Using an old Mac
April 26, 2005 5:50 PM   Subscribe

I may be able to grab an old Mac from work (dumpster dive). It's a PowerPC, 266mhz, 32meg and 4gig HD. I'm not sure what the operating system is, or version number.

I know I'll need something like this in order to use my VGA monitor, and I'll need some kind of keyboard/mouse (assuming I can't find one in storage).

I'm planning to use this mainly to convert fonts I've made on my PC to Mac versions, using Fontographer on both machines.

The last time we used this machine, it seemed to run very slowly. Is there a trick to deleting software off Macs, there must be a bunch of stuff running in the backround.

Any warnings or upgrade recommendations?
posted by Marky to Computers & Internet (15 answers total)
Best answer: The first trick to slow macintoshes of that vintages is to religously exorcise it of unnecessary extensions. From memory (it's been a long time since I've looked at a non-MacOS X Macintosh) The location of these things is Drive->System Folder->Extensions.

I believe there's another folder called Startup Items but that seems fuzzier to me.
posted by substrate at 6:09 PM on April 26, 2005

the Extensions Manager that will allow you to turn many of them off should be there too--do a search--is it beige? it may be an old G3, which is not bad. You can upgrade to OS9 on it. I'd add memory tho.
posted by amberglow at 6:21 PM on April 26, 2005

Best answer: check out lowendmac for tips and more info too. It's definitely good enough for surfing and email.
posted by amberglow at 6:23 PM on April 26, 2005

this is what it may be
posted by amberglow at 6:26 PM on April 26, 2005

Delete the Extensions Manager extension and do it by hand -- it will free up some more resources.
posted by docgonzo at 6:27 PM on April 26, 2005

The Extensions Manager isn't something that remains running in the background, so there is little reason to delete it.
posted by D.C. at 6:43 PM on April 26, 2005

If it's really 266MHz, it's a G3, which means it has a VGA monitor port and doesn't need an adapter.
posted by cillit bang at 8:21 PM on April 26, 2005

No, I had a beige G3, and I remember it having an Apple monitor port. It was the blue-and-whites that first had VGA ports. And the blue-and-whites bottom out at 350 Mhz if I recall correctly. On the other hand, a beige G3 can take a PCI video card, and that'll have a VGA port.

Also I concur that deleting the Extensions Manager doesn't really help much.
posted by furiousthought at 8:48 PM on April 26, 2005

I am giving an Imac Revision A (233, 96MB RAM) to a teacher tomorrow... I would like to know more tips and tricks as well.
posted by Dean Keaton at 10:12 PM on April 26, 2005

Response by poster: It's beige, with a 15 pin video connector. But the connector is the "regular" 15 pin, rather than the high density 15 pin which is normal for VGA.

Thanks to everyone for their help!
posted by Marky at 3:13 AM on April 27, 2005

Best answer: Wow - that's a pretty good find in terms up upgradability. Bump the ram up to the max (768K) and replace the hard drive with something much bigger, which will be cheap because this machine used IDE drives, not SCSI. It will run OS 9 and some versions of OS X.

It uses older ADB devices and it doesn't look like it has a USB port, so your priorities should be:
1. get a keyboard and mouse
2. get the right video adapter
At this point you can use the machine, next steps:
3. install a USB card so you can lose the ADB devices ($10-20)
4. install a better hard drive (~$40 for 40G)
and if You're going to run OS X (which creates its own set of challenges), max out the memory and consider a faster PCI video card.
but - you might want to consider that if you bought a MacMini for $500, you will have a machine that is 5 times faster in the CPU, better video, not enough RAM, and a hard drive that should run much faster, which could be cheaper than the cost of your upgrades (RAM, HD, USB, video card, OS X) and the headaches you'll have.

Now if you're doing this just for the sake of "woo-hoo! free computer that I can do bizarro things with!" you might try running Net BSD or Some version of Linux.
posted by plinth at 8:13 AM on April 27, 2005

I just set up two of these for my kids to use. One is running Mac OS X and the other Mac OS 9. It's a nice machine, and yes, you will need a VGA adapter, though I think they originally came with one. As mentioned, if you do run OS X, put as much RAM in it as you can reasonably afford without sinking too much real cash into it. Oh, you can also put in a USB card and use USB keyboard/mice as well.
posted by raster at 10:35 AM on April 27, 2005

Best answer: i can send you an old keyboard for it if you want (i still have my old IIci and my old G3 keyboards) me. I think any old serial mouse will work too (Kensington still makes one i think)
posted by amberglow at 10:42 AM on April 27, 2005

Best answer: One thing to think about...
If you are intending to convert your PC fonts to Mac (I'm assuming TrueType) to use on an OSX Mac, you don't have to. OSX can use PC TrueType fonts without conversion.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:27 PM on April 27, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks Thorzdad, I did not know this.
posted by Marky at 10:33 AM on April 28, 2005

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