Upgrade or Buy new?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by estlincs, Feb 22, 2004.

  1. estlincs macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2004
    #1
    Hi, I am currently running a PowerMac G4 450 AGP OS 9.2.2 with 128MG RAM. I want to upgrade to OS X, and I know that I'll need to increase RAM to do that. I also want to add another hard drive and possibly upgrade the CPU.

    I'm not sure if I'm better off buying a new Mac or upgrading what I have now. If I were to buy new it would probably be an iMac when they are next updated.

    Or am I better off increasing RAM and putting in a new hard drive? Also, how difficult is it to upgrade the CPU on this? Or how high can I go within a reasonable limit? (I've seen posts saying that you can upgrade to 1.2G, but for $850 that seems ridiculous, as I'd still have to upgrade RAM, add the hard drive and buy OS X, I might as well just buy the low end G5 at that point.)

    Thanks.
     
  2. Mav451 macrumors 68000

    Mav451

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2003
    Location:
    Maryland
    #2
    Hmm, this all hangs on what you use your computer for

    1) Gaming?
    2) Web-browsing/email
    3) Power Apps (Pshop, FCP, etc.).

    If you are only doing #2 then, i would consider simply upgrading the ram at this point.

    128 to 256 is a HUGE difference, but again, is still a bit far from the recommended 512.

    If 9 :: OSX is anything like '98 :: XP; then 256MB of RAM will get you by for maybe another year or so. However, i would suggest perhaps going for a new computer if you want power, now. Refurb 1.6G5's or single 1.8's would fill the bill perfectly, and probably last another 4-5 years easily (and obviously the increasing software for the G5 in the coming years).
     
  3. estlincs thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2004
    #3
    Whoops...meant to add what I do with it.

    I mainly use it for web, word processing and such, but I do some Photoshopping/InDesigning and am hoping to do more of that in the next year or so.

    Thanks for the advice....my wife probably doesn't want to hear new computer tho. ;)
     
  4. thehuncamunca macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2003
    Location:
    NJ
    #4
    don't upgrade the CPU it won't be too much faster since you'll still be using your old bus and ram
    get at least 512MB more of ram you'll really see a difference you can pick up a 120GB HD for under a 100
     
  5. Krizoitz macrumors 6502a

    Krizoitz

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2003
    Location:
    Wakayama, Japan
    #5
    I would suggest going with one of the low end G5's. The faster proccesor, plus DRAMATICALLY faster front side bus means that it will last you alot longer than an upgraded G4. Plus you can sell that G4 to help finance your purchase.

    Lets break it down
    COST TO BUY NEW
    Cost of new G5 1.6 from MacMall (gets you an extra 512 of RAM for $30 not to mention a free printer)
    $1824
    Make from sale of G4
    Probably $500
    Final cost:
    Around $1300

    COST TO UPGRADE
    OS X $130
    512 MB RAM $100
    Proccesor Upgrade $250-500
    HD: 80 GB $60

    So you are looking at $500-800 to upgrade. Its cheaper, BUT you dont' get the faster graphics card. To upgrade that you need another $200.
    So now its only a $300-$500 saving
    Plus with the G5 you get a dramatically faster proccesor even if you go with the highest end G4. Not to mention superior built in technology, I think its the best money you can spend.
     
  6. estlincs thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2004
    #6
    But if I sell the G4, I'd have to sell the monitor too to get near 500 I would think, then I have to add a monitor to the equation.
     
  7. Krizoitz macrumors 6502a

    Krizoitz

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2003
    Location:
    Wakayama, Japan
    #7
    I've seen just G4's going at over 400
    I guess its your call, but I have found that upgrading is worth the extra cost, because all the little stuff, like bus speed, are included, not to mention new warranty, and you'll be able to use newer stuff like new OS's longer without a hit. Besides if you have a 450 you've probably had it for about 4 years, so thats a reasonable time to upgrade if it is having trouble getting work done.
     
  8. Horrortaxi macrumors 68020

    Horrortaxi

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2003
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #8
    KEEP THE G4!

    For web/email use + a little Photoshop here and there this is a good computer--overkill even. I've done "a little Photoshop" on my 700mhz G3 iBook and it's just fine. My wife earns her living on Photoshop on a 400mhz G4 PowerMac. That's doing far more than "a little Photoshop." She'd rather have a G5, but we're talking pro use. So even if you're going to do more work with Photoshop in the near future you'll be okay with what you've got--even without a processor upgrade.

    For web/email/word processing you don't need very much. a 233mhz iMac will even handle those tasks well (In Panther no less). I have a 7600 that I use sometimes--that one is a little slow on the web but it's 9 years old and runs at 120mhz. You won't even notice a difference between your computer and a 2ghz G5 on those tasks.

    Getting Panther is a good move. 512MB is another good move. A new hard drive may or may not be needed, depending on what you require. Those are the only things I'd consider for that machine though.
     
  9. m4rc macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2003
    Location:
    UK
    #9
    I agree with horrortaxi. Don't worry about processor upgrades, what you have is fine. Remember, 2 years ago your computer was considered fast, and plenty of people did and do use the same or slower Mac's for photoshop work everyday. Ram is going to make a difference, go 512 on that at least, and Panther will give you a new computer anyway. Hard drive upgrade if you need the space. How about an external, so later when you do buy a new machine you can easily transfer it over.

    Work like this, and when funds allow, upgrade to the latest new G5, you can tell your wife that you have made the current mac last for so long that the new one is a good investment and going to last at least as long again!

    If you do decide to get a new machine, how about a 2nd hand one from e-bay, or a refurb? Will save money. Then you could sell the G4 and spend that money on your wife, everyones happy!

    Whatever you do, for your needs, I don't think a processor upgrade is the answer.

    Just my opinion, hope it helps.

    Marc
     
  10. estlincs thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2004
    #10
    I'm thinking I'm going to do the upgrade. 512 of memory to start, os x and a new hard drive. Thinking external since I could bring it with me when I do decide to get a G5.

    I'm thinking of somewhere between 60 and 100 Gig depending on price...what are some good external hard drive brands? Good places to buy?

    Thanks for the advice so far! :)
     
  11. nargot macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2004
    Location:
    Australia
    #11
    i have two IceCube cases with western digital hard drives and they are cheap, work fine and fast.

    In america i think OWC are the cheapest (but i haven't' looked). At the moment 120gb hard drives are at throw away prices and 160gb drives are just a fraction more (just got a 160gb today).

    I have been running various versions of photoshop over the years, from memory version 2 on my IIVX and LC 575 which i used regularly in the day. And even though i don't do as much photoshop work anymore i have no real problems with photoshop on my iMac. It all depends on what you need photoshop for.
     
  12. Horrortaxi macrumors 68020

    Horrortaxi

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2003
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #12
    Where are you finding 120GB drives at throw-away prices? I bought one over the summer for just over $100, which I thought was good, but when I went back for another a couple months ago they were up to $160 for the same drive. Last time I checked prices were still up in that range. If I can get them cheap I could use 2-3 more.
     
  13. cubist macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2002
    Location:
    Muncie, Indiana
    #13
    If you can put off a G5 purchase for a year, then go with the RAM and maybe a second internal hard drive. Don't spend more than $200. Add 512MB RAM for $50 and an 80GB drive for $60, or something like that.

    You will get reasonable performance with Panther - I have a G4-500 with 896MB RAM, 120GB hard drive, and it works well.

    But if you think you'll be wanting a G5 later in the year, don't spend a CENT on the G4. Why? Because you won't get the money back when you go to sell it. The box is worth $400-$500 regardless of how much RAM or HD it has. CPU upgrades are the worst investment of all.
     
  14. estlincs thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2004
    #14
    Where can I find prices likes this? I went to crucial dot com and for 512mb it's like $143.

    How difficult is it to install an internal harddrive? And what's a good place to buy from?

    I've never upgraded anything internal on my Mac, I've done it for the wintels I used to have....
     
  15. nargot macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2004
    Location:
    Australia
    #15
    I have not done the looking outside america, for me that would be dirt cheap cause of the strong AUS dollar however i would get slapped in the face by customs i'm sure for importing harddrives.


    In Australia the price of 120gb FW has dropped from about $400 to $260 in less than 6 months, if you look around you can get 160gb for $300.

    Now if i do a quick OWC search you get even better prices http://eshop.macsales.com/Catalog_Page.cfm?Parent=1020&Title=FW&Template=1

    I am sure there are cheaper places in US that you can get hard drives so that is what i based my comparison on.
     

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