OS X on an original iMac 233 - would you do it?

in macOS edited January 2014
I have a potential client who wants to upgrade his Bondi iMac from OS 9 to OS X. He's done some homework, having read up on OS X, and he wants to enjoy the benefits of it. He's aware that it'll be fairly slow, and that he has to boost the RAM.

From what I read, you can kick it up as high as 512, which should be fine. He really doesn't seem interested in upgrading anything else (the argument being that if you start upgrading other stuff, it gets close to being not worth it -- why not just buy a new machine?), and since RAM makes the biggest difference, I recommended boosting the memory.

Still . . . is this doable? He DID say "I can deal with it being kind of slow." Is it UNBEARABLY slow with 512 RAM? (He may cheap out and only go for 256, though.)


  • Reply 1 of 14
    fotnsfotns Posts: 301member
    256MB or 512MB, it would not make much of a difference. It will still be unbearably slow.
  • Reply 2 of 14
    emaneman Posts: 7,204member
    [quote]Originally posted by FotNS:

    <strong>256MB or 512MB, it would not make much of a difference. It will still be unbearably slow.</strong><hr></blockquote>

    It'll definately be slow but I really doubt it'll be unbearably slow as long as he's not doing anything too demanding.
  • Reply 3 of 14
    noahjnoahj Posts: 4,503member
    [quote]Originally posted by FotNS:

    <strong>256MB or 512MB, it would not make much of a difference. It will still be unbearably slow.</strong><hr></blockquote>

    Posting this on a 400 MHz iMac. It is not unbearably slow. 233 will be a bit slower though. 512MB should help a lot either way.

    [ 11-12-2002: Message edited by: NoahJ ]</p>
  • Reply 4 of 14
    lucaluca Posts: 3,833member
    On slow computers, anything above 256 MB won't make a big difference. On my Wallstreet 233 MHz, it was very slow with 160 MB and also very slow with 384 MB. No real difference. With faster computers, increasing it helps more, but I would say anything above 256-384 is probably a waste.

    One big thing that OS X needs is hard drive space. I suppose this iMac has the standard 4 GB hard drive? That'll be usable, but you will be getting low. Just so you know. You may want to invest in an external USB hard drive, just for storing stuff. It'll be slow, but it's all you can do with the pre-FireWire iMacs. You could also try replacing the internal HD, but it's very difficult.

    I would suggest doing some software modifications to speed it up. I found that the haxie called "ShadowKiller" from Unsanity (www.unsanity.com) will speed things up a lot by turning off drop shadows. It's a free download. Another thing you can do to free up hard drive space and speed things up is to only install what's required for OS X - when you're on the OS X install screen, you need to keep a close eye on the "Customize" button in the lower left corner. When it's no longer dimmed, click it and you can choose what to install and what not to install. You can probably skip the "extra printer drivers" except the one for the company that made your printer (if you have one), the localized files (for running OS X in a different language), and the BSD subsystem (only useful for developers).

    Finally, you should turn off effects like dock bouncing and magnification. If you really need to squeeze out as much speed as possible, you should also use a plain color background instead of a picture, and run it in thousands of colors instead of millions.

    Good luck, I hope you enjoy!
  • Reply 5 of 14
    hobbeshobbes Posts: 1,252member
    When does your potential client plan to upgrade his computer?

    I'm asking because between the cost of 512MB RAM (doesn't the Bondi iMac have a 128MB or 256MB limit?) and Jaguar, you're looking at about $150-$200 right there.

    It's something to consider.

    I would not recommend OS X for the original iMac, btw, for anything but webserving, the most very basic computer use (browsing, E-mail, writing) or people with a yearnin' for punishment. Otherwise, stick with OS 9.

    [ 11-13-2002: Message edited by: Hobbes ]</p>
  • Reply 6 of 14
    Well, I've made the guy aware of the limitations of his machine, even with the memory boost. He seemed interested in pressing forward nonetheless. So I sent him details on what it would cost.

    I do know OS X is quite usable on my sister's iMac DV/400, but that's with a hard drive upgrade (60 GB, 7200 rpm) and 384 MB RAM. Not really the same animal.

    And I'm just getting started in this consulting thing. I NEEEEEED the money, BAD. If I tell the guy what to expect in terms of lack of speed, well . . . haven't I done my part?

  • Reply 7 of 14
    lucaluca Posts: 3,833member
    The RAM limit stated by Apple on the Bondi iMac is 384 MB. However, they are wrong, it will take two 256 MB modules, not just a 256 and a 128. They were also wrong about my Wallstreet - According to Apple, the RAM limit is 192 MB, for a 64 MB low profile and a 128 MB high profile, but now that 256 MB low profile SODIMMS are available you can put two 256 MB modules in and get a grand total of 512 MB in a Wallstreet. I know this for a fact, I put 256 MB in the lower slot and 128 MB in the upper slot on one of those computers and it worked perfectly.
  • Reply 8 of 14
    escherescher Posts: 1,811member
    I ran OS X 10.0 on my Rev.A with 192MB RAM. It was very slow compared to OS 9, but bearable. I haven't tried X on it again since, but I am certain that 10.2 would be much better. As Luca pointed out, the main reason I ditched OS X on my Bondi was the lack of HDD space.

    [quote]Originally posted by Luca Rescigno:

    <strong>One big thing that OS X needs is hard drive space. I suppose this iMac has the standard 4 GB hard drive? That'll be usable, but you will be getting low. Just so you know. You may want to invest in an external USB hard drive, just for storing stuff.</strong><hr></blockquote>

    USB is sucky and slow. Replacing the internal HDD with a faster 40GB drive would certainly make a large difference. You can get a 40GB 7200rpm IBM Deskstar 120GXP that will work great in the Rev.A for ca. $80 from Googlegear.com. IMHO, that would be almost as important as more memory.

    As others have pointed out above though, $100 for RAM, $130 for Jaguar, $100 for HDD, plus your consulting fee add up. Your client might be better off tossing in a bit more money and getting a close-out Snow iMac.

  • Reply 9 of 14
    rhoqrhoq Posts: 190member
    [quote]Originally posted by Luca Rescigno:

    <strong> You could also try replacing the internal HD, but it's very difficult.</strong><hr></blockquote>

    Actually - it's not difficult at all. I replaced the 6GB HD in my iMac 350 a few months ago with a Western Digital 100GB, 7200 RPM. (I also replaced the slot loading CD-Rom with a slot loading DVD-Rom).

    Once you get the iMac case open and learn where everything is, replacing the HD is really very easy. It is as simple as disconnecting the power and IDE cable. Unscrewing the HD from the harness. Setting the new drive to "Master" and screwing it into the harness. Hooking up the power and IDE cables to the new drive and screwing the case back together. Shouldn't take any longer than 10 minutes from start to finish.

    When I first installed OS-X on my iMac, I had 192MB of RAM and the 6GB HD. Being as though I like to keep a lot of stuff on my HD, I always had less than 1GB of available space after installing OS-X. OS-X was a bit slow and quirky (apps would take a long time to launch if other apps were running, etc.) with only 192MB of RAM. So, I upgraded to 512MB and the 100GB HD.

    While the 512MB of RAM doesn't make a huge impact on speed, it does make a noticable difference where performance in concerned. OS-X runs a lot smoother with 512MB than it did with just 192MB of RAM.

    Short of spending the money on a beautiful new Mac, I would recommend investing in a RAM upgrade and a larger HD. I paid $30 each for 2 units of 256MB PC100/133 memory and $130 for a 100GB ATA 7200 HD. It's less than $200 to make your iMac perform better than it ever has!

    [ 11-13-2002: Message edited by: Rhoq ]</p>
  • Reply 10 of 14
    I would have to say I agree with the idea of getting a snow iMac. However, I just wanted to let you know that I am using Mac OS 10.2.2 on a 333mhz iMac with 192MB RAM and yes it is slower than Mac OS 9, but it is any thing but unbearably slow. I have a 6GB HD, and it is almost full. I think you could get away with the 4GB, but it wouldn't be fun. You would have to install only what you need (leave out other language support etc) if you wanted to have any space to work with.

    [ 11-13-2002: Message edited by: drumbug1 ]</p>
  • Reply 11 of 14
    I have a Bondi 233 iMac and it runs 10.2.2 very well. I even have all the bells and whistles turned on after getting Jagwire.

    Now it is noticably slower than the Lime iMac I have or the Powerbook. But it is also way more stable than it was under 9. Surfing, iTunes, word processing work fine.

    Now I would recomend he buy a new iMac as Apple needs the sale. Plus 4 years is a reasonable upgrade time. But it is possible to run X on the Bondi.
  • Reply 12 of 14
    spartspart Posts: 2,060member
    Running 10.2 on an iMac 233MHz is not unbearably slow. In fact, if you stick to good Cocoa apps (Mail, Omniweb, iChat, Proteus, Transmit, Acquisition, etc.) the system doesn't bog down at all. Even leaving Photoshop open doesn't bog it down (although it is a very well coded Carbon app.)

    I have 384MB of RAM stuffed in here, 256MB in the lower slot and 128 in the upper.

    As for whoever said they upgraded their HD on a 350MHz iMac, the Rev. A-D and slot loading models are very different inside, even if they look similar outside. Replacing the RAM and HD is fairly simple, especially once you've taken the computer apart a few times.

    Just tell him to not expect to run any games at all, bar simple stuff like EV Nova, and not to run big apps like Photoshop or Dreamweaver.

    Also, you must run a well-maintained OS X install to keep it snappy. Don't be tempted to install any of that shite stuff that makes it more similar to 9, f*** OS 9, it's dead.

    And to whoever said that thousands of colors makes it run faster, on my machine, I can't tell the difference, except for that everything looks like a**.

    Also tell the guy that when running iTunes, close the window after playing something so the stupid scrolling and custom interface don't eat away at the responsiveness.
  • Reply 13 of 14
    lucaluca Posts: 3,833member
    I would have to agree with Spart... although I said turning it to thousands instead of millions might help, that hasn't been the case in my experience on my Wallstreet. The main thing I noticed was that most simple applications ran just fine - the only problem was loading time and multiple applications. Generally things took a number of bounces to load. System prefs took 4-6 bounces, as opposed to 1 bounce (2 if I'm unlucky) on my dual 500 MHz G4.

    The other thing is that anything that taxed the graphics at all would slow the entire system down. For example, when using iChat, the entire system would nearly come to a halt for the small amount of time it takes to do the little scroll effect for displaying new messages. Browsing was generally good. The real problem was iTunes. I could not keep it from skipping unless I did almost nothing while it was playing.
  • Reply 14 of 14
    Yes- graphics or Quartz stuff is tough. I think the porblem is not the 233 chip but the Graphics processor.
Sign In or Register to comment.