work—it's going to be pretty decent, and run at low end Pentium 4 speed, or so as the PowerPC G4 is optimised for the kind of graphics/video work Macs are used in, and thus is somewhat more efficient than a P4 per clock cycle.

Of course without the extra RAM and faster hard drive, you will be choking it and it may feel sluggish without it. You can upgrade to a faster processor but it has to be economically justifiable.

Question is—how much is the asking price with the LCD?

Vicky
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