How long should a Mac last? Mac360’s Alexis Kayhill posed the question recently, and it got me thinking on the topic, especially since Alexis framed her column around the experience of a co-worker who had purchased a new unibody MacBook (on her recommendation) only to have […]


How long should a Mac last? Mac360’s Alexis Kayhill posed the question recently, and it got me thinking on the topic, especially since Alexis framed her column around the experience of a co-worker who had purchased a new unibody MacBook (on her recommendation) only to have Apple upgrade the 13″ unibody to Pro status with feature enhancement and a lower price a few months later.

I’m in the same boat, having also bought a unibody MacBook last February. Alexis says her friend “got burned,” though I think that’s a bit harsh. I don’t feel “burned” at all — more like a bit disappointed that I didn’t wait four more months, but you can drive yourself nuts second-guessing such things. I love the MacBook, and am already becoming convinced that it’s going to be one of my all-time favorite Macs. I just wish it had a FireWire port, which the new 13″ MacBook Pro does have.

My target for intervals between upgrading my main workhorse systems has been three years ever since I bought my first Mac back in 1992, and I’ve done pretty well at adhering to it. That would put replacement time for my MacBook in early 2012, which seems a long way off.

The way it usually plays out for me is that the first year I revel in the greater power and storage capacity of my new machine compared with whatever it replaced. At 18 months, twinges of slight frustration and dissatisfaction start to set in, especially after upgraded models have been introduced, but I really have nothing to complain about. However, by the beginning of year three, the aging Mac is usually beginning to feel compromised in some respects, and the hunt begins, although for the last three machines I’ve managed to reach or beat the three-year replacement benchmark.

Of course it helps that I like the challenge of getting useful service out of antiquated hardware. We still have two nine year old Pismo PowerBooks in very active service, and they’re great for what we do with them — text-crunching, email, Web-surfing, and so forth — “netbooks” of a sort, I suppose.

Actually, I still have most of the Macs I’ve ever owned, and only a very few are not in working order. Our six year old iBook G3 died suddenly last winter, but had been a virtually flawless performer up to the day it completely refused to respond to the power button — presumably a terminal motherboard issue. One of my daughters is still using my old 1999 WallStreet PowerBook, and the 17″ PowerBook that served as my primary workhorse between the iBook and MacBook is still in fine fettle.

As Alexis Kayhill observes, there’s a line somewhere between the disappointment that occurs when a newer, power and feature-enhanced, and possibly cheaper revision is unveiled, especially if it’s only shortly after you buy a new Mac. But there’s also the pride you feel when your Mac still looks good and works well five years (or nine years!) after you bought it.

Macs being generally more expensive than typical Windows PCs, at least up front, it logically stands to reason that they should have longer useful lives.

How about you? How often do you usually upgrade your system, and what do you consider a reasonable service life for Macs?

  1. I had an eMac for about 4 years, and it is still going strong to this day. but on the other hand, i had a iMac all-in-one white flat screen (Without iSight) and it lasted about 3 years, then the logic board went out which left me the decision of buying a new logic board or, getting a mac mini for $100 cheaper. (the mac mini works great!)

  2. I would like a NEW MAC to have a product cycle of 7 months so then at my 12 month mark, i can sell it as “last-gen” and buy the newest model mid way into its product cycle so there wont’ be as many issues.

    So if a MacBook Pro 3.06Ghz was released June/09, I’d like a new model to be released in January so I can purchase it around April. I’l still get a nice price for my “last-gen” model (about 25% of what I paid for it) and be able to afford what’s new.

    I’ve never had a computer longer than a year so I’m hoping it will last long enough for them to leave positive eBay feedback but every one of the Macs that I sell comes with APP which is good for 3 years of warranty support from Apple.

    1. Bruce Mitchell Wednesday, August 5, 2009

      Geez, Adam, put me on your list of potential customers for your “last-gen” models! That’s exactly how I like to buy, as I don’t need to have the latest and greatest.

      Right now I’m using a 3 or 4 year old iBook and backup of a 9 year old Lombard PowerBook which is still going strong using OSX. Macs just don’t quit, in my experience (since 1988).

      Holler when you’re ready to move up, and help me upgrade!

  3. I don’t know about the reasonable life expectancy of a version of Macs, but I can attest to owning an original G3 iMac DV+ that is 10 years old or so. Running OSX 10.3.1 and my 3 year old uses it daily. Show me a 10 year old PC with original parts still running-or running Vista. Make mine a Mac.

    1. That’s pretty cool that it’s running a decade on, but wouldn’t 10.3 equate with XP or 2000, if not earlier?

    2. @Brian: not really. OSX 10.0 was released in March 2001, even before XP (October 2001); a few months after the release of 10.3 in October 2003, SP2 for XP came out (August 2004), so that would probably be the most suitable comparison.

  4. I still have my ’99 blue & white G3 running strong. I updated the hard drive, optical drive & ram. I have installed Tiger & it still works great for word processing, Internet & as a back-up when my wife takes our MacBook on the road.

  5. FabricofChaos Tuesday, August 4, 2009

    I got my first Mac that was the nicer iBook G4 the Sept before they switched to intel and felt the pressure right after that to get a new one. The new MacBooks were so much cooler than the old iBook. I toughed it out till the summer of 08′ and then upgraded to a fully loaded MacBook Pro 15″ with multi-touch. I’ve had it for a little over a year now and still feel no pressure to upgrade to anything else. I will have this one for at least the life of my AppleCare Plan if not longer.

  6. I had a PowerMac G4 Titanium (the first one to come out). I used it for 5 years until I eventually gave it to my ex when we broke up. Last I heard it was still up and running. I also had a Mac 512K, black and white. I think it was 2nd generation. Had no hard disc. I powered it up last in 2001, but I had lost all the system discs so I decided to get rid of it. I kindda regret having done so! Truth is, the machines itself will work for years. The software eventually becomes un-upgradeable. Eventually, it renders itself useless (for modern era tasks).

    1. Thinkpad come with four year warranties which apple does not match. Plus cannot really compare apples and oranges as the macs only work with very specific software and break compatibilityall the time and lets not even talk about the ridiculous prices that their logic boards fetch( as much as my thinkpad that came with three year warranty)/

  7. I bought my first iMac in November 2007 as Apple finally went to Intel CPU’s. After decades of fighting with PC’s and Windows (I am a MCSE) and hardware issues and a new computer every 6 months just to keep Windows running, I can honestly say that I don’t want a new Mac yet as this one does everything just as snappy as the day that I bought it. If I get another 2 years out of it, I will be impressed and pleased that a: I didn’t have to upgrade hardware every 6 months and b: that I haven’t had to fight a virus off of my computer in 4 years! For the money and the length of time that I will have this computer, it is a steal. I give kudos to Apple for a great product. BTW, if Apple will let you get a 3 year warranty when other manufacturers will not, that is a testament to how they feel about their hardware. If I didn’t think that my hardware would run with minimum problems for 3 years, I would not offer a warranty! It would be bad for the business’ bottom line. As long as Apple can continue to keep the level of quality for the price, I will continue to buy Apple and run every OS know to man on it!

    1. Every six months sounds a bit excessive. That either makes you very, very destructive … or indicates you might be exaggerating … just a bit. Not sure if I’m just lucky, but the youngest computer in my home right now is two and a half years.

      In fact, I spent most of the afternoon using my home-office desktop, which is nearly seven years old and it is running like a champ. I’ve been using it to play around with the Windows 7 release candidate. Oh, and it’s not a Mac, it happens to be a Dell.

      And nearly every manufacturer I know offers a three year warranties, even on the very cheapest of computers. I recently helped my brother purchase a dirt cheap Dell desktop (we got it for $250) off of their refurbished site, and I was ecstatic to see that the three year warranty (with in-home service) was included.

      I’ve actually been a bit alarmed that I can’t extend the three year warranty on my MacBook Pro (which is up in January). I’ve been very happy with the computer (even though I’ve had a raft of hardware related problems), and since the new models don’t have a user-replaceable battery, I’m not all that excited to purchase a new one. (Here’s to hoping that Apple has made that amazing new battery replaceable by June of 2010.)

      I just extended the warranty on a different Dell mobile workstation (taking it to a total of five years) for $150 bucks. It gives me another year to put together the money for computer upgrades. I, frankly, don’t know how most of you do it. Upgrading my hardware more frequently than every five or six years just isn’t feasible for the finances. I tend to like to run my computers until they die.

  8. I got an aluminum MacBook just over two weeks before it was bumped up to a Pro. I will admit, I was a little disappointed. It does annoy me when I don’t have the most up-to-date gadgets (the iPhone 3GS for example, because of the 18 month contract/no upgrade saga), but considering the fact that I am fourteen and relying on pocket money and my dad, it’s not feasible for me to be upgrading every time something new is released.

    So I’ve got over it, and got on with it, and I love my MacBook.

    When I am going to upgrade? I am hoping to keep it for two years, before passing it on to my little brother, as he conveniently, will be starting high school at that time. I will be starting my first year of college – the perfect excuse to get the latest model.

    (I also hope to get the fourth gen iPhone next summer, when my contract is well and truly out)

  9. I plane to replace my Mac’s every 4-5 years. My current MacBook is getting close to being 3 years old, and I expect it to last me about another 2 years, subject to a major failure :)

  10. Plan, even

  11. It’s not exactly a Mac, but I do own an Apple LaserWriter Select 360 that I purchased new in 1995 for $1350… It is still my primary B&W printer and all our Macs can use it via Airport thanks to an AsanteTalk Ethernet adapter.

    OEM toner carts disappeared a couple of years ago but the generic carts work just fine.

  12. I have a late 2006 macbook 2.0ghz core duo running Leopard. I have spent a little money upgrading the hard drive (7200rpm 200gb) and ram to 2gb a couple years back. I’m right around the 3 year mark now. It still works pretty well, no major problems other than some slow down here and there. I mainly do music composing, recording and editing in logic and garageband, basic web development in dreamweaver and photoshop, heavy web browsing and web apps, some hd video editing. In some of these applications, I can really see it chugging. I’ve already done 2 clean installs, but I think the benefit of that is fading. I’m really tempted by the new macbook pros. Do you think I would see a tangible benefit in terms of productivity by upgrading to the new macbook pros when snow leopard comes out? How long could I manage with my current macbook with the snow leopard upgrade…? Any thoughts? Thanks!

  13. I’m writing this on a 2002 “Mirror Drive Door” dual G4 and it runs 10.5 and is fast enough. I’ll probably replace in 12 months.

  14. About once every 4-5 years. I bought my first iBook in 2000, then a 12″ PowerBook in 2005 and a new 13″ Unibody MacBook in January of this year. Unfortunately neither the iBook nor the PowerBook work anymore, which is why I was forced to replace them.

  15. My MBP 15″ is about 3 years old, and is on its last legs. I’m probably a month or two away from having to replace it (undecided if I’m going to go with the 15″ or the 13″ MBP).

    Interestingly, I’ve got a Dell Inspiron that’s 4 years old, which is still running strong. Windows 7 is surprisingly peppy.

    I suppose that shouldn’t be a surprise, considering everybody uses the same components these days.

  16. I’ve got a compaq presario that has lasted 9 years with no upgrading or real problems. just sayin, but as soon as snow leopard hits the shelves, that pc is taking a long walk off a short peir. I expect the mac to last just as long.

  17. Michael Burns Tuesday, August 4, 2009

    My daughter is still using my old PB G4 15″ after 6+ years. My wife is still using her 20″ G5 iMac after 5 years and I’m still happy with my 15″ core duo MBpro after 39 months.

  18. I bought 17″ iMac in 2006. It’s the one with Intel Core 2 Duo (which is 64 bit). When I bought it, Tiger came with it. When I installed Leopard, it even became faster. I upgraded the memory to 2 gigs and it seems almost as fast as my Macbook Pro 2,4 Ghz in most aspects.
    I see a great value in Macs. So what if it’s 3 years old? After I install Snow Leopard to it, I expect to see even some increase in the performance.
    Then, I don’t consider the iMac as a gaming rig although Quake 4 does run very fine with it. Perhaps, if you are a gamer, it might be that the video card starts to show some limitations in latest games.
    But myself, I expect to use this cute, small footprint device as my “digital hub” for many years to come, probably at least three more years. Why not? It runs all iLife Apps without a problem and even most of the pro software like Logic Studio.
    I think Macs have great lifespan and considering how hassle-free they are and how great OS they have, I just can’t even think about going back to PC’s.

  19. I managed to get 5 years out of my 17″ PowerBook. It still runs osx really nicely today too, just a bit slow for rendering large photos, videos and audio file processing.

  20. I have historically kept my computers 4-5 years, PC or Mac. Of course, after year 2, I typically increase the HDD, add memory and add a few components. I’m not a museeum either – I’ve resold every computer I ever owned as they were in good working conditions…. the few hundred dollars are put toward the next purchase, like some have mentioned.

  21. I update my MBP every three years. At that point I still get a solid upgrade from my previous model and I’m always within warranty. I expect that the computer will last twice as long and sell it for cheap on eBay.

  22. I have a 13 Al MacBook (before it went pro) and still love it. My other computer is a 20″ intel iMac (first intel model) connected to a 23″ Cinema Display (the polycarbonate model not the Al model) running Tiger. I use my iMac for most of my work. Sure there are newer models but I can’t see myself getting a new model just for the sake of getting a new model.

    My wife has a 24″ iMac with a 20″ LCD external monitor. As a laptop she uses a 15″ PowerBook G4.

    So we both have newer and older models of Macs and are happy with them. Most of our Macs last 3-5 years before we replace them.

  23. I have been buying a new mac every year in the past three years. The first is a 15″ MBP, the second is a MBA, and the last one is a mac mini. Unlike other people, I keep the old machines around. I just put them in different locations of my house. The MBA goes with me on the road, the MBP sits in the kitchen, and the mini sits in the office. I use mobile me to synch these computers. The convenience of having a mac in almost every room is fantastic.

  24. I have had my PowerBook G4 12″ 867 for over six years. Yes, it will be a sad day when Snow Leopard comes out. However, I should be OK as I don’t have need for it. I can do just about anything I need to. Yes, Videos run a little slow but Office runs well and HTML 5.0 video runs quite OK. Most of my friends have replaced their laptops once if not twice in that course of time. I plan on keeping it for at least another year or so.

  25. I drag out my Performa 550 ever so often to reassure myself that I am following the right path and it cranks up every time……I still cannot believe it.
    But ues it ddoes and it makes me feel so good!

  26. I used to buy a new laptop every 12 months without fail (I was on a PC) – mainly because either anti-virus or general clunky software meant it was clogged, fubar or both. The hardware was also shabby, and cheap. Roughly $1500 was spent.

    I shelled out $4900 in 2005 for a top of the range PC laptop hoping it would last longer, as it was better quality with more impressive components… FAIL.

    Within a year it had completely died, right in the middle of the busiest period of my year.

    Within the hour, I had ordered a MacBook Pro (17″) online, delivered the next day. This was 2006.

    It’s now halfway through 2009, and I have used this laptop for over 18 hours a day, every day, for four years. It hums along just as it did the day I bought it.

    The last time I invested in anything to do with Microsoft was when I purchased an XBox 360… It got the red ring of death within months.

    Microsoft can rot in hell. My Mac is unreal.

  27. i had a quad G5 for less than a year bc mac went intel and i was so scared that all the apps will go intel too so i got me the mac pro and boy am i glad!!! i do get the weird feeling to have when an upgrade comes out, the products are so amazing!!

  28. My PC is 9 years old and counting. Still works like it did nine years ago. My mac is 5 years old. Ehh… not so good anymore.

  29. Let me count the Macs. I have an original G3, 266 that I have to fire up now and again to run something in OS8.6 or OS9.2. In those days we partitioned drives and this one can really reach into the past (my early days as a graphic designer.) I just retired my G4 mirror machine from my office- fully loaded with hard drives – the original 80GB, a 160GB, a 250GB and a new 500GB to hold all my music and photos – it is now being used as a server. I only retired it because of RAM limitations- just couldn’t run as many apps open as I need, including Illustrator and Photoshop, MYOB, Safari, Mail, Address book, etc. It is a true workhorse.
    I had a G5 imac that I sold to my sister, last year – doing great for her needs, a G4 ibook, I sold to a friend 2 1/2 years ago – he still uses it everyday for email and the internet.
    The replacement for it was the 15″ MacBook pro I am typing this on. It has a new 500GB hard drive, the third one – all still work, just need more storage.
    And last but not least, I have a new 24″ iMac in my office with a second
    22″ monitor hooked-up to it. It’s great. I have Parallels with Windows XP
    running on the second monitor (have-to-have it to run explorer based database for my business) and it is happily(and speedily) running all the apps the G4 RAM was choking on.
    How long will it last? I’ll probably use it at least four years – the G4 was my primary office machine for 6 years!
    I’ll want a new laptop – probably next year. And yes, I’ll easily be able to sell this laptop to a friend – at a good price.
    Am I happy with my Macs? You bet

  30. 1. PowerBook G4/400. Still runs fine after 8+ years.
    2. 20″ iMac C2D. Still kickin’ after 3+.
    3. 17″ iMac C2D. Turning 3 real soon.

  31. I tend to replace the computers every four to five years or so. I tend to use them pretty hard (which causes little things to fail), so the extended warranties are a must. Thus, the first major fail after the warranty is up is when I usually get the next computer.

    Saying that, the current crop of computers have been extremely steady. I have a 17 inch Macbook Pro which runs more or less like a champ (after the hard drive failed and the computer went funny) and a 15 inch mobile precision workstation from Dell that is rock solid. Both computers get used a lot, the Dell for creating models for work and the MBP for development and graphics. I’m actually hoping that the MBP will last between five and six years. I’m not a fan of Apple’s non-replaceable batteries and hope that the product line will have evolved back to a user-replaceable battery. (Losing my computer for a week because the battery decide to stop working, as happened to a colleague, is unacceptable.)

    I just extended the warranty on the Dell to five years for a song, and have an option to take it to six. We’ll see what the workstations look like in 2012!

  32. I have a Macbook and it’s about three years old…it runs wonderfully. It’s a little worn not bc the computer itself is dying but bc my two year old daughter…who ripped of my GGGG key :) and I can’t find it…and bc she spilled juice on the screen (which still works GREAT btw but now has water streaking). I’m looking at the new model 13″

  33. I just bought a newish unibody macbook and I anticipate it lasting 3-4 years. Mostly based on the sheer lack of efficiency that most new applications exhibit. My iBook G4 lasted for about 5 years before the logic board went bad, and even then it was semi usable. My iMac swivel LCD model, 700mhz so the first generation, is still serving its purpose to my parents. And that’s around what, 8 years old? I would go crazy using it, but quite frankly I would be just fine using my iBook G4 now if it had not broke. It was a little finnicky and I couldn’t watch HD video on it, but I could do everything on it that I do now on my macbook except play games and watch hd video.

  34. When I bought my first Powerbook, the very next week there was a $1000 price drop on it… I was not too happy with that!

  35. My Macs:

    1] Primary: G5 2.5 dual (Late 2005, bought used).

    2] Secondary: G4 450 Cube (Updated graphics, so it runs a 23″ CHD).

    3] Tertiary: G4 1.67GHz 17″ Power Book.

    4] Quaternary: G4 400MHz 15″ Power Book.

    I don’t have an Intel Mac, and I don’t plan to get one for several more years. I do have an iPhone (Original 8GB EDGE, which I bought new), and I’ll get the tablet, but desktop and laptop Macs are too expensive for me to buy new, so, I buy them used.


    Oh, I also have a Newton 120. LOL!

  36. I worked on a dell inspiron (a 3,5k $ model) for 4,5 years and it’s still a good machine.

    I expect my 13″ macbook pro to last even longer…

  37. I’ve had a white MacBook for a year. Buildwise, it developed a split along the front right edge within a few months, something that’s happened to both my sisters’ Macs too. And as for the software stability everyone raves about, well it’s not much better than my 3 year old Vaio that I have through work.

    I’ll keep the Mac another couple of years, perhaps 3. But if I’m honest, I’m not seeing the benefit that Apple’s hefty price tag should entail. So I’ll end up going back to IBM-based PCs.

  38. My mac is 4 years old, it’s a Powermac G5 dual 2.0GHz from the last generation of PPC Macs.

    It runs fine and feels like it has at least another 4 years of life in it, but I’m buying a Powerbook this year because I’m seeing more and more software coming out which is Intel-only.

    I still have an iBook from 2003 but it doesn’t work well these days.

  39. Well, we had an old Macintosh, the first or second all in one.

    We gave it away to someone and it still works.

    So how olds that? 10 years?

    Im hoping to keep my new MacBook for about 7.

  40. I got a white MacBook a month before the release of the first unibody. I was a recent switcher & wasn’t aware of the upcoming new units. I feel a bit irked at myself that I didn’t wait, especially on the news of a better videocard, but here I am, eleven months later and I’ve got no complaints. I hope to keep this working for years. Maybe I’ll get a new MacBook sometime in the near future, especially if my workload increases, but I’m very happy & very satisfied with this one.

  41. From my point of view as an Video Editor an Motion Graphics Designer, todays Mac last for nothing or let’s say Apples (arrogant Hardware policy) claims that you are in need of one of the top machines running their Crap Final cut Studio 3 Upgrade!?
    In reality, Final cut Studio 3 Software architecture is so programmed so bad that it makes absolutely no sense running it on a Intel Octacore because the app is not getting any faster anyway.
    2x dual core with 6 GB of RAM is absolutely ok, anything else is wasted money.

    Hopefuly one day people will recognize how Apple is goofing around with loyal customers.

  42. I have a 15″ MacBook Pro and a 13″ Unibody MacBook, the Pro is almost at the 3 year mark and it is now used by my wife. This will most likely stay in the family until it dies, since the Apple Care expires in November. It will end up being cheaper to buy a new MacBook then repair this one. Hopefully that will be in 3 years, since that is my typical refresh period on my laptops and there should be plenty of nice hardware to choose from by then!

  43. I had a Macintosh IIci for 7 years. I replaced the hard drive and added an upgraded processor, but it served me well for a long time. But in those days we were taking about a lot more money to buy a new top-end Mac than now.

    I am at 2 1/4 years on my 17″ MacBook Pro 2.33 GHz (early 2007 model). I am probably getting a new 15″ MBP this weekend. I want the GPU support in Snow Leopard and my current MBP doesn’t have the video processor (it’s an ATI X1600) to take advantage of it.

  44. I just recently boughty a 24″ Imac to replace my G4 Quicksilver 867mhz. That G4 has lasted quite a few years and its still going strong as I gave it too a friend.
    My parents are running a first gen MacMini with no problems. :)

  45. My daughter is using my 6-year old TiBook 1Ghz. This Feburary will mark its 7th year. The hinges, HD and DVD drive were replaced last year.

    The battery is about the only thing I had to replace every 3 years or so.

    We had a Bondi Blue iMac last 10 years before its CRT gave out.

  46. [...] How Long Do You Expect Your Macs to Last? How long should a Mac last? Mac360’s Alexis Kayhill posed the question recently, and it got me thinking on the [...] [...]

  47. You have to go a long way before you can beat the gumdrop iMacs. Despite recent lab refreshes with Intel iMacs and MacBooks, I’m currently going through some 10-year-old G3 350mhz models, and they’re just great! Will they run Leopard (or even Tiger?) Nope – but for lightweight tasks in a middle school, they help lighten the demands on the newer machines. BTW, anyone find a way to reliably get a Panther client to log into a Leopard server in MCX? Now that would be really cool.

  48. I have desktop macs which I hang onto as long as possible. Currently a powermac G5 dual 2004. Tend only to upgrade the mac when software forces me to but at the moment everything I use still works fine. The previous one is a blue and white G5 1999 still going stong next to the G5

  49. I have two Macs. The oldest one is a 2004 PowerMac G5 that runs 24×7 and is a normal desktop computer as well as a server of all types for me (iTunes, proxy, Crashplan backup server, print, EyeTV, iPhoto server, etc) It can house up to 5 hard drives in it. I have a hdd for the OS and all my apps, a media hdd of video projects that I work on as well as all the iPhoto libraries for all the user accounts, and a Time Machine Volume backing up the first two volumes. Even though it’s a *good bit* slower than my mid 2008 MacBook Pro 2.6GHz w/ 4GB of RAM it still is a workhorse that gets video encoding batches just about every single day thrown at it. I thought about selling it but it has many more years of life left in it. My money was well spent on this machine.

  50. actually mine lasted like almost 5 years in great shape, until one day the harddrive burnt, actually it still works obviously after i replaced it.

    powerbook g4s

    1. My Macbook 13″ is nearly 3 years old. I changed the 60 GB drive for 160 GB last year + upgraded RAM to 2 GB more than 1.5 years ago.

      A few months back, the body shell developed cracks – so I had the shell replaced.

      Otherwise its great – runs Leopard now and is so smooth that I can’t help raving about it.

      I’ll have it for another 2 years and figure out how to retire it – possibly give it to my parents.

      I’d definitely buy a mac that has a tougher body next time – the unibody things should work, depending on what comes up in 2011.

  51. My macs hang around for 2-3 years but the build quality has been very poor of late so they don’t often make it to the first year without issues.

    I am still on a plastic MacBook though there isn’t much plastic left, most of it has cracked and broken.

    For usability, reliability of the OS and the general hardware 9 out of 10 for the casing 2 out of 10.

  52. I have the same timeline (about 3 years) for my own Mac notebook upgrades, but really that’s only because I’m a power user. The “old” Mac goes to my wife for another three years, and, now that I have kids, they play educational games on them (the latest games still play fine on my 9 year old PowerBook G3). I recently bought my mom a refurbished last-years model Macbook (white version) only because her 9 year old iMac (the original style) wasn’t portable (it still worked fine for her email, web and other functions). Her 9 year old iMac is now being used by a friend of hers.

  53. I got my first Mac early 2007 after wanting to get a Mac for a few years before. Anyways, it still runs like it did when I first received it. Warranty runs out in February 2010. I plan on upgrading the HD just because of space and upgrading the memory cause I have 1 GB and I feel I need 2 GB. I probably will extend the warranty too. I totally agree with the article about how you feel when new and cheaper Macs come out. I plan to see how long I can take my MacBook, partially because I think it is cool to have older technology that still works and because I really have no reason or money to upgrade at this point. I can tell you that my Dell that I had before my MacBook needed to be replaced at this point in it’s life but I had to wait until it was really dead because I had no money. I was still in college when I thought it needed to go. I will have a Macs forever.

  54. My mac vram just broke.

  55. I’m using a PowerMac G4 dual 1 Ghz MDD that’s 8 years old and performs flawlessly…these were built in the USA unlike the G5s which are made in China and not very reliable. I’m even running all the latest apps, and it’s plenty fast I mean not going to record a 200 track symphony with it but does all I need it to and plenty fast. Too bad these were the last truly well built Macs because I think they’ll last forever!

  56. I’m currently using my PowerMac G4 since the day I bought it new (back in 2003). It is still running strong. I’ve upgraded the memory to the max (2GB). I have also added an Airport card. Also added was a 6 port USB2.0 card. Finally, I added what may have been Apple’s OEM 1X SuperDrive (DVD writer). I can still upgrade the CPU to a Dual, but the price of that is equivalent to that the Mac Mini. So I decided not to upgrade the CPU. So, basically, my PowerMac G4 upgrade path came to a dead end. I’m planning on replacing this system with a new iMac. Anyone interested with my system, let me know.

  57. I have had my ibook G4 (late 2004 model) for almost six years and it works great for simple tasks such as email, web and itunes and I was still recording music on it as late as last summer. The only problems I’ve run into has been the logic board going out (twice). Considering that I used it in college and took it with me everywhere and it took a couple of nasty falls over the years I wasn’t surprised that I had to get the logic board replaced twice. It definitely runs a lot slower these days but overall it has been a great computer for me and I will go with Macs until the day I die.

    I recently ordered a brand new 27″ quad core iMac so I’m patiently (or impatiently) waiting for it to arrive. I still plan on using my ibook G4 as “my around the house” computer as long as possible though….

  58. I have a 2007 MacBook Pro 3,1. Pretty much as soon as I got it I put a 320GB HDD in and upped the RAM to 4GB. It had to have a new battery a couple of months ago and last week I decided to strip it down and replace the thermal paste on the heatsink. The reason for the new thermal paste was to try and keep the heat down which I believe is one of the causes of failure for this particular MBP (the one with the 8600MGT). Running Snow Leopard and hopefully with all the upgraded kit it should last me another 3-4 years. The only thing I’m beginning to wish I had was a more powerful graphics chipset (for Windows gaming). Hopefully the new MBPs in 3-4 years time will be kickass!

  59. ARTSTARANDREW Saturday, July 10, 2010

    I just got my new computer. A brand new iMac 21.5” with a 1 TB hard drive. Up until about February 2010 we were using a Sony Vaio from 2004. I noticed that it slowed down dramatically in the last 2 years mainly due to heavier usage and wear an tear. Including a dent in the tower left by my foot when it was giving me crap, and it still lasted 6 years. Before that we had a Compaq from 1998 which had a laughable 50 GB hard drive, it lasted until 2005 but was in terrible shape by then, but it still lasted. I chose Apple because I think they are at a level now that they have surpassed the PC’s out there. I also didnt like the amount of Hassle the PC takes to keep it running for 8 years (refer back to the sentence about the dent.) I am hoping to have this iMac for about five years to where it is usable. Then I will keep it as a piece of sculpture, which it is. I have never said this about a computer…But I LOVE mine. Like I named it. So I don’t think I will ever willingly part with it even if it completely crashes.

  60. It all depends on how well you take care of it. I have had PCs working for over 10 years without breaking down, im on my first mac right now and there are no signs of aging at all. My guess would be if you keep it in good shape, dont let it get too dusty, and keep it on a surge protector, it should last a long time.
    But would you really want a 10 year old computer? Seems by then we will have 128GB of ram as standard and a 16 core processor.
    we’ll just have to wait and see.

  61. I own over 10 old PC’s (and some mac’s too) made within the last 20 years and none of them died (Guess I’m just lucky). The machine I’m using right now is over 15 years old and works like a charm.

    From my experience working with older computers, I’ve noticed that Mac’s don’t have a very long support life compared to PC’s, which I would say is one of their top weaknesses. Windows XP, from 2001, is still fully supported and runs almost all modern software. Compare that to Mac OS 9.2, also from 2001. It’s about as good for web browsing as Windows 3.1 (I’m serious here. Both OS’s can’t run browsers more modern than MSIE5, which is your best bet with old browsers. It renders today’s web pages not perfectly, but better than Netscape and Opera). Even Mac OS X has a shorter support life. Last I knew, Apple does not even provide updates for OS X 10.4, an OS from 2005. If Apple could improve its long-term support, a lot more could get done with older Mac’s. They’re perfectly good hardware (it’s not like most of them blow up or anything), but having to replace them every 5 years just isn’t fun for everybody.

    You can get a lot more life out of an old PC. Any Pentium III or newer machine can run Windows XP very well (perhaps with a RAM upgrade; 512MB is plenty). And if you do everyday stuff with it such as word processing, e-mail, and web browsing, it’ll be perfectly fine.

  62. my mom had a mac desktop with a g3 in it it worked grate even after the water heater blowd up on it. i did have a ibook g4 and it worked good then the logic board went out in and it stop working. know i have a macbook and it is COOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  63. I have the first generation Macbook, which I bought a couple of months after it came out. This past year I upgraded the inside with a 500GB hard drive, an extra GB ram, and a new battery. It still works great. Never gave me any trouble. I am tempted to buy a refurbished Macbook Pro for about what I got this machine for, and transfer my hard drive into that one – but really, I’m very happy with this little laptop and will probably keep using it until the processor gives out or the cd drive doesn’t work anymore. I think my internal upgrades cost me less than $300.

    I had 2 eMacs and each lived only 3 years. I still have my little iMac (graphite) and it still works. I use it to access old files created on software that didn’t update and that you can’t get anymore.

    The basic macbook is a real workhorse. I’m now past the 4 year mark. By contrast, my husband has gone through 3 PC laptops in the same period – and these were expensive machines made by well regarded companies.


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