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Return of the Mac

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by RedElectro, Oct 19, 2010.

  1. macrumors regular

    Sorry about the appalling title of the thread, I couldn't resist!

    See the thing is, I've recently returned to Mac - my last Apple Computer was a PowerMac 6100 in the 90's - and through one thing and another I ended up moving over to Windows. :rolleyes: - It's not been much fun!

    After buying an iPhone 4 - I was just blown away by how well everything worked and decided my days of suffering poor computer performance were over (Vista mainly) and bought a 15" MacBook Pro (i7 version) and it's simply - awesome!

    Which leads me to the point of this thread. I'm not made of money, but I don't want to stop there! The iPhone4 and MBP has pretty much left me in the doghouse, but I would like to get rid of the Vista desktop (used for browsing, bit of web-design and photoshop) and after a bit of research thought about a PowerMac G5?!?

    Seeing as these machine's were the Supercomputers of their time, surely they'd still be up to the task now and possibly blow the Vista machine (2gb ram dual core intel) out the water? - Can't be any worse! lol

    What do you think? Anyone any tips - where to buy - what to look for etc? I've heard that the 2.3ghz Dual is the most reliable - is this right?

    Sorry for rambling on! I'm just really excited about macs again! :D
  2. macrumors G5


    You can't run Snow Leopard, just Leopard. You can only run up to CS4 as well. If you don't mind that, you'll be fine.

    I have a dual core PM G5 that I've upgraded almost as much as I can. It's great for editing HD video (the reason I bought it in the first place back when it was the new thing), which is it's main function these days. And really, I don't need the latest version of FCP. Video is video. It's not like I'm sending it to a client to edit or anything. Pretty much everyone has Quicktime too.

    I've squeezed every penny out of it that I put into it. It's a great computer, and I intend to keep it as a server once it's use as my main machine is at an end.
  3. macrumors 65816

    Bernard SG

    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPod; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/532.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0.5 Mobile/8B117 Safari/6531.22.7)

    I would rather look into an iMac 2007, 20", Core2Duo 2GHz. There must be some nice deals with that.
    I can vouch for the quality of that comp for I have one.
  4. macrumors regular

    Thanks for that, I'm sure if it can edit HD video, one will be ample for what I want to do.
  5. macrumors regular

    Thanks, I'll consider it, I've just got my sights set on a PowerMac at the minute! ;)
  6. macrumors G5


    I've never been a fan of all-in-ones like iMacs. I like the option of of multiple internal drives, more RAM capacity, etc. Towers are so much easier and cheaper to repair as well. I'm on my third superdrive in 5 years with this G5. And who cares when replacing the superdrive takes a few minutes and $30? Trying to add/replace things in an all-in-one is no fun.

    One thing to keep in mind, I have the very last G5 made by Apple, so it's the most capable. If you get one, make sure it's the most recent one.
  7. macrumors 6502a


    Yup, another vote against an all-in-one. The iMacs are a royal pain to fix/upgrade beyond the basics. Heck, my 2003-specced G5 (though it was apparently one of the last ones built in 2004 before the line got upgraded) still has reasonable specs today, despite its age. An iMac is only going to have two RAM slots, non-upgradable graphics, a single internal hard drive, etc. For 3-400USD, you can get a remarkably competent G5 tower--so long as you understand the limitations, and go in eyes-open to the fact that PowerPC support is only going down (and out) from here on. My logic is along the same line as Lee's: MATLAB from 4 years ago still does the job fine for me, as does Office 2008 (has .docx compatibility), and iLife '08.

    My one caution to you would be that G5s are singularly unimpressive for playing HD video--I can't play a 720P .mkv with a roughly 2GB/hr bitrate. (Granted, I'm on the slowest clockspeed G5 in existence). It's funny--Lee's machine is one of the last and fastest ones, and mine is one of the first (and the slowest), but we're still both happy with them, this far down the line...it tells you something about the power/quality/enduring usefulness of these machines.

    A couple recommendations if you're shopping for a G5 tower:

    Stay away from the liquid-cooled models--this means the 2.5 and 2.7GHz dual-core/dual-processor models, as well as the Quad G5. The speed is tempting, and I'm sure some people have had good luck with them, but the cooling system is prone to failure--the manufacturer only warrantied the units for 1 year...thus Apple got to replace an awful lot of G5s under Applecare. My vote would be to get a dual 2.0 or dual 2.3GHz model; they're the fastest air-cooled ones (Far more reliable). Get a dual-core, not a dual-processor model--the DC ones use PCI-Express graphics instead of AGP 8X; you'll have much faster video card choices this way. On the flip side, none of the PCI-Express cards have support for ADC video connectors--so you'll need a costly adapter if you want to hook up an old-style Apple LCD (the ones with the transparent acrylic cases).

    If you're going for a cheaper machine, the cheapest machine I'd buy today would be the dual 1.8GHz model--specifically the first version. Two dual 1.8GHz models were made; the first one had 8 RAM slots, while the second only had four. The easy way to tell them apart is that the good ones were made in 2003, while the lesser ones were made in 2004; also, the better ones have smaller heat sinks on the processors.

    If you're on an extremely tight budget, and considering a single-processor G5 tower, stay away from the late-2004 model single 1.8GHz model; it's the black sheep of the lot. It was designed/priced to be the midrange G5 tower; it was only a $1500 machine new, and the design reflected it--the motherboard was totally different than the other G5 towers of the day; it was actually a modified iMac G5 board. As such, it only had a 1:3 FSB to processor clock speed ratio (only 600MHz FSB), rather than the 900MHz you'd expect. It's actually the slowest FSB in any G5 tower, even slower than my "lowly" single 1.6GHz, which has a 800MHz FSB. As such, the real-world performance of the model in question is at best on a par with my 1.6GHz. So, why is it an instant-avoid model, then? Stability. The non-standard logic board was a mess, and they never really got the thing stable: they crash, they won't sleep properly, they won't always wake from sleep, etc--in short, a fiasco. As such, the only single-processor machines worth considering (if that's where your budget takes you) are the 1.6GHz or the first-gen 1.8GHz. Once again, the first-gen model (As with the first-gen dual 1.8GHz) has smaller heat sinks than the later one, so that's an easy clue for finding one.

    Hope this helps; good luck!

    (If you want more input/specifics, feel free to ask :) )

    Edit: going back to your original question about if the dual 2.3 is the most reliable--I'd say it's the fastest reliable model, yes. I haven't seen anything to suggest it's any more/less reliable than most of the other air-cooled models, though (the "black sheep" single 1.8GHz excepted). The big delineating factor is the cooling system--there are countless horror stories about leaking liquid cooling systems, and the dual 2.3 was the fastest model that didn't have the LCS.
  8. macrumors G5


    I do have to say that I have no trouble playing HD video on my G5. I can edit, and play it. Now granted, I upgraded it with a PCIe Radeon x1900 256mb video card. That probably makes the difference. I should have mentioned that before.
  9. macrumors regular

    Thanks for taking the time to write that. It's very informative and helpful. :)

    I think I definitely want a G5 now - just got to look around for the right model at a decent price!
  10. macrumors 6502a


    Not all LCS macs have issues... Mines been just dandy since I've had it. Just make sure you inspect before you buy. And then inspect monthly for peace of mind.
  11. macrumors 6502a


    True. I think the G5 Quad is brilliant. But if the OP doesn't want to fork over the money to get a G5 the dual G4 MDD's (1.25 and 1.42 ghz models) are really great. Mine is running with a radeon 9800 pro and it runs brilliantly. It can run Leopard easily and is just as fast as my dual core HP Laptop that is less than 2 years old. :)
  12. macrumors regular

    What do you all think of these specs?

    Technical Specifications

    Hardware Overview:

    Machine Name: Power Mac G5
    Machine Model: PowerMac7,3
    CPU Type: PowerPC G5 (3.0)
    Number Of CPUs: 2
    CPU Speed: 2 GHz
    L2 Cache (per CPU): 512 KB
    Memory: 2 GB
    Bus Speed: 1 GHz
    Boot ROM Version: 5.2.4f1


    Built-in Ethernet:

    Type: Ethernet
    Hardware: Ethernet
    BSD Device Name: en0

    Built-in FireWire:

    Type: FireWire
    Hardware: FireWire
    BSD Device Name: fw0


    System Software Overview:

    System Version: Mac OS X 10.4.6 (8I128)
    Kernel Version: Darwin 8.6.0
    Boot Volume: HDD1


    ATA Bus:


    Model: SONY DVD RW DW-Q28A
    Revision: KAS7
    Serial Number:
    Detachable Drive: No
    Protocol: ATAPI
    Unit Number: 0
    Socket Type: Internal

    Audio (Built In):

    Built In Sound Card:

    Texas Instruments TAS3004:
    Inputs and Outputs:
    Line Level Input:
    Controls: Left, Right
    Playthrough: No
    PluginID: TAS
    Controls: Mute, Left, Right
    PluginID: TAS
    Internal Speakers:
    Controls: Mute, Master
    PluginID: TAS
    Line Level Output:
    Controls: Mute, Left, Right
    PluginID: TAS
    Crystal Semiconductor CS84xx:
    Inputs and Outputs:
    S/PDIF Digital Input:
    Controls: Mute
    Playthrough: No
    PluginID: Topaz
    S/PDIF Digital Output:
    Controls: Mute
    PluginID: Topaz

    Disc Burning:


    Firmware Revision: KAS7
    Interconnect: ATAPI
    Burn Support: Yes (Apple Shipped/Supported)
    Cache: 2048 KB
    Reads DVD: Yes
    CD-Write: -R, -RW
    DVD-Write: -R, -RW, +R, +RW, +R DL
    Burn Underrun Protection CD: Yes
    Burn Underrun Protection DVD: Yes
    Write Strategies: CD-TAO, CD-SAO, CD-Raw, DVD-DAO
    Media: No


    FireWire Bus:

    Maximum Speed: Up to 800 Mb/sec


    ATI Radeon 9600:

    Chipset Model: ATY,RV351
    Type: Display
    Bus: AGP
    Slot: SLOT-1
    VRAM (Total): 128 MB
    Vendor: ATI (0x1002)
    Device ID: 0x4150
    Revision ID: 0x0000
    ROM Revision: 113-A58504-113



    Size: 512 MB
    Type: DDR SDRAM
    Speed: PC3200U-30330
    Status: OK


    Size: 512 MB
    Type: DDR SDRAM
    Speed: PC3200U-30330
    Status: OK


    Size: 512 MB
    Type: DDR SDRAM
    Speed: PC3200U-30330
    Status: OK


    Size: 512 MB
    Type: DDR SDRAM
    Speed: PC3200U-30330
    Status: OK


    Serial-ATA Bus:

    Maxtor 6B160M0:

    Capacity: 152.67 GB
    Model: Maxtor 6B160M0
    Serial Number: B42FLTMH
    Removable Media: No
    Detachable Drive: No
    BSD Name: disk0
    Protocol: ata
    Unit Number: 0
    Socket Type: Serial-ATA
    Bay Name: "A (upper)"
    OS9 Drivers: No
    S.M.A.R.T. status: Verified
    Capacity: 152.54 GB
    Available: 147.62 GB
    Writable: Yes
    File System: Journaled HFS+
    BSD Name: disk0s3

    I've spotted this on eBay for a decent(ish) price... what do you think?
  13. macrumors 68040


    My advice would be: get Dual Core (PCIe) Late 2005 model instead Dual Processor (or single AGP based).
    Advantages of DC over DP:
    - 16 GB RAM max vs. 8 GB (cheaper, faster DDR2 vs. slower, more expensive DDR)
    - better graphics cards and faster expansion slots (PCIe vs AGP and PCI/PCI X)
    - no need to additional antenna for AP/BT
    - better reliability of DC Power Macs
    - 2 gigabit ethernet slots vs one in AGP models
  14. macrumors 6502a


    It sounds like a first-generation dual processor 2.0 to me.

    (Might be a later one, but the 1st-gen ones were far more likely to have the Sony superdrives, and the Radeon 9600 with 64MB of VRAM was only offered on the first-run models. The later 9600XT cards in Gen. 2 had 128MB of VRAM. Of course, it's possible the parts were swapped in from other sources, but it's a pretty safe bet to think this is a first-gen dual 2. The easy way to be certain is to look at the heat sinks--if they're two discrete units that don't go all the way to the back of the casing, it's first-gen; if it's one big cover over both, then it's a later model).

    It's a very good machine. The first couple versions of the dual 2 had 8 RAM slots, which is always nice (the last dual 2 only had 4). If it's competitively priced, and suits your budget well, then I'd say go for it. With that said, if you can afford to step up to a PCI-E model (Dual-core vs dual discrete processors), you will get some substantially better graphics options.

    One perk if you're shopping in the budget range that constrains you to the AGP graphics-based G5s is that this model doesn't have the low-end Geforce FX5200 (ultra) graphics--the Radeon 9600 is far superior, and also is passively cooled, for no added noise. Obviously, if high-end graphics are your thing, the card is probably getting swapped anyways, but for limited 3D work, the 9600 is great--the lack of a fan keeps the noise down (as compared to my somewhat noisy Radeon 9800).

    666sheep's points are all important to consider--but if you're "stuck" shopping for an AGP G5, don't be scared off--you can still fit 4 or 8 gigs of RAM in (depending on the # of RAM slots), the top-end video cards are plenty good enough to run the most demanding PowerPC Mac games, and the air-cooled AGP G5s were decently reliable (there were some teething issues, but if it's still alive today, you're probably in good shape). The antennae for the early G5s aren't a big deal to get if you need them (though be aware that adding internal Bluetooth in an AGP model is a royal pain--might as well just get an external dongle (or to keep it clean, install a PCI USB card with an internal port, and plug it in there). Can't say I know of a use for dual ethernet ports, but if you need them, then cool! As an FYI: the liquid cooling systems in the PCI-E G5s is no better than that in the AGP ones; I'd stay away from both.

    (With all this ^ said, don't think I'm trying to pretend that the PCI-E G5s aren't better--they are, irrefutably so. Just don't think that if you can't get one, that you might as well pass up G5s altogether. If you want to consider a case of extremes: I'm on the (arguably) slowest, single-processor G5, with only 4 RAM slots, AGP graphics, etc...and I'm doing just fine :D )
  15. macrumors G5


    I agree.
  16. macrumors 6502a


    Yup, no question--if you can afford it, a DC machine is worth the $$.
  17. macrumors 6502

    You might also try installing Linux on your PC to see if you like it any better. I've not found any distros that I like as much as MacOS, but I can name at least a dozen that I prefer over windows. And it won't hurt your wallet, so you can save your money for the new 12-core Hellbeast!
  18. macrumors regular

    Ok... thanks again guys. Invaluable help as always.

    Only thing is, my excitement kind of got the better of me and I "made an offer" on this - I'm kinda hoping that they reject it now - as by all accounts, I'd be much better off with a Dual core!

    Still... I've only offered £250 - so that would still be a bargain right? :confused:
  19. macrumors 68040


    yes and no , if you intend to buy at ebay be careful, more then careful ,a lot of these so called "ebay shops" have not more clue about computers then you ,behind most of these shops sits a guy like yourself some dont even know what a logicboard looks like , they have connections to companies and when ever a company is upgrading their computers they buy them for £100 the piece , safes the companies the recycling or refurbishing bills and the ebay shop then resells them to you for £200 as working because the previous company told them its working
    if they are clever enough to plug in Mains and know that the power button is there for startup the computer they will sell it for £300 as tested
    and if they know someone who can safely operate a vacuum cleaner without causing to much damage they sell them for £400 as refurbished and tested , give 3 month warranty and hope that if the Powermac worked the last 5 years it will last another 3 month

    read my other post " iMac g5 ebay warning " and just exchange the word iMac G5 with PowerMac G5 , ok the PM's had not so much a capacitor problem as the iMac's , but the power supply is a weak spot
    i highly recommend if you really want to buy a PowerMac to look around where you live for some certified apple repair technician , they too know some companies who upgrade their stock from time to time , as they maintained their systems , they know these for years and sell them too , but they have the diagnosis soft and hardware to really test the Mac's before they sell them , and most live and breath Macs and care for them like they would with their children ,and refurbish them by throwing out the bits that do not work or are about to break down
    ok they might charge you a bit more compared to the ebay shop, but in my opinion a well maintained and tested and if necessary refurbished PowerMac is worth that extra money
  20. macrumors regular

    Yeah... I've been stung on eBay before. This one comes with a three month warranty though.
  21. macrumors 68040


    the main trouble with ebay is , the feedback doesn't tell anything really as it is common practice that buyers after unpacking the Mac they bought and power it up ...working fine and then leave good feedback straight away .. Mac breaks down 2 weeks later and buyers run for their money , and if buyers dont leave feedback and wait and the Mac breaks down there are quiet a few shops and sellers who demand good feedback if you want it exchanged or money back
    so a 100%positive feedback doesnt have to conclude its a good shop , but sometimes a negative feedback doesnt conculde its bad shop ,sometimes buyers dont give the shop a chance to sort things out
    i now ask previous buyers direct if the item they bought is still working or if not, how the shop deals with a fault

    there was one great shop on ebay selling dell and Mac stuff some years ago (does not exist any more, or changed name )
    when i was still a pc guy , i bought a dell pc from them with a month dell warranty left ,
    after a half year it broke down (bad motherboard )
    so i thought maybe they have a spare motherboard as they did sell quiet lots of dell stuff ,
    i told them that the dell i bought from them a half year ago has a fried motherboard and
    told them the exact details , and if they have by chance a motherboard for it to buy ,
    their response was quiet surprising " we send you a new one free of charge "
    so i was waiting for small parcel with a new motherboard inside and was surprised again
    they did send a parcel , the next day ! a UPS guy arrived with a huge box
    with a nearly new dell pc that was still under dell's 3 Year warranty
    with just over 1 year left of the warranty and took my old one back to them ...
    thats what i would call a great customer service
  22. macrumors regular

    Well my offer's been accepted, so I'll keep you updated on how I get on! ;)
  23. macrumors 68040


    good luck ;)
  24. macrumors G5


    Good luck! It was a pretty good price! :)
  25. macrumors regular

    Hello again!

    Well the G5 arrived a couple of days ago and I'm very pleased with it! :D It's in great condition and runs very quiet (the only real noise is the fans for about 1-2 seconds when you first switch it on).

    It seems to be running very well - so far! Just a couple of things I wanted your help with if possible?

    I know that compatibility for these machines is starting to be a problem. This machine only has "Tiger" installed and it's a bit of a come-down from "Snow Leopard" - I've already had problems with downloading free software online - for instance iTunes isn't compatible with "Tiger" & I can't access iDisk and other Mobile Me features - but I presume that I can install "Leopard" and that will solve this problem?

    Don't get me wrong, I came into this knowing it wasn't going to be the same as my Macbook Pro, but I think I'm going to need Leopard as I've not even got iPhoto etc.

    Also there's no Airport built in (I knew about this too) what do you think of the following as an alternative to the Apple Airport Option?


    I can't use a wired connection as my Airport Express only has one Ethernet Connector and that goes to the modem!

    And finally... I think I'm going to eventually need a Cinema Display... my PC monitor looks rubbish compared to the screen on the MBP! :p

    Thanks again guys! :)

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