When Good Macs Go Bad
All you need isn't love
Yes, the sound effect came from this page, not your Mac!
Macintosh computers are well known for their longevity and resale value, as compared to PCs but eventually, all good things must come to an end. If your older Mac develops a serious problem, you must decide if it's time to pull the plug.
Somewhere on this site is an old picture of me using a Mac IIsi. I have many fond memories of that Mac, which I got used as a gift from a friend. I had overclocked it to 27 MHz, installed a NuBus FPU adapter card and 32 MB of composite RAM, which it never complained about.* It was quite speedy with System 7.1. A few years ago, the power supply gave out. I callously pulled the hard drive and installed it in a Quadra 950, placing the remains of the IIsi in my spare parts pile.
Always bear in mind that the older, possibly pre-owned Mac that is serving you so well now, is neither unique nor special. Even when it was new, it was identical to hundreds of thousands of other Macs, a mere clone of the current technology. As for upgrades you may have installed, "There's nothing you can do that can't be done". There is usually only one valuable thing in your old Mac and that's the information you have stored in it.
Early on in our computer experiences, many of us learn a painful lesson about backing up data. If you lose a hard drive and your Mac really was destined to provide all the features you ever wanted in a computer for years to come, it might be worth the cost to replace the drive with a faster, larger capacity used one. That is normally the only part worth replacing on an older computer and only because it can usually be transplanted. If something else breaks, first verify that it is in fact, a hardware failure, then weigh the cost of the replacement part including shipping and repairs, if you won't be performing them yourself, against the cost of upgrading to a more recent model. You might be able to pay for part of your next Mac by dismantling your old one and selling the case and working parts. There is often room in most Macs, for an additional drive. If your old drive still works, transplant it to your newer Mac. You can even boot and run utilities from it in emergencies.
Obviously, if your collectible original Macintosh 128K or even 512K develops a problem, you are going to want to fix it. For almost all others in the 8 years or older range, you were probably ready for a change anyway. If you must repair that old Mac, don't buy new parts. A month after fixing it, something more expensive may break, leaving you with a part that is like new but only marketable as "used".
It's fine to fall in love with people, maybe even pets if you don't take it too far. Falling in love with computers and other mass-produced things will only drain your wallet and leave you heartbroken because they can't return your emotional investment.
*Composite RAM will not normally work for long in Macs. What worked in the IIsi, did not in the faster Quadra that replaced it.
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