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Observations of my Power Mac G5

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by Jethryn Freyman, Jul 24, 2011.

  1. macrumors 68020

    Jethryn Freyman

    Just got a second hand Power Mac G5 for under $200. Thought I'd post some observations in case it helps anybody who is also considering buying one...


    June 2004 Power Mac G5
    Dual 1.8GHz G5
    1GB RAM
    1TB 7,200 rpm hard disk
    ATI Radeon 9600 XT with 128MB
    Airport Extreme
    Mac OS X 10.5.8



    -No reliability problems after a week, save one - the red light in the optical audio out port is stuck on and doesn't seem to work :(
    -Runs Leopard fine. At least as responsive as my Core Duo iMac for general tasks.
    -Much slower at CPU intensive tasks than my Core Duo iMac, for example, at video encoding.
    -Outputs to my 23" display at 2048x1152 resolution fine over single link DVI-D.
    -All three USB ports are USB 2.0
    -Airport Extreme requires an external antenna.
    -1GB of RAM is enough for very basic tasks. More is needed for anything else though.
    -Plays 4.5mbit/second 720p H264 video fine (sometimes Quicktime may lag a bit, but VLC is fine.)
    -Cannot play 1080p HD video (it seems.)
    -Much quieter than a Digital Audio G4 model.
    -The Radeon 9600 XT is OK for older games (UT2004) at medium/lower quality, if you want to play anything released after 2004 at a higher resolution and quality, get something much more powerful. The Radeon X1600 in my iMac is vastly superior.
  2. macrumors 6502a


    nice box mate,

    Yeah 1gb is rather on the lean side, populate with as much ram as possible, anything upwards of 4gb is fine. The airport extreme is nice, but prohibitively expensive including the external antenna. Just use a USB wifi stick. (make sure you look which sticks are supported or have thier own native drivers)

    and the dual 1.8 is actually a rather nice box, nice and quiet and has enough horse power for most tasks. The 128MB radeon card is also rather limited, but much nicer than the standard Nvidia card that comes in it, the fx5200 is a piece of junk.

    I had a DP 1.8 for about a year and it had absolutely no issues at all. Quite a good little box. Its not the speediest at video encoding (handbrake(, but does okay if you set the task to run in the background.

    have fun with your new box, there excellent fun and congratulations on your purchase.

  3. macrumors newbie

    I recently became the owner of a G5 2.0DP and so far I'm loving it. I picked that and a 20" iMac G5 for 200 bucks total from Craigslist. The Powermac ran perfectly but the iMac had blown/bulging caps in the power supply. I picked up a new power supply and that's humming right along now as well. They are my first Macs and I don't even feel like I need to move on to an Intel based one.
    If I ever did feel in the mood for an upgrade, my next PC will be a Hackintosh for sure. OS X is a sweet OS and I'll gladly pay for it, but I'm not paying a premium for hardware I can find on Newegg for far less.

    To the OP, enjoy it! Don't be afraid of the command line. There's a powerful OS running under the surface. Oh, and the optical audio port light I believe is always on, mine is too, but I haven't had a change to test it for functionality.
  4. macrumors newbie

    Quote: "The airport extreme is nice, but prohibitively expensive including the external antenna. Just use a USB wifi stick. (make sure you look which sticks are supported or have thier own native drivers)"

    Check out eBay, the AirPort Extreme card (M8881LL/A) can be found easily for anything between $10 and $30, so it's not that expensive on the used market, but it is indeed nearly impossible to find at a Mac Store though. I strongly recommend the Airport card, very easy to setup under 10.4 and a bit more involved to setup under 10.5 but it works like a charm. No dongle in the way and custom-made for your box.

    As for the antenna, it's a T-shaped white and gray plastic thingie that connects to the first connector on top at the back of your G5... Came in the accessory box of every G5. Look if you have it in your accessories, or try a used computer shop to see if they have one in a gizmo box.

  5. macrumors 68020

    Jethryn Freyman

    As for Airport, I used an Airport Extreme card from an old G4 iMac I had lying around. I also remembered I had on old external antenna lying around too, so things worked out quite well there!
  6. macrumors 68020

    Jethryn Freyman

    OK, optical audio out works!

    Haven't yet been able to get Audio MIDI setup to see any more than two speakers so far though...
  7. macrumors 68020

    Jethryn Freyman

    Upgrading to 3GB of RAM was an awesome thing to do, cost me about $55 for 2x 1GB sticks from an eBay store. I've noticed something though... OS X is a memory hog! It likes to get itself comfy and stretch out when you get more memory, before the kernel would sit around using about 100MB of RAM, now it's ballooned to about 350MB.

    I rarely get pageouts, the only times I do are in short bursts like when I'm playing around with big images or the like. Don't know if I'll bother going to 4GB because with my use I don't need it, the few pageouts I do get don't hamper my performance, but if I come across the memory for free I wouldn't say no...

    More observations:

    -Great reliability so far. 24 days uptime and counting, and the only reason I rebooted then was to reset the PMU (which fixed the issue I had where it'd get stuck asleep sometimes but with the fans going and would require a reboot.)
    -Not a gaming machine, a lot of the more graphically intense games are very CPU limited (a 1.8GHz G5 isn't enough), and most of them only use one CPU.
    -Quieter than my Digital Audio G4, although when the fans do spin up to full speed you really know it - they can get loud.)
    -It looks freakin' cool.
  8. macrumors 68000


    Congratulations mate to a PPC lover, anything PPC is awesome. Max the RAM out of that beast and feel the difference. I have more than enough on mine. 16GB...
  9. macrumors 603

    The light staying on is actually totally normal on the towers. My Mac Pro is the same way.
  10. phyrexia, Sep 22, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2011

    macrumors 6502a

    I use a software RAID1 setup in my G5 and it (the hard drive setup) hauls ass. In fact when I got my Sandy Bridge 17" I was initially (and still am, a little bit) disappointed by the slow speed of the internal HDD.

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