My G4 is finally on it's last leg & I need an inexpensive replacement!

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by leahkat, Jan 23, 2013.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Feb 27, 2012
    After many great and faithful years, my G4 Power Mac is starting to squeak and make random chirping sounds... and it is of course very SLOW. I'm afraid it's about done, and I need a replacement. I do part-time graphic design/photography work and use Adobe Creative Suite products. I'm not looking for latest and greatest right now. Looking to spend $500-$800. What can I expect to find in this price range? My instinct is to look for a used MacPro although an imac might work too.? As you can guess from the fact that I'm still working on a G4, I tend to stretch it as long as I can and from what I have heard, imacs are not as upgradeable.? I'm assuming I'll be looking to CL or ebay and I'd appreciate any advice or warnings about buying this way.
  2. -jc
    macrumors member


    Jan 18, 2013
    You could consider a Mac Mini, might sound strange but they are very reliable and powerful these days.
  3. macrumors newbie

    Jan 2, 2013
    a brand new mac mini would be leaps and bounds above your G4.
    trust me, I'm a collector, and still have about 5 G4 towers sitting around that still work, as well as many other machines.
    $600 will get you in the door with the new Mini, right in your specified budget.

    you can plug it into your current monitor, or even your flat screen tv if you wish, but then I'd recommend a wireless keyboard and mouse/trackpad.
  4. macrumors 65816


    Oct 19, 2012
    I think....

    a new Mac mini can be a nice upgrade to you. Buying it new from Apple....

    1)-No scam artists and lenghtly dealings as in CL and Ebay
    2) 1 yr warranty, upgradeable later if you want/cant with AppleCare
    3)- Right in your budget range
    4)-As I had said, nice upgrade in terms of raw power/tech


    1)-If you do intensive tasks with the processor/graphic card maybe you can run in problems....

    2)If you, like me, have a host of legacy equipment/peripherals (as FireWire ones), maybe that equipment is outdated to work with the mini...

    Because of the above said, I also can recomend a 2009 iMac. Maybe you can get a deal in a nice one

  5. macrumors 65816

    Battlefield Fan

    Mar 9, 2008
    I'd suggest you buy a new Mac mini from apple. It'll smoke your G4 10x over and over and over...
  6. macrumors 6502

    Apr 3, 2006
    Beacon, NY
    I'm going to echo everyone else and suggest a Mac Mini. If you've gone this long with a G4, the current Mini should last you a while. I just got one and its great for running Adobe CS.

    The Mini has firewire so that shouldn't be an issue, you just might need a different cable or adapter to connect it to the newer 9-pin port.
  7. macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

    Mar 25, 2009
    Folding space
    You can get a lot on the used market for that price if you are replacing a G vintage Mac. The link I have included is from a good reseller that backs its stuff with good service. Moving from PPC to Intel will require upgrading your software unless you stick to an OS version that supports emulation. I upgraded my intel MBP to Mountain Lion and had to move from CS3 to CS6 to avoid crashes.

    Note: A dual 2Ghz G5 Pro can be had for $500.


  8. macrumors 6502

    Dec 23, 2009
    Madison, WI
    Be sure to browse Craigslist for used PMG5's. I found one that had an alleged bad power supply for $20 and jumped on it. Brought it home, triple-zapped the PRAM, installed Leopard and got tons of faithful service from it. You may not have the same luck, but you never know!
  9. macrumors 68000

    Jan 6, 2004
    What display are you currently using? Is it an old Apple model with an ADC connector? It's worth checking if you want to use it because adapters can be pricey.
  10. macrumors 6502

    Jul 7, 2004
    Please note that PowerPC applications won't work on new Macs running Mountain Lion. Last Mac OS to run Rosetta PowerPC emulation is Snow Leopard. If you still need to run PowerPC on Intel, buy a Mac that runs Snow Leopard. Else, a new Mac mini is good. As said, ADC monitors can be tricky to connect. Need an adapter.
  11. -jc
    macrumors member


    Jan 18, 2013
    Even at $100, a G5 is a bad buy, makes no sense in 2013.
  12. macrumors member

    Jan 2, 2009
    True, PPC is dead ... don't bother spending money on it unless you like the charm

    If new get a Mac Mini, otherwise a 2nd gen mac pro or iMac
  13. macrumors 6502

    Jun 25, 2006
    Since you are on a budget (like me), the main question is what version of adobe CS will you need to have for the next several years. The cost of that can cost more than the Mac. Assuming you are going to get a newer version of adobe CS, look at some prices on those and get a Mac that will run it well.

    For example if you go for CS 4, 5, or 6, a new Mac Mini would be best (assuming CS 4 runs fine on ML, correct me if it doesn't). If you can only afford CS 2 or 3 then you would be running a used G5 or Intel Mac with Snow Leopard. You can get dual G5s cheap with a couple of big HDDs but I wouldn't count on it lasting you too long. So go Intel if you can afford it. Minis are a good deal.
  14. macrumors 6502a

    Jul 26, 2005
    I second the Mini idea and suggest you might look at the 2011 model with the discrete graphics card. It's still powerful, esp. if you find one with the i7 upgrade. Amazon can be a good place to look, too, and might have more protections for buyers than CL or ebay.

    But as the previous poster said, the CS upgrade will be as big or bigger a cost.
  15. macrumors member

    Jul 28, 2012
    might as well just try to save your money at this point. find a G5 for cheap or just go pc.
  16. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 27, 2012
    Thanks for the replies! I hadn't considered the minis... I was a bit afraid the processors in the minis wouldn't work well especially as compared to a pro at the same price? Also, considering the upgradeability of the pros, I assumed even a used pro would serve the purpose longer. ?

    I'm using CS2 & 3 right now. I'm sure I'll need to upgrade this software, but not planning to do that until maybe next year. I'm running 10.5.8, and again, not planning on switching right now if I can help it. Monitor will use vga or dvi and I use 3 firewire external hard drives. Will any pro or any mini work for this setup? Are they easy to upgrade? I'd have to buy an external superdrive right.?

    I'd like to get a replacement that will work with what I've got now, (for the most part at least) but not be too limited to that either. A new mini or a used Pro would be a big upgrade from what I currently use, but which would be a better investment down the road?

    Any advice or cautions on shopping for a used Pro or mini?
  17. macrumors 6502a


    Apr 3, 2010
    Central CA
    As others pointed out, buying the new software would easily be your entire budget...

    If what you have works with 10.5.8 Leopard, it should work with 10.6 Snow Leopard. So, basically any mac made before 2010 should work with your software, and be much, much faster than your old G4. If you want to run 10.5 Leopard, you will likely need to look for mac's made in 2008/2009.

    As you likely know, used Mac's command a premium. I would like to think you could get a 2009 or 2010 mini for cheap, but it would still run you a couple hundred dollars on eBay. A slightly older, used Mac Pro might not be that much more expensive, and give you some more expandability.

    I wonder if there are any local mac user groups where you could buy somebody's older hardware, so you know it was "treated right," and get all the install disks...
  18. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 27, 2012
    Yes indeed, and I'd prefer to hold off on that at the moment. ... Therefore I need to look for something older than 2010..? Is that right?

    That'd be nice. I'm near Charlotte would I go about locating such?
  19. macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

    Mar 25, 2009
    Folding space
    The upgrade from cs3 to cs6 cost me around $600. I don't think Adobe will still upgrade from cs3 anymore. You might need to buy full versions. Something like $1200 right there.

    Sorry about that...

  20. macrumors 601


    Feb 4, 2004
    Florida Resident
    Adobe Creative Cloud has a monthly fee to rent the Adobe software instead of paying out over a grand all at once.
  21. macrumors regular

    Mar 5, 2009
    Mac Mini

    I replaced my 10 year old G4 tower last year with a 2009 Mac Mini. Core 2 Duo with 8GB RAM. It runs Adobe apps fine, albeit not as fast as my MacPro at work.

    I think this is the oldest Mac that will run Mountain Lion.

    It cost me about £300 ($475) from ebay.
  22. macrumors 68020


    Dec 3, 2001
    Same here accept I got it for £350. Even had 8Gb and bought it last year. I find this coincidence spooky :eek:
  23. macrumors regular

    Apr 10, 2012
    In addition to Creative Cloud, Creative Suite 2 is now a free download from Adobe. You can't use the serial numbers to upgrade this in the future.

    I also suggest the Mac Mini, since $800 can get you an quad-core i7 system, and upgrade the RAM and hard drive yourself as affordable.

    If you want to get something cheaper, then use this as a reference: so you don't get spend $600 on an old system with crap specs.
  24. macrumors regular

    Apr 23, 2009
    Apart from the obvious advice of a new mini, you could consider buying a used mini. One with a core duo processor and internal DVD. It is much slower than those lovely new minis, but way, way faster than your G4 and are easy to expand and open and play with. I have 3 of those for my kids and they still are great machines and will be for years to come. Just a thought...
  25. macrumors 603

    Feb 20, 2009
    I just replaced my own 2004-vintage PowerMac g4/1.25 MDD tower with a "mid-level" Mac Mini with the i7 CPU (I spent a little extra for the 2.6ghz processor).

    The transition was relatively easy and the Mini is a great little performer. It's also in your price range (the mid-level with the i7 will be at the top of your price range).

    I think you'll be quite pleased with it. All my old peripherals work as intended.

    You -WILL- need to upgrade software, no way around that.

    Also -- you didn't say which version of the system you're using, but be aware that you need to be running Leopard (10.5) in order for Migration Assitant to work properly. I discovered that MA wouldn't connect with OS 10.4 -- just wouldn't do it.

    I had a very good buying experience from this vendor:
    (thanks to another poster here at MacRumors for mentioning this site)

    This is the Mini I'm talking about:

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