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Apple Macs and pc hardware (like monitors, graphics cards and memory on OS X)

Posted on 2004-11-18
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Last Modified: 2013-11-17
I have a few questions regarding Apple Macs and OS X.

I'm planning on buying my dad an Apple Mac for christmas since the last computer he got (my old windows machine), he managed to totally nuke. (as in it's dead now)

I have a few technical questions for you mac people;

1. Are there adapters so you can use a normal pc monitor with macs? (I believe there are, I think the Mac uses it's own monitor connector)
2. Is it possible to use pc graphics cards and memory in Macs?

Now, it seems to me since Apple Macs have normal memory slots and an AGP slot in theory they should. However, since pc graphics cards use vga/dvi out might this be problematic?
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Question by:MarkCC
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paranoidcookie earned 200 total points
ID: 12615919
Modern Macs ship with DVI connectors these are used on modern flat panel screens both pc and apple. For oldermonitors you can buy (about £20) dvi to vga adaptors.

As for hardware i depends what it is most usb devices can be made to work with Mac, ditto firware. As for graphics cards Im not 100% (im a powerbook owner). As you say intheory they use agp so you would just need drivers which nvidia and ati do provide.

Memory it would depend on the computer I think Powermacs use DDR Ram much the same as PCs, I no cructial and kingston ship ram for macs significantly cheaper than apple direct.
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by:paranoidcookie
ID: 12615934
The other port you are thinking of is apple own propritary connector this is no longer used.
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by:pillguy
ID: 12636848
PowerMac's ship with a DVI to VGA adapter, so you can use your Mac with any normal analog monitor (CRT, etc).  For iMac and eMac, it has the monitor built in.  

In most cases, video cards are NOT interchangeable.  That is why ATI makes a special Mac edition of its popular Radeon series.  You actually can use some PC cards, but it requires transistors and a soldering iron :-)  
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by:MichelVDK
ID: 12654071
I'm using Mac's and PC together and for me there is no problem in connecting regular vga monitors to the Mac's but this is only when your talking about recent G3-G5 Mac's.
 Most of them have regular vga connectors and work as any other PC would work with that monitor.
 If you're thinking of connecting to older Mac's like 8000-9000 series etc. then you would need an adaptor for about €10 on e-bay.

Since you're talking about upgrading the graphics card in the Mac I suppose you're rather thinking of buying an older Mac and in that case be aware that you might have to do some major upgrades to bring it up-to-date (e.g. Graphics card always Mac edition, Ram check with online stores on compatibility, IEEE1394 'FireWire' pci card, USB2.0 pci card, HDD etc.)
I did this with a B&W G3 and it costed me a leg not even talking about a CPU upgrade to G4 etc. If you can tell us on what you're planning to buy then we can advise you better on this.
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by:MarkCC
ID: 12654280
I have a Apple Mac G4 350MHz 128MB ram, 20GB hdd etc currently sitting next to me in a box.
Thanks for the info, like I said above this is going to be a present for my dad since he managed (after getting the pc infected with viruses etc) to nuke his pc that I gave him a while back.

So, primarilly this is going to be used for browsing the web, email etc
If he wants games I can always get him a Mac Edition graphics card later.
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by:MarkCC
ID: 12654282
I have a Apple Mac G4 350MHz 128MB ram, 20GB hdd etc currently sitting next to me in a box.
Thanks for the info, like I said above this is going to be a present for my dad since he managed (after getting the pc infected with viruses etc) to nuke his pc that I gave him a while back.

So, primarilly this is going to be used for browsing the web, email etc
If he wants games I can always get him a Mac Edition graphics card later.
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by:MarkCC
ID: 12654672
Erm, I also wanted all other comments to get points too...
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by:paranoidcookie
ID: 12654794
If you want to split point post a question in the moderators area with a link to this question

On the Mac you have got for you dad IMHO upgrading the memory and hard disk is a cheap and easy way to massivly boost performance from thsi sort of system. Especially if you use OS X which is very memory hungry.

Memory is simple to upgrade you can either swap out the hard disk or buy a fireware external its got fireware right?
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by:MarkCC
ID: 12654815
Yeah, it's firewire capable.

I was thinking of just buying some cheap sdram and a ide hdd. I assume it's okay to use bog standard pc memory and hard disks?
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by:paranoidcookie
ID: 12654891
You should be able to use a standard IDE disk, not sure what memory type the blue and whites used I advise you check by using http://www.crucial.com/uk/promo/index.asp?prog=desktop2
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by:MichelVDK
ID: 12655631
Ok to be more specific about my post, I should have said 'costed me a leg compared to what the B&W costed'.
As to the RAM in B&W that is SDRAM, any IDE HDD will fit.
I think that you will indeed benifit the most from adding RAM. I have for example a old Beige G3 @ 233Mhz with 1gig of ram and I run MacOS X.3.3 on it with a lot of today apps at reasonable speed. I'm using it as a file and mail server and only reboot every few months.
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