Well, it's official--the debate between getting a G4 iMac and a G4 tower has been settled, in favor of the latter. The newest addition to my computing family is a just-discontinued PM G4 867 tower with a 17" LCD Studio Display. This machine is unbelievable.
It's been just over three years since I last bought a Mac (a Rev. B Bondi Blue iMac, to be precise), but a week shy of five years since I bought the 7600 that this new tower is meant to replace. As usual, the out-of-box experience was typically Apple--crisp, clean, and sleek. The system starting up with a satisfying, deep chime. Of course, it was configured to boot first into OS 9, and it started up very quickly, but, alas, this puppy wasn't destined to keep starting up in 9. So a quick trip to the Startup Disk control panel put an end to that.
There's no way to describe this machine except beastly. The LCD display is amazingly bright, and makes the iMac's CRT look as dingy as a 10-year-old Mac IIci. Startup times are ridiculously fast, especially when Ethernet networking is turned off. Apps open in a snap. Even the "Genie" effect doesn't look clunkly, as it did on the lowly iMac. Soon I'll pop another 40Mb, 7200 RPM drive into the tower and start transfering over the stuff that I have on digital tapes.
Of course, there are some surprises to any new machine, and this one's no exception. Here are some of the ones that I've noticed:
- MultiMedia cards, when plugged into my new ZiO! reader, showed up instantly on the desktop, without having to install any software. However, if the card is manually removed without first dragging the disk icon to the trash, and if the icon is subsequently clicked, the machine appears to go into a hard freeze. This must be a problem with the built-in USB support, and I'm going to see whether 10.1.2 fixes it.
- My unit didn't come with any additional hardware (i.e. screws) to install a second hard drive in the U-shaped harness, even though the manual mentions it.
- Maybe the unit had sat in the warehouse for a few months, because it didn't have the OS X version of iDVD. I have to pay $20 to get it on a CD. That sucks.
- Limiting the ATA bus to 66MHz sucks rocks. My 40Gb drive supports up to ATA/100, but obviously the system isn't going to take advantage of it. It seems silly to buy an ATA/100 or
- MS Office:X has the coolest packaging that I've ever seen for a software product.