Lars Poulsen's Professional Home Page

  • What's good about the Mac ?
  • Which models are good ?
  • Where to buy
  • Current Great Deals
  • Tune-Up Tips
  • Where to read more

    MacIntosh System 7.5

    The older Macs are still good machines for many users. My 10-year-old daughter has a Mac IIcx, and my wife most often uses a Mac LC. We also recently have refurbished a couple of Mac LC III's (bought for $100 at online auctions) for the use of friends with limited money. Here are some hints for a tune-up.

    What's good about the Mac ?

    When you consider that you can buy a new PC with more power than you need for about $500, including CD-ROM, modem, 2GB of hard disk and a 14" monitor, it seems kind of silly to spend at least half that much for a 4-5 year old Mac. But the Mac still has a lot going for it:
    1. It is easy to use. Windows 98 is almost as easy - because it has adopted most of what the Mac has had all along. But I still find it easier to explain the Mac than Windows to a beginner.
    2. The older Macs tend to come with older, tighter version of the applications; bloat came to MacOS later than to Windows. Thus, when you give them all the memory they can take (which is cheap these days) they run better than when they were new.
    3. Many well-equipped machines are sold inexpensively because their owners have decided they are old and obsolete.

    Which models are good ?

    Let's face it: Every computer today will need to run a WWW browser. That means you need to have 8MB of RAM, and a color display. This rules out the old "compact Mac" models. Apple has an online database of specifications for older machines; it's a bit hard to find, and it's quite technical, so the following pre-digested assessments of common models may be helpful.

    Where to buy

    The best sources I have found are:

    Current Great Deals

    Here are some recent (1999-09-20) offers from NexComp:

    Tune-Up Tips

    So now you have an old Mac on your desk ... what should you do to it ?
    1. Memory. At least 8 MB, 16MB if it will take it.
    2. Update your SCSI disk device drivers on non-Apple disk drives. With System 7.5, Apple changed the specifications for the disk drivers. Apple's HD SC Setup 7.5.3 program must be patched to allow it to recognize non-apple drives (see this article): Use ResEdit to change the singe byte in resource "wfwr:67" from 00 to FF. Without this, the system will crash it shutdown!
    3. System 7.5.3 - Apple still sells the 7.5.3 CD for about $100. Get it while you can. This is a very stable system with lots of good features, including PC floppy mounter and a choice of  MacTCP or OpenTransport networking.
    4. MODE32 if your Mac is a IIcx.
    5. V.34 modem (33.6 kbps)
    6. Netscape 3.0 is a good compromise for a browser.
    7. If you are lucky, your used Mac came with MS Word 4.0, which is fast and compact. Word 6.0 is bloated and slow.
    8. H-P Deskwriter 560C or 660C color printer

    Where to read more

    Revision history:
    	$Log: macos7.htm,v $
    	Revision 1.5  2001/01/05 07:07:29  lars
    	Added links to AS/400
    	Revision 1.4  1999/09/20 23:49:24  lars
    	Latest deals added.
    	Revision 1.3  1999/09/07 04:20:41  lars
    	Added encryption page.
    	Added more detail in historical sections.
    	Improved index page organization.
    	Revision 1.2  1999/06/26 22:17:44  lars
    	Site re-organization.
    Updated by Lars Poulsen on 1999-03-21