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Switcher Hangout The place for switchers to discuss their new machines, and how to work with OS X. General support can be had here for newbie stuff, like "How do I restart my new iMac?" :)

Need upgrade advice


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Dark79
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Ok, I've been always been a PC guy, but decided I'd venture out and check out Macs. I bought a used B&W G3 off eBay and I'm having fun with it. So much in fact that I think my next machine will be a Mac. Though it's going to be a while before I can buy a new PowerMac so I'm wondering if it's worth trying to upgrade my G3 or if I should look for a used G4 this time around.
My G3 specs are: 400Mhz, 832MB RAM, 6GB HD, 32GB HD. I'm fine as far as RAM goes, but I really need to get rid of the old 5400RPM hard drives and upgrade the processor so that I can decently run OSX (I have it installed but mostly use OS9 since OSX runs so slow).

I have a spare Western Digital hard drive (200GB 7200RPM 8MB cache) that I can put in but I'll need a PCI ATA controller to be able to access the full 200GB - roughly $80

I'd like to upgrade the processor with a SonnetTech 800Mhz G4 zif - roughly $280

I'm kinda wary of dropping close to $400 on an old machine. Would the HD upgrade alone give me that much of a performance boost?

I'd really like to get a 933Mhz Quicksilver G4 but they're still around the $900 range on eBay. Actually I wouldn't mind getting a dual 2.5Ghz G5 but I don't think I want to try my hand at financing one

So what do you guys think? I'm new to Macs so if you veterans could help me out before I spend money on a system that's probably not going to be worth my time/money upgrading, that'd be great

My primary use for this computer is design work (photoshop, illustrator, etc). I'd like to dabble in video editing sometime in the future but it's not really a priority right now.

Thanks in advance
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Chamorro
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If you want a computer to use everyday for all tasks, I'd save up for a newer machine.
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witeshark

 
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I'd have a look at eMac, meybe even refurb. Only noteable limit is the 2 slot max 2 X 512 RAM, but that's really plenty for most uses
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Graeme43

 
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and the nice 4200rpm eMac HD's

iBook G3 (2001) 500MHz 384 RAM 9.2.2 / 10.2.8
Titanium PowerBook G4 (2001) 500MHz 768 RAM 9.2.2/10.2.8
Mac Pro (2007) 4x2.66GHz, 6GB RAM, 10.6.7
iPad 3G + iPhone 4
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jerodhusvar
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Look, it sounds like you like to tinker, right? Why not go ahead and play with your machine and upgrade it? I've been thinking of buying a B&W and doing exactly that with it myself. Of course, I don't understand why you're having so much trouble running OSX, as I run it on a G3/333 iMac and it runs pretty smoothly. It's not my G5 at work, but it still runs.

Your hard drive upgrade will make a bit of a difference in system performance, but you're going to get your biggest increase by upgrading to the G4.

Of course, if it's all too much hassle, sell the G3 on eBay and use the money towards a G4... off of eBay.

Or get an eMac and stack it out with RAM.

jjh
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witeshark

 
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E-Mac: Fast ATA/Enhanced IDE compatible
Digital Signal Processor (DSP) - Based Architecture
Ultra ATA/133 Data Transfer Rate
2 MB SDRAM Cache Buffer
<12 ms Seek Time
5400 RPM
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D3v1L80Y

 
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I would have to agree here and say that you may be better off financially and just save up for new machine. Upgrading on Macs can get costly, and with that B&W G3 you still won't really be "up to par" after the upgrades.
The eMac is a wonderful machine, I have one myself. Just to upgrade that processor to a 1Ghz G4 will run you about $400. If you want to up the RAM and HD it is going to cost you more. And if you want to go to the latest Mac OS, even more still. I would estimate the total somewhere around $900 to $1000/
The eMac gives you all of that for around $800 new, or you can get a refurb for less. For example, mine was refurbed. It came with a 1Ghz G4, 60GB HD, 256 MB RAM, combo drive AND an AirPort Extreme card installed for $700.

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Dark79
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Thanks to everyone who's posted replies. It's a valid point that upgrading my current G3 is going to be expensive. And since I'll probably end up getting a new Mac sometime next year, I may just hold off and save up instead. In the meantime I'm trying to get as much performance out of my current Mac as possible. I've changed the Aqua theme since from what I've read it helps slower machines to change it. I've also run Shadowkiller and WincompressX. I'll check out the forums for more performance tips. Thanks all!
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