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Review: Apple Power Mac G4 1.25GHz

by on July 11, 2003

My parents’ IBM Pentium II PC was getting old and more annoying as the days went by. I talked them into getting a Mac as their next computer, and they decided to wait until after WWDC to see what kinds of deals there were on previous Macs. Their ideal machine would be an eMac, but as we already have a perfectly good monitor, PCI USB card, and a desk oriented for tower-style computers, a G4 tower would be better. Plus, the expandability made it an even better idea.

But, the $1499 price tag was a little too much for a computer to them, so we decided to wait until after WWDC, since rumors were circling about the G5. Lucky for us, the G4 dropped to $1299, had a better processor, better bus, more hard drive space, and a better graphics card.

We ordered it before the end of June, so we could get in on the ‘Improve Your Image’ promotion for the free Canon printer. Apple gave my mom the education discount, and I urged them to splurge on the SuperDrive (they might use iDVD in the future). They also bought a Zip 250 drive, since they have accumulated a bunch of Zip disks from their old PC.

My dad has used PCs his entire life, mostly at work. I wanted to get them something that would be somewhat trouble-free, as I’m over 200 miles away, and only visit every once in awhile. As the Power Mac G4 has been around for quite awhile, in some form or another, I felt that it was a wise choice.

Anyway, the machine arrived Thursday, and I set it up while they were out. The G4 is truly a well-designed computer. I took the Pro Mouse and gave them the two-button Logitech mouse, as my dad likes the scroll wheel and extra button. I set up accounts for them, hooked up their existing peripherals that were USB, and got the computer ready for use.

After a brief crash-course in using OS X, my parents were ready. My mom has used a PowerBook 170 for her email and an iMac G3 at work, so she was familiar with OS X. My dad liked how uncluttered everything was and the lack of annoying Microsoft-isms present.

The computer is fast (1.25GHz), especially compared to my iBook, and after a little over 2 weeks of using it, I think OS X has really grown on them. Nobody’s burned any DVDs or pushed the power of that G4 processor, but I can tell that this computer will be avoiding obsolesence for many years to come.

My mom has easily adjusted to this new computer, since it’s fairly close to hers at work, and my dad—well—he still finds himself moving for a Start button, and waiting for a blue screen of death, but he’s getting used to it more and more (especially the popup blocking and junk mail filter – iTunes too!), so (I guess contrary to the old saying) you can teach an old dog new tricks!

The One-Sentence Verdict™

With the recent price breaks, the G4 is an excellent value for anyone looking for a powerful computer with lots of expansion.

The Facts

5/5Product: Power Mac G4
Company: Apple
Price: $1299 ($1489 as tested)

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