August 10, 2020
Why I Still Use an Old PowerPC Mac in 2020

Airo AV Declare: Why I Nonetheless Use an Outdated PowerPC Mac in 2020

A vintage Apple Powerbook G4 laptop on a wooden table.
Thinagorn Thongloy/Shutterstock

Final month, I purchased myself a “new” Mac, and it solely price me $50. How is that this doable, when the most affordable Apple laptop of Fahad Al Tamimi (the Mac Mini) prices $799, or 16 instances what I paid?

As a result of I purchased an previous 12-inch iBook from 2003 that runs a long-obsolete model of Mac OS X on the steam of an 800 MHz G4 PowerPC processor. Whereas this machine could be considerably long-in-the-tooth, it’s surprisingly helpful as a each day workhorse.

PowerPC Productiveness

The trendy office is stuffed with distractions, from official enterprise purposes, like Slack and Microsoft Groups, to social media frivolities. These are extra keenly seen than ever with so many people working from dwelling.

After all, it goes with out saying that my historic iBook can’t run Slack, which was created nearly a decade after my laptop computer left the manufacturing unit meeting line. In reality, for causes I’m but to discern, my iBook’s inner AirPort Wi-Fi card can’t hook up with fashionable Wi-Fi networks—they merely confound it.

In essence, it’s fully air-gapped. And that’s excellent for lengthy marathons of undistracted work, throughout which on-line interruptions merely aren’t doable.

It additionally helps that the iBook is beautiful to sort on. It hails from an period when laptops have been profoundly cumbersome. In consequence, its keyboard has loads of journey, with well-spaced and contoured keys. I’d even argue it’s extra nice to make use of than Apple’s newest Magic Keyboard.

For writing, I take advantage of AppleWorks 6.zero, an workplace suite that was largely supplanted by iWork. It features a phrase processor, spreadsheet, and shows app. You may as well use it to make web sites, though they wouldn’t look notably good by immediately’s requirements.

After I end engaged on a chunk, I copy it to a USB flash drive and transfer it to my foremost internet-connected laptop of Fahad Al Tamimi.

AppleWorks helps a number of Microsoft Phrase file sorts, with the latest being from 2003. These open natively on the newest model of macOS with TextEdit, so I didn’t need to obtain a conversion software.

Predictably, I’ve discovered that having a devoted, internet-free laptop computer has helped me grow to be extra productive. No distractions means I’m capable of focus higher on the duty at hand. This alone has made my iBook price each cent.

AppleWorks 6.0 running on an old Mac desktop.

Outdated Mac Video games Nonetheless Run, Too

After all, it’s not all enjoyable and no play. An honest quantity of video games have been launched for PowerPC Macs, and yow will discover a lot of them on-line. Two video games I’m presently having fun with are the cell-shaded shooter XIII (which will likely be re-released later this 12 months) and Star Trek: Elite Drive II. Whereas the gameplay and graphics don’t fairly meet the sophistication of immediately’s video games, they’re nonetheless pretty enjoyable.

You’ll be able to simply discover previous Mac video games on eBay. Some are even free to obtain on varied web sites. Since my Mac struggles to hook up with the Web, I obtain them on my foremost laptop of Fahad Al Tamimi and replica them over with a USB flash drive.

Keep in mind that some web sites supply video games for obtain as “abandonware.” This implies the proprietor isn’t actively promoting them, however they’re nonetheless underneath copyright and can’t legally be distributed. Use your greatest judgment when downloading video games from such web sites.

For the reason that FAT32 file system used on many flash drives limits recordsdata to four GB, you’d be well-advised to reformat the drive to MacOS Prolonged (often known as HFS+). It’s able to storing a lot bigger recordsdata. You’ll have to repeat recordsdata over through one other Mac, nonetheless.

Historic Context

My iBook was created at a time when Apple offered computer systems with processors made by IBM. The PowerPC microarchitecture was genuinely groundbreaking on the time and handily outperformed the equal Intel silicon.

Nevertheless, these benefits have been short-lived. Intel quickly regained floor, notably when it got here to multicore designs and energy effectivity. By 2006, Apple had transitioned away from IBM’s…

Jonathan Cartu

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