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Old Mar 3, 2009, 12:46 PM   #1
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Location: Texas
Power Mac G5 vs New Mac Mini

I am new to Mac and trying to figure out what I should buy with a limited budget. I am looking to start doing audio production work with programs such as reason, live and logic so I need a system with power and durability.

On one side I could buy a used system with the following specs for $1000:

G5 based Power Mac. .

Dual 2.0 gHz G5 Processors
2.5 GB RAM
2 X 250 GB SATA Hard drives
Logic Pro 8
Logic Pro 7
Adobe CS3
200 GB Professional Sound Library (sound effects)
60 GB Professional Sample Library (samples, loops, drums, etc)
Native instruments Massive, Absynth, etc.
More audio plugins, way too many to name here.

As you can see, this machine is loaded and ready for serious audio production. If you write music or do audio post, this machine will have you up and running straight away.


I could look into a new Mini and get some of the hard drive and memory upgrades for the same price. Obviously it would be more energy efficient and portable but how does it stack on performance? Although the extras in G5 would be nice, I am more interested in knowing how the machines would compare in reliability and efficiency from the hardware side.

Can someone please help me answer this dilemna and/or give me some good questions to ask on the used machine before making a decision?

Also, should I be considering other options as well at around $1000? As a newbie I could use all the help I can get. Thank you!
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Old Mar 3, 2009, 12:58 PM   #2
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Honestly, I think you should go for the Mac mini (or an iMac as I note below).

A 2.26GHz Core 2 Duo will be way faster than a dual 2.0GHz G5. Plus, Apple is clearly optimizing their software for the Intel platform, so you'd be locked out of future OS upgrades with a G5.

The Mac mini will take 4GB of RAM, so you're ok there.

Since its got a FireWire 800 port on it, you could add some reasonably fast external hard drives to make up for the lack of internal 3.5" desktop-class drives in the mini's case.

The new mini will handle two 1920x1200 displays, or one 1920x1200 plus one 2560x1600 30".

The "gaming" graphics wont be as good as an upgraded G5 with an ATI X800XT or nVidia 6800GT, but it'll be close enough.

But - the mini isn't cheap once you go beyond the base model. A 2.26GHz, 2GB RAM, 320GB HD mini will run you $949.00 without AppleCare.

The base 20" iMac with a faster processor and a faster HD is only $1199. And you can configure it with a larger HD if you want.
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Old Mar 3, 2009, 01:54 PM   #3
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Location: Boondocks
What driver are you ??

[QUOTE=womackis;7202712]I am new to Mac and trying to figure out what I should buy with a limited budget. I am looking to start doing audio .....

HaHa !!

I got the same problem here but with some little difference. The new mini sounds really great, however you do really production stuff with Logic 7 & 8.
I think this really makes the difference here why I would consider a G5.
As a production guy you need a great running system and usually you don't upgrade that frequently. I still work on my beloved G4 MDD and I am looking into a G5 project myself.
If you go with a G5, I would only go with a "G5 late model". The late G5's have a faster graphic PCI bus instead of the old AGP. That means you can have way better graphic card in it, then in the previous model. For the late model you can choose between the Nvidia 7800 GS, the Nvida Quadro 4500 FX (expensive) and the original aftermarket ATI Radeon X1900 G5 Mac Edition. You can get those on ebay if you can wait. They pop up every three weeks or so if you don't want a flashed version from Hong Kong.

On the CPU side of the G5's I would only buy the G5 Dual 2,3 version. This is the the version that still uses NO liquid cooling system and still has the old air cooling. Many reports are out there of leaking G5's. I would absolutely stay away from them if you plan on a solid long term system that works.
The 2,0 model would be good as well, but as mentioned I would take that PCI model.

For me, I just love to upgrade and expand my systems through the years.
Using some SATA Raptor drives from my ultra fast G4 is just nice.. things like that. Having some neat options from Sonnet to squeeze in up to four HD's via Sonnets Jive mounting bracket makes my day as well. The PCI model also can take 16 Gig Ram which you can get later on....

With that in mind you could theoretically end up with a System that would have cost you more then 8000 US$ three years ago.

In the end you have to ask you, what kind of driver are you? Going for an old but nice Porsche 911, or a brand new VW Rabbit without leather seats ??

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Old Mar 3, 2009, 03:08 PM   #4
Toronto Mike
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Location: Toronto
When you are comparing the two systems - does the G5 come with all that software and Mini with no extra software?

If so, and if the G5 runs the software you need, I'd say that's an incredible value there - especially if the G5 is the model that can use 8GB of ram.

If the Mini comes as is, think of how much it will cost you to do what you want compared to the G5. If the G5 is slower, will this translate into a noticable drop in performance for you?

Others more knowlegable might be able to answer this question of a performance difference between the two that would matter to the original poster.

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Old Mar 3, 2009, 10:49 PM   #5
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in regards to the G5's HD's, is it just the MB that supports only up to 500gb sata total (if that is the correct limit)... but adding a sata card, while the MB is still limited, allows you to go beyond that?
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