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I am looking for something which is fundamentally as cheap as is reasonable (many of the older models are selling for almost nothing) and can run whatever OSes should be tested against (OS 9 and OSX?). Being able to switch back and forth between OSes on one system would be ideal but I have no idea if this is possible so perhaps two systems would be required.
Any help is appreciated.
Thank you for the advice.
Used G3s can be had for around $150 whereas G4s are in the $500 range, which is a little steep for a testing machine (at least for my budget). Can you clarify the limitations you intimated of the G3 in regard to browsers. My sole concern is to test against the browser configurations that the majority of my Mac visitors will be using.
<added>With used machines, factor in the fact that some may not have OS X already installed... IOW add the cost of OS X to the hardware price if this is the case (about $120).</added>
Older Powermacs run up to IE 5.1.x - referred to as the 'classic' version - on any pre OS X operating system.
IE 5.2 and Safari need OS X, which suggests a blue/white G3 or later for the latest Panther build. However, older OS X builds will apparently run on beige G3s, and there is an open source project that enables OS X on earlier Macs at:
These are the Macs that you can find for buttons on eBay. The 7300, 7500, 7600, 8500, 8600, 9500 and 9600 series are currently supported. Just be aware that most of this hardware falls short of what's needed to make a fully useable OS X system, and memory and drivespace could well be issues.