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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone. I was wondering if I could get some advice regarding Mac laptops? I have never used Mac computers but from everyone I know who uses Mac, they say they will never go back to a PC. I'm absolutely fed up with PC's. I'm taking an online summer course and am also going to school full time in the fall. I do NOT trust our home PC. Many times it has completely shut down on me and I've done absolutely nothing wrong. I would flip out if it shut down on me in the middle of an essay or anything else school related.

So, here's my problem. I know JACK about Mac (ha). Are Mac's user friendly? As in, am I going to be completely lost if I buy a Mac since I've never touched one before? Or is it relatively easy to get used to? All I want is a reliable laptop that I can use for basic internet use and for my school work.

Thing is, I'm very low on cash, so I'm looking for a used one. When I read the specifications of the used ones I've seen, it's pretty much gibberish to me. I have no idea if what I'm reading is good, bad, slow, fast or whatever.

Can anyone give me any advice on purchasing a used Mac? I know little to nothing about computers so any input would be awesome.

Thanks!​
 

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Go to a local retailer and try out the OS first hand, in 2005 Discount Mac Club in Richmond kindly let me use a system for 30 minutes, I never used Mac OS X before that (although I did use OS 9 back in 2001 in high school) I felt like I could do anything in OS X after that mere 30 minute, stuff like running Garage Band, MS Office, iPhoto, iMovie, surf the net, e-mail, iCal, address book. My switch story is when my PC screwed up my main and backup copies of photos, videos, stuff I'll never ever get back, because of some 137GB limitation back in the day, all started by spyware and viruses and reinstalling Windows XP 15 times in a month because of problem after problem. Fed up! I had to endure PC hell another 8 months till I started working and promptly bought an iBook within my first three paycheques.

As for which Mac should you go with, are you looking for a home or portable machine? If you're at school you probably want a portable. What exactly is your budget? For under $800 you should find a good iBook G4 that'll be good enough for internet, e-mail, word processing, spreadsheets, photos, and music. If you just need a home setup and have a USB keyboard, USB mouse, and existing monitor, you can just buy a Mac Mini for $679 + tax new, you get a powerful Intel processor so you can do some fun things too like make movies or write music. You can do it on an iBook G4 too and it's really not too bad, just way faster on the Intel processors. If you can afford $1249+tax, get a brand new MacBook.
 

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Macs are computers like any other. Don't expect to just sit in front of it and magically have your will occur on the screen. A intro-to-Mac course is a good idea, as is reading a introduction to Mac book.

Macs don't have a Start menu, they have a Dock and an Applications folder. Macs always have the menu bar at the top of the screen. Macs organize your files a little differently than Windows does. Things like this can make moving to a Mac frustrating because what once were simple things to do now take some figuring out. (You used to always click on the Start menu ... but now it's not there.)

Given an open mind and willingness to learn, I think the Mac experience is much more enjoyable than working with Windows. Just be aware that it's still a computer and ultimately, is still stupid. It's up to you to make it do what you want.
 

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Ew who uses the start menu? I've always put the apps I frequently use on the taskbar quick launch.
 

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Ok , well my switcher story is similar. I needed it for school , my pc was just a big annoyance.

I splurged and bought a Macbook , Im fairly computer savvy but I'll tell you without Ehmac I would of gone nuts.

I hated it for a few days after that I feel in love and im not going back.

I recomend the Macbook or perhaps Macbook Pro.

I had the high end macbook and once I got into iMovie and Photography I kicked myself for not getting the pro.

A Mac is more like an investment then a purchase , dont be afraid to spend a little more as this computer will keep you happy and save you time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks!

Thanks for the advice guys. I'd really like to try out Mac's operating system first. I will have to see where the closest Mac retailer is to me.

There is a guy on here who is selling his iBook 300. Here is the web link to the classified ad: http://www.ehmac.ca/classifieds/showproduct.php?product=12030&sort=1&cat=3&page=2

For a basic computer it seems not bad. All I want it for is basic interest use (using MSN, email and webpages) and to be able to type my school work. I know it's an older computer and all but it sounds like it's in very good condition.

I'm not quite sure what to do, haha.
 

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To really answer your question, we need to know what your budget is. You say it's limited, but that could mean anywhere from $200 to $1500, depending on your perspective.

But to give you an idea of what you're seeing in the way of used Macs:

Apple's most recent computers use Intel processors, so you can pretty much compare their performance to similarly equipped Windows-based machines.

Mac models prior to the Intel switch will have one of three PowerPC processors: a G3, G4 or G5.

Most G3 models are getting long in the tooth and you should probably avoid them if your budget allows. Some may still be useful for basic tasks, but the G3 laptops are too slow for anything but very basic Web browsing and word processing, etc. (That iBook 300 you're looking at falls into this category. To give you an example, the graphics card on such a machine will probably have trouble playing YouTube videos without stuttering.)

The G4s still have some good life in them. G4 iMacs and dual G4 PowerMacs are still useful desktops for most home users, and the G4 laptops (PowerBooks and iBooks) remain popular, especially those in the 12" form factor, since the newer Intel-based MacBooks and MacBook Pros are larger in size.

The G5 processor only appeared in desktop machines--the iMac and PowerMac. These are still excellent machines and can run programs such as Photoshop with no trouble.

As for for the OS X, I think most of us here would agree that it is very much a user-friendly OS, but you'll have to spend some time getting used to it. If you think it's just Windows with different, er, window dressing, you'll be sorely frustrated. Keep an open mind and don't be afraid to ask questions, and you'll be rockin' in no time.
 

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I think Flash uses CPU power. The G3 will definitely be a tad slowish for Youtube and won't do it at all unless she upgrades to OS X Panther or Tiger but it'll do her word processing, e-mail, MSN messenger (older version) and play MP3s just fine even if she doesn't upgrade to OS X. All you need is a new battery for it -- $50-80 on eBay + shipping. The captain of SFU's womens basketball team still uses a Clamshell iBook just fine.
 

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Thanks for the advice guys. I'd really like to try out Mac's operating system first. I will have to see where the closest Mac retailer is to me.

There is a guy on here who is selling his iBook 300. Here is the web link to the classified ad: http://www.ehmac.ca/classifieds/showproduct.php?product=12030&sort=1&cat=3&page=2

For a basic computer it seems not bad. All I want it for is basic interest use (using MSN, email and webpages) and to be able to type my school work. I know it's an older computer and all but it sounds like it's in very good condition.

I'm not quite sure what to do, haha.
Trust me , Macs are great but not that great. I bought a G3 500 and that has been relegated to music server. Your really not going to get anywhere real fast with 300 mhz , plus they are very likely to break considering age.

You should be looking at g4 and above.
 

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Thanks for the advice guys. I'd really like to try out Mac's operating system first. I will have to see where the closest Mac retailer is to me.

There is a guy on here who is selling his iBook 300. Here is the web link to the classified ad: http://www.ehmac.ca/classifieds/showproduct.php?product=12030&sort=1&cat=3&page=2

For a basic computer it seems not bad. All I want it for is basic interest use (using MSN, email and webpages) and to be able to type my school work. I know it's an older computer and all but it sounds like it's in very good condition.

I'm not quite sure what to do, haha.
I would suggest not buying an iBook G3. You'll be kicking yourself in a few months. Those machines are incredibly low resolution, slow, and built-in wireless is a VERY expensive option ($150 and up). Also, the battery life on that unit would be very doubtful. The machine has been classified as "Vintage" by Apple, and has been in use for at least 7 years.

To get the very most out of a new Mac experience, I wouldn't buy anything less than a 1Ghz G4, and even that is pushing it. Also make sure the OS is nothing less than 10.3 Panther. Most applications do not support below 10.3, and many applications only support 10.4 Tiger.
 

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All she needs is iCab for web browsing, MSN version 2.5, Office 2001, iTunes 2.0, and she's set. Aside from some Flash websites, web browsing shouldn't be a problem. Only problem I see is that iTunes 2.0 does not support newer iPods afaik.

Macstation has been using iMac G3s for web surfing and invoicing until last year.

I do see snow iBook G3s (with the higher res screen, smaller form factor that'll be easier to carry around, etc.) for $300...
 

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I think Flash uses CPU power. The G3 will definitely be a tad slowish for Youtube and won't do it at all unless she upgrades to OS X Panther or Tiger but it'll do her word processing, e-mail, MSN messenger (older version) and play MP3s just fine even if she doesn't upgrade to OS X. All you need is a new battery for it -- $50-80 on eBay + shipping. The captain of SFU's womens basketball team still uses a Clamshell iBook just fine.
Oh, it will do basic word processing OK and email, but really, it would be better to spend more and get a G4 iBook.

Believe me, I really love my own iBook. It's been a real champion for me and was my workhorse for almost 3 years. And I'm still using it almost every day, but in recent months, even I have been forced to admit that it just doesn't cut the mustard anymore. I'll be getting a MacBook before the year is out.

And my machine is a G3 600, w/ AirPort, upgraded HD and maxed RAM. I can't imagine trying to use a G3 300 Clamshell with 160 MB of RAM and a 3 GB HD with no AirPort for anything useful.
 

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For a student with little cash to spend? Who desperately wants to get out of the PC world? I think the Clamshell is fine.
 

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For a student with little cash to spend? Who desperately wants to get out of the PC world? I think the Clamshell is fine.
A user that starts off with an antiquated machine is most likely going to become frustrated with the OS, as it will not be performing anywhere close to what it would on a newer, but still used, machine.

If they keep the older OS, they are severely limited - nobody develops for OS 9 anymore, so you're left with old apps with no updates.
 

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As for having a look at some of the software that is part of the iLife,here are a couple of free tutorials of what you can expect from the software, http://www.apple.com/ilife/tutorials/ . If you are interested there is also iWork, http://www.apple.com/iwork/

There is also www.lynda.com that has tutorials for almost all the software available, some parts are free, but for $25 a month you could learn everything from the OS to whatever software you may want to use.
 

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A user that starts off with an antiquated machine is most likely going to become frustrated with the OS, as it will not be performing anywhere close to what it would on a newer, but still used, machine.

If they keep the older OS, they are severely limited - nobody develops for OS 9 anymore, so you're left with old apps with no updates.
I agree, OS 9 is dead. You will spend your time learning an operating system that is antiquated and no longer supported, and it will not give you a realistic idea of what the Mac is capable of. Get something with Mac OS X 10.3 or above.
 

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Hi!

There will be some things the same between Windows and OS X, but expect -- and embrace -- a period of change and adjustment. After all, if it wasn't different, then why bother with it. Right? Change is good. Embrace it. You'll come to see that there are many advantages to the Mac platform, thanks to Apple's different set of values compared to Microsoft when it comes to THE WHY and THE HOW of user interface design.

Avoid a G3 if at all possible.

Myself and others from ehMac also hang out at a PC-centric website, and we have set up a great forum thread containing LOADS of tutorial links! CHECK IT OUT!
 

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If you can get a student rebate on a Macbook, I recommend it. It's the perfect computer for a student. You might also be able to pick up a refurbished Macbook right from the Mac store. Refurbished items are great. They come in a brand new case and aren't scratched or used and come with the same guarantee as a new Macbook and they can be a few hundred dollars less.

If you get a Mac, especially a laptop, make sure you also keep about 150-200$ in your budget to get a decent external drive (I have a 250 Gig one). The Macbook comes with a built-in iSight camera so if you have friends or family that are far or are you yourself attending an institution far from your friends you can use Skype to do audio/visual conversations for free over the internet, even if your friends parents have PCs.

Also, you should really improve the RAM that comes with your Macbook (should you buy one). They only come with 512 MBs of RAM which isn't ideal if you want your computer to run smoothly. The upgrade to 1024MBs of RAM is only 100$ more on the Mac website. If you want to upgrade to twice that, don't buy the RAM from Mac because they charge an outrageous 500$ for 2Gigs of RAM. If you want 2 gigs of RAM, get the base model with only 512 MBs of RAM and order the RAM online from a reliable source (I think other world computing sells good RAM at a good price).

Have fun and backup your files.
 

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