NVIDIA GeForce and PowerMac G5 Question

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by Mac2004, Jul 3, 2004.

  1. Mac2004 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2004
    #1
    I'm fairly new to computers but why would anyone have to update their video card from a NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200 Ultra to a ATI 9600? I have seen a lot of postings regarding this. So what you are all saying is that the video card that's currently in the 1.8 PowerMac G5 is crappy?? Why would a person need to upgrade this video/graphics card? I'm not a real big game player and I don't do video editing at this time. I plan on using my computer for Internet, email, AppleWorks, Word, accounting, web cam, etc. Would I need to upgrade to ATI 9600 if I get a new PowerMac G5 computer?

    I plan on getting a new PowerMac next week but I need to know if I need to upgrade anything (hard drive, video card, etc.) I plan on getting the dual 1.8 and a new Apple 20" monitor. Is the 80GB hard drive sufficient??

    I wanted to get an iMac but everyone tells me not to get one now. I can't wait until September either. Are the current ones any good?
     
  2. Jigglelicious macrumors 6502

    Jigglelicious

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2004
    Location:
    NYC
    #2
    If all you're doing is the typical web browsing/email/word processing, then the default graphic card would be more than enough. However, I must ask, if thats all you're going to be doing, why purchase an expensive Powermac, when something like an eMac will do it with no problem at all? Hell, even an old G3 iMac would be able to perform those functions without fail. Forgive me, but it just seems like a waste in both power and money to get a powermac for something so basic like internet/email.
     
  3. JOD8FY macrumors 6502a

    JOD8FY

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2004
    Location:
    United States
    #3
    There's no need for you to upgrade anything for your purposes. If you wanted an iMac, or you wanted to save money by buying an iMac, there might still be a few stores that have them in stock. Search quickly, I'm sure there are very few left.

    Good luck,
    JOD8FY
     
  4. Mac2004 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2004
    #4
    My response.......

    The reason I want to buy a PowerMac is so I have the latest Apple technology (G5). As I said before all I will be doing is browsing the Internet, email, AppleWorks, Word, photos, web cam, accounting, etc. I'm afraid that if I buy the current IMac that I will be using outdated technology and it won't be as fast as a G5. Am I wasting my money?????????
     
  5. oingoboingo macrumors 6502a

    oingoboingo

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2003
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #5
    It's understandable that you want to buy the latest Apple technology (who doesn't on these boards?). However, for the uses you describe above, any Mac within the current lineup (eMac, iMac, iBook, PowerBook or PowerMac) will be more than fast enough. Yes, a PowerMac G5 is a faster system than an iMac G4 or an eMac G4. It's also much more expensive, doesn't include a monitor, and by the sounds of it, an iMac or an eMac will more than comfortably handle your computing needs.

    If money is really no object, then yes, buy a PowerMac G5. It's the latest technology, it's nice and fast, and has the advantage of being upgradable in the future, should you require that. However, I think you could save yourself a stack of cash, and buy something like an eMac or even an iBook or PowerBook (if you wanted the portability), and still have more than enough computing power at your disposal to achieve all of the tasks you mentioned you wish to perform. A 1.25GHz eMac starts at $799 (or $999 with a SuperDrive). A PowerMac G5 starts at $1999, and doesn't even include a screen at twice the price of the eMac. Think about what else you could do with that $1200 or $1000 that you save. Buy a printer, scanner, digital camera and extra software. Maybe a video camera instead. An iPod. A new desk and ergonomic chair. A new broadband internet subscription and a wireless base station. A nice holiday for you and your partner. $1000 to $1200 is a lot of money to save if you don't really need to spend it. You could even consider buying a SuperDrive eMac ($999) and an iBook ($1099) for approximately what you would pay for the cheapest G5...and you still need to buy a screen for the G5. Then you'd have the eMac for home, and an iBook to get out and about with...and still more than comfortably run your browser, e-mail, AppleWorks and accounting software.

    Technology is only 'outdated' when it ceases to effectively perform the functions you require it to. I suspect any of an eMac, an iMac, an iBook or a PowerBook, all of which use G4 processors, will perform very well for your stated uses (and thus not be 'outdated'). Think about an iBook or a PowerBook. If you have $1999 to spend, what about a 15" PowerBook? It's a fantastic computer, the 15" screen is big enough that you don't need to worry about an external screen, it has a nice fast graphics chip (Radeon 9700) should you ever feel the desire to get into some gaming or 3D graphics work, comes with wireless ethernet and Bluetooth built in, and of course is completely portable. All that for the cost of the entry level PowerMac (sans monitor).

    Just a few things to think about.
     
  6. oingoboingo macrumors 6502a

    oingoboingo

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2003
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #6
    Just to go back and answer the original question you asked...the reason you see people complaining about the GeForce FX 5200 card in the PowerMacs is that it's generally considered a fairly entry-level type of 3D graphics card in the computing community. It's more than fast enough for general desktop usage (things like web browsing, word processing, Photoshop and 2D graphics), but when it comes to playing graphically intensive games and doing heavy 3D graphics work like animation or modelling, it's an underperformer. Considering the relatively high price that even the entry-level G5 PowerMac sells for, some people (and understandably IMHO) think that an entry-level graphics card like the nVidia GeForce FX 5200 is somewhat misplaced in a pro-level tower.

    The next graphics card up the Macintosh food chain, the ATI Radeon 9600, is a much stronger performer. It can achieve quite decent performance in newer 3D-intensive games like Unreal Tournament 2004 and other apps which make use of OpenGL a lot. In addition, it is only an extra $60 or $70 to upgrade a PowerMac G5 from the GeForce FX 5200 to the Radeon 9600 at ordering time. If you plan on playing any kind of games whatsoever, or do any type of 3D work, you'd be mad to buy a G5 and not spend that extra little bit of cash on the Radeon 9600 upgrade.

    So, are you ever planning on playing games? If you are definitely sold on buying a PowerMac (see the other replies in this thread as to why there might be more cost effective ways of getting the computer you need), then I would suggest that it is a no-brainer to pay the small upgrade charge and get the Radeon card. Maybe you'll want to play Call of Duty or Halo at some stage in the future. Maybe you'll want to play around with 3D graphics software. Maybe you'll just want the graphical eye candy coming up in Mac OS X 10.4 to run a little smoother :) The upgrade from GeForce FX 5200 to Radeon 9600 is under $100. Do it.

    As for hard drive size, 80GB is probably sufficient, since you don't sound like you are planning on doing anything disk-space intensive like video editing or running a database server anytime soon. 80GB will leave you piles and piles of space for your documents, music, photos and applications, even after Mac OS X and iLife take up their chunk of the hard drive. If you run out of space, the PowerMac has a second drive bay where you can easily add any standard Serial ATA hard drive (dirt cheap from just about any computer shop on the planet), or if you pick up something like an eMac, iMac, iBook or PowerBook, you can conveniently add extra external hard drive storage via the FireWire or USB2 ports on those machines (you can also do this with the PowerMac).

    If you really can't wait until September for the new iMacs (and this isn't just speculation anymore...Apple has come clean and admitted that 'the next generation' of iMac will be out then, although what 'next generation' actually means is still anyone's guess), then yes, the current iMacs are decent machines, although some people (myself included) believe they are overpriced for what you get. Performance-wise, there is very little difference between an eMac and an iMac (and the eMac should be noticeably faster than the older 15" 1GHz iMac). IMHO the eMac and the iMac should be viewed as being performance-comparable with each other. The differentiator (again, only IMHO) between eMac and iMac is based on 1) do you need/want a flat panel LCD and 2) how much money do you have. If a flat-panel LCD is not a deal-breaker for you, then an eMac is a very good deal.

    I mention this in my other post, but have you also considered a portable Mac (ie: an iBook or a PowerBook)? Your stated computing needs are comparatively lightweight...any system from the current Mac lineup will do a good job for you, I believe. An iBook/PowerBook could offer all the performance you need, with the added bonus of mobility. Something like a 15" or 17" PowerBook would also have enough screen real estate that you could not even need to consider an external display for your desk. Just something to think about...
     
  7. Mac2004 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2004
    #7
    Many thanks for your advice!!!!

    You sure gave me some VERY GOOD advice and I will have to think about everything you said. Your information was EXTREMELEY helpful and it has made me think about what I really need to purchase. Perhaps the PowerMac G5 is too much for me at this time. Maybe I am overbuying!! Thanks so much for all your information! I don't know if I want to wait until September though and then I am stuck with a rev A Imac that may have issues and bugs!! I hope they (Apple) doesn't change they look as I really like the way the Imacs look now.

    Thanks again!
     

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