G4 800 Quicksilver opinions?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Khoji, Oct 7, 2005.

  1. Khoji macrumors newbie

    Khoji

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2005
    #1
    I'm just getting into Mac and my "starter budget" limits me to a Mac Mini or a used PowerMac. At the moment I'm looking at a used G4 800 Quicksilver with 512MB memory, a 7500 32 MB Radeon, a new Pioneer Superdrive (dual-layer) and an 80GB hard disk. According to the seller it can be upgraded to max. 2.0GHz Single or 1.8GHz Dual.

    Since I have no experience at all with Mac hardware I'm a little uncertain. I realize that the graphics card and memory are limitations, but those can be upgraded as and when needed. My question is, is the basic hardware of the the G4 800 Quicksilver a dead end or will it still be OK for a couple of years, particularly if I'm looking at working primarily in Tiger? (Both OS9 and Tiger are preinstalled on the machine I would be buying.)

    I do a lot of photo and audio editing, a little video (just my own home movies stuff on DV), web design with Dreamweaver and otherwise just standard office and Internet stuff. I hardly play any games at all, and when I do it's generally just stuff like Myst that hardly requires a fast 3D graphics card. Oh yes, I also have a 60GB iPod Photo, and I've heard that iTunes on the Mac is way better than on Windows XP...

    So would a G4 800 cut it for me or would I actually make a better start into the Apple world on a Mini?
     
  2. Sedulous macrumors 68000

    Sedulous

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2002
    #2
    I have a Quicksilver (dual 800) and feel it is still an outstanding computer. It is mostly stock except for three upgrades: Geforce4 Ti 128 MB and 1.5 GB RAM, and a 10K RPM HD.
     
  3. Jaffa Cake macrumors Core

    Jaffa Cake

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    The City of Culture, Englandshire
    #3
    We've got a Mac identical to the one you describe (albeit minus the Superdrive) at work and it performs fine with Tiger. It might be worthwhile looking to pop some extra RAM in it, though – Tiger does tend to gobble the stuff up a bit.
     
  4. Khoji thread starter macrumors newbie

    Khoji

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2005
    #4
    Yeah, I realize that I should have at least 1MB of RAM but there are two slots free so it's going to be cheap to up it to that level. How does the 800 feel doing things like editing photos in Photoshop? Obviously high-end filters will take time but how are ordinary editing operations? Are they sluggish enough to be annoying or acceptable?
     
  5. Jaffa Cake macrumors Core

    Jaffa Cake

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    The City of Culture, Englandshire
    #5
    Obviously, it's not as fast as our G5 at such things, but it's certainly no slouch either. We use it for quite a lot of heavy Photoshop and Illustrator work and, speed wise, it's more than acceptable.

    Plus, as you mention you can upgrade things like the graphics card and add another hard drive in the future, so the Power Mac is going to give you far more upgrade options in the long term than the Mac Mini. I'd say if the price is good, go for the Power Mac. :)
     
  6. Khoji thread starter macrumors newbie

    Khoji

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2005
    #6
    Thanks, also for the confirmation on the performance, that's pretty much my gut feeling as well. I'll have to see how the auction develops. It finishes on Sunday afternoon and that's not so good -- then the prices tend to get pushed up further than at weekday auctions.
     
  7. Sol macrumors 68000

    Sol

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2003
    Location:
    Australia
    #7
    Dual 800 MHz G4 Power Mac good, not perfect

    First of all, if you are going to edit video do not buy a Mac Mini. The drive is too small and slow for that purpose and you would be limited to one screen; video editing is better on dual displays.

    As for the dual 800 Mhz G4 Powermac, it is a fine computer but not perfect. I own one and OS X 10.4.2 is good on it but because I use the standard nVidia 64 MB card that came with it there is no Core Video support. That model of PowerMac can hold four hard drives internally so you could install a SATA2 card and have four 10,000 RPM drives is you can afford it. I am not sure if the graphics card upgrade is worth it. The older the computer, the less a new graphics card can do on it; this model has a 133 MHz motherboard. I have also have had issues with certain PCI slots. The computer would not boot up if a card was in one specific slot and one USB 2.0 card that I installed gave me USB 1 functionality in only two out of five ports on that card. Speaking of ports, this PowerMac does not feature surge protection on its USB and FireWire 400 ports so you have to switch external devices on before you boot up and shut them down after the computer is shut down.
     

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