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  1. #1


    Member Since
    Jun 02, 2007
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    3
    Switching to Mac. Not sure what to look for.
    Hi there!

    I am an AVID PC user. All of my home computers are running Windows XP. However, recently I have been fed up with them and looking for something quite a bit better. I tried Linux, but the lack of support, drivers, and software really dissapointed me. So here goes Mac!

    I've always heard amazing things about Apple's computers, but I've never tried one before. I'm looking for a change, and this is where I need your help.

    I'd like to purchase a Mac iBook (or something different. It doesn't matter). I'm not made completely out of money though, and so I'm thinking that about $300 would be my limit (I'm not afraid of buying things used off of eBay). I dislike the Clamshell type laptops and really enjoy the newer white laptops. I'm not really sure where to go any further at this point though.

    I'd like to have a laptop that can run Tiger. If Tiger isn't possible, then I guess OS X 10.3 would be alright. Could anybody tell me what the minimum system requirements would be for running Tiger on a laptop? I mostly use it for listening to music (iTunes), picture editing, and VERY VERY light video & audio editing. Is this something that even sounds possible with my current budget?

    Also, one more thing. What are the main differences between OS X 10.4, and OS X 10.3? I'd rather have the most recent version, but if there really aren't too many difference then I wouldn't mind OS X 10.3.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

  2. #2

    joshbrez's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 29, 2007
    Location
    Chicago, IL
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    199
    Specs:
    MacBook Pro 15" 2.33 GHz 3 GB RAM
    Welcome to MacForums, brycematheson71! Let me give a shot at answering some of these questions. Others, I think, will quickly chime in with more detailed answers, but this can be a general response.

    If you can get a white iBook G4 in your price range on eBay, that would probably be your best bet for what you're looking for. OSX 10.4 Tiger will be able to run on a G4 for sure. G3s, to my knowledge, generally are successful with Tiger as well, and oftentimes even perform better than when they had older versions of OSX installed, at least from what I've read. Unfortunately, I don't know the exact requirements for Tiger off the top of my head, but I'm confident that one of our wise forum members here has an idea.

    In terms of differences, OSX 10.3 Panther lacks several of the applications that Tiger has, most notably the search tool Spotlight. This is a very useful tool, enough by itself for me to recommend Tiger. Other useful features include the Dashboard, for running desktop widgets, and Automator, for streamlining tasks. All in all, dozens of new features were added between 10.3 and 10.4. My advice is, if you can run 10.4, do so!

    Hope this helps! I'm sure others will chime in as well.

  3. #3


    Member Since
    Jun 02, 2007
    Posts
    3
    Wow! Joshbrez! Thanks a TON for the input! I'm still GLADLY excepting anymore suggestions!

  4. #4

    yogi's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 14, 2005
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    Specs:
    Mac Mini, iPad Air 2, iPhone 7+, Apple TV 4th Gen, Apple Watch (38mm Link Bracelet)
    Since you don't like Clamshells, you should be fine. A G4 will run OS X Tiger quite well, especially if you also do some additional simple tweaking to speed up the OS (it hogs in some areas).

    Also, if you can, look out for getting enough RAM in your iBook G4, the more the better, and at least 512MB to survive, 1GB would sing though.

    iBooks aren't easily upgradable AFAIK, so you would have to send it in to ge tmore RAM at a later point, which will be rather expensive. Anyone correct me here if I'm wrong.

    David Pogue, a notable Author of Macintosh-related books and NY Times columnist, claimed that Tiger is not a "must-have" release, but also states that once you have it, you will find it hard to go back.

    So if it saves you money, you will survive with 10.3, and can get Leopard later when cash has rolled in again. I think you will savour the jump from 10.3 to 10.5 far more, so if you can save there, do it.

    Spotlight search isn't really that great yet, many people sewar by Quicksilver, which is available for Panther.

    I have to admit though that many Apps nowadays require 10.4 so you might run into disappointments here and there. It has even gone as far now as Intel-Only apps (e.g., Joost TV for Mac).

    So again, you would need to check out the apps you will need and decide based on that.

    Hope that helped a wee.
    If you liked this post, consider using the Reputation System by hitting the icon on the left.

  5. #5
    MacHeadCase
    Guest
    Welcome to Mac-Forums, brycematheson71!

    I agree with yogi on this. In a lot of cases I think that, unless you have a very very recent Mac, Panther (Mac OS X 10.3.9) can be a bit more stable and might not slow down your older Mac as much as Tiger (Mac OS X 10.4.x) can.

    Not only that but some video cards will simply not render some of Tiger's eye candy that is available via Core Image.

    Of course, even if you do go with a Panther OS install, make sure you have plenty of RAM.

    Good luck on your quest!

  6. #6

    bryphotoguy's Avatar
    Member Since
    Feb 02, 2007
    Location
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    3,978
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    Quad 2.8GHz Mac Pro, Edge iPhone
    For $300 I don't know how nice of a laptop you will get. G3 iBooks (dual USB or Snow as they are sometimes referred to as) are ok. I have a 500MHz in front of me and wouldn't recommend it (too slow.) Luckily it's not mine. They make them faster up to 900MHz which might still be in the $300 price range on eBay. (Personally, I think Apple might stop supporting them soon.) As for G4 iBooks, maybe you can find a bone stock 800Mhz 12" for $300 but that's if you're really lucky. eBay isn't going to the safest way to go if you're buying from some weirdo but there are Apple resellers and people that sell used iBooks with warranties. I think you can always pickup a squaretrade warranty for cheap as well.
    If you think about it, $300 isn't much for a laptop, especially Apple laptops. So I'd watch out. Toss us some links to iBooks that you're looking at and we'll help you find something good.
    I was a little uncertain about switching to a Mac. I made the switch back in November and am so glad... no more blue screens of death, firewall and virus scanning software to take away the machines power, no updates every 30 secs, no security breaches, no nonsense. You'll be free to do what you need to do without worrying about an XP "hiccup."
    Good luck!!
    Bryan

    January 2008 Member of the Month

  7. #7


    Member Since
    Mar 11, 2004
    Posts
    1,964
    Make sure you get the system disks to go with it. This is very important because they contain the system reinstalls, the system-repair utility and the hardware test.

    If the disks are not included, you may as well consider the Mac a scam because you'd have to buy them. The vendor may have sold them separately or won't supply them because you'd discover there is something wrong with the machine.

    As well, make sure the system disks are for that particular computer. They are model specific, and if you have to buy an all-model system-install disk, you still wouldn't have the hardware test.

  8. #8

    snoslicer8's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jul 18, 2006
    Location
    Saint Louis, MO
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    Specs:
    15" Unibody MBP 2.4 Ghz C2D, 2 GB RAM, 250 GB HDD, 320 GB Time Machine HDD, 1 TB Ext Media Drive
    Quote Originally Posted by yogi View Post
    iBooks aren't easily upgradable AFAIK, so you would have to send it in to ge tmore RAM at a later point, which will be rather expensive. Anyone correct me here if I'm wrong.
    My Apple iBook G4 was very easy to upgrade as far as memory and the Airport Extreme card is concerned. There are two tabs above the keyboard (above F2 and F11ish?) that you nudge on and lift up the keyboard away from the computer, the bottom part will hinge away.

    Once here, there is a metal panel that you need to remove some screws on. Underneath this panel is the Airport Extreme card (if installed). Simply slide it out of the slot and there are the RAM slots for adding additional RAM. Put back together in reverse order, and BAM! Extra RAM. =)

    Upgraded my iBook G4 to 768 MB by adding a 512 stick.
    MacBook Air Unibody Core i5 1.8 GHz, 4 GB RAM, 128 GB SSD, iPhone 4S 32 GB White

  9. #9


    Member Since
    Jun 02, 2007
    Posts
    3
    Okay, well, I guess the Clamshell idea isn't really all the bad, but from looking on eBay it just seemed to me that the Clamshells were older and wouldn't have enough power to even concider running Tiger.

    Also, I'm not really looking for anything powerful at all. I just want to get be able to get an introduction to the Mac. Besides, does iTunes and Photoshop really cause all that much lag on the system? I like the idea of the G4, but I looked around and wasn't able to find anything for too much. I found one for about $400, but even that is too much to splurge over.

    Any links would be helpful. eBay is NOT a must, but I've generally had good luck. Any place else to buy it would be great. Thanks again guys!

  10. #10
    MacHeadCase
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Brown Study View Post
    Make sure you get the system disks to go with it. This is very important because they contain the system reinstalls, the system-repair utility and the hardware test.

    If the disks are not included, you may as well consider the Mac a scam because you'd have to buy them. The vendor may have sold them separately or won't supply them because you'd discover there is something wrong with the machine.

    As well, make sure the system disks are for that particular computer. They are model specific, and if you have to buy an all-model system-install disk, you still wouldn't have the hardware test.
    Browny is so totally right! Buying a Mac without its disks is a big NoNo IMO.

  11. #11

    bryphotoguy's Avatar
    Member Since
    Feb 02, 2007
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    Chicago, IL
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    3,978
    Specs:
    Quad 2.8GHz Mac Pro, Edge iPhone
    Personally, I'd stay away from the clamshells. They're pricey and that screen is so small. I think you can only run it at 800x600 which makes the 12" screen even smaller.
    If speed isn't an issue, a 500MHz G3 is fine. Just find one with the power adapter, battery and CD's and you should be fine. When they don't include stuff to make it function properly, run. It's a tip off that it's been rebuilt or made from scrap parts or other sorts of things. A good, reliable Mac user will keep those items over the years.
    Bryan

    January 2008 Member of the Month

  12. #12

    snoslicer8's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jul 18, 2006
    Location
    Saint Louis, MO
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    Specs:
    15" Unibody MBP 2.4 Ghz C2D, 2 GB RAM, 250 GB HDD, 320 GB Time Machine HDD, 1 TB Ext Media Drive
    I've personally found my local Craigslist.org site to be a wealth of older Mac equipment. I can probably count the number of older iBooks on two hands, but there's been countless total G3 or G4 machines on there for less than $500, I'm sure you can find something you'll like. Not to mention that most Craigslist users will let you see and test what you're buying before you pay.
    MacBook Air Unibody Core i5 1.8 GHz, 4 GB RAM, 128 GB SSD, iPhone 4S 32 GB White

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