To keep or not to keep... G4 powermac

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by Chrispy, Jun 13, 2005.

  1. Chrispy macrumors 68020

    Chrispy

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2004
    Location:
    Avon, IN
    #1
    Hey all here is my dilemma. I received a G4 Gigabit Ethernet PowerMac with a 400MHz G4 processor, 1.15GB or RAM, 80GB 7200 RPM HD, 16x DVD dual layer DVD-RW, and a Rage 128 Pro AGP 2x graphics card. I know with a little upgrading this thing could be a pretty good machine. My question is if I already have a 1.5GHz G4 15” powerbook with a gig of RAM and 64MB Radeon 9700 graphics should I keep the Powermac too or sell it? Also, what would I have to upgrade the CPU to for it to outpace the powerbook. I know if I added a Radeon 9800 128MB graphics card to the PM it would be pretty fast with a CPU upgrade. Any opinions on what you all would do. Keep it or sell it… and if I sell it for how much. Thanks.
     
  2. cubist macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2002
    Location:
    Muncie, Indiana
    #2
    CPU upgrades never are cost-effective. By the time you bought a CPU upgrade to 1.5GHz and a video card, you'd have spent enough to get at least a Mini and possibly something better. Besides, now that Apple's announced the Intel switch, the resale values of older G3 and G4 towers are falling into the basement.

    The tower as you have it will run Tiger acceptably and be useful for backing up data from your Powerbook and burning backups. If you sell it as is you will get between $200-$400.
     
  3. slipper macrumors 68000

    slipper

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2003
    #3
    i agree with cubist. another thing is that the FSB will be crippled.
     
  4. spinne1 macrumors 6502a

    spinne1

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2005
    Location:
    Hermitage, TN USA (near Nashville)
    #4
    I would sell the powerbook and upgrade the tower. I disagree that upgrading is not cost effective. You would have a better computer with the upgraded tower than with your powerbook (assuming you already have a decent display lying around--I recommend a CRT unless you already have a NICE LCD, or plan to buy one) Let's compare the mini versus an upgraded G4/400:

    G4/400---$0
    PowerLogix DUAL 1.7 Ghz processor---$649 (just one option, but would crush the processing power of both the powerbook and the mini)
    1.15gb ram---$0
    Radeon 9800 video card---$300 (but consider a less expensive Radeon 9000 at about $120--it will still crush the Powerbook's video performance--or the Mini's)

    TOTAL--$949 for the Radeon 9800 version, $769 for the Radeon 9000 version.

    Mini:
    1.42 Ghz version w 80 gb drive---$599
    1 Gb Ram---$80.49 from 1800-4Memory (I've had good luck with their memory and it is generally the cheapest)
    TOTAL--$679.48

    Mini advantages:

    1) 167Mhz bus speed compared to G4 tower's bus speed of 100Mhz (but, it is close enough not to be a huge issue, and the vastly improved processor power of the G4 tower will more than make up for this).

    2) Resale value--(for a while) for now, the mini will bring more as a pure machine--BUT the processor upgrade will retain its value for a good while as well, then about 2-5 years from now, it will tank fast (expect the value to stay pretty good for at least two years). So, it is pretty close to a wash with the mini maybe slightly ahead.


    Mini disadvantages:

    1) Display troubles with some displays using a DVI to VGA converter.

    2) Slower hard drive

    3) Slower and weaker video card performance

    4) Slower processor performance

    5) No PCI slots for adding additional cards

    6) Limited RAM upgrade options (the mini maxes at 1 Gb, while the tower can go up to 1.5 GB--yes, it is close, but still a disadvantage)

    7) Hard drive upgrades are limited to external firewire units. Not a bad option, but not as nice or cheap as having (up to) several hard drives tucked away inside the box, and at a very good price (ebay is an excellent source of large, new, inexpensive IDE drives--200-250GB for under $100 shipped with plenty of supply)

    So, all in all, it is your call, but first and foremost I would sell the powerbook. Why? Dollar for dollar, you are paying a big premium for portability and taking a performance hit as well. Unless you NEED a laptop, then WHY? You could sell your powerbook on ebay for $1500-1800 easy (I just checked completed items). You could then pocket the difference between what you spent on the G4 and what you sold the powerbook for and have a superior computer.

    EDIT: I just reread your post and noticed you have a Gigabit Ethernet model. For some reason in my head I thought you had a Sawtooth. Therefore my comment about the Radeon 9000 supporting DVI and not ADC is no longer valid, so I erased it. For you, either option would be good.
     
  5. Chrispy thread starter macrumors 68020

    Chrispy

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2004
    Location:
    Avon, IN
    #5
    What do you all think of what spinne1 has to say? Does anyone else think I should sell the powerbook and upgrade the powermac? Comments please :)
     
  6. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
    #6
    Well- it sounds like you got the PM free. If that's the case, I would definitely upgrade and keep it. I upgraded my processor on my G4 PowerMac 350 MHz Sawtooth to 1 GHz for $229 and it's great! I also had previously upgraded the video card in order to use Quartz Extreme. I also love the fact that I got the thing off ebay for $900 about 5 years ago. It's been a great machine and shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. BTW- I run Adobe Creative Suite, Quark 6 and all the iLife apps with no trouble at all. If you don't need the portability, sell the PB.
     
  7. Chrispy thread starter macrumors 68020

    Chrispy

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2004
    Location:
    Avon, IN
    #7
    Hmm... well do you guys think I could get $1750 for it on MR? It is only a few days old and I have the original box and everything... plus no dead pixels :)

    Oh yeah and I just upgraded the lappy to 1 Gig of RAM :D So that should add some value.
     
  8. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
    #8
    You probably could. Maybe what you should do is upgrade the PowerMac and see if it suits you, then decide if you want to sell the PB. If you wanted, you could always sell the PowerMac and get more for it than you would right now. Personally, I'd keep both, but it sounds like you don't need to.
     
  9. Sweetfeld28 macrumors 65816

    Sweetfeld28

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2003
    Location:
    Buckeye Country, O-H
    #9
    Personally if it was me i would sell that G3 iBook you have there in your sig, and keep the PB. I on;y say this because i had/have one of those iBook 500's, and i would rather have the speed and altivec of the G4 than the G3. Besides why would you need two laptops anyway. I would try to get rid of the older/slower laptop first, before its to late, and you can't get any money out of it later when you try to sell it.


    Another thing, it looks like you already decided to sell the G4 tower, at least thats what it says in your sig.
     
  10. Dane D. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2004
    Location:
    ohio
    #10
    Keep both

    Both computers are good, I for one have never been one to trash a computer or sell them. I just keep adding to my network, why not, the processor is fine for internet, e-mail and older programs. I don't upgrade my stuff like most peps here. I believe that if it "ain't broke..." . Besides after reading this forum for a year now, I get the impression that most of you are spending money left and right on the latest and greatest for what? Bragging rights.
     
  11. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
    #11
    Wow- I agree. Sell the iBook. Although I know how hard that can be. I love my 14". :)
     
  12. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
    #12
    More good advice!
     
  13. yoda13 macrumors 65816

    yoda13

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2003
    Location:
    Texas
    #13
    Well, I would keep both, but then again, if you upgrade your computer (PM), you'll be computing with roughly what I have. A new PB, and a somewhat upgraded PM. I have to admit though, I am thinking of getting a refurb iMac because I want to get into the HD video, and I have an absence of G5 processors at the moment. :D
     
  14. Gatorman macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2002
    Location:
    Florida
    #14
    Keep it...

    I'd keep it. I have a G4 400, as well, but it's the model just before the Gigabit ethernet upgrade, and I've never upgraded it, except for a 6 GB hard drive I snagged from an old iMac. The machine still works great and I've never complained about it. In fact, it even works better than my parent's G4 Cube.

    At any rate, I'm going to get a Powerbook (once the Intel Chips come out, now), but wouldn't consider ever getting rid of my G4. It's been too good and still works great. It'll serve as a great backup for me and will be great to run OS 8/9 programs. So, my advice is to keep yours, but don't do a processor upgrade. As everyone else says, and I agree, it's cheaper to get a Mac Mini, if you really need it.
     
  15. mjstew33 macrumors 601

    mjstew33

    Joined:
    May 29, 2005
    Location:
    Illinois
    #15
    DON'T SELL!!!

    why sell?!?! keep your beloved PB and have fun upgrading your PM! and if you need a lil bit of money sell the damn iBook, what's it really worth? 10GB HD? 500MHz? come on.

    I WOULDN'T SELL A BRAND NEW POWERBOOK TO BUY UPGRADES FOR AN OLD POWERMAC...

    It all really depends on your finacial status. If you have about a grand to spend, spend it on this!! or just save up for each ugprade component...

    REALLY, DON'T SELL YOUR POWERBOOK, IF YOU DO YOU'LL WISH YOU HADN'T!

    that's my two cents
     
  16. zen.state macrumors 68020

    zen.state

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2005
    #16
    having 2 computers is always nice. if one ever stops working you have another to use and to go on the net and find a possible fix.

    I would get a low cost cpu upgrade.. say a 1-1.2Ghz G4 from sonnet or owc. it will be cheap (200-300) and you will then have a very respectable second system. it already has a good amount of ram so just spend a couple hundred and make it about 2-2.5 times faster.
     
  17. Chrispy thread starter macrumors 68020

    Chrispy

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2004
    Location:
    Avon, IN
    #17
    Hm... the prospect of having two good computers seems so wasteful to me haha. I do love the powerbook tho.. just as I type this my friend is using it to do a video slideshow in iMovie that his P4 computer could not handle with movie maker ;) I get a decent frame rate on my PB for WoW but i have to keep the settings turned down. If I wanted to run the game at a decent wide-screen resolution and have some settings turned up what would I have ot upgrade the G4 to? Would a 1GHz or higher CPU with a Radeon 9800 be enough with the 1.15GB of ram or would I need more? Any input would be great. Thanks!
     
  18. zen.state macrumors 68020

    zen.state

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2005
    #18
    get a 1ghz G4 and a Radeon 9000 128mb. a 9800 would be wasted in that tower as the card is pretty hardcore but would only be able to feed through 2x agp. the 9000 will suit you fine and is much cheaper. its 128mb will go a long way in game play.

    these are your options..

    cpu: http://eshop.macsales.com/MyOWC/Upg...I=#TimeFormat(Now(),+&shoupgrds=Show+Upgrades

    video: http://eshop.macsales.com/MyOWC/Upg...I=#TimeFormat(Now(),+&shoupgrds=Show+Upgrades
     
  19. Rod Rod macrumors 68020

    Rod Rod

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2003
    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV
    #19
    I'm opposed to creating FrankenMacs BUT I think zen.state's advice is the best in the thread. It's moderate and takes into consideration the idea of decreasing marginal returns, while in the end striking a really good balance.

    I would keep the PowerBook. It's great to have a warranty.

    (disclaimer: the above is just my opinion, and I do not mean to impose my views on Chrispy or anyone else.)
     
  20. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #20
    The difference in RAM speed between the G4 tower and the Mini is not 100 MHz buss speed vs 167 MHz buss speed, it is a difference in maximum bandwidth of 800 MBs vs 2,700 MBs. That's huge.

    Both the Mini and the Powerbook 15 1.5 use Dual Data Rate (DDR) RAM which executes on both the rising and trailing edge of the buss clock. So the DDR performance is 2 x 167% = 333% of the performance of the PC100.

    I just can't see putting an expensive dual proc. upgrade into the tower -- especially since the highest speed G4 upgrades come without L2 cache. The processor will be hobbled by the PC100 memory buss. If you are going to put in a CPU upgrade, choose a product that is one or two steps down from the top of the line, and make sure you get a 1 Mb L2 cache to mitigate the slowdowns from the main memory.

    Thanks
    Trevor
    CanadaRAM.com
     
  21. zen.state macrumors 68020

    zen.state

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2005
  22. Chrispy thread starter macrumors 68020

    Chrispy

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2004
    Location:
    Avon, IN
    #22
    The 1GHz upgrade with the 9000 seems to be the way to go. If I get the iBook sold I think I will do that. Thanks for all the input and feel free to keep the opinions coming :)
     
  23. Huked on Fonick macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    1 Loop
    #23
    upgade it.
    Defently keep the you powerbooks laptops are awsome fror train,plane,bus,boat,glider,bike,hovercraft trips as well as stays at boring places like the ,airport,trainstation,whitehouse, school. Plus you can use them in you lap, and take them everywhere you and your lap may be.

    As for the upgrade powermac, use it as a file server.....possibably with gigabit (if you had gigabit it could probably stream video in high quality......if you gota some kinda TV input ohhhh the possibities.....live tv/recorded on powerbook.......), but then again gigabit cable is expensive....

    anyways keep it extra computers are nice to have around so you can make your guest use them and save yours.......make it fold if nothing else,

    As for the ibook, do something cool with it, like buy a maping program or gps mapping thingie for it(http://www.gpsy.com/), buy a fm broadcast thingie(belkins would work well), and an Ibook car power supply, put it in ur car and use it for directions(maybe music to if u dont have an ipod)....Is it the 12 or 14 the 14 might be to big but i 12 should be easy to fit in most cars...

    Ok the car power supply is kind of expensive (80 bucks) but it will work with powerbook and it comes with an adapter for planes to....
     
  24. iJaz macrumors 6502a

    iJaz

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2004
    #24
    I have actually not seen any impact of this announcement on the resale value of G4s on eBay.
     
  25. mjstew33 macrumors 601

    mjstew33

    Joined:
    May 29, 2005
    Location:
    Illinois
    #25
    ur signature

    so are you keeping the PowerMac? it says ur selling it in ur sig
     

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