It's too big to be a space station!

At not quite 40 pounds, the original G3 iMac was a handful to move, but the eMac? Yikes. I think it tips the scales at shade over a desk-busting fifty pounds with its built-in 17" CRT.

The one I snagged off eBay (for a buy-it-now price of $80) is a 1.25GHz G4, circa early 2004. At only five years old, it's stretching the definition of "fossil", but with the demise of the PowerPC Macs, even a big G5 tower more or less rates the term these days.

The eMac, which sold new for about $800 in 2004, just absolutely crushes my G4/500 tower in any objective set of benchmarks, and the G4 sold for $3,500 stripped just four years before the eMac, which is ready to boot out of the box. Never let it be said that Apple doesn't have some schizoid pricing practices.

Ports are abundant, with 2 FireWire and three USB 2.0 ports easily accessible on the right side of the case towards the front, and another USB port on the backside of the keyboard. The keyboard is Apple's attractive white/clear "borderless" unit, where it looks as though the keys are hovering above the lucite slab.

One big area of improvement over the earlier G3 iMac is the speakers: while they don't exactly provide floor-shaking bass, they are leaps and bounds better than the tinny units in the old iMac. This makes the machine excel as a second computer for watching movies and doing simple 'net chores, although it will choke on media-heavy sites unless you cram in more RAM than the 512MB with which mine shipped.

I'll post more detailed impressions after I've played with it some more.

1 comment:

B.S. philosopher said...

It's not stretching the definition of "fossil" that much if you consider that by 2004 the iMac's specs compared favorably to a 2001-2002 commodity whitebox. For example, peecees got USB 2.0 in the 2000-2001 timeframe, the iMac didn't get it until 2004. Some of that might have been wishful hope about firewire catching on.

When you look at the G4 processor itself, the most favorable comparisons are to an Intel Tualatin P3, or an AMD Athlon XP both of which came out in 2001.

It's a neat little machine, but by 2004, thanks in large part to Motorola dragging their feet, Apple had dropped seriously behind the competition and was coasting on their reputation and relying on the "Mac tax" to pay the bills.

A 2004 iMac wasn't much more performance-wise than a 2002 commodity peecee, which even then cost half of the iMac's price. Albeit with with much less styling.