Mac Scope

Processor Envy

Stephen Van Esch - 2001.09.19

Oh great, my little G3/350 upgrade is about to look even pokier: Motorola completes 1.6 GHz PowerPC G5.

My tired but indefatigable workhorse PowerCenter Pro is chugging along nicely, thank you very much. Darn it.

Now don't get me wrong, I love my box. It's a fantastic piece of equipment that just won't quit. Bought at a fire sale when Apple bought PowerComputing in 1997, this machine has been to hell and back without a hiccup. Hardly a thing has gone wrong with it, and PC friends always stare at me with a little awe when they hear how long it's been going. Some friends replace their PCs every 18 months. They don't replace them because they want a faster machine, but because their old machines give them way too many headaches. Granted, getting a machine from "the guy on the corner who gave me a deal" might not be the soundest buying decision, but still.

Because of my machine's longevity, it now looks like a bloody Frankenstein. Much like a life support system, it's had quite a few upgrades to keep it running with the big boys (or at least keeping them in sight on the straight-aways).

I've never really cared too much for the processor wars. Some friends like to brag about their 1.5 GHz machines and their up-to-date (read: just replaced) systems. Of course, all that speed makes hardly a whit of difference in the types of chores that most folks use their machines for.

Now, the souped up Mac is a horse of a different stripe altogether. I do get processor envy when someone trots out a spanking new G4 and runs it through the paces. I think of my ol' beige machine and darn it if I don't think of just handing it over to someone else and getting with the 21st century.

Blame my Dutch practicality, but I can never seem to bring myself to plunk down the cash to make the leap. I just can't justify buying a whole new machine when my current machine serves my needs just fine, thank you very much.

Of course, I'd love to have an excuse to throw my hard-earned money at a nice G4 with all the trimmings - but I don't. And all I can do is blame PowerComputing and Apple. If those two companies had a handle on "planned obsolescence," I wouldn't be in the pickle I'm in now.

And with the G5 waiting in the wings, it's only going to get harder to keep my hands off my wallet. Damn you Apple! Damn you - and thank you.

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Stephen Van Esch is the founder and president of the E-learning Foundry, an online training resource for Mac users. Steve loves the Mac and is doubly bilingual, since he's also fluent in Windows and French.

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