Used/refurbished Mac?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Colin Dunn, Jun 7, 2002.

  1. Colin Dunn

    Colin Dunn Supporting Actor

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    It's been years since I've tinkered with a Mac, but with OS X being out for a while, and its stability improving, I'd like to try the Mac platform again.

    Problem is: As a PC guy, I've been dismayed at the high prices of Macs, even used/refurbished ones. I know they cost more than PCs because they are proprietary, but there is no decent power-user configuration under about $1,700-$2,000. Even used/refurbished G4s are selling for 90% of the new price, which makes it silly to even bother with them...

    So do I just bite the bullet and pay ~$2K to get one of these machines, or any other ideas on how I can snag a bargain???
     
  2. Keith Plucker

    Keith Plucker Screenwriter

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    Just a heads up.
    www.smalldog.com has refurbished dual 1GHz CPU towers for $2449. It comes with 1 GB of RAM, 1 year Apple warranty and a SuperDrive.
    Also, be advised that at the July MacWorld show many expect Apple to announce new models. If this happens it will probably drive down prices of the remaining stock of the current line, refurb and new.
    -Keith
     
  3. Colin Dunn

    Colin Dunn Supporting Actor

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    I probably should have said more about my criteria.

    I would definitely want a tower case model, since I already have a good flat-panel monitor that can be used for its display. No sense in paying for another monitor.

    As for upgradability: I want to be able to put in at least 512MB of RAM, and have at least 40GB of hard disk space. The system should run OS X at a reasonable speed.

    Applications would be for general computing tasks, not high-end graphical design. The system should be usable and responsive for these kind of applications for at least 2 years from the time I buy it, or I'm not getting my money's worth out of it.

    So I'd probably be looking at used G3 or G4 tower models, with as much MHz and RAM as possible...and an Ethernet interface so I can network it to IBM-clone PCs and a printer.
     
  4. DonRoeber

    DonRoeber Screenwriter

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    Colin,
    The "problem" is that Mac can hold their value for much longer than PCs. I'm not exactly sure how or why, but oftentimes putting in some more ram after a big OS upgrade is just about all you need to get by for another year or two. We've got a Blue & White G3 at work that we use for betatesting software. It's running OS X fine. Sure, it's not as blazing fast as my Titanium Powerbook, but it gets the job done. I wouldn't be too terribly upset if I had to use it on a daily basis.
    Check out www.smalldog.com, and Apple's refurbished store. Unfortunately, you're probably not going to find a great deal on ebay.
     
  5. David Lawson

    David Lawson Screenwriter

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    Colin, check out Baucom Computers and Mac Of All Trades for some decent prices on older tower models. I can vouch for Baucom Computers, despite the low budget site. I've always been intrigued by MOAT's prices, but I've never dealt with them.
    As much as I try to put older Macs to use, anything earlier than a blue-and-white G3 just isn't going to cut it for OS X without some serious upgrades; the onboard video in beige G3s is much too weak to run something as graphic-intensive as OS X, and they also lack USB, FireWire, and 100BT Ethernet. You only have three PCI slots to play with in any of the beige G3 models, all of which would be taken up if you added a better network card, a better video card, and a USB/FireWire combo card. In any case, be sure you budget for a two-button mouse. OS X has native support for the right mouse click and a scroll wheel, even though Apple doesn't ship any of its machines with a two-button wheel mouse. Incredible, really.
    Fortunately, RAM is relatively cheap for these machines. You're safe with buying PC-133 SDRAM DIMMs for all of the newer models, and 512 MB is going for around $100 online at the moment (the blue-and-white models can't use modules larger than 256 MB, but they do have four RAM slots, allowing for a maximum of 1 GB).
    I have a blue-and-white G3, and I love it, but if the cost to get a G4 instead is minimal, I'd opt for that. OS X is optimized for the G4's AltiVec enhancements, and there's a noticeable speed difference between my G3/400 and my old roommate's G4/400, even though I have twice the system memory he does. Good luck.
     
  6. Kelley_B

    Kelley_B Cinematographer

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    Also remember OSX.2's OpenGL based Quartz rendering layer only works with AGP cards, or so I believe. And it is said to be bad ass.

    I would look for a G4 450+ with a AGP card.
     
  7. Michael*K

    Michael*K Screenwriter

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    I realize you don't want to ditch the display, but the eMac comes with a 40GB drive and is upgradable to 1GB RAM. Otherwise, this tower is $1400 after the rebate. You can also watch dealnn.com to see if there are good deals available sometimes.
     
  8. Mike Sogge

    Mike Sogge Stunt Coordinator

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    Unless you are sure you wouldn't ever want to upgrade beyond adding more RAM and HD space, I would not bother with purchasing an e/iMac. They're great for kids and people who aren't interested in becoming "power users." The towers on the other hand are great. I especially love the easy accesibility that my G4 tower has. Makes swapping my PCI cards and HD's a snap.
     
  9. Michael*K

    Michael*K Screenwriter

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    Well, I'd go for the tower also so I can upgrade the video card or throw in an extra HD if I want to. Since you specified that you wanted a 40GB drive and at least 512MB RAM for "general computing tasks', I mentioned the eMac because it meets those requirements.
     
  10. Colin Dunn

    Colin Dunn Supporting Actor

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    I definitely want one of the tower models, so I have flexibility for upgrades in the future. Too bad Apple has deemed it necessary to gouge on pricing for the towers ... why should a tower model without monitor sell for about the same price as an iMac that includes a built-in flat-panel display?
    That kind of "market segmentation" was what drove me to the "dark side" (IBM clones) in the first place... [​IMG]
    But thanks for the information. Now I've got a few ideas of where to look...
     
  11. Derek Williams

    Derek Williams Stunt Coordinator

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    Most new Macs can used any IDE harddrive and can handle at least 2 512mb chips. You can hook up you monitor to what ever on you choose and have two monitors.
     
  12. Michael*K

    Michael*K Screenwriter

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    Yeah, but the consumer models only allow for video mirroring. Bah...I only need that if I'm using a projector, which I don't at home.
     
  13. MikeM

    MikeM Screenwriter

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    For more of a "vintage" variety, you can try Shreve Systems . They have towers as well, but it usually takes them a while to get the semi-"new" types of products.
     
  14. Doug_H

    Doug_H Supporting Actor

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    Collin

    I have one of the original blue annd white G4's, I believe 400mhz but I just don't use it much. Shoot me an email and we can talk about it further.
     
  15. Michael*K

    Michael*K Screenwriter

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    The blue and white machines were G3's. I use one with OS X and it's fine. The first G4's that came out were in the gray towers.
     
  16. Joseph S

    Joseph S Cinematographer

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  17. John Hergenrather

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    Actually - the first G4s were based on the old "yosemite" logic boards from blue and whites - the addition of the G4 processor made it an entirely new machine - codenamed "yikes". "Sawtooth" came shortly after that - with a redesigned motherboard to take advantage of the G4 processor - it also added AGP to the motherboard. All towers that have shipped from Apple and have a G4 processor in them are gray or silver in color. No blue and white came from the factory with a G4.
    I have a beige G3 366mhz, a Lombard 333mhz laptop and a dual450 mhz G4. The G4 is the only one of the bunch to run OS X with any speed. I have 384 MB of RAM in the laptop and 768 MB in both towers.
    Deals can be had on decent systems out there. I've been advised in the past to avoid Shreve. I tend to look at Dealmac.com to find the best deals. They search the web and just report the pricing they find. For example :
    http://dealmac.com/articles/35573.html
    lists a refurbished Apple PowerMac G4/800 256/40.0/CDRW/56k/1000BT, model no. M8705LL/A, for $1,299. It's backed by a one year Apple warranty. That's not a bad price for a lot of muscle - it will handle OS X nicely!!
     
  18. Michael*K

    Michael*K Screenwriter

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    John's right. Both the Yikes and Sawtooth G4's came in the gray enclosures. No G4's ever came out in the blue and white enclosures...they were strictly G3 boxes.
     
  19. Joseph S

    Joseph S Cinematographer

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    Sticks foot in mouth [​IMG]
     

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