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Ask Max: Can I Upgrade Our 350Mhz PPC G4?

Asked on 06/21/2006:

Hi Jacob, my son was just given a 350Mhz PPC G4 (B&W?) that came with OS 9.0. We wonder just how far we can upgrade this machine. What he really wants is to run iLife, mostly Garage Band and iMovie. Searching around, it sounds like I just need to scrap this one and move on to a newer machine. What are your thoughts? TIA!


The B&W 350Mhz PowerMac had a G3 processor. There were a limited number of G4 350Mhz computers, but they had graphite and clear plastic. Regardless of whether it is a PowerMac G3 B&W or G4 tower, you should not invest any more money in that computer. It is still good for web browsing or word processing, but not iLife '06. Just get the free software updates for it from Apple. It will update to Mac OS 9.2.2 without any further expense.

To get the most out of iLife '06 you need at least a 1Ghz G4 Processor and Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger. PowerMax has a large variety of previously owned Macs that you can add Tiger and iLife '06 to. A G4 Mac mini may be a good option, but keep in mind that both Tiger and iLife will come with a new Mac. So remember to calculate the added $200 software cost into the purchase price of a previously owned system. That may incent you to buy a newer system.

I hope that helps. My daughter loves her iBook G4, and she is always surprising me with the things she makes in the iLife applications. I'm sure given the opportunity you'll have the same experience with your son.

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