More Evidence that Macs Last Longer

A recent study by Computers, Support and Consulting in conjunction with MacMarines surveyed Mac users about their computer systems, as reported in the current issue of The Mac Report (no longer online or in the Internet Archive). As the publisher of Low End Mac, most of the results didn’t surprise me, but they are interesting.

Mac II with color displayI’m assuming the survey was conducted online, which limits participation by those with older Macs or no Internet access. Still, the survey shows even this groups is represented.

  • Well over half the 2,531 respondents (54.4%) are using Macs three years old or older – with over 4% using Macs 10 to 14 years old.
  • Only 17.2% have 16 MB or less memory in their computers. Since that’s about the minimum to use a web browser, this isn’t a big surprise. What is impressive is that 82.8% have 32 MB or more. Just two years ago, that was an incredible amount of memory.
  • Drive size divides fairly evenly around the 1 GB mark with 43.5% at 1 GB or smaller, 56.5% with drives larger than 1 GB.
  • Over two-thirds (67.1%) of respondents are using Mac OS 8.0 or 8.1. Only 2.2% are using System 6. Just over 30% are using some version of System 7.
  • Over 80% of respondents have CD-ROM, but 19.2% don’t. Of CD-ROM owners, 46.3% have drives slower than 8x, while 53.7% are 8x or faster.
  • It’s no surprise that 86.8% of respondents are online. Two-thirds of them (66.4%) connect to the Internet via 28.8 to 56 kbps dialup modems. Less than 10% use 14.4 or slower modems. 23.2% connect via a network, ISDN, cable modems, or other high speed connection.

This is a small sampling of the Mac community and may not be representative of Mac users as a group, but the survey does give a feel for where we are.

We hold on to our Macs longer than the two-to-three year PC industry average. Many users keep their old Macs in use even after adding a newer, more powerful model. (Nice that networking is a standard Mac feature.)

We upgrade our equipment, as shown by the fact that while a majority of computers are over three years old – when 16 MB RAM and 500 MB hard drives were common – most users now have 32 MB or more RAM and 1 GB or larger hard drives.

We also upgrade peripherals. Three years ago, 4x CD-ROMs were typical, but a majority are now using 8x or faster drives.

And we upgrade our OS. I’m pleasantly surprised to see over two-thirds of those polled using Mac OS 8.0 or 8.1. Since this only runs on 68040-based Macs and PowerPC Macs, that indicates at least two-thirds of those surveyed are using those machines.

It also bodes well for the launch of Mac OS 8.5 this coming weekend.

Short link:

searchword: macslastlonger