Too Much Is Not Enough

PowerBook 3400cMacintoshes in my apartment, right now: A 12-in. PowerBook G4, which is my principal machine, on which I do nearly all of my work. A 15-in. Titanium PowerBook G4, which I retired a year ago, but which I still use for miscellaneous tasks and as an impromptu file server. A Power Macintosh G4, aging but still remarkably serviceable and running Mac OS X Panther quite nicely — this is my girlfriend’s workhorse, but it too will soon retire as she makes plans to buy herself a PowerBook G4. And finally, tucked away someplace where my girlfriend can’t complain about it, an ancient PowerBook 3400c/180, a relic of the nineties with a busted motherboard that I’m toying with getting repaired just for the heck of it.

That should be enough Macs for one little East Village apartment, right? Apparently not, as I’ve been entertaining the idea of adding a Power Macintosh G5 to the mix, to remedy the increasingly slow performance of my 12-in. PowerBook G4. It would be great to have a desktop machine again, after so long working on laptops exclusively — I’m daydreaming about all those slots and fast ports.

And I still haven’t completely given up on the idea of a Mac mini as a server of some kind, though I’m less enthusiastic about this model now after realizing that the hard drive is so slow and the case so difficult to open. Still, I could put it to good use, just as I could put any Mac you throw my way to some kind of good use. I’ll never have enough of these machines.

  1. I hear that!
    I have my G4 1GHz iMac as my central machine, which would do anyone really. But I keep my old graphite clamshell G3 366 iBook as a road warrior. Enough? No! I am currently racking my brains for ways to accommodate the original Bondi Blue iMac that my parents have no use for.
    Music? Only 4GB HD.
    Server? Panther might kill it.
    Fishtank? Ah, now you’re talking.

    (And let’s not mention the LC575 I have somewhere)

  2. I highly recommend checking out a 20 inch iMac G5 instead of a PowerMac. It’s like you’re getting a G5 and then a brand new 20 inch LCD for only a couple hundred extra. The only way I’d ever buy a PowerMac again at this point is if I were doing video editing and needed the dual procs.

  3. Mike D.: I’m kind of addicted to a dual-screen setup, something my PowerBook allows. Would an iMac G5 allow it too? Half the appeal of a desktop, for me, is getting access to faster USB and FireWire buses and those PCI ports. We’ve upgraded my girlfriend’s G4 several times and gotten lots of additional life out of it thanks to its expandability; I’d like to do the same with a G5.

    David: My understanding is that the Mac mini’s internal hard drive spins at 5400 rpm. That’s as slow as my PowerBook and very frustrating; I’m really in the market for a machine that has a 7200 rpm drive.

  4. Man – I am in exactly the same boat. I have the 12″ Powerbook – it is my main machine and I love it. But there are several apps I use daily **flash** that make me wish I had the Powermac G5. I’ve been on Apple’s site nearly every day the last several weeks pricing various configs. It’s so tempting. The only thing holding me back is the fear of a Powermac upgrade that may get released soon.

    I also have the Mac mini – which makes for a nice addition to my home theater – see my site for my setup. But it’s purpose is to entertain me – not to make Flash any more peppy. What’s a guy to do.

    I like Mike’s iMac recommendation – just don’t know when to pull the trigger. Good luck.

  5. Khoi, you can use this script to enable monitor spanning with the iMac. The video cards that come with these machines have support built-in for dual monitors, but Apple intentionally cripples them via firmware modifications. Silly, isn’t it?

    The iMac is great, except you can’t upgrade the video card, which is pretty unfortunate. I’m pretty happy with mine, though.

    That said, I have pretty much frozen my Apple-buying mojo in a large block of ice for a while, seeing as I’ve purchased not one, not two, but three new machines in the last 12 months: a 15″ powerbook and 20″ G5 iMac (both for me), and a 12″ iBook last October as a Christmas gift for my girlfriend.

    I can feel my nerd guilt starting to rise. Time to go out and churn some butter old school style, or wash some laundry by the old Mill creek.

  6. hi nice and clean website…
    but for the article text, i think better put text-align:justify so it will look better..

    Malaysia Boleh!

  7. Lovely 🙂

    I can’t imagine for the life of me how you can work with a 12″ PB – I’ve gotten so used to higher resolutions and everything on my 15″.

    Buying a 20″ iMac this week… can’t fucking wait. I was looking at prices for G5 and it’s like… wait the iMac is cheaper… and I a 20″ LCD? That would cost a bundle on its own? Hello?

  8. I too use a 12″ power book as my main/only computer, though I have thought about upgrading it to one of the new 15″ PBs, I just want a little more screen real-estate, but I love the compactness of the 12″.

    Like Mike D I would have to say going with the iMac G5 is probably a better option than the Cheese Grader G5. When I was looking into getting an iMac for my mom (we’re now getting her a mini) I started toying with getting one for myself. It does all the things I need it to do and I’d get a brand spanking new monitor to boot.

  9. I’m finally looking to switch over to one of these bad boys myself. Which is the most suitable for web design? I’m presuming a top end one like a Powermac G5 isn’t completely necessary.

  10. I’d highly suggest checking out the Apple-certified refurbs on the Apple site. That’s the route I’ll probably go when I finally retire my Quicksilver 933, though I’m not buying ANYTHING from them until they come out with some new, seriuosly improved Power Macs. They are gettin’ long in the tooth as the saying goes… though based on the size trends for them the next generation will probably be the size of a small refrigerator!

  11. What’s long in the tooth about the current Power Macintosh G5 line? I’m not trying to defend them; I’m just curious what you see as deficient about them, and whether I should have similar concerns.

  12. Nah just that they’re overdue for at least a bump up in terms of Apple’s refresh schedule. As the (other) saying goes, the “right time” to buy a computer is when you need it.

    Most of the speculation is just based on looking at time between refreshes over past years and previous generation Power Macs. And remember long ago Steve was all blabbing about 3Ghz G5s? Then there’s those rumors about the Cell processor, but I think those have largely been dismissed… it’s a big parlor game. I’m glad I don’t plan purchases for a large Mac department. If you need one now, just go for it.

  13. Unless you *really* need one (which um, depends on the eye of the beholder, esp in this case 😉 I’d suggest at least holding out till the WWDC in early June, when 10.4 is likely to be released. Or at least close to then – otherwise you might have to pay to upgrade to 10.4 right away as well…

  14. Nice, well with the monitor spanning script that neil pointed to, you’re probably all set to span with a 20 inch iMac.

    I have one at work and one at home (to go with the 12″ PB) and both are superb machines. Unless I needed two processors for hard core video editing, I can’t see why I’d ever need a PowerMac.

  15. I thought long and hard about what mac to get. I thought about the mini. The numbers look like it could be a nice machine to use but I love using two monitors and that is why I decided against it. Having the mobility of a laptop would be great so that almost wore me out. I thought about the 20 inch and came close to getting it but I just thought it couldn’t grow very well. I got the powermac dual 1.8 and have no regrets. In your case with you having so many it seems like you should just get any of them because its not like this is your first or last one you will ever get.

Thank you! Your remarks have been sent to Khoi.