Upgrade eMac or Buy New iMac

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I've got an obsolete ol' eMac running Mac OSX 1.3.9, as I never upgraded to Tiger. Well now that Leopard's come along, I figure I might as well go for it. However, my eMac's only got 512MB of memory and I'd need to spend like $100 or more on 1GB of memory alone just to run Leopard. On top of that, I need another external hard drive, and my eMac's fan is loud (though I guess there's nothing wrong with it exactly, it's just being loud and weird).
All that said, would it be worth it to even bother upgrading my eMac and everything, or should I just get a new iMac? I mean eMac's are already obsolete as it is, and it'd be a waste of money if I upgraded it now and in a year or so just ended up having to buy a new computer for some reason anyway (such as if this one dies, like if the wack fan leads to it's demise or something)...

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Obsolete! Older, yes. No longer sold, yes, but gosh dag nabbit, my old eMac is still my primary machine and does the job very well with everything I need it to do (video editing, iTunes, iPod, etc.). That said, I have been drooling over the new iMacs lately, but this eMac still has a lot of life left in it.
But back to your eMac. First thing I would do is invest in a nice external hard drive if you do not have one. Get one that can be connected via Firewire so you can take advantage of Firewire speed if your eMac is an older model without USB2 ports. Then back up everything important to that external.
An external is not a bad investment at all, even for an old machine, because it can go with you when you upgrade so there is no risk of "leaving it behind" if the eMac dies. If and when you get a new iMac, the drive can simple be moved to that machine and you keep using it. So regardless of which way you go, keep the eMac or move to an iMac, the external hard drive is still a great idea to protect your irreplaceable data (family digital photos, home videos, etc.).
As to the eMac, if you wanted to upgrade the operating system, I would look into getting a copy of Tiger. It is a nice upgrade to Panther (10.3.9) and with Leopard (10.5) out, will should start to see copies of Tiger for very affordable prices. While more would be better, under Tiger, you can probably do fine with the 512MB RAM you have now if you don't do any sort of heavy processing.
So like the others, a new iMac would be fantastic and you wouldn't regret it. But if you want to stick with the eMac for a bit more, get the external hard drive anyway as you will want it to backup even if you get the iMac. Now either continue to use the eMac as is (10.3.9 & 512MB) or find a cheap copy of Tiger and upgrade to that and stick with the same RAM and just turn off some of the memory hogging eye candy in Tiger like the Widgets. I bet if you looked around you might be able to find Tiger for $50-ish so your total upgrade cost is $50 (the external hard drive I don't count since it will go with you to the iMac).
Patrick

October 11, 2015

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