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Time-capsule PC-to-Mac switcher, wondering what to do. Help appreciated.

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
OK people if you could bear with me a little on this one, I know it's kind of an odd situation but based on past experiences I think you guys will come through for me. It's gonna be a long post by a confused but well-meaning person so please so feel free to ignore, but I'd love the insights of those prepared to persevere with me!

Long, long ago in 2005 I was considering switching from my clunky old Windows XP PC to Mac. I found and joined this forum and if you click on my old posts, you'll see I flooded the forum with a lot of dumb should-I-or-shouldn't-I switching questions and first-time Mac user teething troubles when I did finally become the owner of a shiny new Mac!

I got a G5 iMac 1.6Ghz with 512Mb RAM and Panther.

Anyway, this will probably sound weird to people but soon after getting my Mac I hit a bad patch in my life and I basically had to move in with my parents. I had a lot of issues going on at the time and if I needed to the use the internet I just borrowed my dads PC. My home wireless network was down so I just used my old XP PC to watch the odd DVD on. My shiny new Mac which I'd barely got to know kind of just sat there unused - dumb huh?!

I was kind of disappointed with Apple when it went over to Intel - having just learnt to snootily call PCs "Wintel boxes" (to use an old Mac-head expression you don't hear much anymore) I felt bad that my Mac seemed to be completely out of date after just a few months.

Anyway, onwards on upwards. I'm still at home but now things are a lot better and I'm back on my feet financially, emotionally and everything else. My old PC finally died and I realised it was silly not to use my Mac which was just sitting there practically brand-new in its box.

My brother-in-law installed a new homeplug network with two elderly Windows XPs and my Mac. Incidentally, he was so impressed with how the Mac just automatically put itself on the network and connected to the internet with no drama when he's spent ages getting the XP PCs to stop bitching and whining and having to be configured and having hissy-fits and needing software that he's said his next computer is going to be a Mac, so result there!

Anyway, I'm now back online with my old Mac, but although it works great I feel I've kind of missed the boat. It's a very old machine and all the software and stuff out there now seems to need 10.4 or later and an Intel processor. I feel the G5 just doesn't cut it these days.

Also I'm not that techy and I wondered if as I'm connected to two old Windows XP machines, I probably should have antivirus, not so much to protect the Mac, but if I accidentally download a Windows virus I might not even realise I have as it won't affect me, but would it affect the other two XP machines in the network even if I turned file-sharing off on my Mac? I thought it might so I tried to get anti-virus software for my Mac but as usual, all programs, free or paid, seemed to say 10.4 and Intel was the lowest they'd go and I can't find anything that provides other than limited support to 10.3.9.

I updated Firefox but it seems version 1.5 is the latest version I can have and it's up to a much later Mac version now:- 3.something! So even an embedded video on a website I visit fine on an ancient XP machine says I need to upgrade my browser, and the browser says I can't - again because of 10.3.9.

Seems Intel/10.4 is the minimum you need for most software now.

So I don't know, I guess I feel as I'm getting used to OSX again and beginning to get over the initial teething troubles, I feel I'm so behind in the Mac world, my own fault of course, that maybe I should be getting a brand-new iMac and then I can learn OSX on the latest version and kind of feel in touch with the Mac world again.

But I'm not sure - should I just cope with what I have? It seems such a shame when it's practically a brand-new machine. and I guess it worries me - okay it's an pretty old machine now, but it's only 5 and I feel that because of the Intel thing, which did after all happen only a few months after I got my G5, my 5-old-machine is obsolete even for web browsing. Say what you like about Windows, the support for the standard means an XP machine a lot older than my 5-year-old G5 Mac gets to have the latest version of any browser I choose, and virtually all Windows software released now still works on XP. I feel like maybe Apple leaves people with older machines behind a lot more - if I get a Mac now, will they completely change processes, OSX and standards again?

I really only use the computer for browsing, but I browse a lot of sites and I want to be able to go anywhere on the web and see everything, not be unable to even watch embedded video or have a modern browser because my computer is 5 years old.

I'm not attacking Mac here, I do appreciate how much better OSX is than Windows, but it's kind of worrying for the long term.

If I DO get a new iMac - well Mac Rumors says it's a "neutral" buy as it's mid product cycle but there seems to be a lot of talk about Lion coming quite soon, so although they might not do a major upgrade soon, do you think it might be a good plan to stick with my old Mac for a few more weeks or months, keep getting more used to OSX Panther, and then be more ready when Lion comes out and treat myself to the very latest iMac and then be completely up to date for a change? I am now in a position financially to afford a high-end Mac and I feel I deserve to treat myself after a difficult few years.

Finally, I felt a real sense of nostalgia reading my old posts and I was absolutely blown away by the quality of the replies - people were endlessly patient and supportive with me, and pleasant, polite and friendly too - and I am ashamed to see I didn't even always go back to the threads to thank them. So, a belated thanks to all who helped me if you're still around this site, and apologies - I am in a better place now and much more considerate of others - so if I'm still welcome then I'd like to feel part of the Mac community again, whether it's with an old G5 Mac or brand new Lion-equipped Mac!

So, hello again to you all, I'm back if you'll have me, thanks for everything and what do you all think?!

Told ya it'd be a long, odd post!
post #2 of 10
Have you thought about upgrading OSX? It would be very cheap to buy 10.5 nowadays.
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by smax View Post

Have you thought about upgrading OSX? It would be very cheap to buy 10.5 nowadays.

I did wonder but a friend told me that upgrading OSX isn't that easy, that Apple don't sell upgrades as such and you have to buy a whole new copy of OSX and it's quite a lot. Is that true? Could I buy a legitimate version of OSX 10.5 cheaply now? From Apple or is there a decent reseller I could trust (in the UK).

My spec is a G5 iMac with 512Mb memory and 1.6Ghz processor, do the lack of an Intel chip and these specs mean 10.5 would run too slowly, or does a lot of software now demand an Intel chip to work well?

Thanks for the reply....
post #4 of 10
Apple won't sell 10.5, but there's this thing called Ebay. It's in low demand and should be reasonably cheap.

As far as I know, 10.5 will run on it fine, you may want more RAM though. I'm honestly not sure about new programs requiring Intel, to my understanding the majority of OSX programs are packaged in fat binaries that include both PPC and Intel code.
post #5 of 10
Upgrade to 10.5... via eBay or whatever Brit equivalent you may have.

Your machine is old, but it's still more than powerful enough to browse the world wide web and write emails. It'll play flash without stuttering (well, might stutter on HD stuff)... you certainly haven't MENTIONED anything that that machine can't do just fine.
Add at least 1GB of RAM to it (you'll end up with 1.256 ) ... though 2GB (2x1GB modules) would be better.

Less than 100USD each for 10.5 (the last OSX that machine can use) and 2 1GB RAM modules.
So for less than 200USD you'll end up with a new OS and a good performing machine... MUCH cheaper than even a new Windows computer, never mind a new iMac!... no reason that shouldn't last you another year or two till you can easily (hopefully) afford to buy a "new" Mac. (You'll be able to wait till whatever comes next after the i5/7 chips... or at least till the i7 is considered the "base" model )

There are very few commonly used programs that actually require an intel CPU.
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From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, "Look at that!" -...
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post #6 of 10
I just wanted to state that the reason your old XP machines are still current is that Microsoft had so much trouble updating its OS. XP wasn't replaced until Vista came out and most Windows users didn't update until Windows 7 was released. If Microsoft had been able to stick to their original plans your XP machines would probably be is the same boat as your Panther machine, no new software.

Also, your G5 has been supported well beyond Panther. Tiger (10.4) and Leopard (10.5) both supported your G5. It wasn't until last fall, with the release of Snow Leopard (10.6), that Apple dropped support for PPCs. However they are still putting out security updates to Leopard. What I'm trying to say is not to worry about Lion. Any Mac you purchase today will be supported by Lion and any other OS released within the next 5 years. (Based on the 5 year support Apple gave the PPC before locking it out with Snow Leopard.)
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post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies guys, they've given me some stuff to think about. I understand better now about how Apple supported the G5 longer than I realised and I do realise that Vista was such a monumental piece of s*** that most people stuck with the old XP and are now skipping Vista and going straight to 7 - thanks aresee!

I am considering upgrading to OSX 10.5 and getting some more memory, that was a great suggestion thank you Kingof and Smax would be far cheaper than a new iMac and as you rightly say, even cheaper than a new Windows 7 PC. I also feel even an old Mac would feel better to use than any Win7 machine by the time I upgraded to 10.5.

We do have eBay in the UK, but the reason I didn't think of it for 10.5 was because I wasn't sure if it was safe to buy software on eBay, I thought it was best to avoid it as there were a lot of cowboys on there selling counterfeit stuff etc. As Apple don't supply 10.5 anymore, I thought maybe there wouldn't be any legitimate way of buying it anymore.

I am minded to follow your advice, get some more memory and 10.5 OSX as that should allow me to use more modern browsers and get some antivirus software. Then I can get used to the last-but-one version of OSX which will help me be more confident, then I can keep this current Mac for a while and then maybe when Lion and the next iMac generation comes out I'll treat myself to a top-of-the-range iMac and feel really up to date for a while!

A few questions if I may if you're all still bearing with me:-

1. I understand Apple don't sell "upgrade" editions as such, just full OSX. So if I buy a copy of OSX 10.5 will I be able to install it easily enough? Will I have to start again or will it save my settings etc (not a big deal as I have no files to transfer really).

2. Can I get a legitimate, sealed copy of OSX 10.5 from a legitimate retailer? I'd rather not use eBay but I would if I felt I could trust the seller.

3. What's the minimum amount of memory I should have? My original Mac came with 256Mb of RAM as standard but I ordered it direct from Apple and upgraded it to 512Mb so it came with 512Mb. I'm not sure if Apple will have used two 256Mb chips or one 512Mb one. Is it easy enough to fit new memory?

4. Lastly, I do seem to be having a lot of trouble with both Safari and Firefox on my Mac - a lot of website features like chat rooms, video etc. don't work and both programs seem to crash on anything but very basic sites. Do you think this is a fault with my Mac, or just because I have such old versions of the browsers which would be fixed by upgrading to 10.5? Because if my Mac is faulty, it seems silly to upgrade it - I'd just be better off buying a new Mac.

5. And finally, when I have 10.5 OSX or even 10.6 OSX if I do buy a new Mac, how's the browser situation now? I still get people telling me that some websites don't like Macs, particularly chat rooms. I do use chat rooms a lot, so if a Mac can't handle those I'm afraid it would have to be back to Windows 7, which doesn't fill me full of enthusiasm believe me. But I really need a computer which can access any website including videos and chatrooms. Do any of you have any problems accessing these features with your more modern OSX and browsers?

Thanks so much for your help so far. I hope I can continue to be a Mac user and get a lovely shiny new Lion iMac soon!
post #8 of 10
1. Easy to install... It gives you the choice to do a full install (starting from "0") or an upgrade install... your choice, both are easy.

2. Not from an "Apple Authorized" retailer. though you may be able to find a "sealed/new" disc SOMEwhere. Just take the plunge on eBay ... worst case scenario only has you taking a hit for about USD40.00.

3. That machine will only recognize 3GB ... (2x2GB modules = 4, but the machine will only "see" 3.) 2GB total will be plenty to see you through. 1GB would be adequate.

4. It's not a fault of your hardware... could be a fault of the versions of the Browsers your using... but even that seems odd. (If you upgrade to 10.5, do a full "clean" install... that would be sure to replace any corrupt files that MIGHT be causing your problems.)

5. Don't listen to what Windows users tell you about Mac compatibility. If they didn't work, Apple wouldn't be the largest selling computer brand in the U.S.
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post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KingOfSomewhereHot View Post

1. Easy to install... It gives you the choice to do a full install (starting from "0") or an upgrade install... your choice, both are easy.

2. Not from an "Apple Authorized" retailer. though you may be able to find a "sealed/new" disc SOMEwhere. Just take the plunge on eBay ... worst case scenario only has you taking a hit for about USD40.00.

3. That machine will only recognize 3GB ... (2x2GB modules = 4, but the machine will only "see" 3.) 2GB total will be plenty to see you through. 1GB would be adequate.

4. It's not a fault of your hardware... could be a fault of the versions of the Browsers your using... but even that seems odd. (If you upgrade to 10.5, do a full "clean" install... that would be sure to replace any corrupt files that MIGHT be causing your problems.)

5. Don't listen to what Windows users tell you about Mac compatibility. If they didn't work, Apple wouldn't be the largest selling computer brand in the U.S.

King by name and by nature, thank you so much. I guess I am still getting to know my "new to me" Mac so I'm still kind of nervous about everything, I am a worrier by nature and don't do change very well so I tend to panic even at little problems then beat myself up over it for being dumb!
I think I'll give my old girl Mac G5 more time - she's hardly had time to show me what she can do! I think you're right, a clean install of 10.5 and some new memory will give her a new lease of life and then I can get used to OSX and Macs in full and save up for a new Mac eventually when I actually do need one!
I think a clean install would be good too because I really have no files and I've barely messed around with the settings yet, so I'd have nothing to lose.

Thanks again, friend! I really appreciate all the support I've had on here, it's really reassuring for a silly old worrier like me!
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
Just to let everyone know who helped me - I finally made my mind up. My practically-new, hardly-used 5-year-old iMac G5 with Panther and 512Mb has had a well-deserved upgrade.

In the end I decided to go for 2Gb of new memory from Crucial, so it has the maximum memory it can use and they're a matching pair so it can use the dual-channel feature.

I also found a sealed "old-stock" copy of Leopard on eBay from a 100% trusted seller who seemed to know a lot about Macs. I double-checked it was the UK version and why they had it to sell and sure enough a brand-new, sealed retail UK copy of OSX Leopard was delivered quickly.

The memory cost £74 (US$115) and Leopard £107 (US$167) - but the used retail versions of Leopard were going for £70-80 so it seemed worth it to pay a little more for a sealed brand-new copy, and I did negotiate them down from £120.

I was so impressed with how well-designed my iMac was - installing the memory was a breeze even for a novice like me - it was so well laid-out in inside and so easy to open up and close, and it recognised the new memory with no fuss at all. Likewise my Leopard installation went just fine, nice and easy apart from the one little question I had here which of course you guys helped me with so kindly.
So overall for £181 I have what feels like a brand-new Mac! I am very impressed with Leopard and it feels so much sleeker and faster with the new memory and new OS, and since Leopard is the last but one OSX, most programs work on it fine.

I couldn't get Chrome, that wants an Intel processor, but Safari and Firefox now let me have the latest version so that's solved my problems.

I owe it all to you guys - £181 is a heck of a lot cheaper than a new Windows PC and certainly cheaper than a £999 new iMac which is the other option I was considering!

I think my "new" old Mac will last me a good couple of years more.

Thanks everyone, hope I can return the favour to someone else one day and glad I stuck with Mac!
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