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Old Dec 30, 2012, 03:26 PM   #1
snickerzz
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PowerMac G5

I've been wanting a mac for a long time now but I really don't want to put forth a lot of money so I was thinking of getting a power mac G5 and was wondering how upgradable it was, more specifically the gpu, what's the best gpu I could get to work in it? nvidia or amd, doesn't matter. Thanks

edit: i have spare 2x 256mb 240pin ram, I think its clocked at 333mhx, is it compatible with the g5? oh and is the g5 sata or ide? thanks c:

Last edited by snickerzz; Dec 30, 2012 at 05:20 PM. Reason: another question(s), dont feel like making a new thread
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Old Dec 30, 2012, 03:54 PM   #2
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It depends on which model of PowerMac G5 it is, earlier used AGP, later PCI-E.

Best AGP is probably a flashed GeForce 7800GS, from original models there was Radeon X850 XT and GeForce 6800 Ultra, I don't remember which one of these were faster.

On PCI-E side there is Radeon X1900 which works atleast with G5 Quad. On Nvidia side there was 7800GT as original model. Quadro -series of Nvidia cards are meant for professional 3D work and there was FX 4500 model for G5, I don't know how fast it is, maybe not as fast as X1900 since with Quadros it is not about speed rather than stability and certified drivers. GeForce 7800GTX PCI-E could also be flashed for Mac and that would be faster than 7800GT.

EDIT: Found some benchmarks, there is Quadro FX 4500 and some other cards:

http://www.barefeats.com/mutant4.html

EDIT2: Another benchmark with some AGP cards:

http://www.barefeats.com/mutant3a.html

EDIT3: And another benchmark with Radeon X1900:

http://barefeats.com/quad15.html

It seems that the X1900 officially available for G5 is infact the slightly crippled X1900GT.

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Old Dec 30, 2012, 03:58 PM   #3
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It depends on what model of the G5 you are aiming at but I think the Radeon X800 XT 256MB is a pretty safe bet.

Here's how to find a pretty useful thread on the subject!
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Old Dec 30, 2012, 04:00 PM   #4
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I've been wanting a mac for a long time now but I really don't want to put forth a lot of money so I was thinking of getting a power mac G5 and was wondering how upgradable it was, more specifically the gpu, what's the best gpu I could get to work in it? nvidia or amd, doesn't matter. Thanks
You could get an iMac G5 or one of the early intel model...
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Old Dec 30, 2012, 04:09 PM   #5
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The graphics card on the iMac G5 is not upgradable and it is also considered to be one of the most unreliable Macs ever produced.

http://themacelite.wikidot.com/wikidownloads2 - This site has listings of all the graphic card ROMs available for Macs. As mentioned the best you will be able to do is either the 7800 GS or the X800XT (excluding workstation cards) depending on whether you get an older AGP PowerMac or a newer PCI-E one.
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Old Dec 30, 2012, 04:16 PM   #6
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You could get an iMac G5 or one of the early intel model...
I'm looking for something mostly upgradable, it's why I'm staying away from mac minis XD but thanks
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Old Dec 30, 2012, 04:36 PM   #7
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You could get an iMac G5 or one of the early intel model...
Some of the most unreliable Macs ever...
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Old Dec 30, 2012, 04:52 PM   #8
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Some of the most unreliable Macs ever...
I'm glad you and wildly said something, I was looking at those. props to both of you
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Old Dec 30, 2012, 04:59 PM   #9
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I've been wanting a mac for a long time now but I really don't want to put forth a lot of money so I was thinking of getting a power mac G5 and was wondering how upgradable it was, more specifically the gpu, what's the best gpu I could get to work in it? nvidia or amd, doesn't matter. Thanks
May I suggest that you don't buy a powermac if you are just starting out on a mac, as you won't get the "mac experience" from one. how about a nice intel core solo mini or a white intel core 2 duo imac.
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Old Dec 30, 2012, 05:16 PM   #10
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May I suggest that you don't buy a powermac if you are just starting out on a mac, as you won't get the "mac experience" from one. how about a nice intel core solo mini or a white intel core 2 duo imac.
Yes I'm just starting out with a mac and I know I won't get the full experience because i'll be using 10.6? but i don't want to spend alot of money to find out I hate it or something
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Old Dec 30, 2012, 05:20 PM   #11
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Yes I'm just starting out with a mac and I know I won't get the full experience because i'll be using 10.6? but i don't want to spend alot of money to find out I hate it or something
In your opening post you mentioned wanting a PPC maybe a G5, if so you will not be running 10.6 as it is Intel only.
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Old Dec 30, 2012, 05:35 PM   #12
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There was a similar thread to this a while back (I'll see if I can dig it up). The overall point to be had was that no-one here will just lightly suggest that you buy a PPC Mac! They are completely obsolete (with regards to support) and will require a lot of time and effort to maintain. If you are happy with that then I (and many others) can definitely say that they are worth it in the end.

Regardless, a PPC Mac may be an ill choice to foray into the world of Macs. Prices vary considerably, but you will be able to pick up an old Intel-based Mac for around the same or perhaps a little more than a PowerMac G5. The community here for PPC Macs is great and will help you along whenever, but I would strongly advise that you go for an Intel Mac instead! That said, the only old Intel Mac with upgradable graphics would be the Mac Pro I'm not sure if you'll be able to find one for cheap or not.

What sort of stuff would you be doing with it?
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Old Dec 30, 2012, 05:39 PM   #13
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In your opening post you mentioned wanting a PPC maybe a G5, if so you will not be running 10.6 as it is Intel only.
oh, I thought I had read it was updateable to 10.6 but it only goes to 10.5.8
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Old Dec 30, 2012, 05:43 PM   #14
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If your happy in Windows why jump?

Before you buy anything look at the price of a retail Leopard install disk. Look at the price of graphics cards and bear in mind you'll not find newer than '05 cards . While in theory the G5 is expandable in reality not so much.
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Old Dec 30, 2012, 05:56 PM   #15
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If your happy in Windows why jump?

Before you buy anything look at the price of a retail Leopard install disk. Look at the price of graphics cards and bear in mind you'll not find newer than '05 cards . While in theory the G5 is expandable in reality not so much.
I don't know, i kinda want to start getting away from windows and onto macs, I have an ipad and ipod and having a mac would help me work more fluently imo. I'm starting to think I should just buy a G5 case and hackintosh it to make it up to date and be able to run mtn lion.
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Old Dec 30, 2012, 05:56 PM   #16
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I've been wanting a mac for a long time now but I really don't want to put forth a lot of money so I was thinking of getting a power mac G5 and was wondering how upgradable it was, more specifically the gpu, what's the best gpu I could get to work in it? nvidia or amd, doesn't matter. Thanks

edit: i have spare 2x 256mb 240pin ram, I think its clocked at 333mhx, is it compatible with the g5? oh and is the g5 sata or ide? thanks c:
Of all the PowerPC Macs the PowerMac series are the most user upgradable and easy to fix.

The best G5 available is the Late 2005 Quad, however being the ultimate PowerPC machine an still a pretty good computer these get quite a high price. I'd recommend getting a Late 2005 Dual core 2.0GHz or Dual core 2.3GHz model as these offer the best GPU solutions through the use of PCIe expandability rather than only having PCI or AGP slots.

With regards to GPUs, the fastest is a flashed 7800GTX 512mb, followed by a FX 4500. The FX 4500 was the best BTO option that Apple offered so some believe this card is better due to increased driver support, but the 7800 is a far far better card and alone increase the performance of the machine massively. If you're on a budget, even a 7800GT or a X1900 GT is a massive upgrade to the stock 6600LE or 6600.

Note that the GPUs available for the PCIe G5s are all DirectX 9.0 so won't be able to run modern games;- not that they would anyway as they are limited by OS and not being able to run bootcamp.

The machine I'm referring to (late 2005) uses DDR2 RAM of PC2-4200 or better which starts at 433Mhz so I don't think you can use your memory. Smaller sized modules are quite cheap to come by nowadays anyway.

Yes, the G5 uses SATA 1.5 revision, running at SATA 1 speeds. Some people have had problems with HDDs or SSDs that use SATA III (6GBp/s) not working correctly, I've never had these issues but something to be aware of.
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Old Dec 30, 2012, 06:04 PM   #17
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I don't know, i kinda want to start getting away from windows and onto macs, I have an ipad and ipod and having a mac would help me work more fluently imo. I'm starting to think I should just buy a G5 case and hackintosh it to make it up to date and be able to run mtn lion.
What would be more fluent in OSX? The fact that you are willing to build hack tells me that you are not going to be happy on a Mac let alone a PowerMac there is very little to futz with and even less to upgrade.
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Old Dec 30, 2012, 06:10 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by snickerzz View Post
I don't know, i kinda want to start getting away from windows and onto macs, I have an ipad and ipod and having a mac would help me work more fluently imo. I'm starting to think I should just buy a G5 case and hackintosh it to make it up to date and be able to run mtn lion.
This to me says it all right there. You're looking to get as modern a Mac as you can for the smallest price. What you have to understand is that Apple switched processors in 2006. They went from IBM/Motorola PowerPC to Intel. Any Mac made past 2006 is going to be an Intel Mac.

Any Mac made before that is going to have limitations you aren't going to like. As mentioned, OSX 10.5.8 is the latest any PowerPC Mac can upgrade to and some can only go to 10.4.11. You won't be able to run anything past iTunes 10.6.3. That means no syncing with an iPhone 5 or any iDevice using the Lightning connector. Yes, the G5 has SATA, but it's limited as already mentioned. There are software limitations. Lots of devs have abandoned Leopard for PowerPC a long time ago, let alone Tiger.

So, if your only interest is a modern Mac you'll want to find the cheapest you can that was made after 2006.

All of us here that support the PowerPC Mac know their limitations and can work around them and adapt and even accept that there are some things we just cannot get done with them. But all that is something that is just going to frustrate anyone else when they get hit with those limitations.

If you want to see an example of people who are frustrated by this and just don't get it, just go peruse the PowerBook/PowerMac forums over at Apple. It's been six years but those forums still see plenty of people who want to upgrade their PowerPC processors to Intel, run Mountain Lion on their G4s, have a snit because they can't sync their iPhones with iTunes 11 and so on.
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Old Dec 30, 2012, 06:38 PM   #19
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This to me says it all right there. You're looking to get as modern a Mac as you can for the smallest price. What you have to understand is that Apple switched processors in 2006. They went from IBM/Motorola PowerPC to Intel. Any Mac made past 2006 is going to be an Intel Mac.

Any Mac made before that is going to have limitations you aren't going to like. As mentioned, OSX 10.5.8 is the latest any PowerPC Mac can upgrade to and some can only go to 10.4.11. You won't be able to run anything past iTunes 10.6.3. That means no syncing with an iPhone 5 or any iDevice using the Lightning connector. Yes, the G5 has SATA, but it's limited as already mentioned. There are software limitations. Lots of devs have abandoned Leopard for PowerPC a long time ago, let alone Tiger.

So, if your only interest is a modern Mac you'll want to find the cheapest you can that was made after 2006.

All of us here that support the PowerPC Mac know their limitations and can work around them and adapt and even accept that there are some things we just cannot get done with them. But all that is something that is just going to frustrate anyone else when they get hit with those limitations.

If you want to see an example of people who are frustrated by this and just don't get it, just go peruse the PowerBook/PowerMac forums over at Apple. It's been six years but those forums still see plenty of people who want to upgrade their PowerPC processors to Intel, run Mountain Lion on their G4s, have a snit because they can't sync their iPhones with iTunes 11 and so on.
I shook my head as I read your post. Partly because of your honesty, and partly because of the romance/nostalgia that often comes with working with PowerPCs.

I think starting out with Motorola 68000 chips (with OS 7) and then later G3/G4s (OS 9/X) goes a long way in becoming attached to these old rigs. Many of these machines were beasts during their time, though this did virtually nothing to attract new customers. Now that they're no longer supported, there are folks who are just plain curious about them and, as you well described, people who remain frustrated that their ~$2000 - $4000 investments are no longer as current as they were 7 - 10 years ago.

Interesting that Mac resale value has always been greater than Wintel machines, and we still see this with PowerPC Macs. That iMac G4 that recently went off for $2700 on eBay: Is their a nine-year-old PC that's worth even half that amount?

For me, and from the very beginning, I always thought I knew what I was getting with each new Mac. I was usually pleasantly surprised each time that my PowerBooks, iMacs and iBooks gave me much more to enjoy than a collection of features and specs. I think that's only one reason why people can become attached to them.
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Old Dec 30, 2012, 06:58 PM   #20
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I love my G5 tower but it's starting to get out dated, it all depends of your budget and what you want to do.

With the G5 you can't go beyond 10.5.8 and loads of new software is no Intel only for the Mac so you may not be able to use the ones you want.

If you can I'd suggest trying for an early Mac Pro (which is Intel) or Hackintosh it will allow you to use more modern software and it will be much faster.

Just my 2 cents worth
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Old Dec 30, 2012, 06:59 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by skateny View Post
I shook my head as I read your post. Partly because of your honesty, and partly because of the romance/nostalgia that often comes with working with PowerPCs.

I think starting out with Motorola 68000 chips (with OS 7) and then later G3/G4s (OS 9/X) goes a long way in becoming attached to these old rigs. Many of these machines were beasts during their time, though this did virtually nothing to attract new customers. Now that they're no longer supported, there are folks who are just plain curious about them and, as you well described, people who remain frustrated that their ~$2000 - $4000 investments are no longer as current as they were 7 - 10 years ago.

Interesting that Mac resale value has always been greater than Wintel machines, and we still see this with PowerPC Macs. That iMac G4 that recently went off for $2700 on eBay: Is their a nine-year-old PC that's worth even half that amount?

For me, and from the very beginning, I always thought I knew what I was getting with each new Mac. I was usually pleasantly surprised each time that my PowerBooks, iMacs and iBooks gave me much more to enjoy than a collection of features and specs. I think that's only one reason why people can become attached to them.
My very first computer was a TRS-80 CoCo in 1980. In the late 80s I had a Vic20, C64 and C128. I got my first PC in 1990. I was a PC guy until around late 2002.

I became a Mac/Apple fan because the Mac proved it's worth and the quality of the machine bailed me out of a few bad situations. Doing that combined with some disastrous PC problems earned my loyalty to the Mac (if not Apple (sorry, the PC part of me refuses to drink that Koolaid)). I discovered that you can cripple a Mac (and this was before OSX) and it will still function on a deadline and you can get your work out. The same crippling effects would have killed a PC, causing a reinstall of the OS and thus blowing the deadlines. I've worked in OSX for a few months (Panther, 10.3.9 at the time) with a bad drive header B tree and a bad ram stick. Always got the work out.

Then there is my oft-mentioned example of the 13 year old G4/450 at work that is still producing. All of this combined keeps me solidly loyal to the PowerPC platform even while I have to acknowledge it's limitations. But even so, there aren't many 13 year old mass produced PCs I know of that are still out there doing this.
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Old Dec 30, 2012, 08:08 PM   #22
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What would you be doing with it exactly? What do you currently use your iPad and iPod for?
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Old Dec 30, 2012, 08:42 PM   #23
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You also have to think of future updates to iOS. Each update moves them closer to not being able to sync with PPC compatible versions of iTunes, even if you have an older iPhone or iPad.

PPC Macs are great, but using them in conjunction with iOS devices isn't a great experience. You won't be getting even half of the features they can work together. As others have said, for the price of a G5 Power Mac, you're better off just spending that on a newer Intel Mac.

If money is really tight and you just want an old Mac to play with to get a feel for OS X, I'd recommend a G4 Power Mac. Those can be bought dirt cheap and the last few can still run 10.5.8 Leopard. They're a little slower than G5 Power Macs but far more reliable. They're also upgradeable. Look at the Dual Processor Quicksilver (QS) and Mirror Drive Door (MDD) models that are 1.0 Ghz and faster, they can all run Leopard. You can often find these for under $100, even $50 or less if you're in the U.S. (check Craigslist and save on shipping). Most people look at them and see an old computer, but they are great machines.

A good resource to learn what the latest version of the Mac OS that each Mac can run is Everymac.com

10.5.8 is the last version of Leopard, which is the most up to date version of OS X that PPC Macs can run. But since then we've had 10.6 Snow Leopard, 10.7 Lion, and 10.8 Mountain Lion. Next summer we'll get another new version.

If you click on one of the more common G5 Power Macs, the first DP 2.0 Ghz model, and scroll towards the bottom, you'll see the version of OS X that was installed on the machine when it was first released, and the last version of OS X that can be installed on it...

http://www.everymac.com/systems/appl...g5_2.0_dp.html

In this case it's 10.2.7 when the Mac was released and 10.5.8 is the max it can do. You wouldn't want to run anything older than 10.4 Tiger on it, at least most people wouldn't, because that's when many new features came in. But Leopard would get you the most up to date software and apps, no matter which PPC Mac you buy.

Also note that the first few Intel Macs can not run the latest version of OS X, 10.8 Mountain Lion. Even the first MacBooks cannot run later than 10.6 Snow Leopard. Lion and Mountain Lion are the versions of OS X that offer the most compatibility with iOS devices.
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Old Dec 31, 2012, 12:15 AM   #24
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You also have to think of future updates to iOS. Each update moves them closer to not being able to sync with PPC compatible versions of iTunes, even if you have an older iPhone or iPad.

PPC Macs are great, but using them in conjunction with iOS devices isn't a great experience. You won't be getting even half of the features they can work together. As others have said, for the price of a G5 Power Mac, you're better off just spending that on a newer Intel Mac.

If money is really tight and you just want an old Mac to play with to get a feel for OS X, I'd recommend a G4 Power Mac. Those can be bought dirt cheap and the last few can still run 10.5.8 Leopard. They're a little slower than G5 Power Macs but far more reliable. They're also upgradeable. Look at the Dual Processor Quicksilver (QS) and Mirror Drive Door (MDD) models that are 1.0 Ghz and faster, they can all run Leopard. You can often find these for under $100, even $50 or less if you're in the U.S. (check Craigslist and save on shipping). Most people look at them and see an old computer, but they are great machines.

A good resource to learn what the latest version of the Mac OS that each Mac can run is Everymac.com

10.5.8 is the last version of Leopard, which is the most up to date version of OS X that PPC Macs can run. But since then we've had 10.6 Snow Leopard, 10.7 Lion, and 10.8 Mountain Lion. Next summer we'll get another new version.

If you click on one of the more common G5 Power Macs, the first DP 2.0 Ghz model, and scroll towards the bottom, you'll see the version of OS X that was installed on the machine when it was first released, and the last version of OS X that can be installed on it...

http://www.everymac.com/systems/appl...g5_2.0_dp.html

In this case it's 10.2.7 when the Mac was released and 10.5.8 is the max it can do. You wouldn't want to run anything older than 10.4 Tiger on it, at least most people wouldn't, because that's when many new features came in. But Leopard would get you the most up to date software and apps, no matter which PPC Mac you buy.

Also note that the first few Intel Macs can not run the latest version of OS X, 10.8 Mountain Lion. Even the first MacBooks cannot run later than 10.6 Snow Leopard. Lion and Mountain Lion are the versions of OS X that offer the most compatibility with iOS devices.
An mdd is not a good idea as those are unreliable as well
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Old Dec 31, 2012, 04:25 AM   #25
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