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Thread: Need LOTS of advice

  1. #1
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    Default Need LOTS of advice

    Oh boy

    After years of PC world just ordered a Mac G-5 1.8. Yes I'm excited but after reading many forums I am also VERY confused. Just what utilities do I 'really' need, what upgrades off the Apple site? Been firewalled for years on PC's and use NAV (bloatware). Will keep the PC online using dial up for a while the Mac will be on cable (I have both, use the d-up when the cable fritzes). Will probably network at sometime. Good web browser, mail program? Use IE and Outlook E now. Also getting book on understanding Panther (forget the authors name).

    Any and all advice is greatly appreciated

  2. #2
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    Here's my free advice and probly worth every penny.

    OSX is a superb operating system and I have found no need for any extra utilities in about two years with it. I have a dual boot G4, and diskwarrior for OS9, so I can boot off the diskwarrior Cd if something happens and I need a disk utility, but that hasn't happened to me since I bought my present mac (Dual G4) about six months ago. I would advise you to get the machine up and running and after getting used to it, decide based on the problems you may have.

    Upgrades are automatic, if you use the software updater from Apple, it is 'on' by default.

    Networking is easy, I have a home LAN and couple machines sharing internet via router and OSX set it up automatically, pretty much. Your book will most likely explain.

    Firewall in the system software is good, I don't use anything extra and never had any need to.

    I use Safari for web browser and Mail for email and I am very happy with both. They come with the Mac OS, and you set them up when you first boot and register the computer. It really is like they say - the easiest computer to use. Have fun.

  3. #3
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    Welcome to the Mac world!

    You are in for a fun ride. And a little frustration too - it is still a computer.

    As for utilities, there are tons, small and free to big and expensive. About the only one I would not live without is DiskWarrior from Alsoft.com. It rebuilds the system directory, plus can fix a whole lot of other OS problems. As for others, it depends on what you need to fix or tweak... The only other thing that should be a must is backups. Lot's of ways to handle that too. I am sure many opions will follow.

    As OS 10 is built on Unix, there are lots of little apps that simply put a nice shiny user friendly GUI (Graphical User Interface) on existing command line apps. Some popular ones that are freeware/shareware:

    * Carbon Copy Cloner - makes full bootable clones and images of entire volumes
    * Cocktail - nice GUI for about a dozen little tools, like cleaning out cache files, etc
    * Batchmod - allows easy manipulation of file/folder permissions

    Versiontracker.com or macupdate.com will get your head spinning with possibilities, and probably make you snicker about the old myth, "There is not much software for Macs". Just remember that less is more when it comes to system stability.

    What is your primary purpose with the G5? Fun or work?

    Gotta run, will check back later to see how this is fleshing out.

    "Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining." -- Jef Raskin

  4. #4
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    Welcome to the forums NMacC!
    And congrats on the new G5!

    Others will chime in I'm sure, but here's some general guidelines...

    Utilities:
    Alot of us tend to stay away from Norton stuff, especially Norton Utilities.

    If you do choose a virus protection program, try to get one that doesn't put a load on the processor. Virex included with .Mac is a good, no-nonsense choice. Virusbarrier may also be good in that regard.

    NAV is filled with bells and whistles and can be a real pain in the ass to 'tame'.

    Alsoft's Diskwarrior is pretty much the numero uno utility choice for keeping things healthy. Probably a must have.
    Disk Utility included with Panther has come along way and there's alot you can do with it.
    You don't need to worry about defragging Panther- in fact it can be detrimental.

    Avoid or minimize the use of third party system-level haxies.

    The Software Update feature built-in to Panther will allow you to easily keep all your system software and Apple programs up to date with the latest greatest.

    Have a good and regular backup plan to external hard drive..
    Backup regularly...There are many excellent backup and syncing programs available.

    For email, Mail.app included with Panther is pretty good- I think others like Entourage, Mailsmith, Eudora...and the integrated email program included with browsers like Netscape.

    Browsers: Safari, Micro$haft Internet Exploder, OmniWeb, Netscape, Camino and others....many good choices.

    Have a good and regular backup plan to external hard drive..
    Backup regularly...Oh, I guess I already said that

    Have fun with your new hot rod!

  5. #5
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    Smile Welcome to the New World!

    Dear NMacC,

    Welcome, from the deepest of my heart..... Welcome indeed!

    You will soon realise that you are about to enter a *DIFFERENT* world, full of amazing things to discover. Macs bring to you many advantages:

    • Mac OS is UNIX based and it will *NOT* ever crash on you like Windoz does. It's much more a rock-solid OS than any of MS products.
    • Even if does "Kernel Panick" on you, you won't loose any info from your data.
    • A Mac machine will last you *MUCH* longer than any other PeeCee, it's easy to upgrade it and you won't need to rush out there to get hold of the new, "just-released", ultimate paraphernelia so as to run your favourite apps.
    • You will find a very *STRONG* and loyal Mac comunity here, ready to hand-hold you all the way through ANY hitch you may have now and in the future.
    • As a PeeCee converted myself, I assure you: in a years time you won't regret your move and you'll feel like never go back again!
    • You won't ever get as many viruses on your Mac as you get them now on your PC. Chances are you won't get any at all....


    Quote Originally Posted by NMacC
    ...Just what utilities do I 'really' need, what upgrades off the Apple site? ....
    Well,.... OS 10.3.3 comes packed with many goodies, leaving out very little which could be declared *A MUST HAVE*.

    However, one set of utilities which I feel comfortable in reccomending having is Alsoft's Disk Warrior : it will safely rebuild for you damaged hard disks as if never has happened before; it has saved my b@t several times in the past and I am sure others on these forums will agree. Much better than SYMANTEC's Norton Utilities for Mac.

    Another product I feel you should look at is TechTool Pro for Mac: it will diagnose - and in many cases, repair - many hardware peripherals and components inside your machine.

    Good web browser, mail program?
    Well .... OSX comes with SAFARI (web browser) and MAIL (mail program). Both are excellent applications you could certainly and safely start using and learn.
    However, should you not feel comfortable with any of them, good OSX alternatives to consider, are:
    Mozilla - As a web browser prog., and
    Eudora 6.1 - As a mail prog.; you can choose between a free, sponsored version, or a fully paid-for one.

    However, I am sure others on these forums may want to expand on the above alternatives.

    Reguarding other literature you could dive into, here are a couple of (I hope) useful links:


    And, of course, here on MacGurus you will find a pletora of people just too happy to help you and assist you through any issues or problems you may have.

    Again..... BENVENUTO - WELCOME - BIENVENUE - WILCOMMEN

    Costa

  6. #6
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    Thank YOU ALL for the warm welcome and advice.

    I like to keep things simple which is why I made the switch, one reason anyway:-))

    The computer will be used for 'work' mostly and some fun, ok lets make work and fun the same thing.

    I have just started down the path of digi photography (past point and shoot) will be adding video at some point. No I'm not a pro by a long shot and will never be one, right now only about a half-a-- armature. Also probably have much more horse power than I will need for a long time but would much rather grow into a computer than out of one which is usually what happens. Another reason to not waste $$$ on a PC.

    Now on to more questions. Figure one of the first things to get is a good external HD, use that for back-up right? files/pics I have on C'ds and that should be ok? Never have done an actual HD back up on a PC always just reinstalled..... Nice way to get rid of all the garbage.

    I am sure I will need quite a bit of hand holding, feel like I'm getting plopped on Mars. I do love the uncluttered inside of the G-5. I am SOOOO EXCITED!

  7. #7
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    Utilities:
    Alot of us tend to stay away from Norton stuff, especially Norton Utilities.

    P.S.

    I am NOT a fan of Norton, but when XP came out many AV programs didn't work well so just stuck there. That is the only Norton product I have, use Sygate for a FW.


    OH do you all thing signing up for .Mac worth while? How about Apple Care?

  8. #8
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    Cool

    ... never backed up before, just reinstalled...

    Never heard of anyone having too many but have heard a few with not enough! CDs are good for files, but on the small side once you look at video, photos and stuff. DVD works very well.

    FireWire is good. FW800 is faster and good for an alternate backup drive. Can't stress enough the need to have a bootable backup drive. If you don't yet have a 2nd internal (SATA type) internal drive, start there probably.

    Memory: the "basic" RAM your G5 1.8 shipped with will be 'minimal' - enough to boot. Period. 1.5GB seems to be the spot at which it perks up and snappier. "Sweat spot." RAM prices have gone up 40% in the last two months, quite drastically. If MacGurus Store is up and running (down for server overhaul) quality and support. If you need some today elsewhere, can never go wrong with Crucial's memory guide (Apple -> PowerMac -> G5 Model list) @ www.Crucial.com

    If you haven't yet, might want to get to know your Apple Hardware Test DVD; how to boot from different volumes via Option key on your keyboard (System Startup Manager) which, while slow, is handy if you want to boot from FireWire instead of what you last selected. (You can always keep a bootable CD/DVD inserted in your SuperDrive if nothing else via "C" key on startup to run Disk Utility to check a disk drive (First Aid).

    I would vote on backup drive before any utility. I don't even think Disk Warrior 3.02 is as necessary or essential as it once way. Good drives, backups, RAM, take precedence (for me - but I also keep those programs on hand JIC).

    I stopped using the "dot Mac" service when it became "pay for" but it does make it easy to upload and share photos.

    Email: Thunderbird is email stand-alone based on Mozilla. Firebird is web portion off shoot of Mozilla. (Links in OS X General and elsewhere if you want a link to nightly build which tend to be safe and stable). Mozilla/Thunderbird should look/feel much like Outlook and maybe import all your email (hopefully, I know that's how people get tied into one). I just would kiss Explorer for OS X good-bye. OmniWeb, the above mentioned, or Safari are native apps that look fine and run well.

    Firewall: router/switch plus enable Apple's in the System Preferences -> Sharing -> Firewall tab.

    There is a list of books, links, "somewhere" if you want. "Missing Manual" seems to really fill a need and should come "standard" with OS X or any new Mac. Teaching old Mac users can be harder than newbie's - more habits to break ;-)

    Storage, scanners, printers, routers, memory...
    it'll all fall in place gradually.

  9. #9
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    You folks are stuck with me today. The G-5 won't be here for a few more days yet. Just ordered 'Missing Manual Panther', ordering more ram today, just ordered DW.

    Which would be best adding an internal HD or FiWi external? I do agree having that second drive for back up is a great idea. Just never was a big issue with a PC What would be a good size?
    Please 'bear' with me Mac world is a whole new lauguage, trying to match up to PC speak.
    At some point probably should tell hubby I even ordered it

  10. #10
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    Dear NMacC,

    Quote Originally Posted by NMacC
    Figure one of the first things to get is a good external HD, use that for back-up right? files/pics I have on C'ds and that should be ok?...
    Now, then.... Talking about backup strategies.....

    Backing up your data to an external drive is sure a safe thing to do.
    But, IMHO, it's not the only thing you may consider.
    However, given that, for starters, you would like to have something external which you can plug in and use, then my suggestion is to build your own FireWire external disk, to suit your requirements.

    If your internal hard drive is 160GB in size, I would reccomend to use - at least - a same size external hard disk.
    You can get hold of any, budget priced, OEM Ultra ATA hard drives at Zip-Zoom-Fly, for example; a good Seagate or Western Digital bear-bone 160GB drive will cost you around $100.

    Then you could visit the MacGurus on-line store and get among the best quality case-kits and drive enclosure with fast FireWire 1394B 800 Mbit/second compliant bridge (like your on-board FireWire connector), that are available. I would also suggest to get such enclosure with Granite Digital cables for best results.

    IMHO, you will end up with a very solid and fast external FW drive, which you can even boot your Mac from, at a price and quality which would be difficult to match anywhere else.

    You could also visit XLR8YOURMAC Drive Compatability DataBase, for other users' reports about various other hardware compatability, ease of use and performance, with your specific machine and OS.

    Also, I would further suggest to instal an OS on your external hard drive; in fact, your G5 is capable of booting from an external FW drive, provided an OS is installed on it.
    Having such capability may turn useful for these reasons:
    • Should you encounter a problem on your main internal hard drive in the future, you will be able to fire-up your machine from the esternal FW drive and performe the necessary diagnosis on it using your favourite utility programme, more easely and more efficiently.
    • Should the problem be a major one, which might require additional spare components, you could still proceed working with your favourite applications on your urgent projects normally, while waiting on the repair.
    • As, in such case, you are NOT using your DVD/CD ATAPI drive to boot your machine up, you could still use your internal Super Drive to backup your important data on DVD-Rs or CD-Rs


    As long as on your current CDs are stored pics and files compatible with other main applications also available under the Mac OS environment (e.g.: PhotoShop, MS Word, MS Excell, etc.), you should be able to read them transparently.

    Hope the above is of some help.

    Costa

  11. #11
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    Now things are rolling.

    FWIW:

    We have 200+ Macs at work at 40+ locations in 6 time zones, that I and a few other look after. Never a virus yet in 4 years, except some old ones for MS Office, not the OS. Marker 98 has been the most common, and not dangerous to the machine. Never a big fan of NAV either, and earlier versions have caused serious problems with OS 10. But so far 8.x (whatever is current) has been fine with 10.3.3.

    Keep in mind that there has not been any infections of OS 10 yet. There will be - maybe tomorrow, maybe next year, but not one yet. Pretty cool.

    As for browsers, folks have listed most of your options.

    A little history: MS has stopped development of IE for all platforms, so if you like it, fine, but keep in mind it will get more and more out of date, and there are no updates coming. My view is, time to jump ship.

    Mozilla.org is the group picking up where Nestscape left off. There are several different apps that are built on the same foundation: Mozilla, Thunderbird, FireFox, Camino, etc. Try an/all you want. Similar, but differences between them. I have been using Firefox for on line banking, paying bills, checking 401k plans, etc. with good success.

    The fisrt storage space I would add to your G5 would be a second interal SATA hard drive. Cheapest, fastest upgrade. Get 'em right here at the Gurus store. How about: a big drive with at least two partitions. One for a second boot volume, and one for backing up data from your primary drive?

    You can do the exact same thing with an external Firewire drive, which will be a bit slower, adds a cable and a box, may add some noise, etc. - but it is portable. All of Costa'a points hold true whether second internal drive, or external FW drive.

    Seriously consider a good battery backup/surger protector, and a decent size one. The G5s have a big power supply (600 watts I believe) so the tiny home models will not work - they won't let you power up as the G5 draws too much juice. Make sure you plug in your data line to the surge protector too, as a lighting strike can get your box just as easily down a data/phone line as a electrical line.
    Last edited by unclemac; 04-28-2004 at 09:53 AM. Reason: clarify a few points
    "Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining." -- Jef Raskin

  12. #12
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    [QUOTE=unclemac]Now things are rolling.

    Mozilla.org is the group picking up where Nestscape left off.

    I started out with Netscape and always liked it. The IE was sort of a forced change, XP just didn't play well with quite a few things.

    The fisrt storage space I would add to your G5 would be a second interal SATA hard drive. Cheapest, fastest upgrade.

    I like that idea

    You can do the exact same thing with an external Firewire drive, which will be a bit slower, adds a cable and a box, may add some noise, etc.

    AND I'm running out of realestate around here Will get the HD from MacG's


    Seriously consider a good battery backup/surger protector, and a decent size one.

    D--N! I almost forgot that!!!! Thank you for the size reco as well, THAT comes before the extra HD. Just using a Belkin surge right now

    I think you all have answered my, 'do I need Apple Tech Support', question.

  13. #13
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    The fact that you made it here is a good sign, and if you get in over your head ,there are many very nice people here with eons of combined expertise. I, along with some others, have had my hand held more than once here while being walked through one thing or another. As mentioned above, Mozilla makes a pretty nice browser, and if I am not mistaken IE comes with the OS. though I dont find myself using it, you may feel more comfortable with it to begin with.
    Whether you know or not, OS X supports for example my old XLR8 2 button w/scroll wheel mouse, just plug and play. I also like to add mouse zoom
    http://homepage.mac.com/bhines/mousezoom.html (which is capable of sonic speeds, use with caution lol) for convenience. I dont prefer the one button mouse that comes standard.

  14. #14
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    if you want a link to nightly build which tend to be safe and stable). >>>

    You are really going to have to explain that one. Please

    Looking at UPS right now and would assume (bad, bad) the choices would be Belkin or APC? 600w power supply huh?

    Oh why do have have the feeling this is going to be just like the first PC, 486 win 3.1, 'fraid if I touched it it would hoe up

  15. #15
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    Browsers.... since that is one necessary tool for communicating and using the net:

    Any browser will import IE Favorites (bookmarks).

    there are nice little apps to sort Safari bookmarks;
    export Safari to any other browser (Safari Bookmark Exporter, or "SBE")

    So whether using Mozilla or OmniWeb, you can "carry your bookmarks" with you.

    When I found that Mozilla made it easy to sort bookmarks and folders, i was delighted. As does Firefox.

    The ability to command click on a folder of bookmarks and have them all load into tabs makes it easy to check a dozen web sites with a click.

    Thunderbird/Mozilla allow viewing unread, recent, etc etc.
    Apple Mail seems to have ignored this feature so you are forced to see all read and unread in your mailbox. Even after three years, some times I find the level of apps to progress slowly. More attention goes now into "iTunes" than into some simple basics it seems.

    however, iTunes keeps Apple's cash flow and margins healthy while awaiting the next G5s or something, too ;-)

    iMovie, iDVD, iPhoto, part of the iLife Suite that comes with your new system, keep improving and help ease users into audio, music, video and export/burn content to DVD.

    There were some new higher end apps announced recently and then there are Final Cut Pro and Final Cut Express if iMovie doesn't do enough for you.

    Some members run (or use to) Windows, or Virtual PC Windows, so integrating your Mac and Windows on a home network etc and sharing files if you want or need help.

    A G5 should be able to do 3-4 "heavy lifting" tasks without skipping a beat, in case you want to use iTunes while you work. If you have a dual 1.8 model, even better, as OS X and many apps you use will take advantage of both cpus.

  16. #16
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    I am no electrician (Kaye, you out there?), but I can tell you that I just connected a DP 1.8 G5 to an older APC 450 and it *works*. Who knows how long the battery will last - maybe only 1 or 2 minutes - in the event of an outage.... I plugged the same G5 into a smaller UPS, and the UPS beaped once and shut down during the first few seconds of booting up. Too much load, so it shut itself off.


    The main reason, IMHO, for use is to protect the machine from sags or brownouts (low voltage), which I read are the most likely culprits of damage, as opposed to spikes (high voltage) that most folks seem to worry about.

    The bigger the rating in VA (volt amps?) 450, 600, 1000, etc., the bigger the battery and longer the run time before the battery is drained. As I am not too worried about run time, so we squeeze by with small UPSes.

    What G5 users need to worry about is the other rating - W (watts). I don't know what the draw is on a G5 but I would guess you would need 450ish+, not the 300 - 325 that the entry level UPSes have.


    Anyone have hard info on this?

    Many brands to choose from: APC, Belkin, MinuteMan, Powerware, Tripp....it goes on and on. One spot to see a bunch is cdw.com. At least for an idea of what is available and price ranges.
    "Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining." -- Jef Raskin

  17. #17
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    Arrow Web browser options

    I've got APCs, Belkin, all UPS along with Tripp-Lite line conditioner in there. Modem protection - dial up, DSL, cable, so no nasties there. The question was asked earlier, and last fall there were discussions on what size and capacity UPS to get. RS1500 from APC sounded like over-kill, until you hooked up monitor, G5, etc. and how many peripherals there are. The RS1000 would do, but the difference in price was so little ($50 or so) just made sense to get higher capacity UPS.

    "Nightly builds" are just that - a build of the program based on changes and updates submitted by volunteers and brought into the trunk-branch-tree of the application. so every day there is a new 'test' version posted of Mozilla etc

    http://www.mozilla.org
    http://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/mozilla.o...ightly/latest/
    Mozilla download: Mozilla latest 14MB
    Firefox download: Firefox latest 8MB
    Thunderbird download: Thunderbird latest 10MB
    Camino download Camino latest 7MB
    OmniWeb 5 Beta 5 OmniGroup 5MB
    Last edited by TZ; 04-28-2004 at 01:11 PM. Reason: URLs, size

  18. #18
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    Thanks again to ALL,

    So glad I found this group, really

    Some members run (or use to) Windows, or Virtual PC Windows, so integrating your Mac and Windows on a home network etc and sharing files if you want or need help.
    Thought about that if and when V-PC was ready for Panther, BUT there just isn't that much Win stuff I want to drag along. Unfortunatly I am stuck in MS office, papers sent email to look over and and the one app I use, Publisher. MSO for Mac doesn't include that (pub) so something is going to have to happen and not sure exactly how. That tho is for another day since I'm going to assume I can send any such email (with attachment) to the PC dial up addie?

    Didn't feel like paying for .Mac unless you all felt is was just a must have. The better photos are on Smugmug, easy to pop the URL into an email, iMovie will do fine as will all the other software, have Photoshop E.

    Big news the 'display' guess 'tain't proper to call one a monitor, showed up today and WOW! That is one very nice looking bit of equipment! Even hubby was impressed and made mumbles about maybe he might just have to learn how to use this puter. There are good and bad points to that

  19. #19
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    I went thru the APC Selector. Of course depends on how many peripherals you want to power but I went with the basic (yeah right!) G5 1.2GHz DP, two SATA drives internal, and a 21" CRT monitor:

    APC BACK-UPS RS 800VA 120V
    Part Number(s):BR800
    Price:$189.99
    Runtime:18 minutes
    % of Max Capacity Used: 50%

    This last spec would give plenty of room for expansion. Don't have any room for a UPS unless I rest my feet on it. k

  20. #20
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    Post UPS options

    I have some models bookmarked from when I was looking for UPS options.

    MacZone: TrippLite VS 1000 $179 1000VA / 500 watt power

    MacZone: APC RS 1000VA $217 BACKUPS PRO 1000VA UPS-LINEINT 6 RCPTL TEL

    APC 750XL 600 W I'd say this would be minimum recommended

    Belkin Universal UPS 1000VA Part # F6C100-UNV 550 W $140 ($129 @ MacZone)

    MacZone: RS1500 BACKUPS PRO 1500VA UPS-LINEINT 6 RCPTL TEL $253

    APC Configurator
    Best price: APC BACK-UPS RS 800VA 120V
    Best Value: APC Smart-UPS XL 750VA USB & Serial 120V
    Best Performance: Back-UPS RS 1500VA
    APC BackUPS RS Series

    I'm assuming that the 1.8DP is slightly less than the 2.0DP, therefore 550 W low-end, I don't know if Apple's "600" includes high-end headroom for Radeon 9800, but it should, along with support for 3 PCI cards and 8GB RAM.

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