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View Full Version : Any reason not to get iMac G5 for pro use?


jmufellow
Oct 27, 2005, 02:39 AM
I am looking to get an iMac G5 in the near future for running pro applications like Final Cut Pro and soundtrack pro. I will need this for school needs as my major is Media Arts and Design. I already have an iBook that I just got, and as much as a dual-core powermac looks enticing, the iMac is much more affordable. Any feedback about the iMac for pro use? What would I be missing that the powermac would have? Thanks

Chaszmyr
Oct 27, 2005, 02:54 AM
If you can afford a PowerMac and a decent display, and are willing to pay for it, it's a better alternative... But no, the iMac does everything the PowerMac does, just not as fast. The only thing I can think of off the top of my head that the iMac can't do is playback 1080p h.264 video... But not many people have need to do that. If you get an iMac, though, you will definitely want the 20''.

jmufellow
Oct 27, 2005, 03:25 AM
I've looked into it a little more and have found some specs that are greek to me between the machines:

L2 cache: 512MB instead of 1GB
Frontside Bus: 633MHz instead of 1GHz

Graphics-- the iMac has:ATI Radeon X600 Pro with 128MB DDR SDRAM; PCI-Express

Graphics-- the powermac has: NVIDIA GeForce 6600 LE with 128MB of GDDR SDRAM, one single-link DVI port, and one dual-link DVI port

what does all this mean? will I need these extra features?

Fireburst
Oct 27, 2005, 03:57 AM
Does iMac have firewire? If not then PM or PB are your only realistic options.

jmufellow
Oct 27, 2005, 04:02 AM
Does iMac have firewire? If not then PM or PB are your only realistic options.
yeah it does

Chaszmyr
Oct 27, 2005, 04:03 AM
The simple way of looking at it is: The iMac is everything you need, the PowerMac is everything you want :p

applemacdude
Oct 27, 2005, 08:45 AM
Does iMac have firewire? If not then PM or PB are your only realistic options.


all macs have firewire

PCheese
Oct 27, 2005, 11:46 AM
all macs have firewire

All Macs have FireWire 400. The iMac doesn't have FireWire 800.

Sdashiki
Oct 27, 2005, 11:50 AM
I've looked into it a little more and have found some specs that are greek to me between the machines:

L2 cache: 512MB instead of 1GB
Frontside Bus: 633MHz instead of 1GHz

Graphics-- the iMac has:ATI Radeon X600 Pro with 128MB DDR SDRAM; PCI-Express

Graphics-- the powermac has: NVIDIA GeForce 6600 LE with 128MB of GDDR SDRAM, one single-link DVI port, and one dual-link DVI port

what does all this mean? will I need these extra features?

i think you meant kb and MB instead of MB and GB in the L2 cache

When it boils down to it, DONT buy an iMac for "pro-apps". By the nature of the beast, the iMac is the consumer machine.

Youll need a desktop if you want to stay ahead of the curve and continue to work on video in the years to come. You cant upgrade the RAM of an iMac or the graphics card to anything decent. Nor does it have room for another HD.

Digital Video = the best and most upgraded computer u can afford.

The stuff you listed isnt everything. A desktop powermac will render faster, be able to run more apps at the same time and Id go on and on but in the end at the bare minimum the extra cost associated from iMac -> Tower is offest by the length of time you can "get away" with using the tower to do digital video. As HD comes into play over the next couple of years (or months) the iMac will be laggy far behind.

Doozy
Oct 27, 2005, 01:32 PM
I have an 20 inch iMac at home I use in a crunch, but if you can, I would highly recommend getting a powermac. Using Motion on the iMac can be painful. Although, FCP and soundtrack don't give much problems.

At work I use a dual 2g and I would stilll like more power.

hyperpasta
Oct 27, 2005, 02:30 PM
I've looked into it a little more and have found some specs that are greek to me between the machines:

L2 cache: 512MB instead of 1GB
Frontside Bus: 633MHz instead of 1GHz

Graphics-- the iMac has:ATI Radeon X600 Pro with 128MB DDR SDRAM; PCI-Express

Graphics-- the powermac has: NVIDIA GeForce 6600 LE with 128MB of GDDR SDRAM, one single-link DVI port, and one dual-link DVI port

what does all this mean? will I need these extra features?

Cache and FSB will make the Mac have more "speed" for its chip type. In other words, its faster.

Graphics: The iMac can do everything the PowerMac can except view HD H264-encoded files and drive the monstrous 30" display. The PowerMac can also do a dual-display setup where the desktop stretches across two different monitors (only one 30-incher, though). The iMac can't.

If you have good enough monitors already or are willing to spend $3500 on a computer/monitor set, go for the PowerMac. Otherwise, think about it.

bankshot
Oct 27, 2005, 03:32 PM
The PowerMac can also do a dual-display setup where the desktop stretches across two different monitors (only one 30-incher, though). The iMac can't.

Actually, the PowerMac can drive up to 8 displays (23" or below). :eek: :D Of course, you have to fill all 4 slots with video cards to do that...

I haven't seen anyone else address the fact that this will be a student machine, so I'll do that. Personally, I'd go for the iMac and save some money now. It'll run Final Cut and Soundtrack just beautifully (remember, it wasn't too long ago that a 1 GHz G4 was top of the line, and professionals got along just fine with those), and if you absolutely need something beefier, I would hope the school would have machines available for that. Then when you graduate, go get yourself an 8-core 5 GHz Intel PowerMac. ;)

solvs
Oct 27, 2005, 04:52 PM
I run FCE on my new 20" iMac just fine. All the iLife apps are fast enough. I've even tried FCP and DVD Studio Pro, and I was able to run them without any hiccups. Not that slow either. Of course, I wasn't doing heavy compositing or anything and compressor is slow as molasses, but that's video for you. Just get lots of 3rd party RAM. I got 2GB. And an external firewire scratch drive (internal if you get the PowerMac).

If you have a monitor already, and don't mind the extra cost, get the PowerMac. But I got the previous gen 20" for ~$1300 on clearance, so it was worth it to me. I just couldn't justify $2000. If you can, get the PowerMac.

RatVega
Oct 27, 2005, 06:08 PM
For general work, an iMac is just fine, but for anything beyond "hobbyist" level video, audio, or imaging work you'll want a PowerMac.

First and most obvious is the issue of processor speed in CPU-intensive applications. Nothing does the "heavy lifting" like MPEG-2 encoding like a multiprocessor Mac.

Secondly (and just as importantly) the PowerMac architecture allows the system to be configured to support "bigger" work - more RAM, bigger/faster disks, faster graphics, etc. The laptops and small Macs all suffer from a lack of flexibility due largely to their size.

If you have aspirations of running FCP, Motion, or any of the big third party apps, a PowerMac is the way to go.

giveup
Oct 27, 2005, 06:14 PM
iMac doesnt support Dual Display.

Eidorian
Oct 27, 2005, 06:16 PM
iMac doesnt support Dual Display.Well not officially...

jmufellow
Oct 27, 2005, 06:59 PM
Thanks for the feedback thus far. I am leaning more towards the iMac now because of price.

jacg
Oct 28, 2005, 03:37 PM
(I didn't want to start another thread on this similar question)

I'd like to get an iMac for FCP and iLife (all apps). I also use Photoshop Elelments and InDesign. Sounds like it will be a big improvement over my 15" Powerbook (1.25 GHz, 1 GB, 64 MB Mobility 9600).

However, I also play the odd game. Will The new 20" iMac be a big improvement in this regard? Will it be able to drive that high resolution at a decent rate?

I am prepared to consider a PM 2 GHz + 20" monitor if I will notice a big difference (and I already have a couple of FW800 drives), although I'd prefer the portability of the iMac.

Any thoughts?

BrandonSi
Oct 28, 2005, 03:45 PM
Well not officially...

:D

I'm just waiting on the money for a refurb 20" ACD to try it out! a 20" imac + 20" ACD should be pretty cool.

Lacero
Oct 28, 2005, 03:46 PM
iMacs are plenty powerful for what you need to do. I would get the 20" if you can afford it. The screen resolution will come in handy for programs like FCP and SP.

solvs
Oct 28, 2005, 05:28 PM
iMac doesnt support Dual Display.
It does fine with the hack. No problems whatsoever.

djkny
Oct 28, 2005, 05:43 PM
For general work, an iMac is just fine, but for anything beyond "hobbyist" level video, audio, or imaging work you'll want a PowerMac.

First and most obvious is the issue of processor speed in CPU-intensive applications. Nothing does the "heavy lifting" like MPEG-2 encoding like a multiprocessor Mac.

Secondly (and just as importantly) the PowerMac architecture allows the system to be configured to support "bigger" work - more RAM, bigger/faster disks, faster graphics, etc. The laptops and small Macs all suffer from a lack of flexibility due largely to their size.

If you have aspirations of running FCP, Motion, or any of the big third party apps, a PowerMac is the way to go.

I respect that opinion, but also tire of it. Unless you're cutting Peter Jackson's next epic, an iMac can easily rough cut picture for all purposes, albeit taking a little longer.

I think this whole techno-bigger-better obsession seems to hinge on the fact that many want to hide behind power-systems for lack of resourcefulness and creativity. You can have a dual-quad-quad for FCP 10, but it won't make you a better editor; you can run Motion on a Mactel, but that won't make your effects enhance your story.

All this to say, you need a system within your budget that'll serve your purposes enough to TEACH you something about technique, mechanics, aesthetics. You can hire tech-geeks (i.e. technicians) later to clean up audio, video, effects, titling. But they'll work for you, pay for your system, while you go on your way to making better art.

crazyeyes
Oct 28, 2005, 07:29 PM
If you can afford a PowerMac and a decent display, and are willing to pay for it, it's a better alternative... But no, the iMac does everything the PowerMac does, just not as fast. The only thing I can think of off the top of my head that the iMac can't do is playback 1080p h.264 video... But not many people have need to do that. If you get an iMac, though, you will definitely want the 20''.

Actually just to let you know the iMac can play 1080p h.264 fine. I watched the 1080p Batman Begins trailer from http://www.apple.com/quicktime/guide/hd/batmanbegins.html, the other day on my 20" 2.0 G5 iMac and it worked fine. So the iMac CAN play 1080p h.264 video.

skubish
Oct 28, 2005, 07:43 PM
I've looked into it a little more and have found some specs that are greek to me between the machines:

L2 cache: 512MB instead of 1GB
Frontside Bus: 633MHz instead of 1GHz

Graphics-- the iMac has:ATI Radeon X600 Pro with 128MB DDR SDRAM; PCI-Express

Graphics-- the powermac has: NVIDIA GeForce 6600 LE with 128MB of GDDR SDRAM, one single-link DVI port, and one dual-link DVI port

what does all this mean? will I need these extra features?
Since no one really addressed this question I will take a stab at it:

L2 cache: Memory on the chip with the processor. It is very fast memory to access (more is better/faster)
Frontside Bus: cycle speed of the connection between the Processor and the rest of the computer. (more is better)
Graphics: The PM graphics card allows you to run a 30" display, or 2 smaller displays.

Also remember that the new PMs support 16GB of RAM whereas the iMac maxes out at 2.5GB. This is of major importance for those apps. Although if you are just dabbling in those apps the iMac is a cheaper option.

jmufellow
Oct 28, 2005, 11:02 PM
Thanks for all the comments! You have made my decision to go with an iMac much more solid...I was just afraid there would be some huge kicker that I was overlooking--for example the ibook has no audio-in jack, just junk like that. But for my "college needs"...(haha isn't it great to get a new toy in the name of higher education?"...I think that the iMac will suit. It will be a while, 'cause I haven't gotten into my major core classes yet, but I will let everyone know when I do get it :)

BTW, jacg, try this link to see if that answers your question about gaming: http://forums.macrumors.com/search.php?searchid=2233398

FFTT
Oct 29, 2005, 02:05 AM
The iMac will cover your needs reasonably well while you're learning how to use these pro applications, but eventually you'll need to upgrade to a full pro tower for HD content.

You'll need to max the RAM and get an external HD
so consider those costs as well.

disconap
Oct 30, 2005, 12:26 AM
i think you meant kb and MB instead of MB and GB in the L2 cache

When it boils down to it, DONT buy an iMac for "pro-apps". By the nature of the beast, the iMac is the consumer machine.

Youll need a desktop if you want to stay ahead of the curve and continue to work on video in the years to come. You cant upgrade the RAM of an iMac or the graphics card to anything decent. Nor does it have room for another HD.

Digital Video = the best and most upgraded computer u can afford.

The stuff you listed isnt everything. A desktop powermac will render faster, be able to run more apps at the same time and Id go on and on but in the end at the bare minimum the extra cost associated from iMac -> Tower is offest by the length of time you can "get away" with using the tower to do digital video. As HD comes into play over the next couple of years (or months) the iMac will be laggy far behind.

Gotta agree here. The hard drive would be my biggest beef, as if you're editing film, you'll want to expand storage. External storage is expensive and not as reliable.

We do audio recording in a G3 tower (upgraded to a G4 550). It works perfectly, but we have a 200g deep storage drive. And we use a lot of it. Keep in mind that video editing results in significantly larger files than audio editing; an entire album only takes up 3-4 gigs unmixed, but I've come across video editors who have single files that large.

Otherwise, the imac is a good economical call, especially if you are working on one project at a time and can afford either a deep storage drive (like a firewire 205g) or want to be burning dvd backups all the time. But yeah, if you're not working on a bunch of simultaneous projects, the imac isn't that bad, because you can use it for now, buy the tower when it's more affordable for you/your company, and still get a decent resale on the imac (imacs seem to devalue slower than their equivalent towers, but don't quote me on that, it's just based on ebay sales and start prices/release dates).

jacg
Oct 30, 2005, 05:22 AM
BTW, jacg, try this link to see if that answers your question about gaming: http://forums.macrumors.com/search.php?searchid=2233398

I didn't get anywhere with this link but I will head over to that part of the forum and look around or maybe post a specific question. Thanks anyway and enjoy your iMac. Very tempted now!

carpe diem
Oct 30, 2005, 05:54 AM
iMac's are not that upgradable

rugonnaeatthat
Oct 30, 2005, 06:54 AM
I have an iMac 20 inch and have done limited editing in iMovie but do a lot of Graphic Design work. I have found only pleasure with a system that feels stable and works through work at a reasonable pace - of course nothing computes immediately but it wouldn't be instant on a dual core either.

I like getting a computer that has limitations, like a laptop or an imac because there were design limitations in making it; all aspects of the computer were considered, and in you know it was the best solution given the circumstances. It also puts your mind at ease when you think 'I wish it was faster', you can say to yourself 'but then it would have to be thicker', or 'you'd loose another function to have it the same price' etc etc.

Back to your dilema: Save your money, buy the imac and use the savings to buy a camera or something that will help you in your creative endeavors.

++ I find my imac mobile enough to cart to band practices to record - which might be useful for yourself and film editing if you rent a cabin or something to film a story.

Chaszmyr
Oct 30, 2005, 06:56 AM
iMac's are not that upgradable

This is such a common misconception it makes me sick. Think about what makes PowerMacs more upgradeable than iMacs.. Okay so they have PCI-X, which means you can use a fibre channel card (which most people never will) and additional video cards for additional displays (which no one ever will), pretty much everything else you would use those slots for is available externally via Firewire or USB2. The iMacs can support 2.5gb of RAM, which is plenty for most people. The PowerMacs have 2 hard drive bays, but hard drives are available externally. PowerMac G5s don't have upgradeable processors.

So for the vast majority of users, the PowerMac has no worthwhile upgrades available that aren't available for the iMac.

rugonnaeatthat
Oct 30, 2005, 07:03 AM
I forgot to mention that I suggest not going for the blutooth mouse and keyboard. I have regretted it for two reasons a) the blutooth mouse is heavy and tracks in a strange manner. b) whilst the keyboard is great it doesn't act as a USB hub like the wired one - it's nice having a USB port just in front of you for flash drives and the like.

BTW I think the idea of upgradability is redundant nowadays as everything is available as suggested by another poster via firewire and usb. I think it was a popular thought when PC's first gained popularity but not very relevant in todays market.

Monyx
Oct 31, 2005, 10:37 PM
I think this whole techno-bigger-better obsession seems to hinge on the fact that many want to hide behind power-systems for lack of resourcefulness and creativity.

Well my creativty is still lacking but at least I now feel vindicated having persevered with a G4500DP editing suite to this day ;)

Eidorian
Oct 31, 2005, 10:41 PM
:D

I'm just waiting on the money for a refurb 20" ACD to try it out! a 20" imac + 20" ACD should be pretty cool.I can't be an Apple Cinema Display. The iMac only has VGA output. The ACD is DVI only. I'm looking at a Dell 17" LCD.

RatVega
Nov 1, 2005, 03:26 AM
I respect that opinion, but also tire of it. Unless you're cutting Peter Jackson's next epic, an iMac can easily rough cut picture for all purposes, albeit taking a little longer.

I think this whole techno-bigger-better obsession seems to hinge on the fact that many want to hide behind power-systems for lack of resourcefulness and creativity. You can have a dual-quad-quad for FCP 10, but it won't make you a better editor; you can run Motion on a Mactel, but that won't make your effects enhance your story.

All this to say, you need a system within your budget that'll serve your purposes enough to TEACH you something about technique, mechanics, aesthetics. You can hire tech-geeks (i.e. technicians) later to clean up audio, video, effects, titling. But they'll work for you, pay for your system, while you go on your way to making better art.

I respect your opinion too, but tire of it...

No, I'm not cutting anything for Peter Jackson, but I'm cutting about 12 hours a day, and I get tired of explaining to guys that "bought short" why it takes them 5-10 times as long as it does me to transcode a couple of hours of MPEG-2, or that some of the "nice" effects they see take forever or won't run on the smaller machines. The question asked was "Any reason not to get an iMac G5 for pro use?" There are reasons, I tried to point them out.

I know a pro who cuts on an iMac G5, but he backs it with a 2GHz G5 PM and has a Quad on order... He's already a good editor/producer, soon he'll be an efficient one too... It's the workflow that pays for the larger systems.

disconap
Nov 1, 2005, 11:03 PM
That in mind, I'd say if you can afford it, go for it. Bulk up on RAM and hard disc space and you should be in tip top shape.

RobHague
Nov 2, 2005, 07:47 AM
I've looked into it a little more and have found some specs that are greek to me between the machines:

L2 cache: 512MB instead of 1GB
Frontside Bus: 633MHz instead of 1GHz

Graphics-- the iMac has:ATI Radeon X600 Pro with 128MB DDR SDRAM; PCI-Express

Graphics-- the powermac has: NVIDIA GeForce 6600 LE with 128MB of GDDR SDRAM, one single-link DVI port, and one dual-link DVI port

what does all this mean? will I need these extra features?

Did no one mention that the 2.0Ghz PM G5 (i assume thats what jmufellow was comparing to the iMac?) is effectivly 2 CPU's instead of one. I'd imagine thats a pretty big benifit for pro-apps.

Platform
Nov 3, 2005, 07:04 AM
May not be so relevant but since you are a student, you now also have a TV too:p