Potential switcher with powermac questions

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by willow, Jul 13, 2003.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Jul 13, 2003
    Hi! I've been reading these forums for quite some time, but this is my first post. :cool:

    I am ready to make the switch to Apple computers, for many reasons: I love OSX, I love the work of Jonathan Ives, and I absolutely love listening to Steve Jobs' keynotes. :D More seriously, although PCs have good hardware, I will never use Windows again.

    I have a limited budget so unfortunately I can't afford myself one of the new G5. But I am interested in the "old" powermac G4 since their price has lowered a little. I am comfortable with the processing power of an Athlon 1GHz, 200MHz FSB. So I would like to know if I would not loose any power with a G4 single 1.25GHz. I would throw 1.2Gb of Ram in it as I know OSX is quite memory hungry. I'll be using it for music applications (Live, Max/Msp, Peak, Protools), and a little Dreamweaver and Photoshop. Is this G4 equivalent to the Athlon 1GHz in term of raw power? I'm not so much interested in having a more powerful hardware system, I just want to switch to OSX and have a nice and comfortable system.

    Another question, if you're still reading me :D Are all the noise and heat problems of the powermac G4 a thing of the past? Or should I be expecting some annoyance here? It's very important to me as I would be using it for music so the more silent the system is, the better.

    I know the G4 is not the best thing that Apple has done and that it would probably be wiser to wait for RevB G5 in January hoping for a more affordable and interesting low/mid end G5 model...

    What should I do? The fate of a potential switcher is in your hands. :D

    I would really appreciate any help, thanks!
  2. macrumors member

    Jan 4, 2002
    Knoxville, TN
    Re: Your questions - G4 (Now) or G5 (later)

    If you can wait for a Rev B (if you think one will be out in Jan AND you can wait), then that would certainly be the way to go. Since you mention quietness as a very big need, I'm sure the new G5s are quieter than the G4s.

    I don't think the heat is a problem with the newer G4s and I do think, performance-wise, the 1.25 with 1.2G of RAM would certainly be comparable to the Athlon. So I think this would not be a concern.

    Though I haven't given you much, hopefully it will help.

    Cheers and welcome (soon?) to the Mac community.
  3. macrumors 68040


    Jul 23, 2002
    Jobs' Spare Liver Jar
    The G4 is quite a tempting bargain right now. Pound for pound against a 1GHz Athlon, you'd find the G4 to be faster in most any application you can think of. Heat and noise have been addressed since the early MDD problems.

    The problem is that the G5 is upon us, and represents a quantum leap in speed beyond the G4. But there's always something better *just* around the corner, too, like you've said. The 3GHz G5 will be here in less than a year. Two years after that we could be seeing 10 GHz models announced.

    It's your call.
  4. macrumors 65816

    Mar 31, 2002
    Maryland, USA
    Re: Potential switcher with powermac questions

    The noise problems can be cancelled out by a specially ventilated desk with foam padding on the sides of the cabinate and ventilation holes in front and back. You could build one yourself using parts at Home Depot.
  5. macrumors regular

    Jun 21, 2002
    I have to tell you, the noise issue is still there as far as I am concerned, so be very careful, especially since your main use will be with music. And don't rely only on checking this problem at the store - it is very difficult (at least it has been for me) to ascertain this issue at the Apple store.
    Clearly I entirely disagree with Pseudobrit, since I have had the problem with both the early MDD and the latest FW800 (in both case Apple never denied the noise was a problem).

    And I have to agree with Volfreak: waiting for RevB would likely be the wisest thing to do. Apple has done "apparently" incredible work to address the noise issue in the new machines (hence admitting how big an issue it is with the recent PM g4)

    good luck
  6. macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

    Dec 21, 2002
    Yahooville S.C.
    the 1.25 powermacs are tuff to beat at the new low price, i would go for one of these or wait for rev-b g5's. the noise issue has been fixed and you get expansion galore. Plus they are giving away lots of stuff with these macs.
  7. macrumors 68020


    Jul 6, 2003
    Los Angeles
    I'm not going to pretend I understand all the differences in architecture between PowerPC and Intel chips, but what I hear is that if you double the PowerPC's speed, you get the aproximate speed of a comperable Intel chip. So your 1.25ghz PowerPC chip would perform about like a 2.4ghz Intel. In any event, the computer is only going to be as good as the operating system--so for that reason alone you'd be right to get a Mac.

    I have the MDD PowerMac. When the fan replacement camapign started I tried to get one, but they said my computer wasn't one of the ones effected. So according to Apple I don't have a problem. The noise is not obnoxious though. It's much louder than my wife's Mac--or any other Mac I've used for that matter. However it puts out less noise than most PCs I've used. When I got it (this is my switch machine) I thought it was pretty quiet but my wife (who always and only ever used Macs) was holding her ears.

    G4 vs. G5 is really a matter of how much money you have and how long you can wait. A G4 PowerMac will still be viable for a good 5 years. The G5 might have a longer life than that, but how likely are you to want the next "next big thing" before that time? So if you need a Mac now, the 1.25 single G4 can't be beat and you won't be sorry. If you can wait a couple months you'll get more power for about the same amount.
  8. macrumors 603


    Jun 25, 2002
    LaLaLand, CA
    If you are buying one of those brand new 1.25 G4s, you will probably be pretty happy with it. The noise issue was a problem, and although the G4s aren't silent, the new ones aren't that bad. Especially comapred to some PCs I've used. Some PCs are silent, but some sound like lawnmowers.

    Go to a CompUSA or other computer store with a new 1.25 GHz Mac to listen (yeah, I know, background noise, but still). Not that bad anymore. Play with it for awhile.

    Yes, Max out the RAM. Third party RAM is cheaper. Plus, most software manufacturers let you buy the upgrade to software if you own the previous version, even if it's Win to Mac ( that is, if you're "buying" software ;) ). Plus, some of your PC hardware might even work on it. Things like CD drives, hard drives, monitors, etc. Even some RAM.

    If you can wait, feel free. The G5 will be nice. You may even have more $$$ by then.

    But then again, think of all the lost time you could have been using the G4.
  9. macrumors member

    Jan 4, 2002
    Knoxville, TN
    One note on 3rd Party RAM

    As Solvs says, 3rd party RAM is cheaper but be aware that with the more recent releases of OS X, Apple has tightened up the specs for the RAM. There are quite a few stories of folks having RAM issues and I personally think it's just that the RAM they have is borderline per the specs and that may case some problems. So if you get 3rd party RAM, check its specs and compare to what Apple identifies. Here's a great resource/set of postings:


  10. macrumors member

    Jan 6, 2003
    you're using max/msp and live?

    those babies are meant to be taken out on the road and played live!!! scrap the powermac and get a powerbook if you really want to enjoy max/msp...

  11. macrumors 6502a


    Jul 3, 2003
    Shanghai, China
    Re: Potential switcher with powermac questions

    I am looking into getting the same machine (.5 GB RAM less, though), and also for music purposes. Here's my reasoning so far:

    • Price: The PowerMac G4 is a very good deal right now. My bet is that it will be quite some time till the G5 will be available at a comparable price. And of course, if I were to get a G5, I'd want a dual...
    • Availability: I need to get a new machine soon.
    • Noise: A friend of mine uses a dual 1.25 GHz for music production in his home studio no problem. I guess a single 1.25 GHz should be even less noisy. And then, the G3 266 I'm using right now actually is also not very quiet...
    • Performance: As mentioned, the 1.25 GHz probably compare to a P4 2.4 GHz (as seen in the recent "NASA" benchmarks). Enough for me at this time.

    Someone correctly mentioned that Max/MSP are much more fun with a PowerBook. I agree, but the PBs are out of my financial reach...
  12. macrumors 68000


    Jul 1, 2003
    about the noise issue--some of it is from the fan's being hampered by dust.

    Have any of you actually opened your Mac to use a pressured air can to dust it out? This is because many of you have described how hard it is to open a PM...so i'm a little worried about the internal maintenance in relating to noise.

    If Mac's employed 120mm's...they could probably get away with 30some dba's that provide decent cooling, though i'm not sure if any actually do. In PC's, you could run these, literally, at half the speed of your regular 80mm and get almost 20-30% more CFM just b/c of the sheer size ;) and of course no extra noise.
  13. macrumors 68040


    Jan 14, 2002
    South Dakota, USA
    I always thought PowerMac G4's were simple to open...just drop the side panel.
  14. macrumors 68020


    Jan 20, 2003
    New York
    noise isnt an issue anymore.

    you might wanna get a G5 if you'll have a use for those new ports on the back for audio in/out.
    i don't think aynone has mentioned the ports, so i justvwanted to say that.
  15. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 13, 2003
    Thanks everyone for the help, I really appreciate it!

    I am going to wait a little, at least until January, to see how the G5 perform in real life applications and see the improvements regarding the noise. If the G5 is as great as it seems, I think I will put the extra money and buy one. It's worth the wait IMO.

    The noise is the main issue I have with the powermac G4, no one seems to agree there, some people have mostly silent powermacs and others have very loud and annoying systems. Unfortunately there are no Apple stores or even decent Apple resellers where I live so I can't check the noise issue myself. I don't want to take that risk as my main use will be for music.

    So I am still going to enjoy the registry, missing dlls, blue screens and other surprises for a few months but it will be for the better in the end. I am just a few months away to be part of the mac community and it's very exciting even if the switch is delicate.

    Again, thank you very much for the very helpful comments! :)
  16. macrumors G4

    Jul 17, 2002
    Let me echo Abercrombieboy. Since the PM 9600, the PowerMac has been incredibly easy to open. The 9600 through the beige G3 folded out like a map after you removed a side panel and turned two latches. B & W G3s through the most recent MDD's open up by removing a side panel. The new G5s seem equally easy to open.
  17. macrumors 68000


    Jul 1, 2003
    oh ok thanks for the clarification...though there's something else i want clarified. Then it's the actual cooling device of the G5 that can't be changed then? B/c i think on another thread they say something about the unique nature of the cooling of the G5 that makes processor upgrades rather difficult.

    And yes, that does remind me of a project some people at [H]ardocp.com did with an apple case... :)

    To willow: I really am interested in how you are experiencing BSODs, missing dll's and registry problems. Are you still on a 9x OS?
  18. macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location
    I wouldn't wait and would just buy the 1.25GHz G4's right now. If you wait for RevB's, you'll wait forever. There's always another reason to wait....always.
  19. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 13, 2003
    Yes, I'm using Win98SE right now. I have used more recent versions of Windows and was never tempted to upgrade. Win2000 still has problems with its handling of RAM, you still have to clean the registry manually (or at least use a third party app like regcleaner) if you want a clean system and concerning XP, it's a big spyware to me and its interface is intrusive to say the least.

    I'm not using the best version of Windows I know, but even the best Win is not as mature as OSX.
  20. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 13, 2003
    Argh, don't make me hesitate like that! ;) I'm waiting for the RevB G5 not because i want the latest big thing, I am sure the G4 is plenty enough for me in terms of power and features and expandability but there is this one problem, the noise issue, and that's a big concern for me so.... Believe me, I would prefer typing this on my mac and use OSX already but waiting a little more seems the wisest thing to do at the moment, I think.....Right? :confused: :D
  21. macrumors regular

    Jul 12, 2003
    I have a 1.25 dual MDD on my desk, and I can't hear it. It becomes 3x as noisy when I plug in an external HDD. There was an early MDD or Quicksilver model that was very noisy, but the offered a free fan upgrade pack to people who had complaints with them. Almost all PCs I've heard are much noisier than Power Macs.

    The G5 is 2-3x quieter than the machine on my desk, so I am sure the first gen. G5's will be very good for you.

    My guess is that we will not see Rev. B G5's till March/April next year, with the Rev. C (to Steve's much-quoted 3Ghz) in late August (a year after the Rev. A ships). The first generation of a new, exciting much-awaited computer will have a longer life than the recent little speed bumped "last legs" PM G4 generations.

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