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Thread: How long until the Mac you buy becomes obsolete?

  1. #1

    Member Since
    Dec 01, 2013
    How long until the Mac you buy becomes obsolete?

    Random question but from historical figures, how long till the Mac desktops and laptops that you purchase become obsolete? That is, the hardware no longer supports the software used to browse the internet.

    That being said, does anyone own the 1st Generation itouch? Can you still surf most websites?

    The reason why that tickled my curiosity is because both my Samsung smart tv's today was unable to watch a movie website. My computers can.
    Last edited by simonvee; 04-19-2014 at 09:23 AM.

  2. #2

    bobtomay's Avatar
    Member Since
    Dec 22, 2006
    Texas, where else?
    For historical figures, need to google and won't have much to do with the current hardware supporting browsers since there was a change in architecture from PPC to Intel.

    Currently the oldest Intel Macs introduced in '06 - if they are upgraded to OS X 10.6 will support the top 4 browsers (Safari, Firefox, Opera and Chrome), Flash, etc. that the current Macs support - so, that's up to 8 years and still counting.

    That should go on for awhile until all support of 32 bit ceases.
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  3. #3

    Member Since
    Dec 01, 2013
    What about the older Macs? Prior to 2006? I wouldn't be able to name it, I've only been a convert this late last year

  4. #4

    osxx's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 19, 2008
    houston texas
    When it ceases to perform the tasks you want or unable to download the apps you want.

  5. #5

    toMACsh's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jul 30, 2009
    Quote Originally Posted by osxx View Post
    When it ceases to perform the tasks you want or unable to download the apps you want.
    This. Therefore, it depends on the needs of each individual.

  6. #6

    Raz0rEdge's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jul 17, 2009
    This question is VERY subjective. I know people who have PCs (regardless of whether it runs OS X or Windows or what have you) from the mid 90's that continue to chug along and in the same way I know people who upgrade their machines nearly every or every other year regardless of whether it's obsolete or not.

    I, personally, subscribe to osxx's mantra of using something until it's usefulness depreciates or it becomes a hindrance. One way to ensure that you get a decent life out of electronics is to buy the MOST you can afford when you purchase it. That's going to ensure that you're not looking to upgrade a year or 2 into the computer's life.

    My 2009 iMac is happily chugging along and has no problem keeping up with everything I want to do on it. Is the newer iMac faster? Yes. Based purely on Geekbench or other benchmark scores, the newer iMacs are definitely faster. My iMac pulls a score of around 7197, a comparable 2013 iMac pulls a score of nearly 13500. Just based on that, that's nearly double the performance..

    But on a day to day basis, based on my usage, this machine is completely fine. I can compile my code fast enough, I can browse just fine and do what I need..

  7. #7

    Member Since
    Mar 05, 2014
    London UK
    I still use my G4 12" powerbook as a spare, and when I travel from home. It is still fine for browsing and email, and it must be > 10 years old. Obviously, with a higher-spec machine available i don't need to uses it for movies etc.

  8. #8
    Pre-2006 Macs are nearly useless now due to an inability to keep up with Internet technologies and because of security issues. I personally wouldn't recommend anything older than 2007 Mac, and even that would be for people with VERY basic usage needs. 2009 and later Macs are still well-supported and likely will be for another year or so, then support starts to taper off gradually (as it is doing for Snow Leopard right now).

    So the answer to your question can't really be defined by some pat answer, but broadly speaking Apple supports its hardware well for about a five-year span, then tapers. As a rule of thumb, you should expect to be replacing a Mac every five or six years unless your needs are very basic.

    Case in point: I will likely be replacing my 2009 MBP this year. Not because it doesn't do everything I want and reasonably swiftly (its still lightning quick on some things), but because I find myself doing more with video and the graphics chipset in this machine just can't quite hack the 1280p+ resolutions very well. I am thinking of sticking a hybrid SSD+HD thing in it just to give it a little speed boost and make it more attractive to sell, but I've gotten to the point where I need speedier graphics than this machine can deal with (I've already maxed out the RAM).

    I have a friend in mind who just needs basic Internet and word processing mostly, and this machine will likely find its way to her and give her years of service, since it runs everything current very well.

  9. #9

    Member Since
    Dec 01, 2013
    Pardon my ignorance- but I assumed Macs from 2001 to 2006 would still have the capabilities of basic internet surfing. My definition of 'basic' is watching video based websites (YouTube), online browsing and viewing of online documents (PDF, Word, JPG). I assumed that because my Windows XP 2003 computer can still do it. Wow...that's quite interesting. 5-year span. I was hoping a 10 year span or something.

    Then again, the popularity of Macs didn't skyrocket until after 2007. So I guess, it skyrocketed for a reason. I just assumed that prior to 2007, it was an under-rated product.

  10. #10

    vansmith's Avatar
    Member Since
    Oct 19, 2008
    It all depends on system requirements. One of the downsides of quick upgrade schedules for OS X is that software becomes obsolete at a much quicker rate. For example, Flash requires at least 10.6 which was released in 2009 whereas XP was released in 2001. Both of those OS versions are three iterations behind the current version of each respective OS. Consequently, you see longer support cycles for older versions of Windows simply because the release cycles are longer. This explains why support cycles for Linux versions of software generally require distributions no more than 3 years old (and that's pushing it).
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  11. #11

    Member Since
    Dec 01, 2013
    Bobtomay: That should go on for awhile until all support of 32 bit ceases.[/QUOTE]

    I have heard of 32 bit and 64 bit before, but do not exactly know what it means. I assume that it's referring to a hard-ware component, is that correct?

  12. #12

    born_to_hula's Avatar
    Member Since
    Oct 04, 2013
    London, UK
    We have an old mid-2005 G4 PPC 14" iBook (running OS X Tiger) knocking about here which my GF still uses regularly for web browsing (Firefox 3.6), listening to music (iTunes 9) and watching YouTube vids and BBC iPlayer (with a Flash 11 hack). It also has Adobe CS2 installed on it and is quite capable of simpler InDesign jobs although Photoshop and Illustrator are slow with anything mildly complicated.

  13. #13

    Slydude's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 16, 2009
    North Louisiana, USA
    Quote Originally Posted by simonvee View Post
    Bobtomay: That should go on for awhile until all support of 32 bit ceases.
    I have heard of 32 bit and 64 bit before, but do not exactly know what it means. I assume that it's referring to a hard-ware component, is that correct?[/QUOTE]

    It's hardware dependent to some extent. It's more of a difference in how much data/processing can be handled at once. Quick not too techy overview

  14. #14
    As I said in my earlier message, the main reason I would avoid machines older than 2007 (which is seven years ago now!) is because of increasingly high-resolution video and software that most of that vintage machines weren't designed to handle, as well as security issues.

    Any 10-year-old PC that's still running can be safely assumed to be INFESTED with bots, malware, spyware and viruses. I know PLENTY of 10-year-old Macs still in service, but there's just some things they can't do well (watch YouTube videos? Yes. Watch them in HD? Nope!).

  15. #15

    Member Since
    Feb 02, 2008
    I have an iMac from 2006 with dark gray burned-in spots on the screen that are getting larger by the month. It runs, albeit a bit slower these days but seems to crash more and doesn't support Flash player. I am running OSX 10.5.8. Despite the burned in spots, I love the non-wide matte 24" screen and abhor glossy screens. What would be a good replacement system for me?

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