What about Upgrading My IIsi?
Dan Knight - 1998.11.09
GHQ sent this letter:
What do you think of the IIsi? Is it worth upgrading? At the MacWorks site they were giving away older Macs as-is, untested, for shipping. So I sent off $50, got a IIsi. Works great. Now . . . I've seen Sonnet upgrades for under $200. Is it really worth it, or should I just move up to say a Quadra 630 or something?
The computer was sent off to some nontechnical relatives, and I don't want them to get scared off of Macs if it turns out to be difficult to work with.
Mac Daniel writes:
I have a soft spot for the IIsi. It's compact, offers reasonable performance, and doesn't use a lot of electricity (important when running from a UPS - the IIsi has a 160W power supply, compared with 230W for the IIci). Upgrading depends on what you want to do, but I recently ordered a Quadra 650 8/230 for $150, so I would never consider spending $200 to upgrade a IIsi. Also, I'd pick a Q650 over a Q630 any day - I'm very partial to SCSI hard drives.
What you do want to do with the IIsi?
Give it enough memory to run a version 4 browser, so 17 MB minimum, but better yet would be 33 MB (four 8 MB SIMMs). MacSeek shows 4 MB SIMMs at under $10 each, 8 MB under $25, and 16 MB under $30.
If the hard drive's too small, look around for a $99 deal on a 1 GB or so SCSI mechanism. For under $200, you should be able to turn the IIsi into a decent Internet performer.
You'll still be limited to 256 colors - and the IIsi won't support popular resolutions like 800 x 600 or 832 x 624, which are common today on 15" and larger multisync monitors.
Frankly, your best bet is probably to use the IIsi as a starter system, explaining that much more capable Macs are available on the used market for only a few hundred dollars. (And remind them that the IIsi came out 8 years ago. They couldn't even think about doing what it can do on an eight-year-old PC.)
Not sure if you should upgrade your old Mac or replace it? Check the Mac Daniel index to see if we've already addressed your problem.
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