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Can I make my old G5 1.6 go any faster?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by sinar, Oct 11, 2007.

  1. macrumors member


    I was wondering if anyone could give me some advice?

    About 3 years ago I bought a Powermac G5 1.6, it was the cheapest/lowest price G5 available. I put in 1GB of memory which made it up to 1.25GB of Ram, but other than that I have not upgraded it at all over the years.

    Now, running photoshop it seems really slow, but I can't afford a new mac pro so I was hoping there would be some way to make it go faster, perhaps adding more RAM, or upgrading the graphics card, that would not cost too much.

    Or is it a case of the CPU being too slow to bother spending any more money on it? another option I have is buying a new mac mini, which I could afford.

    any thought appreciated, thanks for reading,

  2. macrumors G4


    Adding an additional 2GB of RAM (for a total of 3.25GB) should help boost your performance. BTW, you do have processor performance set to "high" right? :)
  3. macrumors 6502a


    Check Disk Utility isn't reporting an error when you try a HDD repair. I've seen failing HDD's cause all sorts of weird issues.

    Perhaps some of the photo-editing people around here can confirm, but I have a feeling some of Photoshop is Core-Image compatible, so perhaps a faster graphics card is an option?

    If I remember correctly, you'll have the GeForce 5200. If you can find them, some of these can be alternatives for you:

    ATi 9600
    ATi 9800
    nVidia 6800 Ultra & GT

    See what you make of them on eBay etc. I think you also have 4 RAM slots, so perhaps matching the RAM and having over 2GB might help. I know my old Dual 2GHz flew after I put 2.5GB of Crucial RAM. (put in pairs)

    One last thing - people say Leopard will have speed improvements for PPC machines. Buy it, backup and do an erase & install.

    Good luck!
  4. macrumors 68000


    RAM is always a good idea! How much can this G5 model take, my guess is 4 but could also be 8. But with 3-4 gb you will really notice a difference. For example my 1,6 ghz pb G4 with 2 gb ram almost feels faster than a friends iMac G5 1,8 ghz with 1 gb.

    Another option would be a newer, faster hd, and the gfx card upgrade you mentioned. However, for Photoshop work I would say ram > hd > gfx card.
  5. macrumors member


    I will get another 2GB of crucial RAM and see if that helps, it will make a total of 3GB as I will have to take out the original 2X128mb sticks that it came with.

    How to I check if my processor performance is set to high?

    Thanks a lot,

  6. macrumors member

    You make a good point about erasing and installing Leopard, I have not done a clean install since I had the Mac, so it's probably bogged down with a lot of junk.

    I'll make sure I do that when Leopard comes out, I'm also going to get an extra 2GB of ram and see how that speeds thing up, and then possibly look at a new graphics card.

    Thanks a lot,

  7. macrumors member

    Thanks, I'm going to get an extra 2GB of ram to see how that helps, I am using the original 80GB hard drive, which is almost always full, will a bigger hard drive help with speed?, if so I might have to look at getting another one.

    I have a couple of firewire hard drives that I use to store to images.


  8. macrumors 6502

    You missed the ATI Radeon X800XT which is on par with the Nvidia 6800 Ultra and GT. Graphics cards are getting harder to come buy as ATI is slowing down sales of the ATI Radeon X800XT, it seems.
  9. macrumors 68000


    Clean install of OSX (or archive and install, same difference), a larger hard drive (or a separate HDD dedicated solely as a scratch disk, anything over 40gb should show significant improvement, you can set it as the scratch disk in your photoshop preferences), and more RAM should do you. The graphics card will help but isn't necessary if you're just using photoshop. You can get an 80g hdd for about $40 on newegg.com, and RAM for that machine is pretty cheap right now, you can get 2 gb for probably around $100 or so. If your HDD is small, you may want to buy a larger drive for your main drive and use your current one as a scratch disc; system discs work much faster when 60-70% of the drive is empty.

    There are some other tricks (setting your history count lower, for one). Check the Adobe help documents, there's one for optimizing Photoshop. You can probably get it running a lot faster for around $150-200.

    EDIT because I saw you have an 80gb HDD--250gb HDDs are really cheap right now, around $60-70. This will make a HUGE difference over your almost full 80gb; the system scratch alone uses probably most of your HDD space, so your system and Photoshop are likely fighting a lot over any open space to write to (especially since your RAM is kind of on the low end for CS or CS2), and that slows everything down. I suggest storing unused files (like mp3s, old art projects, etc.) on your external, installing OSX and Photoshop on the new 250gb HDD, and blanking the 80gb and using it as a dedicated scratch disc. This, along with new RAM and the optimization tips on the adobe site, should increase the speed of Photoshop dramatically. :)
  10. macrumors member

    I'm going out on a limb here because I own a G5 1.8 single early model with the 17" display.

    Sell it. Get rid of it if you can.
    The window of opportunity has passed and is clearly going bye-bye to sell these machines.
    There is no need to upgrade it when a Macbook performs better.

    Save your money and get rid of it unless you are just checking e-mails, internet, and photos then keep the G5 for as many years as you want, but don't pump money into it.

    It's turning into an old dog for anything loosely productive compared to what is out there from Apple or anyone.
  11. macrumors regular

    Hard Drive

    There's always replacing your current startup disk with a Western Digital Raptor. The disk access on a 10,000 RPM drive like that is insane.

    Some will tell you that some 7200 RPM SATA drives are just as fast at loading large files, but for overall performance on boot and file copy, the Raptor flat out wins.

    I believe WD makes Raptor drives in 150GB SATA models with a cool transparent window that you'll never get to see again after you install it. :D
  12. macrumors 68000


    Really? The last time I looked into it, the Raptors were only about 10 GB. I guess they must have really improved over the last year or two.
  13. macrumors 6502


    No raptors have always been around 60 - 80 GB whenever I would look.
    buying one of them would certainly help.

    Make sure you have the latest OS 10 all that kind of stuff after you do all this updating download cocktail and run it through all the optimizations.

    If your only really using photoshop you should be able to keep using the system you have just fine.

    I've got a G4 and I'm doing pretty good.
  14. macrumors G4


    Sorry, I forgot that the 1.6GHz Power Mac G5 only has 4 RAM slots. :eek: :)
  15. macrumors member

    another good place...

    besides some of the good advice you've gotten here, check out :


    excellent advice on their forums about upgrading every part of a mac, the good the bad the ugly and if it's worth it...

    they helped me upgrade my G4 450mhz...more ram, sata drives...it's all good...

    have fun with your project


  16. macrumors regular

  17. macrumors 68000


  18. macrumors newbie

    overclock your processor a bit
  19. macrumors 68020

    Right...this is a G5 we're talking about. (The overclocking scene for G5s is nonexistent; as far as I know, nobody's ever managed it, and it would be a really bad idea even if it was possible.)

  20. macrumors 68000


    Yup. Overclocking a G5 requires overclocking the bus and RAM, and is virtually impossible. Not to mention the heat problems inherent to the G5 chip, if you COULD overclock it, chances are it would just melt.
  21. macrumors 68000


    I bought a raptor for my 1.8 Ghz... absolutely amazing. Do this. Really really makes your computer feel brand new.
  22. macrumors 68000


    The raptor is an amazing drive, if I didnt have 2 already, I would get one at that price posted.

    And the good thing is, if in a year you decide to get a macpro, you can put that drive in the new machine and enjoy its performance there.
  23. macrumors newbie

    lol OCing doesn't melt your parts. these mac dudes know nothing about hardware
  24. macrumors 68000


    Perhaps you aren't familiar with the heat of a G5.

    There have been a lot of internal components melted due to the heat emitted by a G5 CPU (without over-clocking).

    Some people have had the components on the bottom of the hard drive actually melt.

    Others have had mounting brackets melt / bubble.

    And, there are lots of other components that have been affected by the heat of the G5 CPU. It's one hot piece of equipment.

    You absolutely can cook on a G5. And, if you over-clock with it, I would expect you could actually fry with it.

    I've seen the pictures of the damage caused to some brackets (plastic brackets) which actually bubbled and melted from the G5's heat.

    I've also had two systems with G5's that literally cooked themselves into the repair shop.

    Don't over-clock a G5. It's hot enough.
  25. macrumors 6502

    The G5 overclocked wouldn't melt (which is what disconap said originally, he wasn't referring to other miscellaneous parts inside the Mac). If the experience on PC forums overclocking AMD and Intel chips is anything to go by, the CPU itself would fail and die well before it reached a melted state. Remember silicon has a melting temperature of about 1400 degrees centigrade.

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