Upgrading your old Mac for digital video

on Sunday, February 10, 2008

If you already have a Mac that is a year or two old, you may still be able to use it with digital video if it meets the basic requirements described in the previous section. If it doesn’t meet those requirements, you might be able to upgrade it.

As a general rule, however, if your Mac doesn’t already have a G3 or higher processor, upgrading is probably going to be more expensive or challenging than simply buying a new Mac. And in the end, a very old upgraded Mac probably will not perform that well anyway. One of the biggest obstacles you’ll face involves FireWire. If your Mac does not already have a FireWire port, you may have difficulty adding one.

PowerMacs can usually be upgraded with a FireWire card, but the few Maccompatible FireWire cards available tend to be pretty expensive. The Media 100 EditDV 2.0 FireWire card, for example, will set you back about $580. If you have a PowerBook G3, a slightly more affordable option is the Digital Origin MotoDV Mobile (retail price about $300) editing suite with a FireWire card that uses the PowerBook’s CardBus interface. Before you think you can get away without FireWire, keep in mind that if your Mac is too old for FireWire, its USB port won’t be fast enough to capture fullquality digital video either.

Some parts of your Mac may be more easily upgradeable, as described in the following sections. Macworld (www.macworld.com) also provides online articles and tutorials to help you upgrade your Mac.