During the holidays the Mac Museum took a big of a break; I was too busy for eBay and Craigslist and there wasn’t much of interest out there. Now that the new year has begun people have once again started cleaning out their basements and the finds have been flowing once again. After these additions I’m seriously starting to run out of space.
Power Mac G4 (Firewire 800)
I found this model for $75 on Craigslist in late February and was able to talk it down to $65. Not a huge savings, but it’s something. Released in January 2003, it is the last new G4 tower that Apple ever produced. It shares the same basic design with the G3 and G4 towers that Apple started selling in 1999 but uses a later iteration that moves the speaker to the top and the drives to the bottom of the front case. The drives themselves are covered with a mirrored finish, giving this design the “Mirrored Drive Door” designation. Mine is actually a generation newer than that – same case, better insides.
This was the one of the first desktop Macs to include a high-speed Firewire 800 port, 54 Mbps Airport Extreme, and internal Bluetooth. It is powered by two 1.25 GHz PowerPC G4 CPUs, has 1.5 GB RAM, an 80 GB hard drive, and a DVD-burning SuperDrive. It’s cool to me because it is the first Mac that I own with two physical CPUs. I have a G5 that has two cores, but only one CPU. From a condition standpoint it is a bit scratched up, but some Windex, Goo Gone, and Lysol went a long way toward cleaning it up. Ironically it still had a plastic protective strip on the back inside the area where the PCI cards go. Too bad it wasn’t protecting the entire case…
Newton MessagePad 2000
My February eBay find was a 1996 Newton MessagePad 2000 PDA. The Newton was one of the first PDAs and the first with true handwriting recognition. The 2000 represented the pinnacle of Newton technology and also the end of the Newton line. It originally cost $950 and has a 320 x 480 pixel gray scale backlit display, 2 PC card slots, 4 MB memory, and a speedy 162 MHz StrongARM CPU. The CPU ran at an amazing speed for the time, seeing as desktop Macs were only running at around 200 MHz. The Newton is an interesting comparison with the iPhone because it was released 10 years prior but has the same screen resolution and uses the same underlying processor family (ARM). It is much larger and runs completely different software, but it’s interesting to see the similarities from a decade prior.
I snagged my Newton for $40 on eBay which is an absolute steal as they usually sell for upwards of $100. It did not come in its box but it is in mint condition with a fully functioning screen cover and original stylus (which is rare). I popped 4 AA batteries into it and it started right up. It fits in nicely with my Newton MessagePad 130.
20″ iMac G4
This has got to be the absolute best deal I’ve ever found on a Mac, even better than the free G4 Cube that I found at the Recycling center a couple of months ago. We happened to go to Savers this weekend to pick up some extra clothes for Adam and I spied an iMac sitting in the “testing area” of the electronics section. It had no keyboard or mouse but it was plugged in and turned on displaying the dreaded “blinking question mark” that indicates that it can’t boot. This generally means one that it needs a new OS or it needs a new hard drive and the whole situation worked to my advantage. It was priced at only $15 “as-is” and was largely ignored by everyone but one man who stopped to consider it for a moment before moving away. As soon as he rolled forward I swooped in and threw it into the cart.
I couldn’t have made a better find. Not only did it simply need a new OS, but it was also in great condition, and was a later model with a 20″ screen. It’s got an 80 GB hard drive, 512 MB memory, and a DVD-burning Super Drive. Its in fantastic condition and runs great. It will fit nicely with my 15″ iMac G4.