Replacing the Kid’s eMac

eMacBack in 2003, I purchased a G4 eMac 1 Ghz new, and I loved it. It was my first OS X machine, and it was the first computer I really enjoyed using. The Macs I used before which I still had cluttering the house used systems 7 through 9. I liked them, but they were tools like any other tool necessary to complete a task. I had a 7300, a Pismo and an early beige G3 all of which could have been upgraded to OS X, but I didn’t see the point of spending the money. My computers worked fine. I had dial-up internet. Why did I need anything more?

After I unpacked and powered up the eMac, I wondered why I ever hesitated. The eMac felt like my first computer because of the advances to the operating system and fun extras like iTunes. I used to do work on my computers. Now I could have fun. I found all sorts of wonderful productivity software that never seemed to exist for the old classic environment. It was the beginning of my love affair with Macs rather than merely tolerating beige boxes that you needed to have.

As time went on, my son who was only a little older than the eMac started to use it more and more, and he eventually made it his own. I was splitting my time between both new and used Macintosh systems. I had a terrific G4 Cube which I got used that was souped up with a faster processor and a beefier video card, and I had a Gossamer G3 still using system 9 that had a SCSI scanner hooked up to it.

2 Cubes

My Cube and another I picked up for parts. Sadly, both are gone.

The augmented Cube was a wonderful Mac and one of my favorites to work on, but one day, it gave up the ghost. I bought another non-functioning Cube from eBay figuring I would cobble together a working unit from the two, but it was not to be. If I knew then what I knew now, I would probably still have that Cube, but I had projects to work on and not a lot of time for computer troubleshooting so I unloaded them and bought a new Intel Mac mini. The Mini became my main production machine although it did not play nice with the Adobe CS2 Suite. It’s a great little box for the money, but there were a few hiccups working with some of my software under the Tiger OS and the new Intel processors. It wasn’t perfect, but it was what I had.

Meanwhile, my son was giving the eMac he assumed ownership of quite a work out. Once the machine went out of its extended warranty, it started to act up. The screen would cut out briefly at first and got worst as time went on. Often we would assume that it had finally died only to come back. I hooked up a small, used flat panel monitor to it via the mini VGA port via an adapter, and my son limped along with it, but I knew it was just a matter of time before that crapped out. I have a feeling it was probably bad capacitors, but the possibility of fixing that was beyond me at the time. I needed to find a replacement for the dying eMac.

I’m not sure of what came first, but in doing research to find replacement parts for a Pismo Laptop, I discovered the invaluable web site Low End Mac and used Mac dealer Wegener Media. I researched the history, capabilities and replaceable options at Low End Mac and purchased parts from Wegener Media. While I was there, I noticed on Wegener’s bare bones website that they had used Macs for sale at fairly decent prices. I was happy with the laptop parts from them so I thought I may look into them if I needed another Mac.

The eMac stopped working and it was time to give Wegener another look. They had used iMacs and eMacs, but I was leery about buying another all-in-one machine. One element dies and that’s it much like the video crapping out in our current all-in-one. The laptop selection was nice, but a little pricey for what would be a kid’s computer. They had G4 Power Mac towers for around $100 which was a great price, but the 400 Mhz processor was a slowpoke compared to the 1 Ghz processor on the eMac. What to do? What to do?

Then Dan Love handed me an OWC catalog that had a spread on processor upgrades for G4 Macs. According to the ads, you can bring that old Mac into the modern age with a 10 minute installation.

I was intrigued.

Then I was obsessed.

I ordered a G4 400 Mhz Gigabit Ethernet PowerMac which I think may have been about $130 with the shipping. It was just the tower. No Mouse, monitor or keyboard.

Inside the G4

Inside the G4

To be continued!

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2 Responses to Replacing the Kid’s eMac

  1. Waldinger says:

    Joe: I just purchased a mini 2010 model on ebay for $521.00. The 2011 model has no optical drives ( what the F is up with that ). I think they want you to store everything on some imaginary cloud somewhere. F me and the cloud.

  2. Joe says:

    John,

    I think it’s the same idea as killing off the floppy when they first introduced the iMac, and yes, they want you to subscribe to their cloud service. I find it to be an irritating choice on their part, but I had to replace the optical drive twice on the Mini I bought in 2006. Fortunately I had the Apple Care for 3 years, and it covered it. I’m not crazy about the slot loading optical drives they used.

    I would go with a third party optical drive in an enclosure, but I’m not sure what connection you could or would go with. USB may be sort of slow. Does your Mini have Firewire still? Mine does.

    As for me, I will ride the low end machines until the wheels come off. My software is mostly old, but it works fine and does the work I need doing.

    Thanks for commenting!!!

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