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Help for an iMac G5 friend

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One my oldest professional friends is a retired professor in Southern California. A truly nifty fellow, but far from a geek!

He needs to upgrade from Panther for some new software he's purchased.

His 3-year-old gear is a 1.8 gig, 600 mHz, iMac G-5, BUT he only has 512k of memory presently installed.

The questions I have – in order to help him – are:
* What's the desirable (practical for an 80 year-old) memory for Leopard?
* A 1.8 gig Mac is plenty OK for Leopard IF he has sufficient RAM, right?
* And the same for 600 mHz? Or should he go only to Tiger?
* Finally, where's the best on-line source for memory for this puppy? Brand? My "reflex" is to think OWC, what's yours?Answers and advice are welcome.

PS: (After doing some searching of the Apple site) It would appear that all my friend has is the 512k soldered to the motherboard, while the presently/probably unused slot can hold a 2gig board. So that's what I'll recommend, unless someone out there has a caution for me/him.

RHP, I assume you mean this iMac: (or something very similar)?

A 1.8GHz iMac is fine for Leopard - I've never seen a requirement for the system bus speed, BTW. No point in going to Tiger - it's way more expensive if you can even find it. The only caution would be if he has any non-Leopard-compatible apps; there are a few. (older versions of some of the Adobe software etc...)

RAM - as much as you can stuff in there, of course, which in this case is 2GB. 512 would be enough to start up, but I wouldn't try to do very much!!

I always check RAM prices at . Data Memory Systems is one of my faves - I used to pick my RAM up from them when I was in a hurry because they were only 10 miles up the road from me when we lived in MA. Very reliable and Mac memory specialists. They use Macs in their offices. - $59 including shipping

(only a few dollars more than the RAM from 1-800 which was the cheapest listed at dealram) OWC is quite a bit more at $67.99 plus another $5 for UPS shipping. They will ship it via the post office for less, but I don't know that I'd want RAM shipped via the USPS.

Edit: RHP, there is NO RAM soldered to the motherboard - there are two RAM slots. They shipped with 512 MB standard -  probably 2x256MB. So both of those will need to be removed. RAM is cheap these days!

QUOTE3-year-old gear is a 1.8 gig, 600 mHz, iMac G-5, [and] 512k of memoryAre you sure the HD is only 1.8GB?! Or the age and/or processor? Something sounds fishy.

In order of your listing:
1. As much as the Mac will hold. I think it is claimed by some that Leopard will run on 1GB but it's not pretty.
2. I'm not sure one can even install Tiger on that small a drive. And even if you could, there'd be no room left for any app. One big reason is the use of the drive for virtual memory, I think. It is used by many apps (and the OS) to store portions of code that are not needed 24/7, so to speak.
3. There are third-party apps that can trick the Installer app into thinking the machine runs fast enough. I think Apples' minimum for Tiger was 800MHz. At 600MHz, your friend would probably not notice how slow things would be running, assuming they actually would, because the drive would probably be in flames from trying to access all the parts of the OS. And, as I said earlier, there wouldn't be apps to run, anyway.
4. OWC is fine, but anyplace that offers true life-time guaranteed, matched pair memory should be fine. But I'd stick to name brand chips, they really aren't that much more than the 'no-name' brands. However, the memory you get for that machine might end up being underused because the buss speed will be much slower than the capability of the RAM. Or he may end up buying chips that won't be usable should he upgrade to a newer machine.

My recommendation would be to get a refurbished, newer, faster, RAM & HD upgraded Mac. I have a friend who does that sort of thing for a living. But I'll not mention his company, leaving as a learning experience for the reader.

Um, Jim, I think he meant a 1.8GHz iMac G5 with a 600Mhz system bus. No mention was made of the HD size, which I assume was the standard for that model at 160GB.

There are no iMac G5s or even G4s - that would be a very old iMac G3 - and even those babies had 40GB drives.

OK, that makes more sense than me! The buss speed is something I hardly ever see mentioned here. I think I still have a 1.8GB drive I bought some 10 years ago, however. Maybe I could add mine to the one I thought he had and get a cup of coffee somewhere!


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