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Deciding between Powermac G4 or powerbook G4

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by snickrep, May 6, 2008.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Hello, it's been a while since I last posted here at the macrumors forum. For those that don't remember me, my name is Jack.

    I'm posting here today to seek some advice/suggestions on my next mac purchase. The last mac I used was the 15'' flat screen imac 800Mhz G4 model. It has collected dust in my closet for years now as it became outdated for my needs.

    I am looking to buy a refurbished or pre-owned mac since I am on a budget and can't afford the new intel based macs. I've been looking into the Powermac G4 "Quicksilver" and "Dual Processor Mirrored Door" computers, which I know are both outdated. I just want a stable and decent machine that gets the job done. I don't play games, but I will be using photoshop and illustrator more often, though I'm no pro with these programs I have messed around with photoshop for several years now. Also, I know I'd probably have to make some upgrades if I purchase a powermac G4 such as the memory, hard drive space, and maybe the video card (for photoshop/illustrator). What I want to know is if photoshop and illustrator will run ok on a powermac G4 with the new intel having been out for quite some time now.

    Also, not only have I been looking at the powermac G4 machines, but also older models of the powerbook G4. Does anyone think I would be able to find a used/ or refurbished powerbook with a 15 or 17'' display and that is expandable to 1gig of ram for under $700? I would want something that could handle photoshop and illustrator of course and all the basics such as itunes and internet.

    I just need some advice or suggestions before I make a purchase. I am aware that I am looking into outdated hardware, but surely these machines should get the job done somewhat, even if they aren't that speedy. I would want something that would be an improvement over my old imac G4, which never gets used.
  2. macrumors member

    Depends if you want to use it at home or on the road. I have a 15 inch 1.67 G4 from work which I only recently upgraded to an Intel version, because I needed to be able to run Windows for specific lab equipment software. I had Photoshop on that (CS2) and that ran fine. If you want to edit large photo's I'd recommend getting a bigger screen with that, so you're prob over your $700 budget. Here they go for about €700, but I don't know how that is in the US and A.
    The G4's your describing (fastest series) are no more than €450, so that'll leave you some space for upgrades as well as a monitor.
    The portability would tip the balance to the powerbook for me. BTW an intel mac mini is also in your budget as they have just lowered the prices and that beats the both togehter!
  3. macrumors G5


    get a refurb mac from

    look refurbs under "special deals"

    Note that Mac Mini is a few times more powerful than your current set up. And starts at $600 new or a little bit less refurb.
  4. macrumors 68000



    for sure ... took the text from my keyboard ..

    go the refurb store ...especially if you are in the US .... but move fast and be swift , did I say be quick ? watch the store daily ... then jump in ... hesitation is costly !!

    ...for they dont hang around long at the prices they put them up at :)

    ( well in the US anyway ...UK refurb store is a bit rubbish to be honest)
  5. macrumors regular

    I definitely think you can get a decent G4 powerbook at that price.

    what you really need, however, is optimized software for these systems. I'm running a dual 1GHz G4 tower [Quicksilver] that has treated me very well through the ages, and is relatively stable, but definitely shows her age.
    I'd recommend that you run software that is appropriate for the generation- the newest versions of adobe CS3, for example, are quite processor intensive and you'll be running into lots of beach balls when you could be running CS2 without much trouble.

    just a thought. I think you've got a totally doable plan, tho. you could also get a processor upgrade from OWC for a reasonable speed bump if you got a tower.

    Good luck!
  6. macrumors 68040


    You can find used Intel Mac Mini and the 1st Gen Macbooks for 700 bucks.
  7. macrumors newbie

    Thank you for the comments everyone!

    The mac mini was mentioned a few times, however, is it expandable? One of the reasons a tower (desktop) interests me is because I know I can add more ram and hard drive space. Another advantage is that I can find them really cheap.

    Right now, I'm running a PC with a pentium 4 3GHz, 512MB of RAM, 200GB hard drive, Geforce 7600 256MB video card, and windows xp. It's not the fastest thing, but usually gets the job done. I would like a mac that runs similar, if not better.

    Also, I have two questions regarding the powermac G4. First, does leopard run well on G4 based CPU? Would a leopard upgrade enhance the overall speed and stability of the computer? Second, will CS2 work decently with a
    G4 based mac?

    All I really do on the computer is internet, music, and I scan in my drawings into photoshop.
  8. macrumors 6502a

    Although technically you CAN upgrade the g4 - the mini will still get better performance, and the ram used in it is very cheep. Ultimately, you can have more ram in the mini, a MUCH faster processor. It will be quieter, and run Leopard better. You will save desk space, too. You might miss out on multiple monitors, though. Any excess internal storage the G4 might have offered over the mini, you can easily overcome by adding cheep external storage to the mini. Essentially, it's just as 'upgradeable' but ultimately offers more power and future compatibility.
  9. macrumors 68000



    Mini then innit , nuff said :cool: ( sorry I'm on a rewind ...hip hop 92 stylee :p )
  10. macrumors 6502


    I have a PowerBook G4 with a 17" screen that might fit what you're looking for... I'll PM you the details.
  11. macrumors member

    I'm still running my AGP G4 tower from 1999 (gasp!), but i've put in a 1.4ish processor and 1.5 ram, but it still runs a bit slow (go figure) on more intensive stuff like photoshop. and while it handles just about everything i throw at it, it is never what you would call fast. i've thought about upgrading the ram further, or getting a dual processor, but echoing above poster comments...ram for this machine is expensive relative to what you get, and processor upgrades offer diminishing returns compared to the price of the entry level mini.

    that said, i'm pretty invested in the machine, as i have a couple PCI cards (SATA, MOTU) in it, as well as a strange custom fan setup b/c i had problems with rampant overheating and kernel panics before figuring things out.

    and to top it off. the machine is LOUD. like jet engine loud. part of this is the extra fans, but part is just the nature of the beast. so just some things to consider...
    b/c for the money, you could pick up a mac mini from apple, or an imac refurb and have a nice (and much quieter) machine straight away.

    i'll use mine till it dies, but when it's done i dunno what i'll do.
  12. macrumors 68000


    I feel for ya bro , really do :)

    hehe ... I suppose you'll get get a 'mini nano tower ' like the rest of us :p

    wicked little machines for what they do ..
  13. macrumors 68000

    If your budget is $700 then you can very easily find an intel machine for that much. All intel machines regardless of the model are faster than the fastest G4, by a very large amount. And G4's use SD RAM, which is really expensive since nobody buys it anymore, 2gb's of 133mhz SD will probably be $200 or more while 2gbs of DDR2 is only $30.

    A mini has a max of 2gbs of ram (which is also the max of the G4 powermac), a macbook has a max of 2-4gbs of ram depending on model, both can be found for under $700.

    So with a mini you get a faster computer, the same amount ram, ram that is drastically less expensive, and can upgrade the storage with a firewire hdd.
  14. macrumors 6502a


    Actually the mini can take up to 3 gb of ram :).
    I would recommend any intel machine over G4s too, they're much faster, more flexible and future proof. You can get a 2.0 C2D mini w/ 1gb ram +120 hd for $680 in the refurb store. You can also check out used CD macbooks. If you can stretch your budget a bit, you can even find C2Ds for $850 in the refurb store.
  15. macrumors newbie

    well what about the mac mini's intel GPU?
  16. macrumors 65816


    Definitely consider an Intel Mini. It will seriously outperform any G4 and probably G5s for most tasks as well.
  17. macrumors 6502a


    It may be a integrated graphics but like was mentioned elsewhere on the forums multiple times, photoshop and illustrator don't depend on the gpu, they depend on the memory. The gpu is pretty much untouched for most processes on those programs.

    My mom was running an upgraded (to 1.8ghz) g4 quicksilver with maxed ram and we just got her a 2.0 mac mini, and upped the ram to 3.3 (2 2gb sticks for 70 bucks total) and she sees a HUGE difference in power. You really can't get a g4 to out perform a mini. The graphics card in the g4 i think only ram with 32mb of vram while the mini uses 64 shared anyway even beating that if you really think that is a problem, but once again it doesn't use it.

    You can get a 1.83 mini from the refurb store for just over 500 including tax. I have one and it's great. I use it with a 320gb mini stack external (it's all a feeler in the marketplace thread right now, but i'm not sure about parting with it yet) with 2gb of ram and it's great. Still FLYS compared to my mom's old g4.

    All that above could run you somewhere around 600+ and still fit under your budget.

    I'd say go that route on either a 1.83 refurb or a 2.0 refurb if you can snatch one up, but a 1.83 will still be a huge improvement over your last computer, stick in 1gig plus 2 gig or 2 -2 gig sticks of ram (matched pairs better) and if you need more space just add some external firewire or usb2 drives.

    If not that, you can find a 17inch intel imac white version on ebay for under 700 occasionally too.
  18. macrumors newbie

    I might consider the mac mini. Would it be able to beat my PC? (p4 3GHz, 200GB HD, 512MB of ram, Geforce 7600 256MB)
  19. macrumors 6502a



    This isn't a super example, but a decent one at that...

    Core2Duos http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/cpu-charts-2007/photoshop-cs-3,384.html?p=1268%2C1267%2C1270%2C1264%2C1263%2C1257%2C1249%2C1246%2C1247%2C1290%2C1295%2C1289%2C1227%2C1288%2C1287%2C1279%2C1224%2C1230%2C1231%2C1296%2C1221%2C1254%2C1222%2C1316
    beat Pentiums EASILY.

    Not to mention you only have a sad sad 512 ram? Yipes!

    I stole this after googling "pentium 4 vs core 2 duo" it's not 100% exact, but it gives you the idea.

    Not to mention OSX is far less resource hungry then Windows.

    "CPU's clock speeds have changes alot over the past few years... Clock Speeds simply dont mean what they use to mean..

    Intel used to promote clock speed as a way of determining which processor is faster than the other..

    like an Intel Pentium 4 clocked @ 3.6Ghz is faster than an Intel Pentium 4 clocked @ 3.0Ghz.. but that only worked when comparing 2 of the same kind of processors.. when it came to comparing it to different class that was a different story

    so comparing an ancient Intel Pentium 4 clocked @ 3.0Ghz vs a Core Duo clocked @ 1.83Ghz.. yes the Core Duo will come out the successor, first of all it was all the new advancements added onto it (except the ones included into the Core 2 Duo series it has a much higher IPC than the Pentium 4, and is a much better at multitasking than the Pentium 4..

    the meaning of Dual Core does not mean 1.8Ghz split into 2 processors.. Dual Core means theres basically 2 physical processor cores side by side. both effective @ 1.8Ghz. In a way it could mean you have 2 processors clocked @ 1.8Ghz. but like Dual Processors.. both dont add up to act like 1.. so dont go adding 1.8 x 2 cause thats not how they work..
    but essentially the Core Duo 1.8Ghz is more powerful than a Pentium 4 clocked @ 3.0Ghz

    In today's world.. clock speed doesn't mean much anymore..
  20. macrumors 68000

    The integrated graphics on the mini wont be as fast as a 7600 in games but its probably faster than whatever you can get in a powermac G4. You wont be playing games on a G4 or a mini either way so the graphics dont really matter.
    Mini's only have 1 ram slot, so it cant support more than 2gbs since thats the largest amount of ram on a single stick that you can buy. Maybe it will support more when 4gb sticks become available but theres no way to know since none exist.
  21. macrumors 68030


    Well, the P4 you have now will stomp all over any G4 processor.

    You just need more RAM. You're choking the processor and the video card with only 512MB of RAM.

    You can expand to 2GB for 80 dollars if its DDR1, if its DDR2, around 40.

    Intel Minis have 2 SO-DIMM slots.
  22. macrumors member

    Where? (the cheap ram that is). I've been stuck on 1.5 GB for a bit due to high prices...(see above), and since i've got 2 512s and 2 256s, each 512 only bumps me up 256.
  23. macrumors 68000


    I believe Newegg is reasonably priced in the states
  24. macrumors 6502a


    Considering my mini at home has 2 gig in it (1gb in each of the TWO slots) you are wrong. All Intel mini's have 2 slots.

    Go with the Intel Core 2 Duo refurb. It will smash the g4s in everything.
  25. macrumors 6502a


    Check out macsales.com. They guarantee compatibility with your mac and has a lifetime warranty on their ram.

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