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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 help buying a mac


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zakm52
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Hi everyone,

I have decided to put Windows aside for a while, and buy a used or refurbished mac to play around with. My current notebook has a Pentium III 1ghz, 512 ram, 40gb hdd.... So my question is what speed (mhz) mac could run apps like Word, PowerPoint, and other everyday stuff… as fast as my Windows machine?

Any help is appreciated!

Thanks
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GLJones

 
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Location: Orlando, Florida
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Mac Specs: 1.6 ghz G5, Dual Monitors / 17" PowerBook 1.33 / 12" iBook

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Any iBook would suit you just fine.

Jerry
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Matt
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iBook Clamshell is pretty cheap and colourful. Like above, any would do, but this would be consiterably cheap, enough power for MAC OSX (Which is highly recommended by most Mac users) and is an attractive Mac.
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MoltenLava
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zakm52
Hi everyone,

I have decided to put Windows aside for a while, and buy a used or refurbished mac to play around with. My current notebook has a Pentium III 1ghz, 512 ram, 40gb hdd.... So my question is what speed (mhz) mac could run apps like Word, PowerPoint, and other everyday stuff… as fast as my Windows machine?

Any help is appreciated!

Thanks
I guess the punch line is "as fast as your Windows machine". I've recently switched from PC to Mac. I used to own 600MHz ThinkPad for several years, and then 1.7GHz Centrino for a year, so I think I know your speed expectation.

First of all, you should avoid any machine that has ATI Rage 128. These are found in old G3's and some of early G4's. The primary reason for that is Rage 128 does not have enough 3D support, and it does not support Quartz Extreme. Quartz Extreme is the main 3D renderer for OS X Panther. Without Quartz Extreme you won't see many of cool 3D effect from the OS, and also the performance takes a hit.

The clamshells are really cute. I know. I've seriously considered to buy one. Did a lot of research. But the bottom line is it's not fast enough to run Panther adequately. It will run it, but not very fast. The early 300MHz and 366MHz ones don't really have enough power. The later 466MHz ones are too expensive to buy. They are often sold at the price higher than the next generation snow white iBooks.

My main machine right now is 800MHz G4 iBook. Before this one, I used to own 600MHz ThinkPad for several years, and then bought 1.6GHz Centrino. Coincidentally, my 800MHz iBook feels somewhere between those two PC laptops I used before. It might compare well to your 1GHz laptop.

For some reason, OS X "feels" a little slow to respond. I would think it's because of heavy use of 3D rendering and anti aliasing used on the desktop. Yes, OS X desktop is fully rendered in 3D. Windows desktop is rendered in 2D, which is usually much faster than 3D. As a result, Mac does not respond quickly on keyboard shortcuts such as page up/down, switching tabs on the web browser, using drop down menu, etc.

One of the big differences in the computer configuration between a PC and a Mac is the amount of memory. 512MB on a PC goes a long way. On a Mac, 512MB is probably not enough. I have 640MB on my iBook, and I don't have much free memory left after running just a couple of apps. I'd s ay you need 50% to 70% more memory on a Mac compared to a PC with similar configuration.

To sum it up, you have following choices.

- clamshell iBook : not recommended for serious use. good toy though.
- 500MHz early snow iBook : can be had for around $500. could be a good deal. probably slower than your current laptop.
- 800MHz G3 iBook : I had it for a week. You can get G4 for maybe $50 more.
- 800MHz G4 iBook : That's what I'm using right now. Decent performance. Decent price.
- 1GHz G4 iBook : Apple store has/had them for $1000 in the closeout section.

If you want anything faster or more expensive, browse Apple store at www.apple.com/store. Their closeout selection changes every few days, and there are some good deals there.

I think 800MHz G4 iBook is in the sweet spot right now. I bought mine for $700. Apple store refurbished price is around $800 I think. It usually comes with a combo drive (DVD ROM / CDRW). If you want DVD writing capability, you can opt for a super drive for ~$100 more. I don't need it, as I have other faster machines with DVD writer.

Good luck with your choice. OS X provides much better interface and usability than anything I used before. As with anything else, there are some quirks and small issues here and there. But once you get past that you'll enjoy using your computer a lot more with OS X than Windows.
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