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Used iMac g5 or new cheap PC?

Old 01-30-10, 08:19 AM
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Used iMac g5 or new cheap PC?

My older parents are very non computer literate and they have an older pc that c. R. A. W. L. S.

I am trying to help them find something cheap that will work more reliably. I am largely mac ignorant, but of course hear that they aren't prone to slowing down with age like PC's.

So to the point, used iMac g5/g4 or new cheapo PC? Which will be easier to use for just Internet and email and very rare letter?

Thanks for any advice.
Old 01-30-10, 09:22 AM
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Re: Used iMac g5 or new cheap PC?

You heard wrong. I have a mac mini g4 and it's much slower than the homebuilt pc I built for cheap around the same time
Old 01-30-10, 04:53 PM
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Re: Used iMac g5 or new cheap PC?

Interesting ... Mac fan boy lore, huh? I knew it sounded too good to be true.
Thanks
Old 01-30-10, 05:11 PM
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Re: Used iMac g5 or new cheap PC?

Was the Mac slower when they were both new? I don't believe the G4 Mac Mini was an especially fast machine to begin with...

I have a three-year-old MacBook Pro, while it's definitely slower than a brand-new computer, I'd say it's running just as well as it did when I bought it.

I think one of the problems with older Windows computers is they get more and more background crap installed which slows the computer down over time. Especially when you consider the adware and viruses that Windows 95-XP are so susceptible to.

You also have issues with file systems fragmenting, even with NTFS. Supposedly the HFS+ system that OS X uses manages to keep fragmentation to a minimum, somehow.

I'm curious to see if Vista and Windows 7 computers will suffer the same problems as previous Windows computers or has Microsoft finally fixed it?
Old 01-30-10, 11:34 PM
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Re: Used iMac g5 or new cheap PC?

the G5 is part of the PowerPC-based line of Macs, which have been completely phased out at this point. You can't install the newest version of OS X on them, and I'm guessing that many programs won't have PowerPC support for much longer. If you really want a Mac, go with one that has an Intel chip in it.

However, if your parents have been using Windows, keep in mind that there's going to be a learning curve in switching to a Mac. So expect to learn some stuff about Macs yourself to help them adjust. Also, while maybe not as much stuff goes wrong with a Mac, things still can get messed up, which means they'll still need your help fixing things.

If you get a new PC, it'll likely come with Windows 7, which is a huge step up from its predecessors in terms of performance and security. However, it's still Windows and is relatively new, so time will tell whether it performs over time. MS also has a fairly decent free home AV program called Microsoft Security Essentials that you can download.

Another remote possibility is getting a PC and installing a version of Linux on it. I like Linux Mint for user friendliness:
http://www.linuxmint.com/download.php
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux_Mint

With Mint, as with many Linux distributions, you can boot from the LiveCD into a working Desktop environment to test out the operating system before committing to installing it. If all they use is Web, Email, and occasionally a Word Processor, Linux Mint may work for them.

Regarding Word Processors, whether you go with Mac, Windows, or Linux, OpenOffice.org has a good free office suite that offers a good, basic word processor. There's a version available for each OS.
www.openoffice.org
Old 01-30-10, 11:42 PM
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Re: Used iMac g5 or new cheap PC?

so far 7 has been pretty good. XP would slow down after 6 months or so. i have a 2 and a half year old HP laptop from work and have run everything from XP to 7 on it. clean install it all uses about the same amount of RAM and is fast. after i add all the programs i need then it slows down. and apple is just as guilty since parts of itunes run in the background

the Mac is OK so far. i've had it for a month or so

it's true that NTFS is prone to fragmentation

if you have a keyboard and monitor and mouse you choice should be between a Mac Mini and a PC. i personally prefer the Windows GUI. only reason i would get a new Mac is to learn Unix
Old 02-01-10, 08:36 PM
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Re: Used iMac g5 or new cheap PC?

The iMac G5 specifically is prone to logic board and power supply failures, thanks to faulty capacitors. Apple even instituted an extended repair program, which has now expired. My logic board went out under warranty; my power supply did not. I replaced it myself for around $100, but I wasn't about to be on the hook for the logic board if/when it went out again, so I upgraded to an aluminum Intel iMac not long after.

My brother has an old 15" iMac G4 700 MHz that is still chugging along just fine. It chokes on Flash video, but that's hardly surprising. It would be adequate for the tasks you list, but aside from OS X "reliability", it probably isn't much of an upgrade (unless they are using a Pentium II or thereabouts).

Last edited by printerati; 02-01-10 at 08:39 PM.

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