1998 – GHQ writes: What do you think of the Mac IIsi? Is it worth upgrading? At the MacWorks site, they were giving away older Macs as-is, untested, for the cost of shipping. So I sent off $50 and got a IIsi. Works great. Now . . . I’ve seen Sonnet upgrades for under $200. Is it really worth it, or should I just move up to say a Quadra 630 or something?
The computer was sent off to some nontechnical relatives, and I don’t want them to get scared off of Macs if it turns out to be difficult to work with.
Mac Daniel writes: I have a soft spot for the IIsi. It’s compact, offers reasonable performance, and doesn’t use a lot of electricity (important when running from a UPS – the IIsi has a 160W power supply, compared with 230W for the IIci). Upgrading depends on what you want to do, but I recently ordered a Quadra 650 8/230 for $150, so I would never consider spending $200 to upgrade a IIsi. Also, I’d pick a Quadra 650 over a Quadra 630 any day – I’m very partial to SCSI hard drives.
What you do want to do with the IIsi?
Give it enough memory to run a version 4 browser. With 1 MB on the system board, go for 17 MB minimum. Better yet would be 33 MB (four 8 MB SIMMs). MacSeek shows 4 MB SIMMs at under $10 each, 8 MB under $25, and 16 MB (for 65 MB total) under $30. [1998 prices!]
If the hard drive is too small, look around for a $99 deal on a 1 GB or so SCSI mechanism. For under $200, you should be able to turn the IIsi into a decent Internet performer.
You’ll still be limited to 256 colors – and the IIsi won’t support popular resolutions like 800 x 600 or 832 x 624, which are common today on 15″ and larger multisync monitors.
Frankly, your best bet is probably to use the IIsi as a starter system, explaining that much more capable Macs are available on the used market for only a few hundred dollars. (And remind them that the IIsi came out 8 years ago. They couldn’t even think about doing what it can do on an eight-year-old PC.)
Short link: http://goo.gl/7Onyax