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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?" :)

Should I do it? (Imac DV SE for $100)

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Hello all,

I have been extremely interested in OS X for some time now, and have been craving picking up a iBook. One problem is I cannot afford such a purchase right now, and second is I am only a Windows user to date. So, this situation arose where I can pick up a iMac DV SE for $100 if I so choose, and was wondering if anyone thought that was a wise course of action. In my head I figured if I shell out some cash for the machine and a few upgrades and get used to the OS to the point I enjoy using it, then down the road I can sell it off for at least what I paid for it and put the money toward an iBook.

So, first things first, what do you think? From what I can tell the iMacs of this design (400mhz G3, 128mb ram, 13gb hd, dvd) sell for about $170-300 on eBay. Automatically there it seems worth it to pick one up. However, if I upgrade the RAM to 512mb (2x256mb @ $40 a stick) and the hard drive (40gb Seagate Barracuda for $50) it would wind up costing me about $230 for a upgraded iMac. Would such a machine run OS X successfully? If so, toss in another $50 or so for that on ebay. Would it be worth it for a starter machine or do you think this would be good enough to use daily? Also, could I get rid of it in a few months (or 6 or so) for the cash I put into it or at least somewhat close?

Thanks for taking the time to read this and help me out with this situation, just trying to have all my bases covered before I jump into Mac territory.

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That sounds like it would be an excellent low-cost machine for an introduction to OS X, and you shouldn't have any problems using it daily, especially after the upgrades you mentioned. I use a similar machine (a G3 AIO - 300 Mhz, 768 RAM, 20 GB HD) running OS X, and it handles all of my daily tasks just fine. I use it for web browsing, email, listening to music, and for word processing/spreadsheets, all without any problems at all.

Also, you don't have to perform all of the upgrades at once. For example, the RAM is a good idea, but my machine ran well with only 256 MB before I upgraded it, so you could wait to buy the second 256 MB stick if you wanted. A 12 GB hard drive should also be sufficient to start out with, so if you wanted, you could wait a bit for that too.


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It sounds like a good deal. I've been following iMac prices on eBay as well. I would say the fair price for 400MHz - 450MHz would be $250. Does your computer come with keyboard and mouse? If not it'll cost you $40 or so extra.

You'll probably want to upgrade the memory right away. HD upgrade is much more difficult, and you may choose to use the original 13GB as is. It's good enough for a starter machine.
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Yes it includes a keyboard and mouse. The keyboard is the ?smaller? version without the number pad (I believe) and the mouse looks like a hockey puck (ball mouse). I found through one of the RAM search engines where I can pick up a 512mb stick for $75, so it would total 640mb RAM and a 40gb hard drive for about $215.

I think I'm going to go for it, and if I catch on to OS X and the mac wave like I have a feeling I will, I'll be replacing this with a iBook shortly. Just hope I can make my $ back on eBay that I put into upgrading it.
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Hmm, I don't know if you want a G3 running OS X. I mean, this one here's got 384 MB of RAM as well as 500 Mhz, and it can still barely handle four programs open at once or so. You don't want to have to think lowly of OS X, because when used by at least a G4 it can be quite a fast operating system.

G3s are built for OS 9, see? They run well on them. Apple probably barely takes G3 users into account in the marketing department, as there many more people nowadays who use G4s instead of G3s, it seems. Apple only works on OS X now, which G3s can barely run.

So, my suggestion might be to get an eMac. Assuming you live in the US, you can get one for $800-$1000, which is considerably cheaper than an iBook:

And if you go to university, college, or school, then even better! You should be able to get an eMac for about $750-$900. (click on education on the left-hand side of the screen)

But if that's still too pricey, then alright, go ahead with the G3 iMac.
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For $100 you can't beat performance/price ratio with any other computers. It's a good deal, and a decent starter. My starter was a 350MHz Sawtooth. It ran OS X just fine. You just need to set your expectation correctly. As long as you don't expect blazing performance on those machine, they will serve you fine.

BTW, if you look around you can get a 512MB stick for $50 or so used. The price for PC100/PC133 has come down a lot. I wouldn't advise HD upgrade because first of all it's not easy, and secondly you won't get out the HD cost when you sell the computer.
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I am running the almost the exact configuration you are planning to buy. I have 2 macs 1 is a 17 in.(2 year old iMac) and the other is just what your planning to buy... 4 year old 600 mhz imac 15 in. G3 256 RAM cd-rw. And it works great. whenever i use it i always am running OS 10.3, iChat, iTunes, Firefox, and Azureus - at all times, and it has yet to give me any trouble... my advice is to buy immediatly!
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I have just recently purchased an iMac 600Mhz. It's been pretty good so far. It looks cool on a stand, thats for sure!
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My first Mac was a 500MHZ G3 Pismo. It was just fine running OSX 10.3 and the only reason I got rid of it was because the screen was going pink on me. I was told it meant it was going to die soon. A new screen was more then I wanted to pay. I am now using a G5 2GHZ dual and a iBook 933.
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