My Turn

The Mac You Want at a Price You Can Afford

Pastor Scott - 2001.12.07

My Turn is Low End Mac's column for reader-submitted articles. It's your turn to share your thoughts on all things Mac (or iPhone, iPod, etc.) and write for the Mac web. Email your submission to Dan Knight .

Many Mac aficionados resemble the old Midas commercial, "I'm not going to spend a lot for that computer!" Let's face it, we refuse to pay retail for a computer that depreciates faster than the L.A. Clippers dreams of a playoff berth. A good choice for a family on a budget is the faithful old "Pizza Box" Macs (the name is derived from the cute little case which bears a striking resemblance to a pizza box).

They're many reasons why you should consider a "pizza box" Mac. First of all, they're dirt cheap. The going price for an LC, LC II, LC III, or Quadra 605 and their Performa cousins is $10 or less. Often you can find a complete system including computer, monitor, printer, and software for around $20 on eBay.

Secondly, they are simple to repair and upgrade. The "pizza box" Macintosh is simple elegance at its very best. Macintosh LCHere you have a cute little case which is easy to open and maintain. Once inside, everything fits in an obvious place. It's so simple a child can take it apart and put it together again. (My nine year old did this one day when I was at work, but let's not get into that right now.)

You can upgrade a LC with its dog slow 68020 processor into a screaming fast Quadra 605 in about fifteen minutes. All it will take is a motherboard, speaker, and fan from a defunct Quadra 605 and a little ingenuity. You can find everything you need to know to upgrade your "pizza box" on Low End Mac.

Thirdly, they are still useful. A Quadra 605 with a 56K modem, external CD-ROM, and a Zip drive will do much of what you need a computer to do at a price anyone can afford. The best aspect of the "pizza box" is that they last longer than the Energizer bunny - they keep going and going and going. A Performa Software CD from eBay and a few trips to a local thrift shop gave me a virtual plethora of software: ClarisWorks, Quicken, Mario Teaches Typing, Microsoft Office 4.2.1, Microsoft Works, System 7.5, and much more.

My Quadra 605 does everything I need a Mac to do and more.

Finally, they'll get the job done. An LC using system 6.0.8 with an early version of ClarisWorks is one of the fastest word processors you will ever use. An LC II with AOL 2.6 will make a nice email machine, although for the Internet you will want the Quadra 605. The Pizza Box may not allow you to listen to MP3s; on the other hand, my ten year old can listen to a Carman CD while he emails his Grandma. Not a bad return on a $10.00 investment.

In a world of OS X and G4 Power Macs, some might be better served with a well equipped Quadra 605. The Mac you want at a price you can afford.

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