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Lowest prices + Optimizing utilities = previously loved Mac emergence

The Power Mac G5, the last model of the series.

The Power Mac G5, the last model of the series. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

New cars are less affordable than ever for the average person.

You have to hunt long and hard for value in the used car market, too. No matter how much vehicles may be “recertified,” you still risk getting someone else’s problems and losing a lot of your hard-earned cash.

The PowerPC Power Macintosh market on the other hand is most definitely a buyer’s market. Powerful dual processor PowerPC G5 Macs can be found on eBay for $150 and less (if you participate in an auction instead of a buy it now type of purchase)—and that’s not a typo.

With the recession over (wink wink) you can still purchase a new value PC for between three and four hundred dollars. But, if you want an Apple, your entry-level choice is the Mac Mini—hardly entry level priced at all with its $599 sticker. Some of you are saying, that’s not bad for a new Apple computer. But, I would counsel the “new-to-Apple” set that the Mini is just the CPU (the computer itself)—it’s BYOM/K/M (Bring Your Own Monitor, Keyboard and Mouse). If you don’t have any of these or what you have is incompatible, you’re left to purchase them yourself—further adding to the cost of Apple’s lowest-priced, new computer.

It’s always caveat emptor on eBay, but if you ask the seller questions and they have a good reputation with a history of positive feedback, your $150 “gamble” isn’t much of a risk at all. Furthermore, if you scour your local Craigslist computer section, you should be able to find a great deal on a PowerPC Power Mac that you can check out in person, and save yourself some shipping costs, too.

The Power Mac G5s were never as problem-free in my mind as the ultra reliable and durable G4s were. The G5s could be glitchy, and the raw power they served up, while ahead of their time, was beyond the reach of many, as you needed to have deep pockets to afford them.

But for $150, there’s never been a more cost-effective chance for someone to take on a G5.

OK, so you’ve made the plunge and you have your beloved G5.

You boot it up and you are getting a beach ball—the spinning wheel of death, the fruity ball of bad times, the maddening mini-sphere of color, the round mound of irritation, the rotating circle of slowness, the lock-me-up-and-throw-away-the-Mac/I-want-my-PC-back blues.

But all is not lost. There are low-cost and free, diagnostic and optimizing solutions available to bring you back control of your new, used Power Mac.

The wonders of OnyX are largely responsible for my writing today.

Previously, I have been using Cocktail on my Power Mac Sawtooth G4. The Mac typically goes to sleep mode before it can run its Unix maintenance scripts for any given day, week and/or month.

Cocktail took care of all these housekeeping tasks and more. AppleJack was also another software tool I used, but usually not unless I was experiencing startup issues. Disk Warrior with its one trick pony of rebuilding your Mac’s disk directory is always there, too, and although I feel its price tag is worth it, should you need something outside of directory rebuilding, you must look elsewhere.

I don’t know why I hadn’t tried OnyX until today. But I am glad I did. Reviews of both OnyX and Cocktail mostly reveal they do many of the same things. But, I was intrigued by the fact (and correct me if I am wrong, readers—thanks to Dr. D last week for his WebKit tips!) OnyX deletes certain of the logs (such as those of the crash variety), whereas Cocktail only rotates them.

My Mac is noticeably snappier than ever after running the automated, unattended housekeeping scripts of OnyX. I’ve used the “pilot” feature of Cocktail, which is the same “hands-off” approach to optimizing that I prefer these days, but never saw the performance gains I feel I realized today with OnyX.

One thing I cannot stress enough is to have a backup before proceeding with any disk utility software repairs. I recommend having a back up of the back up, too, but at least have one back up of your data before you proceed.

Although the instances of disaster striking when running either OnyX, Cocktail or AppleJack, for that matter, are far and few between, as always, your mileage may vary. Having a backup leaves you a fail-safe form of insurance in the event of a malfunction—invaluable peace of mind and functionality, too.

OnyX, AppleJack and Cocktail increase the pleasures of owning a more cost-effective than ever PowerPC Macintosh computer. Get one, or all three of these longstanding gatekeepers of Mac optimization working for you in tandem with your used Mac purchase, and welcome to the world of value Macintosh computing.

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