Tag Archives: iMac

One Final Cataclysm Upgrade

With the advent of Cataclysm, it looked like I was going to have to give our now 3 year old iMac a bit of a boost.  The minimum system requirements for the Macintosh version of the of WoW is now listed as 2GB of RAM, with 4GB recommended.  The iMac is old enough that 1GB of RAM seemed like enough when we bought it.

Other than that, the iMac was well within the WoW specs.  And, honestly, the Cataclysm beta ran well enough with only 1GB of RAM, but I figured it might be time to upgrade all the same.  Bumping the iMac up to 4GB of RAM, the maximum you can install wasn’t going to be that expensive and would probably speed things up a wee bit.

I bought the RAM then went online to get the instructions on installing RAM in an iMac, which was probably unnecessary.  In the grand tradition of printing the instructions for pouring piss out of a boot on the heel of said boot, Apple prints the RAM upgrade instructions for the iMac in pictogram form under its base, which you have to expose in order to access the bracket that covers the RAM.  The pictures are simple enough that tool using protohominids could probably perform the upgrade.

Three Easy Steps

Or they could if not for one flaw.

Apple’s manufacturer in China seemed to have taken some extra cost-cutting steps but substituting a pot-metal grade screw to hold on the cover for the RAM slot.

I am generally a careful, right tool for the job person, so I fetched a few likely Philips screw drivers and chose the on that seated in the slot firmly.

Then I turned the screw driver.  The screw, however, failed to follow suit.  It preferred to remain stationary while I scraped a good deal of metal out of its head.

I had, pretty quickly, ground out the head of the screw so that it began to bear an uncanny resemblance to that gouge dish I had to make in wood shop in 7th grade.

(Completely off topic:  I learned to use a forge, a lathe, various metal shaping tools, various wood working tools, a band saw, and an oxy-acetylene torch along with being required to draft plans… on paper… on a drafting board… with a mechanical pencil and a T-Square… for everything I made in the Wood Shop/Metal Shop course I took.  All when I was 13 years old.  In real life I was probably a level 3 craftsman, to use the EQII measure. Thank you Mr. Nevins and Mr. Tagely.  Do kids still get to do all that in Junior High these days?)

Just what you want to see when this is the one and only screw between you and finishing a task.

I began, I admit, to give off the sounds that usually tell the household “maybe we had better leave daddy alone” as I surveyed the iMac and considered my options.

I went out to the garage and grabbed the cordless drill and a 5/64″ high speed steel drill bit.  After deciding that the bit was small enough for my purposes, I centered it in the remains of the counter-sunk head of the delinquent screw and then let the drill slowly do its work.  The metal was soft enough (pot metal, I tell you) that the bit was able to bite.  The force needed to drill into the screw quickly became greater than the force needed to break the screw loose and remove it, and the screw came out without any more fight.

I was then able to install the RAM.  I found a replacement screw in the garage and put the cover back on, then started up the iMac.


So when I walked over to BestBuy today and picked up a copy of Cataclysm for my daughter, I was able to bring the box home and run the installer in good conscience.

Like Tobold, I wanted to have the box, so I got a digital download for me and a box for my daughter.  There was less in the box than there was in the Wrath of the Lich King retail box.  Well, there was no catalog of silly Blizzard accessories.  There were the obligatory guest passes to WoW and StarCraft II.

Tonight’s goal: Find the flight trainer and start flying around Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms.

I Have Seen EVE on a Mac

We have a new 20″ iMac in our house.  On of the 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo models. 

We bought it to replace the 15″ Indigo G3 iMac we have had sitting out in the family room for the last five years. 

The old 500MHz blue iMac worked well for iTunes, KidPix, and browsing the web.  But it had a small hard drive (20GB… remember when that was a big hard drive?) and eventually ever more complicated web sites began to make the system drag.

And it couldn’t run WebKinz

So we asked one of our (many) friends who work at nearby Apple Computer if she could get us a discount on a new iMac.

Apple employees are fairly well provisioned with discounts they can use for friends and family, and the new iMac was ordered and arrived very quickly.  It started in Shanghai, China and arrived here in Silicon Valley, via Anchorage, Alaska, in four days.

That is, the order was placed and in four days the FedEx guy was ringing our door bell.

Very fast.  And I did not order the stock model, but had them upgrade the hard drive to a 500 GB unit… which seems pretty big these days.

So the most powerful computer in our house currently belongs to my daughter.

In fact, if we take the graphics card out of consideration, my computer is #3 behind my wife and daughter.

That will change soon.  Quad Core coming.

But back to the iMac.

It is beautiful.  It runs great.  Leopard is handy.  KidPix and WebKinz run like a dream.  Movies are fantastic on the very, very nice built-in monitor.

But the question remains: Will it, you know, actually run a game?

The Core 2 Duo processor and ATI HD 2600 Pro video card seemed a strong positive sign.  But Apple has had good hardware in the past that has not translated into games being made for their operating system.

I actually had two options.  EVE Online and World of Warcraft.

If you had a new computer and wanted to try it out… you know… the same day you started the download… which game would you choose?

So I went with EVE Online.  The client itself is much smaller plus, the version that is available for download is always the LATEST version of the client.

Blizzard has WoW 2.0 available for download, and once you get it, you then have to patch up to version 2.3.  That has “days” written all over it.

EVE still took a while to get onto the system.  It is an 800 MB download.  But the time was well within the parameters of my patience. 

And installation?  That always confuses me on the Mac. 

There is no installer. 

You just drag the extracted folder to where you want it to live and start playing.

Way too simple.  Way too easy. 

And so, finally, that very same evening, the moment of truth was at hand. 

I launched EVE on the iMac and logged in.

And it was EVE.

No, really.  Except for a couple of small graphic artifact issues that I came across (in the station of all places), it was indistinguishable from EVE on my PC.

I ran a mission.  Jumped through a few systems.  Mined an asteroid.  Checked on my sales.  Parsed through the market.

It was all EVE, just as you would expect it.  The interface is still kind of quirky, things that were slow remain slow, and it still does not like when I have 200+ items in my station storage. 

It was EVE.

Actually, one thing was better on the Mac, though it is not a Mac specific item.

The monitor on my current machine has the standard 4:3 aspect ratio.  The iMac has a 16:10.5 aspect ratio.

The EVE Online interface seems to benefit quite a bit from a wide screen monitor.  It spreads things out just a bit more, giving you a better view through the middle of the stuff that tends to clutter about the periphery of the EVE Online window.

So there it is.  EVE on a Mac is looking good.

Now I will have to get back to WoW and see how that goes.