Skip navigation

Upgrading computer references

209 Views 6 Replies Latest reply: Feb 11, 2013 8:10 PM by babowa RSS
Caryn1980 Calculating status...
Currently Being Moderated
Feb 10, 2013 6:16 AM

I am ready to get a new computer, but am at a loss as to which I need. (I apologize in advance for my lack of knowledge on the technical side). I currently have a MDD G4. I am a freelance graphic designer so need to be able to run Adobe Creative Suite. From the research I've done, I think I need either an iMac or MacBook Pro. Any thoughts?


Also, money is an issue so I'm looking into buying used. I've seen sites with the older iMac but since I have no idea how much power I need, I don't know if it's worth it to get a comp that's slightly outdated. I've heard Apple refurbished are decent, too.


Any info is greatly appreciated.

  • MichelPM Level 5 Level 5 (7,145 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 10, 2013 10:00 AM (in response to Caryn1980)

    Hi Caryn1980,

    As a designer myself, up until about a year ago, I had the same model Power Mac G4 MDD as you.

    I Couldn't afford a brand new iMac with all of the options I needed so I went the used route and bought an iMac from a very reputable Authorized Apple Reseller.

    Authorized resellers will be somewhat more expensive for used Macs ( as they have to make money on the used Macs, too), but the better resellers look over the Macs that are brought in as trades, have good quality control and ,usually, will have warranties good for 60 days or better.

    The reseller I used had a six month warranty plan that I purchased.

    I figured that if anything was majorly wrong with the Macs I purchased, the issues should show up within a six month period.

    You will have to do what I did and just "Bite the Bullet" and really get a used Mac/iMac that is going to meet not just your needs now, but fast enough and powerful enough to address your needs in the future.

    What size monitor do you use with our G4?

    If it's fairly large, I would stick to the 27 inch model iMacs to look at.

    I don't like laptops because of their small screen sizes and I couldn't afford a really good, used Mac Pro with a separate, larger monitor screen.

    As a designer, I like to have as much screen real estate as I can get.

    So, I settled on a 2009, 27 inch screen iMac with a 3.06 Ghz single CPU, 16 GBs of RAM and 256 VRAM graphics chip and a 1 TB hard drive.

    I paid about $200 less than a new base model 27 inch iMac would've cost me.

    With warranty, the purchase of a wired Apple Aluminum keyboard and external USB speakers, it was a little more than I wanted to spend, but I hope to have this iMac for, at least another 4-5 years.

    If you look and decide to purchase a used Mac/iMac make sure you get one that still can run OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard. IMac models from 2009-to mid 2011 still run OS X 10.6 now Leopard.

    Plus, this range of years for the iMac offer lots of powerful and fast options.

    This is the last Intel OS X version that will still run all of your PowerPC applications.

    OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard uses a special PowerPC emulation software called Rosetta.

    If you do not want to spend a lot of extra cash on updating expensive software from PowerPC to Intel, you will need to keep this newer Mac running Snow Leopard until you can afford to upgrade software.

    If some of your software is labeled as Universal, it will run natively on Intel without the use of Rosetta.

    Also, check the Apple refurb section of their site to see what deals and discounted iMacs they may have.

  • Paul_31 Level 6 Level 6 (12,220 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 11, 2013 5:39 AM (in response to Caryn1980)

    The new Macs do not have a CD/DVD drive, so you'll need to get one, if you haven't already, if you need this functionality.


    Here's a list of many of the apps that won't run on Macs with Lion or Mountain Lion (the new Macs come with this OS installed):

  • MichelPM Level 5 Level 5 (7,145 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 11, 2013 9:00 AM (in response to Caryn1980)

    Hi, again,

    I would not buy the brand new 21.5 inch screen iMac unless you are prepared to order and purchase all of the higher end options on this model at the time of purchase.

    The brand new 21 inch screen models are glued-up, sealed up, closed computing appliances, now.

    There are no user upgrades at all in the 21 inch models any longer.

    In order to do some serious future proofing, you need to purchase the fastest CPU option, purchase the optional 16 GBs of RAM, and order your preference for internal data storage medium and  size.

    Having to purchase all of the RAM from Apple  for the new 21 inch screen models is more expensive than third party sources for Mac RAM.

    You would need to decide to purchase all of this at the time of purchase as there is no way to upgrade or add these better components later in the future, EVER!

    Plus, there is still the issues with your older PowerPC software  running on these new iMacs.


    You could look at older, used 21 inch screen models, as older 21 inch screen models still had upgradeable RAM.

    Look at Apple's refurb section for these, too! The older models still have the bullt-in CD/DVD Super Drive.


    You are still running an old Motorola PowerPC G4 PowerMac MDD.

    All of the applications you're maybe running are either full PowerPC apps or could be apps that were made "Universal" to run either on older PowerPC Macs like yours or on the newer Intel models Apple uses now.

    If you want to make sure all of your apps will still work with your Mac of choice , I would strongly advise getting an older Intel Mac that will run OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard.

    OS X 10.6 has an emulation software called Rosetta that will run all of your PowerPC apps in the event one or more of your PowerPC MDD apps is not an app that was made Universal (to run either on an old Mac or the newer Intel models)

    will run seamlessly under the Rosetta emulator.

    If you decide to go the new iMac route, you really run the risk, by narrowing the field, of how many of your current apps will run under the current version of OS X, 10.8 Mountain Lion.

    OS X 10.7 and 10.8 no longer have the Rosetta PowePC app emulator to save you if you have important apps that have not been upgraded to Universal status and only will run older PowerPC technology.

  • MlchaelLAX Level 4 Level 4 (1,550 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 11, 2013 7:59 PM (in response to Caryn1980)

    Caryn1980 wrote:


    I am a freelance graphic designer so need to be able to run Adobe Creative Suite...


    Also, money is an issue...


    Also, I was a little confused about what you said about the OS and not running my old programs. Would you mind explaining further?

    I think that you are being given too much background information for you to be able to process with clarity.


    If you can tell us which specific applications are the most important for you to run and their version numbers, we can give you a better answer for your needs.


    For example, what version of Adobe Creative Suite are you using?  This can be a very expensive software package to upgrade.


    So, which Mac you purchase can have an overall effect on your money investment due to possible software upgrades.


    Let us know all of your needs.

  • babowa Level 7 Level 7 (22,100 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 11, 2013 8:10 PM (in response to Caryn1980)

    Another good place to check would be the refurb section of the online Apple store; I buy most of my Macs there - they carry the same warranty as new, you can buy the extended Applecare, and save some $$:



    Note: the inventory changes quickly; so,if you're interested in one, you need to act on it.


More Like This

  • Retrieving data ...

Bookmarked By (0)


  • This solved my question - 10 points
  • This helped me - 5 points
This site contains user submitted content, comments and opinions and is for informational purposes only. Apple disclaims any and all liability for the acts, omissions and conduct of any third parties in connection with or related to your use of the site. All postings and use of the content on this site are subject to the Apple Support Communities Terms of Use.