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PoneyMac

Unblocked… at least for now…

After I successfully started Ubuntu on my old Mac, I tried to play YouTube videos from Firefox and that worked relatively well. That means the graphic chip of the Mac is not broken, still capable of doing some work. I thought about just installing Ubuntu on the machine, maybe getting rid of Mac OS X, but the goal was to explore the Mac platform, not just toss Ubuntu on an old laptop. I already have plenty of Ubuntu setups at home and at work, both on bare metal and virtual machines.

After my failure with Snow Leopard, I had three options to continue my journey: increase memory of the old Mac, downgrade to Leopard or buy a brand new Mac computer. I didn’t want to downgrade, because that would involve purchasing another DVD from Apple and not being able to install pretty much any application.  I wasn’t ready to jump and purchase a brand new Mac. So my remaining option was to bump up memory.

I looked on Microbytes web site: 55$ for a DDR2 667MHz SO-DIMM. Wow! I checked on NCIX: no DDR2 SO-DIMM. On TigerDirect, I found something, but that was 45$. I found something at 35$ on Amazon.ca, but I had three shipping options: get it by December 23 (the best) but required subcription to Amazon Prime (so yet another subscription with monthly or yearly payments, yet others emails about things I don’t have time to understand, etc.), pay an extra fee to get it by December 19 (but I was planning to be at the office this day!), or wait until December 30 to get it through SuperSaver shipping, which would mean I would almost be unable to explore the machine during the Christmas break.

I finally got the chip from Dantech, a Montreal-based computer store that sells new and used hardware. They didn’t have new SO-DIMM DDR2 chip, but after more than 15 minutes of search, they found some remaining used DDR2 SO-DIMM chips at 667MHz. It was better not to try with 800MHz chips. In theory, they should work, but we never know, especially with Mac’s… I got it for approximately 30$.

Putting the memory in the machine was easy, escept the screws holding the memory cover were surprisingly small. If I had dropped one of the three screws on the floor, I would have had an hard time finding it back. Luckily, that didn’t happen and the memory chip worked.

The machine behaves better now. I will test a bit with Snow Leopard before trying to upgrade to Lion, not sure I will even attempt the upgrade because it may kill the system’s performance a second time.