Original iMac: One of the best computers ever?

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It blew everyone away when Steve Jobs unveiled it in 1998. A computer that was sleek, all-in-one, affordable (for the time), and stylish. I remember when the Bondi Blue iMac first appeared in the computer labs at my school. I was stunned. The first thing I noticed was how beautiful it was. I had never seen a computer that looked that good before – no one had.

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The second thing I notice about it is how quiet it is. That’s because it doesn’t have a CPU fan. It has vents for the heat to escape through. The only sound you hear is the hard drive running, or a CD/DVD if you have one in the drive. In the middle of the CPU vent is a nice, sturdy handle. I’ve always been hesitant to carry it just by the handle alone, but it’s held so far whenever I have. I usually carry it by the handle, and with my other hand underneath it.img_7092

It also runs quite fast. I’ve had Mac OS X 10.3 installed on it before, but when I brought it up from the basement a couple days ago, the hard drive was corrupted, but it was an old hard drive, so I wasn’t too surprised. I got out my iMac OS 9.1 restore disk and created a new, fresh installation of Mac OS 9.1. It runs Mac OS 9.1 really fast. This particular iMac has a 400 MHz G3, and has 256 MB of RAM. I have a 600 MHz iMac, but it’s in a storage unit.

It’s also conveniently compact. It has a high-qualty15″ CRT monitor built in. Although it’s a bit small for a display, it’s just the right size for a compact, all-in-one computer. It makes it easy to transport. No moving the computer and monitor separately. It can display up to 1024 x 768 @ 75 hz.

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The keyboard is nice and compact also, for being a full-size keyboard (featuring a 10-key). It does lack a DEL key, but that’s not a big deal. The keyboard has a built-in USB hub, allowing you to hook up USB devices to the left and right in the back. The single-button hockey puck-style mouse is alright, but it can get turned around in my hand a little bit, making me look at it to reposition it so that the button is facing 12 o’clock. This mouse has always been my least favorite of any mouse just because of that reason.

Another nice thing about it is the speakers. They’re pretty decent, and you don’t have to turn them on, like you do with normal, external speakers.

While this review was mainly about the physical computer itself, it shipped with Mac OS “Classic”. I don’t know what Mac OS version this shipped with, because I got this from a third-party years ago, but the iMac restore CDs it came with was Mac OS 9.1. My biggest complaint about Mac OS Classic is that it’s a pain to get it to talk to non-Macs. I have a Linux computer on my network, and everyone knows Linux is super-compatible with many things, but not with Mac OS Classic. There is third-party software for Mac OS Classic that let you connect to non-Macs, such as MacSSH PPC, but even this is difficult, since I haven’t been able to get this to work, either. The way I’ve mainly transferred files to it was with a USB flash drive. While the OS and software run snappy, surfing the information super-highway is extremely annoying, since almost no sites work correctly on it, and it’s slow. There is a “modern” web browser for it called Classilla, but it’s challenging viewing even basic sites, since the highest resolution is 1024 x 768. But what do you expect? It’s almost 20 years old. For being that old, it’s still impressive.

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In conclusion, it’s snappy, quiet, compact, convenient, and it still works great. It also makes a nice, visually pleasing accent to any room it’s in. I’m not going to lie; my favorite thing about it is its stunning beauty, and that goes for Mac OS Classic as well. But I prefer to not just gaze at it, but use it. There are still people who use Mac OS 9, which means there are still developers out there for it. Just one more testament to its elegance, simplicity, and longevity. I think it holds up as good as any computer possibly could over nearly 20 years, and it would make the perfect compliment to any room.

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