I thought that my first experiences with the Mac would be
interesting to share, as I have been and still am an avid PC user.
However, I now use a Mac daily, and I am liking it very much.
First off, let me clearly state that I am a hardware junkie, and
I love it (which is why I chose to study Electrical Engineering - I
graduate in a year). I spend more time tinkering, configuring, and
upgrading my computers than actually using them, and that's fine
with me. This is why I've been a PC user for about ten years.
My first time using a Mac was circa 1993, when I had done some
work for a buddy's father, scanning some books and documents for a
few days. I was really impressed by the machine at that time. It
was a Quadra (don't remember
the model) with 40 MB RAM and close to 1 GB of hard drive. That was
a phenomenal computer back then, and it smoked any PC I had ever
used (at the time, I had a 16 MHz i386 PC with 1 MB RAM). But I did
not have much money, so a couple years later I bought a PC. I stuck
with the platform since then.
Fast-forward to Y2K. I now run an AMD Athlon-based Windows PC,
overclocked from 600 MHz to 750 MHz, using a self-crafted
overclocking card. I'm almost finished building a
thermoelectrically water-cooled enclosure for the above system. The
video card is maxed out, the hard drive system is top-notch, and I
find myself with very little hardware to work on.
That's when about a month ago, I saw a newsgroup posting from a
local store that was giving away old compact Macs. I went and grabbed the two last Macintosh Plus machines that were left.
I figured I could at least disassemble them and use some parts. It
turns out that they worked fine, and it was even possible to do
some light work with them.
This started to bring back my interest for Macs. I started
looking around for older Macs and parts, and I was lucky enough to
stumble on a post from a guy who was cleaning out his garage full
ou older Mac stuff. For $100 Canadian (about US$65), I got two
carloards full of stuff, including a Mac
IIx, an LC III, a Duo 210, and original Portable, another Plus, a few displays,
books, external drives, adapters, cables, and loads of boards, to
name a few. And I got a Mac IIsi
with a 14-inch Trinitron display and an LC II for free just by asking around.
I've been learning the inner workings of Macs in the last few
weeks, and I've managed to get almost all the systems up and
running with a clean OS. (I had to throw away two Mac 512ks with blown displays.) Well,
one thing led to another, and I wanted a more powerful Mac to be
able to download software to install on the older ones (I needed
ethernet, as all computers in my house are connected via a cable
modem router). So I started to look around, and eventually a great
deal came up. About two weeks ago, I bought a Power Macintosh 9500/132 with 64 MB of RAM
and 4 GB hard drive along with an Apple Trinitron 17-inch
display for $500 Canadian(about US$350). You can really get great
deals on local buy and sell newsgroups!
I've been using that computer for Web and email since then, and
it is just great. I've found that IE 5.0 for Mac is much better
that it's Windows counterpart (ironic, isn't it?). I don't know
what it is about OS 9, but it is really attractive and
friendly-looking. And I'm impressed by the performance of a 132 MHz
CPU, which is expected to be really slow in my PC world.
In the days to come, I'll probably add an Ultra-Wide SCSI card
with larger disks and see if I can't upgrade the beast to a G3
without breaking the bank. In the meantime, I still look for old
Macs to fix up (along with the regular host of PCs I rebuild now
and then), and every single one has proven to be a learning
experience. Just the other day, I picked up a Power Mac 6100/66 for free; the person that
had it said it would not boot. Turns out that there was a dead
battery on the motherboard. After a quick replacement, I have a
working Power Mac 6100. Add in 64 MB of RAM (a remnant of a older
PC) and a 2 GB hard drive borrowed from the 9500, and you've got a
system that remarkably useable - with a 66 MHz processor. That's
It was the hardware that drew me into MacLand, and once there I
discovered a great OS to go along with it, which I will keep using
to get real work done.
It will, however, take quite a bit of convincing to tear me away
from my Athlon box for gaming.
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