Skip to Content
Skip to Table of Contents

← Previous Article Next Article →

ATPM 9.10
October 2003





Download ATPM 9.10

Choose a format:


Outliner History

Laptop or Desktop

Hello Again

Color Commentary

Picking the Optimal OS for Your Mac

Also in This Series

Reader Comments (2)

Robert E. Crum · October 16, 2003 - 13:48 EST #1
Hello. I've read your e-zine with great admiration and trust each month and have grown to accept it as a very good source for Mac information.

At this time in my life, I'm retired and am, more or less, on a fixed budget (if I'm going to leave anything to my heirs).

The question I have is, do I want a new computer? Of course I do, or I wouldn't be writing, I just don't know about the new systems like Jaguar and newer.

I'm proficient with OS 9, but that's the extent of it. I have the OS 9.1 CD but never installed it. There were too many ifs and don't dos. I've seen many pros and cons from other sources, so I never even attempted to buy OS 9.2.2.

Regarding OS X, some of the new ideas seem very far-fetched, like almost learning new ideas about how the new systems work and how they're applied in everyday tasks. Of course, I couldn't use it because I'm using a 603e processor in a 200 MHz Performa 6400. Not applicable.

I've been keeping up with your upgrade articles and have almost decided to upgrade but, even if I was to buy a new computer, which should I purchase? There are so many. I don't know if I want an iBook, iMac G4, G5, or what.

G5? I wish! A PowerBook seems to expensive for what I have in mind.

I don't write programs like C++ or anything, but I do write HTML. I haven't learned JavaScript and I don't plan to. At my age, it's almost over my learning ability.

I don't need to tax my senses more. I'm just trying to hang on with what's left to me without going completely senile. "It's a great life," some people exclaim!

I just want to get your opinion on what is the best bang for my bucks at this writing.

Regards, and keep up the good work,

Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · October 28, 2003 - 21:51 EST #2
Robert - assuming you've decided to buy a new computer, the type you should get completely depends on what you want your computer to do for you. I'm not the best one to make comments whether you should stay on OS 9 or migrate to OS X. Plenty of other people have already written on this topic, as you have undoubtedly seen.

As for the hardware, it's pretty easy to narrow down your choices. First of all, do you have need to be mobile with your computer? If so, then an iBook or a PowerBook is definitely worth considering. Apple's portable computers, these days, are extremely well-suited as your sole machine. Indeed, I use a 15" 1GHz PowerBook G4 as my only machine at home. I did just purchase a used 450 MHz G4 tower, but it will function as a server and a permanent location for my iTunes music.

This portability, however, comes at a premium. The cost for laptops is a fair bit higher than a desktop machine. The cheapest iBook starts at $1,099, though they now sport a G4 processor instead of a G3.

Additionally, based on what you've written, it doesn't sound as though one of Apple's beefier machines (Power Mac desktops or PowerBooks) would be of significant extra value to you. My opinion is that either an iMac, iBook, or eMac would be best suited for you.

Some time after you wrote your message here, Apple made the eMacs extremely attractive in all respects. While the iMac is simply an awesome-looking computer, the eMac is, arguably, the best bang for the buck. They now come with a 1 GHz G4 processor. The least expensive eMac (and least expensive Mac, in general) is $799 and comes with 128MB of RAM, a 40GB hard drive, and a Combo drive which will read and write CD-R/RW and will read DVDs. $300 more gets you double the RAM, double the hard drive size, and a Superdrive that also burns DVD-R discs.

Honestly, for anyone who does not need simple portability (though the eMac has a decent handle on it) and doesn't necessarily need the creme of Apple's crop, the eMac is where it's at. It's a great machine.

One last major bit of advice, no matter which machine you choose to get: buy RAM, and lots of it. Max it out if you can (the eMac can accept up to 1 gigabyte). If you can't max it out, buy as much as you can afford and then buy just a little more. OS X loves memory and you can not have too much. This isn't to say OS X is bad with memory handling—quite the contrary. It's very good with it. But having more makes it work all the better.

Add A Comment

 E-mail me new comments on this article