Help me upgrade my Mid-2003 (single 1.8GHz) PowerMac G5 Tower

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by CosmicFunkSquad, Nov 18, 2008.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Nov 18, 2008
    My primary computer now is a summer 2007 macbook pro and it is wonderful. The G5 has sat in my closet since I got this macbook pro with no use. However, recently I have been looking at getting a 1TB+ external hard drive and the model I want is around $180.00. Another thing is I rent MANY movies off of iTunes, and constantly plugging in my laptop to the TV and not having it for use during the movies is a pain. So, I have decided to upgrade my G5 instead of buying the external HDD so that I can use it for storage, and leave it plug into the TV for renting movies/playing music and the such.

    Here are my Specs

    Or view here

    Introduction Date: June 23, 2003 Discontinued Date: November 18, 2003
    Processor Type: PowerPC 970 (G5) Processor Speed: 1.8 GHz
    Processor Upgrade: G5 Daughtercard FPU: Integrated
    System Bus Speed: 900 MHz (2:1) Cache Bus Speed: 1.8 GHz (Built-in)
    ROM/Firmware Type: Open Firmware ROM/Firmware Size: 1 MB
    L1 Cache: 32k/64k L2/L3 Cache: 512k
    RAM Type: PC3200 DDR Min. RAM Speed: 400 MHz
    Standard RAM: 512 MB Maximum RAM: 8.0 GB
    Motherboard RAM: None RAM Slots: 8
    Video Card: GeForce FX 5200 Ultra VRAM Type: DDR SDRAM
    Standard VRAM: 64 MB Maximum VRAM: 64 MB
    Display Support: Dual Displays Resolution Support: 1920x1200
    2nd Display Support: Dual/Mirroring 2nd Max. Resolution: 1920x1200
    Standard Hard Drive: 160 GB (7200 RPM) Int. HD Interface: Serial ATA (1.5Gb/s)
    Standard Optical: 4X "SuperDrive" Standard Disk: None
    Standard Modem: 56k v.92 Standard Ethernet: 10/100/1000Base-T
    Standard AirPort: 802.11b/g (Optional)(I do not have) Standard Bluetooth: 1.1 (Optional)
    USB Ports: 3 (2.0) Firewire Ports: 2 (400), 1 (800)
    Expansion Slots: 3 PCI-X, AP/BL Expansion Bays: 2 3.5"
    Incl. Keyboard: Apple Pro Keyboard Incl. Input: Apple Pro Mouse
    Case Type: Tower Form Factor: Power Mac G5
    Apple Model No: M9031LL/A Apple Subfamily: Power Mac G5
    Gestalt/Model ID: N/A Machine Model: PowerMac7,2
    Battery Type: 3.6V Lithium Battery Life: N/A
    Pre-Installed MacOS: X 10.2.7 (G5) Maximum MacOS: Current
    MacOS 9 Support: Classic Mode Only* Windows Support: Emulation Only
    Dimensions: 20.1 x 8.1 x 18.7 Avg. Weight: 39.2 lbs. (17.8 kg)
    Original Price: US$2399 Est. Current Retail: US$650-US$950

    As of now it is noticeably slower than my MBP but still holds up really well for what I do other than gaming, but I would like to make it run better, be more useful for my needs (wireless adaptor), and have more memory and hard drive space.

    Upgrades I am considering

    Wireless Airport Adaptor (currently no wireless)- $20
    I have lost the plastic antenna that sticks out of the back, is this completely necessary, and if so where can I get one really cheap?

    Hard drive
    Now 160 GB HDD that came with it.
    Thinking of 1TB Seagate 32MB cache located here - $109

    PC3200 RAM
    Now 1GB (512MB sticks)
    Thinking of adding 2GBs of crucial ram (1GB sticks) here, for a total of 3GB. - $60

    Graphics Card
    Now GeForce 5200 Ultra 64 MB
    Thinking of ATI Radeib 9600 Mac edition 256MB. - around $140 on eBay (would like to pay MUCH less)

    I will be running Leopard.

    Do you think these upgrades are good? If not what would you change?
    How big of a difference will I notice?
    Do you know how to get any of them cheaper?
    If money were not an option how would you upgrade this G5?
    Would you bother upgrading the graphics card if you were just going to be playing HD video on to a 1080P television? (maybe playing a few old games)
  2. macrumors newbie

    Dec 15, 2008
    It's useless

    Upgrading your system like so won't help it, just because of number of bottle-necks. Clock speed, and bus speed-in between processor every hardware- of you computer, will keep the speed of you computer at where it is right now. Secondly the speed of your north bridge is just to slow. North bridge is a connection in between you processor, and all output/input systems.
  3. macrumors 65816


    Dec 31, 2008
    Upgrading any system will help it - granted it won't be like a new Mac Pro, but I'm pretty sure our OP understands that. And to the OP: my advice, RAM first, and I'd get a 4GB (2 x 2GB) upgrade - they're cheap now and 5GB will always be better than 3GB. Video card next, unless you need the space - the hard drive upgrade won't make a huge difference in speed, but then again its a bit cheaper, so that's you're call. As for the wi-fi, I really don't know anything about it, but I'm pretty sure you'd have to have that antennae to get any kind of reception beyond a few feet. If you sit next to your router, sure it'll probably still pick it up, but if you're that close, why not use wired? There's my advice - and believe me, I'm all for keeping older tech going. :)

    EDIT: Sorry, missed your questions about getting them cheaper. The video card, no - eBay is usually cheapest for Mac video cards. The memory and hard drive might be cheaper at, but Tigerdirect is usually pretty good, too. I, personally, order from both, but prefer Newegg.
  4. macrumors member

    Jun 26, 2004
    Athens, OH
    Ironically, when this computer came out, the speed between the processors and the IO was revolutionary for a mac and its main selling point. Time flies. I have a Dual 2.0 2003 G5. Feels like just yesterday I was unboxing it. P.S. I upped my ram to 6GB, I think it gave me an extra year or two. And the 256 ATI allows me to run some newer apps compared to my old 128.
  5. macrumors 6502


    Jun 16, 2008
    15°35'30.45S 54°31'22.17E
    My 1.8ghz SP G5 runs beautifully with 3.5gb's memory, 660gb HDD and 9600 pro.

    I recommend you put as much internal memory in it as possible, and a really large hard drive. (I got my 500gb on sale for 59 euros).
    (when upgrading memory first take a look at the memory lay out, I didn't and it scared the crap out of me when it didn't boot for the first time)

    My 9600 is the stock 64meg version. I sometimes experience some glitches but it works fine, I would get a 256mb 9800 or x800.

    In a couple of years when it gets really outdated and unusable, my G5 becomes the perfect web, media, file hosting server i could ever want.
    (I'll probably upped it to 8gb ram and 2 500gb hard drives by then :cool:)

    I think if you upgrade it with durable parts it can run for another 5 years at least!!.

    What are you planning to do with it now, and in the nearby future?

    EDIT: It can't do 1080P however it does 720P great with my specs.
  6. macrumors 604

    Nov 17, 2008
    Hollywood, CA
    Don't waste your time or money buying any video card for an AGP G5 other than a 6800 GT or a 7800GS. The X800 was a repackaged 9800. And try as you might, you will never find empirical proof that the 256 Meg version of a 9800 was any better than a 128 Meg one.

    Even an AGP Nvidia 6600 will run circles around any of the AGP ATI cards.

    Photoshop CS4 will be accelerated with any of the above Nvidia cards. It ignores the 9800 or X800. The 9600 is a half-bandwidth "value" edition of the R300/350 core....not suitable for anything beyond email duty.
  7. macrumors newbie

    Jul 9, 2008
    I should have my Radeon 9800 Pro Mac Edition 256mb for sale within a few days. We could definitely work something out for much cheaper than that. PM me.

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