Is It Time to Buy an iMac?

1999 – I just read your advice about upgrading or replacing an older Mac, and my Performa 636CD works pretty well for my purposes (except no RealAudio). I had a logic board swap done about 1-1/2 years ago so I could add a 486 card for Windows 95 (it’s easier for me to adapt to Windows 95 than for my minister to adapt to the Mac OS).

I’m curious as to how the 636CD stacks up, speed-wise, against the new 400 MHz iMacs. In general, I’d prefer to wait until whatever Mac I choose as a replacement will provide a CPU benchmark two orders of magnitude better (i.e., will be 100 times faster than my current system . . . gee, don’t want much, do I?) But then I tired of the “upgrade shuffle” 5 or 6 years ago.

Thanks for any advice you can provide!


grape iMac DVTwo orders of magnitude? That’s a lot!

Let’s see, I went from a Mac Plus to a 16 MHz 68000 accelerator (doubled speed), then a Centris 610 (about 10x original Plus or 5x my accelerated Plus), then a SuperMac J700/180 (about 10x that!), then added a 250 MHz G3 card (for “only” a 75% boost in performance). That was during my first eight years as a Mac user.

I can’t imagine having stuck it out with my 16 MHz Plus until I could afford an iMac – the approximately 100:1 performance difference (two orders of magnitude) is too much to hold out for.

I rarely recommend upgrading for anything less than double the performance, but once you go past 5x, it’s usually a significant enough benefit to justify the expense.

I’m guessing the 400 MHz iMac would be “only” 20-30x as fast as your 636CD. That’s easily enough to justify the $1,299 price tag, especially in light of what you probably paid for the 636CD.

Keywords: #upgrade #orderofmagnitude

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