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Ask Max: What computer should I buy to migrate from OS 9 to OS X?

Asked on 04/17/2007:

I am a graphic designer. Presently I have a Mac G4 running on OS 9.22 with all graphic applications

Not sure what should I do? Get a refurbished system or wait till I could afford a new one, but then I have to upgrade most of my software. It seems like by the time I pay for it, it is too old. My worry is one morning my system will not come up and I can't get my work done. I do back up my work files.

I am also taking a course in web design; the class needs to be on Explorer 6 or better. My system has Explorer 5 - now - I have to take the class on a PC (I do not like the PC).


With the class you are taking, you have a definite need for an Intel-based Mac, but your current use of OS 9 applications will make that an expensive move. An Intel Mac would allow you to work with Explorer 6 through Parallels, but OS 9 applications are not supported on Intel Macs. I have seen people get Classic applications working on Intel Macs, but I wouldn’t recommend the hacking method they use for the programs from which you make your living.

Because Microsoft discontinued Internet Explorer for the Mac before it reached version 6, you are only able to use it on an Intel Mac by running Windows through Parallels or Boot Camp. However the class you are taking may only request Internet Explorer 6 so that all students have a common browser to view their work. It may be ok for you to test most of your web design work with the cross-platform browser Firefox, and then do your final preview in Internet Explorer from a fellow student’s computer or the library’s computers.

Without Internet Explorer in the way, you could then just buy a Previously Owned Mac that can run OS 9 Classic and OS X 10.4. That would allow you to use your old applications and slowly start buying Universal versions of software to replace your old programs. Then when all your software is transitioned to new Universal software, you can trade in the PowerPC-based Mac and buy a new Intel-based Mac.

Hope that gives you some ideas.

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