Mac Daniel's Advice

Speeding Up an Old iMac

Evan Kleiman - 2000.09.01

Q. I have an older iMac, and it seems compared to the newer (and much cheaper) iMacs, it's very slow. What can I do about this?

A. There are several things you can do to bring your iMac up to par with the snazzy new ones.

The first solution is the obvious one: add more memory! Adding memory lets your computer keep more programs open and do more things at one time. The price for memory is always dropping, so you can get cheap memory for your iMac at your local Best Buy or CompUSA, or check out sites like eBay and ramseeker for even better deals.

Another solution is to upgrade your hard drive. Upgrading your hard drive doesn't have to be a huge, involved project if you're looking for space but not speed. It's very easy to find an external USB hard drive that you can connect to your iMac, but that will be a lot slower than replacing the internal hard drive. Every day the prices for hard drives seem to go down, so you can always find some sort of a hard drive for under US$150. Checking out will help you get the best buy for your money. The best deal I've seen so far is a 13 GB drive for $199.

The last solution is a little bit more work: a total processor upgrade. Power Logix offers the iForce. The iForce is a completely new processor for your iMac. To make it work, you open up your computer (which completely voids your warranty), pull out your old processor, and put your new one in. For a base price of $299 you can turn your slow 266 MHz computer into a fast 400 MHz candy colored speed demon.

If a 400 MHz G3 isn't enough for your iMac, you can get even more. Newer Tech offers the iMAXpowr G4, a 433 MHz G4. Yes, this will make your Bondi Blue Bombshell faster than some new iMacs. However it will cost you $549, so for the price of this, you could probably buy a new iMac and sell your old one.

Of course, both of these processor upgrades come with some form of instruction manual to pry apart your computer.

Now these upgrades still won't give your iMac the glimmer and glitz of a new one, and it won't make it smell just like new. (iMacs have a new smell don't they?) But it will still give you a much fast computer.

Evan Kleiman has been writing for Low End Mac since January 1999. He also runs his own site, Evansite. Evan uses an iMac, along with some vintage hardware. You can read more about his computing experience in The Many Macs of Evan Kleiman.

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Not sure if you should upgrade your old Mac or replace it? Check the Mac Daniel index to see if we've already addressed your problem.

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