Bargain Power: A $799 Mac With Power To Burn

Of course, power is a relative thing. The lowest of the low end Macs is far more powerful than the original Mac 128k over 20 years ago, or most Macs today. Yes, the new PowerMac G5 is far more powerful than an eMac, but the difference between $799 and $2,999 is substantial.

In the end, the $799 eMac will do pretty much the same thing. Here’s how:

First, I’ll start at the base $799 eMac model and stay there. $799. Of course, you could add a SuperDrive (more money), you could add a larger hard drive (more money), you could add more RAM (more money), but you get the idea.

What do you get for $799?

That depends on what you’re looking for and what you want the computer to do. For $799 you get plenty and that compares favorably with any of the cheap machines from Dell or Gateway or whoever’s running the most TV commercials recently. 

A $799 eMac can be the start of an Internet Publishing Business. Or, it can do Photoshop, Microsoft Office, AppleWorks, you name it. Let’s start with the basics and then move that $799 eMac into Internet Publishing Business as a database server, a web server, log analyzer, and more, and stay at $799.

What do you get with a $799 eMac (and a powerful web server, email server, database server…)?

• 1.25 ghz PowerPC processor
• 17 inch flat display (CRT)
• CD/CD-RW/DVD-ROM drive
• Keyboard & Mouse
• 3 USB ports
• 2 Firewire ports
• Stereo speakers
• 256 megs RAM
• 32 megs of dedicated video RAM
• 40 gigabyte hard drive

That’s just for starters. Apple loads up the low end with all the basic applications you’ll need. Remember, we want to keep that $799 bargain power price at $799.

• Mac OS X 10.3.4 Panther (the same OS in the $3,000 PowerMac)
• AppleWorks (works like Microsoft Office; most files are compatible)
• Mail
• Address Book (coordinates addresses with Mail and iSync)
• iCal (calendar)
• iTunes (stores your music, connects to the iTunes Music Store)
• Safari (arguably the best browser money doesn’t buy)
• iMovie (record and edit movies on the Mac)
• iPhoto (save, edit, manage your digital photos)
• GarageBand (create music on the Mac)
• WorldBook 2004 Edition
• DVD Player (yes, you can play movies)
• Quicken 2004 for Mac

Yes, there’s more (some games, a built-in modem, built-in ethernet, and other goodies), but, frankly that’s plenty for $799. At this point, the $799 eMac is a very capable desktop computer that’ll give you years of service.

Where’s all that power for $799?

Under the hood. Apple doesn’t say much about it for eMac users because most eMac users need that list of items above and not the list of items under the hood. What’s under the hood is the same kind of “power” you’ll find in Apple’s Xserve, or the glitzy new PowerMac, or the sexy aluminum PowerBooks.

Mac OS X.

Here’s where the real power begins. First, Mac OS X is amazingly stable. Here in the office and at home, we never turn anything off. Sleep mode is finally a sleep mode that works. I have a PowerBook that’s NOT been turned off in over a year. Here’s a secret. We use an eMac as a web server, database server, data tracking server, poll and survey server. It’s an Open Source database powerhouse. For $799.

How’s that? What’s that secret again?

Mac OS X.

You see, Mac OS X is built upon the Mach kernel, BSD subsystem, and is, well, Unix. That won’t mean much to the average eMac buyer, but if you’re looking to increase POWER you’ll like what it does. Unix is the operating system found on many larger, powerful computers; financial institutions use Unix, so does the government, and higher education. One of the most secure versions around is BSD, what’s inside Mac OS X. One of the most stable versions is based on the Mach kernel (the guts of Mac OS X).

It’s all part of the $799 package in an eMac. But there’s more.

Also included in Mac OS X is the Apache web server. So, you get the single most popular web server on the planet. All for $799. You can serve hundreds of web sites using an eMac.

What about email?

Well, Mac OS X also comes with a built-in email server called PostFix. You could have hundreds or thousands of email accounts on an eMac. Maybe more, if you type fast.

Web serving? Email? Yep. The eMac is the Prego of computers. It’s in there.

So are the two most popular Open Source development applications; Perl, and PHP. PHP is the most prevalent scripting language available on the Internet and there are hundreds and hundreds of applications written in PHP which will run quite well on the Macintosh. And the eMac. PHP. It’s in there.

Many applications that use PHP also use access to an Open Source (free) database called MySQL. It’s powerful, mature, flexible, easy to set up and run. And there are hundreds and hundreds of applications that take advantage of MySQL’s power.

Well, here’s the first problem. MySQL is NOT included in Mac OS X Panther in the eMac. It’s available as a free download from Apple’s OS X Downloads page.

Download, save, install. You’ve got one of the most powerful and flexible databases ever sitting and running on your $799 eMac.

That’s power to burn.

As an example of what you can do, we have a $799 eMac running Mac OS X Panther. AND, Apache, PHP, MySQL, a tracking application, a polls and survey application, web sites, email server, and much more. It runs 24/7.

It just works.

That’s power to burn (I’m repeating myself already) for just $799. Now, some of you with a little knowledge of Unix and Open Source tools will say you can get the same thing on a cheapo PC box running Linux.

Maybe. Even for $799, a PC running Linux will be hard pressed to give you all the above AND keep the price at $799. Plus, let’s say you are not comfortable with running Linux? Hey, Linux, even with a GUI on top, is NOT easy to setup as a web server, email server, database server. It’s worse than navigating Windows’ gazillions of dialog boxes and there’s that constant need to use the CLI (command line interface).

For $799, you get everything a Mac has to offer. And everything that Unix has to offer (power, dependability, stability, flexibility). All rolled into one. Point and click.

For $799 you can easily start your own Internet Publishing Business. Serve web sites, run database applications, AND do everything that a Mac usually does.

For $799.

What did I have to add to get all this extra power to burn? Hmmmm. If I recall the list correctly, NOTHING. A $799 eMac comes with a bucket of power right out of the box. Yes, we drool when we see Apple’s new 23” Cinema HD Display next to a 2.5 ghz PowerMac. Let the drooling begin.

For $4,199 less, you get power to burn.






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