Best way to stay up to date...?

in General Discussion edited January 2014
I'm wondering what is the most cost effective way to stay up to date with Mac hardware, i.e. keeping your hardware current while spending as little as possible in the process.

Would it be best to buy a high end model then twelve (or even six) months later auction it online to recoup as much as you can while it's still fairly new, and then again buy the latest? Or perhaps renting would be the most cost effective way to stay continuously up to date...

How often do you guys (and gals) go through the process of selling and updating, what are your opinions?


  • Reply 1 of 3
    lucaluca Posts: 3,833member
    I have totally flip-flopped with hardware recently, but I was like a rock before April of last year.

    I used a PowerMac 7100/80 for about five years, from late 1996 to late 2001. I got an 8100/100 which I used until April 2002, when I got a Wallstreet PowerBook. Then I replaced that with a dual 500 MHz G4 tower in August. Last December, I got an iBook instead of the G4 tower... so what do I know about being cost effective!

    But in fact, I did learn something from all that. I didn't really lose much money from all those transactions, mainly because the machines were just the right ones. If you want to be cost effective, the absolute WORST way to do it is to buy high-end stuff. Here's an example:

    In early 2001, the 733 MHz PowerMac G4 was released. Six months later, the line was updated to 733/867/dual 800. That meant that the 733 MHz model went from $3500 to $1600 in no time flat. It's a little less pronounced now, with the dual GHz machines going from the high end to the middle, but it's still a bad investment.

    Low end machines hold on to their value pretty well. Take the 700 MHz iBook released last May as an example. When it came out, it was $1500. Nowadays, they go for $1000-$1100 or so. That's only a $400-$500 loss in eight months. Compare it to an $1800 loss in six months, and you get the picture.

    High end pro hardware tends to depreciate really, really fast at first, but once they get to a certain point, they don't go down as fast. My dual 500, for example, was $3500 when it came out. I bought it for $1250 last August, and I sold it for $1150 last month. Not a huge difference there.

    Also, desktops depreciate faster than laptops. First generation PowerBook G4s, for example, still sell for over $1000 on eBay, even though you can get an iBook with a much faster processor and graphics card for the same price. Even the last PowerBook G3, the Pismo, will rake in about $800-$1000 these days, and it doesn't even have an advantage over the iBook the way the Titanium does with its big screen and G4 processor.

    Eventually, a computer will hit rock bottom, and just not get any cheaper any more. Currently, rock bottom for desktops is around the Quadra or 601-based PowerMac line, with most of those machines going for $30 or less. Rock bottom for laptops is still stuck on the 68030-based PowerBook 1xx series, as even the 68040-based 500 series are still going for $50-$100. Of course, a rock-bottom computer isn't a way to stay "current," but at least it won't depreciate any as long as you have it.

    I'd say, if you want to stay current for about a year and then get back a good portion of your money, get a new iBook or a used PowerMac G4 from 6-12 months ago. The iBook will cost you $1000-$1300 now, and you can sell it for $700-$1000 in a year's time. A used PowerMac G4, depending on which model you get, will be about the same.
  • Reply 2 of 3
    *waiting for the obligatory ebay comment from murbot*
  • Reply 3 of 3
    To stay updated with Apple hardware cheapest there is actually only one rule: Do excatly what Murbot does. Right now it seems to be: Buy an iBook and a iMac later this month.
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