How fast do I need to get?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by Dragon88, Apr 25, 2004.

  1. Dragon88 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2004
    #1
    I'm thinking about switching to a Mac this year. I have a fairly decent PC:

    AthlonXP 2400+
    512mb PC2100
    GF4 TI4400
    120gb 7200RPM 8mb HDD

    but I don't do much gaming anymore, and I'm pretty tired of windows XP. It works fine and doesn't give me any problems but it's....boring. Instead of upgrading my hardware and staying with the same boring OS I'm thinking of going to a new Mac instead. I've never owned one, but I have worked on them before a little. My question is will an eMac be sufficient, or do I need to pop for a G5? I may do a little image editing but that's not a priority. My main concern is system responsiveness. Will an eMac feel at least on par with my current (fairly responsive) system, or do they feel sluggish? I don't like the design of the iMac, the laptops are all nice but I don't need portability, and the G5s look amazing but are expensive.

    thanks for any replies or recommendations. I've been staring at the Apple website for the past three days trying to justify the purchase of a G5. :) Hopefully I won't need to break the bank.
     
  2. Mav451 macrumors 68000

    Mav451

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    Jul 1, 2003
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    Maryland
    #2
    Hahah, boring? That's a good reason to switch :) Just hope you have the money to switch JUST b/c it's boring. Ok ok.

    The 2400+ (2 ghz) is what I'd say is a "mid-level" machine. To be safe, I would say anything < 1ghz G4 will be too slow, but I hesitate to say that a 1.25 would be sufficient for you as well. Mac OS X responsiveness is DIFFERENT from windows (not necessarily faster or slower). I think you could say that a 1ghz G4 is around the same as a 1.3-1.4 Athlon XP...

    *The one main issue with G4's vs. G5's is memory bandwidth...and this may be the ultimate reason to use a G5 and to be futureproof. The G4 is stuck with a 167mhz FSB...the G5 is not (not entirely sure how it works, but it employs DDR400 memory so it is at least CPU-Memory is 400mhz FSB; I believe CPU-chipset overall is @ 1/2 the clock speed a la HT).

    Ok, so you probably gonna want a Dual 1.8G5 (because SP 1.8's are discontinued). I think this is a bit overkill though for switching simply b/c you're bored. I hope you are switching for bigger reasons than that :)
     
  3. Dragon88 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 25, 2004
    #3
    Heh if I were just bored I'd install linux or something. :) Basically my printer is old and needs to be replaced, my software is all several years old, and my system is growing out of date. I just thought I'd consider a Mac as an alternative to investing more money on the PC side.

    The difference in specs is a little disheartening, especially FSB, 166mhz vs 800-1000mhz. I like the all in one design of the eMac but it sounds like it may be too slow to consider as an "upgrade".

    Well thanks for the info.
     
  4. unixkid macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2004
    #4
    g5

    new 3ghz G5s r coming out in june so wait till then and get the base model. The base model should be around 2ghz and cost the same as the current base model and will be around 2 time the preformance of a 3ghz P4. The 1.25ghz eMac will be like a 2.4ghz+ P4. My dual 1ghz G4 has a better preformance if not the same as a 2.8ghz P4.
     
  5. caveman_uk Guest

    caveman_uk

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    Hitchin, Herts, UK
    #5
    Only if IBM sort out their processor yield problems...
     
  6. ewinemiller macrumors 6502

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    Aug 29, 2001
    Location:
    west of Philly
    #6
    Please take statements like this with big grain of salt when figuring out the level of performance you will be comfortable with. I use both Mac and PC products and have never seen that kind of performance from a G4. There may be some tasks where a 1.25 G4 compares to a 2.4 P4, but in all the stuff I do (video editing, Carrara, Lightwave, itunes, Corel Photopaint) it's not even close. My 3 desktops are a dual 800 g4, a dual 800 PIII, and a single 2.26 P4. I can't tell the difference between either of the duals and when it's time to render, they finish within a few percentage points of each other. The P4 takes around 2/3rds the time and is quite noticably more responsive than either of the duals.

    Of course your mileage will vary with the things you do. If you consistently use a particular application and it's cross platform, look around the web for recent benchmarks. http://barefeats.com is usually a good source. Mostly they compare Apples to Apples, but they occasionally throw a PC in there for fun.
     
  7. dbauer macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2003
    Location:
    Cleveland, OH
    #7
    Sounds like you are on the right track

    It sounds to me like you don't do to many super intensive tasks so the new eMac 1.25 is perfect for you. What most people on this message board seem to forget is that not too long ago they were screaming that the G4 800 Mhz was a speed demon. Now that the G5's have come out, they bad mouth the G4's like they are some kind of Celeron equivelant.

    Keep this in mind when you are looking at Mac's: Any Mac is an upgrade from a Windows based machine.

    Mac OS X is the most powerful OS you will ever use. There is almost nothing you can't do with it. It is Unix based so you can get your Linux friends to come over and easily pilot through the terminal and load just about any XFree86 application on it. Then you have the iApps, which to me are the finest applictations that a home user will ever see. I owned an eMac 1 Ghz and I sold it to my Dad after I showed it to him one time. He was amazed at how much easier it was to do photo editing and management as well at working with his DV movies. The kicker was that all that great software came with Mac and he didn't have to worry about virus's anymore (a constant problem for him). He loves the thing. I hated to sell it but a week after did, the new, faster eMacs came out. I am waiting for the superdrive model to ship before I buy it though. Its a steal at $999 and with the education discount it is unbelievable ($899). I would love to have a G5 but I just can't get myself to spend twice as much as an eMac for the same software.

    I make movies on my eMac and it was plenty fast enough at 1 Ghz; now at 1.25 Ghz and a better video card and faster memory, there is nothing holding me back.
     
  8. alexf macrumors 6502a

    alexf

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2004
    Location:
    Planet Earth
    #8
    eMac

    I am in agreement with dbauer: I think the eMac may be the best choice for you (and without a doubt the best value).

    As an owner of a G5 1.6 GHz I can say that the machine is very fast (I can only imagine how fast the upper end models are!), but it also has its drawbacks. For one thing, the machine is ENORMOUS. (Perhaps this is not an issue to you, but it is an important factor for me. On the other hand the eMac is compact and - in my opinion - more attractive.)

    A 1.25 GHz processor is NOT slow (as opposed to what some commentators in these forums seem to think). However, in a year or so, especially if things become more optimized for 64-bit computing, I think that it may start to show it's age. But even if this is the case, if you've only spent $799 on a computer (as opposed to $1799 for a base-model G5 PLUS another few hundred for a monitor) upgrading is not that painful.

    Also, keep in mind that the G5s are at the end of their product cycle (while on the other hand the eMacs were just upgraded), so I don't think that buying one now is a good idea value-wise.

    Computer-users become spoiled very quickly and always want more, more, more. The desire for increased speed is a kind of an obsession. Yes, faster is, to an extent, better (especially if you do work on the machine in which time is money), but realistically, it is usually more of a luxury than a necessity to have a top-of-the-line computer. The only people who really "need" a G5 2.0 GHz DP Mac are professionals doing video editing or rendering-intensive tasks, or doing a lot of gaming (and that's A LOT of money to spend on gaming).

    Don't get caught up in the obsession. Unless you really think that you need the extra speed enough to justify spending 2-3 times as much money on a G5, go with an eMac and enjoy it. :)
     
  9. blackfox macrumors 65816

    blackfox

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2003
    Location:
    PDX
    #9
    I also chime in w/ an endorsement of the new eMac...it is definitely not super-fast, but has a pretty good feature set for the price-point (esp. like the new fast superdrive).
    You might want to wait till June, to see if there are new PM updates, as those will definitely be worth the output of $$...but as an above poster mentioned, with yield problems @ IBM, there is no guarantee (fingers crossed)
    As far as os responsiveness, I have heard that XP 'feels' snappier than osX, but cannot say if it will be noticeable for you...as an above poster noted, it is probably best to consider them 'different' and leave it at that...besides those issues, Panther definitely has more functional 'bells and whistles' than XP, although I still use Jag...so can't comment...good luck, mate

    *edit* I forgot two things:
    1) The eMac does not support dual-monitors, although there is probably a firmware hack to solve that...something to consider
    2) I do not remember off-hand what speed HD the eMac ships with...if it is less than 7200 (which I sincerely hope not)...depending on the tasks you do, you might want to upgrade..
     
  10. Dippo macrumors 65816

    Dippo

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2003
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    #10
    Go ahead and get an eMac, it should be enough for what you want.

    And if you do find that you need more power, than you can easily sell the eMac on ebay, and get most if not all of your money back.

    There's no need to spend an extra $1000+ on a system that you really don't need.
     
  11. MacBoyX macrumors 6502

    MacBoyX

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2003
    Location:
    East Coast, USA
    #11
    I have two thoughts on this...

    First of all I have a 1GHz PowerBook and 2.0GHz Dual G5. In my day to day tasks, I see ZERO difference btwn the two. Perhaps rendering a DVD or something crazee like that you might. In fact the reason I love my G5 so much is that I bought a 20" Cinema Display with it. That's it. I am not saying my G5 isn't faster, I just don't see a major difference runnign Safari or Mail, Word etc.

    Secondly, my first Mac was a G3 600MHz Original iMac for 699 when the new ones came out. It started my love affair with the Mac. Get in cheap. That way if for some reason you don't like it, you haven't killed ur bank account, if you love it, you can always sell it to someone to move up to a G5. I for one do not think that many people need the G5, I am hardly taxing one processor let alone two. Get an eMac, get a decent amount of ram (the more the merrier) and enjoy your first Mac. To back up my example, I sold my iMac for 500 to buy my PowerBook 667. I then sold that to buy my iBook/iMac combo, and then sold them to buy my PowerBook 12. My G5 was bought with money from some consulting gigs. Start cheap...work ur way up to a $6000 machine :)


    macboyx
     
  12. vouder17 macrumors 6502a

    vouder17

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2003
    Location:
    Home
    #12
    I really hope you didn't buy a Dual 2Ghz G5 for 'day to day tasks', man you must be loaded, if you have the cash to just buy a Dual 2Ghz for just that reason.

    But anyway to get back to the topic, i reckon that the eMac will be fine, i am sure that Mac OS X will be very responsive and alot more enjoyable than XP. But if you have time on your hands then i would say wait a few months and see what apple has in store for people like you and me.
     
  13. Coca-Cola macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2002
    Location:
    WA
    #13
    This is tough. I think an eMac would be fine. I think a G5 iMac would be better. If they only had one. What's coming in June? Hmmm. Do you have a display from your windows machine? If so, I would try to find a refurbished G5 1.6 for around the same price as a juiced up emac. But really, if you can't handle waiting for months or more. I would go with the eMac. I use a 867 G4 and it does everything fast. I am very pleased. It even runs games fine to great.
     
  14. MacBoyX macrumors 6502

    MacBoyX

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    Jan 3, 2003
    Location:
    East Coast, USA
    #14
    I wish, though I do have a sweet set up, it was bought as payment for me by my web consulting company! But I don't do much more with it yet than web design and photo work but soon I will be editing video with FCP!

    macboyX
     
  15. MacBoyX macrumors 6502

    MacBoyX

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2003
    Location:
    East Coast, USA
    #15
    I disagree...I haven't been able to find a refurb 1.6 G5 let alone one for 800 bucks.

    Also I never had a problem with refurbs but I don't recommend your first experience be with a refurb. Get a 799 eMac 1.25 with at least 512 MB ram (the more the merrier) and you will be happy. Don't let anyone sell you that the G4 is a dead processor or that it's not fast enuff. Truth be told, this time last year the 1.25 was running the second to the top of the line PowerMac. It's a great computer and will make you happy. eMacs are wonderful. I still think they should have called em the iMac II or something because they really are the next incarnation the original iMac.

    GO for it.

    Let us know what u do!

    macboyX
     
  16. alexf macrumors 6502a

    alexf

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    Apr 2, 2004
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    Planet Earth
    #16
    Out of curiosity, when do you see the biggest difference between your Powerbook and the G5? I am a Web designer who just got a new G5 1.6 GHz on sale. I was enjoying the speed and then read some posts about how the 1.6 is lame and only the DP machines are worthwhile, etc., etc.

    However, I think that for Web design the 1.6 is more than sufficient; I was just wondering whether you think the DP G5 is a lot faster when the primarily applications used are Photoshop (mainly small files), Illustrator, GoLive, Flash and the iLife suite. Thanks!
     
  17. Dragon88 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2004
    #17
    Well the last several replies have been very encouraging. I just priced a new AMD64/r9800PRO system on newegg, brand new case and 17" LCD and the works, it came out to around $1900 with tax. Seems to me I could get an eMac, some software, an iPod and a new digital camera for a couple hundred less and have a much more enjoyable package. Only concern I have is about software compatability. I use a few freeware apps (a japanese dictionary, an image converter I like, etc) and I hope I can find replacements on the Mac. My PC will likely stick around for a while as a second machine, but ultimately I'd like to move completely to Mac if I do switch...

    I have a 17" Sony Trinitron monitor, it has very nice IQ but putting it next to a G5 tower is probably illegal in most states. :) It would kill the whole look. Also it sounds to me the G5 is just more than I need.

    Thanks again for the replies. What's a good site with Mac freeware? It seems that OSX comes with all the basics and then some, but again there are a couple apps I would love to find Mac equivalents of.

    Oh and one more thing, can you upgrade the HDD in an eMac? I have an almost brand new 120gb IDE ATA100 HDD, it would be awesome if I could use that in it.
     
  18. Coca-Cola macrumors 6502

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    Dec 10, 2002
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    WA
    #18
  19. Coca-Cola macrumors 6502

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    Dec 10, 2002
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    WA
    #19
    Oh yeah, I forgot, I am thinking about picking up an eMac to replace my aging iMac. Let me know how you like the eMac. :)
     
  20. Thanatoast macrumors 6502a

    Thanatoast

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    Denver
    #20
    www.versiontracker.com is a good place to find all sorts of freeware apps.

    I don't know about upgrading the drive in the eMac, but you could always buy an external firewire bay... Just a thought.
     
  21. Dragon88 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 25, 2004
    #21
    An external drive would be nice for transfering files from my PC too, but what filesystem do I need to use so it can be accessed by both WinXP and OSX? Or is that even possible?

    I found several good looking japanese programs on there. Thanks!
     
  22. Mav451 macrumors 68000

    Mav451

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    Jul 1, 2003
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    Maryland
    #22
    Haha wut's wrong with using a Sony Monitor? Any monitor with Aperture Grille, but especially SONY, has superior color and image quality vs. Shadow Mask OR LCD. I don't see why it would kill the look. If it looks good, so what if it isn't Apple? Unless they release new screens...
     
  23. oingoboingo macrumors 6502a

    oingoboingo

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    Jul 31, 2003
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #23
    FAT32 is able to be read by both Windows machines and Macintoshs.

    If you will have your PC available when your new Mac arrives, why not just use ethernet to transfer your files? A few dollars worth of CAT5 cable is a lot cheaper than an external drive, and 100Mbit ethernet isn't too slow either, even for large amounts of file transfer.
     
  24. oingoboingo macrumors 6502a

    oingoboingo

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    #24
    Sorry, I just read an earlier response of your about your almost new 120GB hard drive. I think it is possible to replace the hard drive within the eMac, but it isn't easy due to the all in one design, and you probably void your warranty.

    If you already have a newish 120GB hard drive and you want to use it with your PC and Mac, you might want to consider an empty USB2 or FireWire external enclosure and put your drive in there yourself. It's no harder than installing a hard drive in any PC case, and you can re-use your existing drive and save a bit of cash. I recycled an old ATA/100 80GB drive from my Athlon when I swapped over to a G5 (without some hacking, the G5 only supports Serial ATA hard drives) by installing it myself in an external FireWire 400 enclosure, and now it runs great as my backup volume.
     

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