Yes, it’s finally reached the point where I’m thinking about upgrading my Mac. I’ve had my Blue & White G3 for a couple of years now, and it has served me well so far. It’s been reliable, fast (compared to my PC anyway), efficient, and of course drop-dead-gorgeous, but it’s finally beginning to show its age.
I bought it second hand on eBay, and it came already upgraded to include a 1GHz G4 processor, although the motherboard itself remained standard. While the extra processor speed was useful, the rest has suffered from not having the benefits of the G4 motherboard, which has prohibited the use of more powerful graphics cards capable of the clever QuartzExtreme jobbies that really make OS X shine. Neither does the G3 support Airport Extreme, as far as I am aware, which is the latest line of wireless connectivity addons that Apple has created to connect our Macs to the net. At the moment I’m still using one of those old-fashioned CAT5 cables, which is so last decade. The computer also only came with two 10GB hard disks, which was hardly sufficient, and they soon made way for a 250GB disk taken out of an external firewire drive. Unfortunately the G3 motherboard doesn’t recognise anything that enormous, so I could only format half of that, but so far 128GB has been plenty for my needs.
However, there are now some more important issues to deal with. A couple of times now the PSU fan hasn’t turned on, which has left the computer to get rather hot, which isn’t exactly ideal. I’ve found that hitting it sometimes revives it, or turning the whole thing off and on again. The trouble is, that remedy only works if I notice that the fan isn’t on and take action. The other main problem, which may be connected, is that just recently I’ve been having difficulty turning the thing on in the morning. I press the power switch, the fans spin into life, but that’s as far as it gets. No startup chord, no reading from the hard disk, no output to the monitor, nothing. To get it to actually start up I have to either repeatedly press the reset button until it boots up, or switch it off and on again a few times. Now, on the one hand I’m patient enough to put up with this, but on the other hand it might be symptomatic of some underlying problem with the computer.
So, the long and short of it is that I’m now on the lookout for a new Mac. When I say ‘new’, what I really mean is ‘better than my current Mac but still second hand’. My 1GHz Mac hasn’t really been slow in running the programs I use regularly, so I’m not looking for the most powerful computer available. That said, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to invest in something a little faster just to make sure it’s a little more future-proof. So I guess I’m looking for something like a G4 Dual 1.24GHz machine, something with plenty of oomph but without the hefty price tag. As fun as a G5 would be, they’re not just not within my budget at the moment! I have looked at getting a Mac Mini, but as great as they seem there’s just no option to upgrade odd bits and pieces at a later date, should anything go wrong. I’m scouring eBay for a good deal at the moment, but if any of you faithful readers happens to have something you are getting rid of that you think might be up my street, do let me know! Similarly, if anyone would be interested in buying my old G3 after I’m done with it, that would also be useful.