For music production - Older Powermac G5 or brand new Mac Mini?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by meisterjager, Feb 7, 2011.

  1. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2010
    #1
    I'm looking for a 'desktop' PC for my recording studio, and was split between these two models of Macintosh computers.

    I'm looking at a G5 2.5 Quad with 8gb RAM and a 256mb video card and a 1TB hard drive. The price on it is £795.

    I'm comparing that to basically a regular Mac Mini 2.4 Dual (though I'm considering waiting for Apple to upgrade the processors) and I'll upgrade the ram with sticks from Crucial, taking this Mac Mini to just under £700.

    My main worry is to do with the PPC processor in the Powermac. Am I going to have a tonne of trouble when it comes to finding compatible software and the like? I'm currently running a White Macbook 2.2 in clamshell mode, so I'm already using Intel Mac - will using PPC be me taking a step backwards?

    Thanks!
     
  2. macrumors 6502a

    Rodus

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    Location:
    Midlands, UK
    #2
    For highly multithreaded apps the quad G5 will be faster then the Mini, for anything else it should be pretty similar, also the G5 has internal expansion slots so if you need any PCI cards then you have that option. On the other hand the quads are liquid cooled and this has a nasty habit of leaking and destroying the logic board, PowerPC technology is no longer supported and is a dead end with regards to new OS', you are stuck on 10.5, the G5 will consume far more power then the Mini and if you need Windows only apps then you can bootcamp the Mini.
    Basically, buy the Mini, it's far more future proof, even now and if you wait for the refresh then the performance will be even better
     
  3. thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2010
    #3
    That was pretty much my instinct man - still had to be talked out of avoiding that lovely big metal case that'd make me feel nice and important!

    Thanks a lot :)
     
  4. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2009
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #4
    If you really want to feel important scrumpymacs have the Quad Mac Pro for a couple of hundred more (And that is even more of a powerhouse than the G5 Quad, and also is Intel and doesnt have the nasty LCS issues the G5 does).
     
  5. macrumors 601

    OrangeSVTguy

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2007
    Location:
    Northeastern Ohio
    #5
    The G5 quads are expensive over there. On this side of the pond you can have them for US$600 or less. I'm about ready to sell mine for $500.

    Although the G5 has more options to expand, the Mini would be more future proof. Single threaded tasks, the Mini will be faster but apps coded for more threads, the G5 will be faster but not by a whole lot.
     
  6. thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2010
    #6
    I was looking at the Mac Pro's on scrumpymacs.. do you know what the deal is with them? New old stock, or second hand?
     
  7. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2009
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #7
    Their second hand machines, but they've been refurbished nicely and come with a decent warranty for a used machine (I bought my White Intel iMac from them, and its been fine for about a year now).
     
  8. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2008
    #8
    I bought a used G5 Power Mac from them a couple of years or so ago. Really good company, decent prices, well packaged, good follow-up service (I lost the install disks and they sent a new set out next-day). Thoroughly recommend them.

    As to the original question, if you're looking at spending £795 there is absolutely no doubt whatsoever in my mind that you should be looking at an Intel Mac Pro. No-one is writing for PPC any more; if this is a machine you're planning on actually using I'd do car boot sales, eBay, Gumtree or whatever until you've got the extra hundred quid or so to get the Intel.

    The G5, incidentally, is still doing sterling service as the home media server.
     
  9. Cox Orange, Feb 8, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2011

    macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2010
    #9
    I was messing with this idea (and am still a little bit), too.

    If you stay with Tiger and are not going further than Logic Studio 8 (though 9 works actually, too) and stay with an audio-Interface like the presonus firepod, it does not matter, if there is no one coding for PPC any more. If you use the Mac for other things there will probably be shortcomings under Tiger in the future regarding compatible internet-browsers.
    The other things mentioned (power consumption - if you care for your electricity bill - ; heat exhaustion - you can heat your room with it (someone here in the forum actually does this! lowering the thermostat to lower degree and letting the Quad do the rest); liquid cooling - there are reports on xlr8yourmac.com about 17 Quads in a lab that died all in one week, leaving the lab with 3 working ones (though there are rumors, that the panasonic LCSs are more reliable than the delphi and cooligy, which were all three used by Apple. Some LCS defects may be a cause of used Quads being shipped and a parcel service that does not care for being nice to the Mac).

    The only thing that lets my thoughts get back to the Quad sometimes, is nostalgia, the expandability and the reason, that it costs 500,-EUR (675,-USD) on german Ebay vs the new mac mini costing 709,-EUR (957,-USD) in german apple stores.

    I find the mac mini too expansive (here in Germany) for what it comes with, so my thoughts ended up opting for an iMac (1190EUR - 1600USD). But I am waiting for the new version of 2011. (I guess the iMac could get my next Mac that does all I need for 5 years and even longer - just because my old Macs lasted that long and they were entry level Macs, which I consider the Intel-iMac is not).

    Links to the question asked by others:
    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=966378
    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1054845
     
  10. thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2010
    #10
    I can't say for certain if I'll be needing to use up to date software - but if going PPC means that that's absolutely not an option, then I really would have to pass on it. I absolutely hate the feeling of being restricted, and with the Mac Mini in mind, this is also why I'm now leaning towards a Mac Pro from Scrumpymacs. As for DAWs, I'm not sure what I'll be running.. I'm using Reaper at the moment, I may shift to Nuendo 4 or Cubase 6.. maybe Pro Tools. I think with PPC I'd be restricted to.. maybe Cubase 4? I hated Cubase 4 haha

    However, the massive heat that's been mentioned has got me wondering.. Is this an Mac Pro problem, also, or just a PowerMac issue?

    I would also consider an iMac, but I just spent cash on a very nice screen that fits my set up unbelievably perfect. An iMac just wouldn't fit, unfortunately.

    Concerning the earlier 2 x Dual Core 2.66 Mac Pro's, how far is the RAM expandable? From what I read, 2 processors means 8 RAM slots, with matched pairs of up to 8gb -> 32gb total?
     
  11. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2009
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #11
    The only "heat" issue is with the G5s, because the PowerPC G5 chip runs hot, so in the faster configurations had to be Liquid Cooled, and this caused all sorts of havoc (If the coolant leaked, as it generally did, it tended to either eat the Power Supply or drip green corrosive gunk out of the case) - the Mac Pro is air cooled, and is really quite quiet. Also, the Dual 2.66 Mac Pro only "supports" 16GB RAM, but it can handle 32GB, Apple just claims it cant, but they make a habit of this so don't worry, 32GB will work fine in it :)
     
  12. Cox Orange, Feb 9, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2011

    macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2010
    #12
    you can find the specs to every Mac under everymac.com they even say, if Apple reports 16GB RAM and it actually can handle 32GB. You will also find price estimations. There is also a comparison-chart, were you can look at the features of several models side by side.

    If meisterjager, means, that you are in a german speaking country than take macnews.de/gebrauchtpreisliste/ as information source for estimated prices for used ones. (also backward search for ended auctions on Ebay is useful, they are often cheaper than said on the official lists).

    On the heat-issue: it does not have liquid cooling only, there are fans that put the heat outside, and some old Quads get very loud under heavy load (in the most scenarios they get loud because the thermal paste on the CPU was not properly put onto it).

    quote: "I think with PPC I'd be restricted to.. maybe Cubase 4?"

    PPC compatible audio software:
    Logic 9 or Pro Tools works as well /though I would consider Pro Tools only, if you are a pro-user, because of the price. Logic 8/9 is fairly cheap considering all the samples, VSTs and extra software (for working with movies, for example) that it comes with.
    Last PPC-Steinberg versions are Cubase 5 and Nuendo 4.
    Some use audacity or Reason.
     
  13. thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2010
    #13
    everymacs.com is a very cool website, thanks for that link!

    I'm fairly sure I'll be aiming for an entry level Mac Pro. That liquid cooling sounds like a nightmare best avoided! Interesting about the RAM.. Though I'm nowhere near intensive enough a user to ever need 32gb. I'll probably aim for 8gb to start with and see how that works out.

    Oh, and Steinberg already released Cubase 6 at this years NAMM, along with Nuendo 5 - http://www.steinberg.net/en/products/cubase/cubase6_start.html - Though I'm really enjoying using Reaper at the moment, and for the $40 it cost me it's definitely a keeper!

    Thanks for all your help guys!
     
  14. macrumors 68040

    MacHamster68

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2009
    #14
    srumpymacs are a good company compared to others on ebay ,but over 700 is quiet high for any PowerMac and i would be more concerned about the G5 2.5 in general so once scrumpys 90 day warrranty ends ... do yourself a big favor and just keep watching for coolant leaks all the time as its a LCS model
     
  15. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2009
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #15
    I think we've persuaded them to go with one of their early Mac Pro 1,1 - which is more powerful than either a Mini or the G5 with the dreaded LCS, and should let them expand the software they use (And means ProTools etc could be used as well as external interfaces which require an internal card - both very very useful features to "have" since it saves buying another machine down the line :D
     
  16. MacHamster68, Feb 10, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2011

    macrumors 68040

    MacHamster68

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2009
    #16
    ok but scrumpys have MacPro's too from time to time and sometimes even for about the same price so it might be worth waiting , they have even nice cinema displays to go with it from time to time ok usually the 20-24" ones ,but too with their warranty and they sometimes sell even software and other peripherals , i bought my apple remote from them , brandnew sealed free shipping for for less then a tenner and one of my Powermac's G4 and one eMac 1.42 are from them too and ilife 08 for all my G4/G5 PPC mac's ;)
     
  17. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2011
    Location:
    newyork
    #17


    The only thing that puts me off about the new Mac Mini is that I can't really afford the higher specification 2.53GHz model at £649 and £500 seems lot of money for the most basic Mac available.otherwise mac mini is good.
     
  18. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 10, 2011
    #18
    Mac for recording

    I am planning on buying a Macbook Pro laptop to assist in recording. I want to get a 13 inch model. Money isn't too big of an issue. Which would be the best Mac to buy?
     
  19. macrumors 68000

    Nameci

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2010
    Location:
    The Philippines...
    #19
    If money is not an issue, Top of the Line Mac Pro is the best to buy.
     
  20. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2011
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA, USA
    #20
    Well, of course, but a full-on tower like that may not suit portability needs, if he wishes to use it in multiple places.

    In that case, unless heavier machines would be a problem, I'd advise a 15 or 17-inch MacBook Pro. (I'm rather interested in the 17's 1920x1200 screen, myself, but I don't see myself getting one unless I make a ton of money or it's for work in the future, sadly...) I'm not sure if the current gen ones are still having issues or not, as I've been a bit more focused on other things lately... but I haven't been hearing as much, so hopefully the issues were worked out. (Of course, on the other hand, maybe I'm just deaf and it's gotten worse without my knowing... doubt that, though.) If you still want a 13-incher, though, by all means go for it - they pack a nice punch, now, and you can bring it around easily.

    Get AppleCare if it'll make you feel better about a MBP - I'd advise it with a laptop, anyway, because it's always wise to expect the unexpected.
     
  21. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2009
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #21
    I'd personally take a 15" High-Res over a 17" Model unless you really need the expansion slot, purely because Having owned both 15" and 17" Apple PowerBooks and MacBook Pros - the 17" is just too big to have with you onstage, especially if your either at the side, or even in sound rooms, the 17 is just too big to balance easily on things in my experience.
     
  22. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2008
    #22
    Another approach is to do what we ended up doing with my son. He got a 13" MBP (for cost reasons) but it's turned out an inspired choice because it's very portable (I have the 17" and it's far too heavy) and he got a secondhand Dell 19" monitor for buttons which turns out to a far better arrangement for working on music at home than maxing a single screen.

    If you've got actual money to spend, I'd go 13" plus Dell Ultrasharp 23", magic mouse & wireless keyboard. 700 or so USD cheaper than a 17" MBP and more effective
     
  23. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2009
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #23
    I disagree. With the 15" models being twice as powerful (Quad-Core over Dual-Core, the new 15"s truly are a Mac Pro to go, the 13"ers sadly, are not), and having a much better screen, you dont need the external (Especially if you go with the Hi-Res Option). Much more effective than either a 13" with a relatively weak CPU (Faster to handle all audio tasks), and a 17" you cant move anywhere as theres nowhere to put it.
     
  24. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2011
    Location:
    14623
    #24
    i'm using a PowerMac G5 tower for music production which I got lately, but I was looking for a PowerPC-based Mac because I've got lots of old gear and stuff that only works in >OS 9. i'd still put a G5 over a mini mac just for sake of expansion and whatnot, but then again I've got an intel MacBook Pro so I can run Intel-only code if I need to. it basically comes down to what's important to you - until I got the G5 i had an iBook G3 i did all my music stuff on and I got by fine with that.
     
  25. macrumors 68000

    Nameci

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2010
    Location:
    The Philippines...
    #25
    If you wanted to run OS9 then PM G5 will not work out for you. AFAIK, the PM G4 MDD FW400 are the last Mac that could boot in OS9...
     

Share This Page