Buying advice: PowerMac G4 for Illustrator and Photoshop in OS 9

in General Discussion edited January 2014
My mom needs a new computer. Her blue G3, upgraded to G4/400, is just too slow for Photoshop work, particularly rastered files (I don't know what that means but hopefully some people here do).

She's a freelance cartographer and has been making maps in Illustrator since she worked on a Mac II with Illustrator 88. According to her, Illustrator is fast enough but Photoshop is way too slow. The main reason she'll be staying with OS 9 for now is that publishing companies (her main clients) are very stubborn and they tend to keep their same hardware and software for years and years. She'll eventually go to OS X primarily, and she'll have it on her hard drive, but she will be mainly using OS 9.

Here are some points to consider so far:

1. She'll be keeping the computer for years, probably 3-5, so it needs to last.

2. She needs lots of HD space. I suggested she get a 120 GB hard drive, because her current 12 GB one is just way, way too small.

3. She wants to buy it from a very reputable source, either an online retailer or an eBay Power Seller.

4. She will keep her blue 17" monitor, so that will reduce cost. She can afford to spend about $1600, but she'd prefer something less expensive than that.

5. She'll be using OS 9 for now but eventually she'll go to OS X, once publishing companies start switching.

The most useful information would be how useful dual processors are for photoshop in OS 9. I know they don't help the OS itself, but I heard they help with Photoshop.

I've been thinking one of the better Quicksilvers would be the best, one with L3 cache. A dual 800, single 867 (not the educational model), or single 933 would be the best. A digital audio 733 (not quicksilver 733) would also work, but she would probably prefer something a bit faster.

Thanks to anyone for their help.


  • Reply 1 of 2
    <professional consultant mode>

    With production Power Macs that are on a 3 year or greater upgrade cycle, I almost always recommend a refurbished machine for lower budgets. More bang for the buck, same 1 year factory warranty.

    Load it up with as much RAM as possible. Adding a second hard drive takes 5 minutes, 120 GB is a sweet spot in price/performance right now.

    Apple Store (look for Special Deals on lower left of the front page of

    Power Mac G4 867MHz DUAL/256MB/60GB/DVD-ROM/CDRW/GigE/56K - Refurbished $1699

    looks like a pretty good deal on a current-generation machine, put the savings into RAM.


    <a href=""; target="_blank"></a>;

    2 choices near the price range, $1799 for a dual 800 with a SuperDrive (my personal choice), or $1199 for a basic 767 MHz.

    Nothing good now in the refurb section of but I'd check them daily

    &lt;/professional consultant mode&gt;
  • Reply 2 of 2
    lucaluca Posts: 3,833member
    LOL, I just made what some would call a rash decision. I'm going to sell my mom my dual G4/500 and buy her blue G4. Yesterday I came to the realization that I don't need all the power offered by my computer. Quite simply, I never max it out. At first I considered ditching OS X and the G3 altogether and getting a cheap 7500 I saw at a local computer store for $40, but I made a compromise and decided to stay modern with a smurf tower.

    I used an 8100/100 until early this year. Then, for a few months, I used a PowerBook G3/233. But I went on an all-out power glut because I was trying to run OS X on the PowerBook, so I got this G4. I realized, though, that all I wanted to do was basic stuff in OS X. For this, the blue G4 will do fine. As long as I keep the software basic and old, it should be just as fast as when it came out.

    I even made a bet with a friend that I'd still be using it as my main computer for five more years. I'll upgrade when it's as old as the 8100 is now.
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