What the Power Mac G4 SHOULD cost in 2006.

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by form, Apr 11, 2006.

  1. form macrumors regular

    form

    Joined:
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    #1
    I have this, er, link...

    http://www.geocities.com/rintraxud/

    To be honest, I think the prices of used g4 macs should've been much lower than they have for some time now. Why? Well there are several reasons, most of which are related to price vs. performance.

    When a person could buy a new 1.42ghz Mac Mini for...$600? I thought it unfair that people should demand the same amount for a Power Mac of no more than 733-867 mhz. At that point, the Power Mac G5 was running at Dual 2.5ghz or thereabouts, with the low end being under $2,000.

    At that time, the low end of the Power Mac G5 was, it's safe to say, noticeably faster and FAR more modern than THREE 867mhz systems, which could never have system buses capable of taking advantage of the ram they used, nor did they have Firewire 800, Serial ATA, PCI-X, PCI-Express, or even AGP 8X. And yet, the Power Mac G4 held its...arbitrary value.

    And now we see the Mac Mini, with Serial ATA, with a bus that can handle the 2GB (the same max as many Power Mac G4s) of DDRAM it supports, with a dual core Intel processor which, we all know, will run circles around both G4 AND G5 based computers once emulation is no longer necessary...for $800. Yet the Power Mac G4 continues to hold that value.

    And now we furthermore sit here and witness the Dual 2ghz Power Mac G5, with all of the latest expansion slots and ports, and a 128mb graphics card, sold new at under $2,000. And, to add insult to injury, there is also a Quad-Core, 2.5ghz Power Mac G5, with a 256MB graphics card, a 250GB Serial ATA hard drive, some of the fastest ram available, and all of the latest ports and expansion slots that the Mac platform has to offer.

    And still, the Power Mac G4 holds its value. Still, people try to sell their three-or-four-year-old computers, which, quite honestly, have NOTHING worth mentioning over the modern ultra-compact, for at or very near the same price. And, not only do they try, but they SUCCEED!

    And soon, there will be Power Macs based on the Intel processors. And soon, they will (as they must) be upgrades to the existing Power Mac G5s. And soon, the software will be translated for the Intel platform, making them shine far beyond anything in mac history. But...somehow, the Power Mac G4...the original buyers, and then sellers, of that now ancient, now barely sufficient, computer design...somehow, they will still sell their 800mhz Power Mac G4s...for ~$600.

    Again, I repost the link:
    http://www.geocities.com/rintraxud/

    May it wake the sleeping.
     
  2. FF_productions macrumors 68030

    FF_productions

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    #2
    They are very handy machines, and have plenty of expandability..something I need.

    Yes, it angers me that the prices of used g4's remain the same, I've always been interested in buying one (that was 8 months ago). It's as if these people have lived under a rock for the past 2 years and forgot that the g4's aren't as fast as they once were.:mad:
     
  3. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    UK
    #3
    Used computers are always a rip-off, I mean I've seen a website advertising laptops for students, they want £100 for a Windows 98 Laptop with like a 300Mhz Processor, 128MB RAM and no ethernet, (oh and Norton 2006! It'll run so slow it probably won't even install), so basically useless as you can't connect to the uni network with it. TBH it's crazily expensive for what it is, which is totally useless.
     
  4. QCassidy352 macrumors G3

    QCassidy352

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    Bay Area
    #4
    I agree entirely.

    It's the same with old laptops. MPBs can be had for $1700 refurb. 1.67 Ghz 15" hi res powerbooks are going for ~$1500. And yet people still try to sell tibooks for over a thousand dollars! A 3 year old, out of warranty, slow, outdated in every way tibook is still worth only $700 less than a refurb MBP? It will be even more of a joke when a $999 macbook comes out, but some sucker must be buying these old machines!

    There are a couple of ways to look at it. I call the first, the "logical ladder" of prices.
    If it's $1700 for a MBP refurb and $1500 for a hi res G4, then what must the others be? $1400 for a lo-res 1.67? So $1300 for a 1.5? $1200 for a 1.33? $1100 for a 1.25? $1000 for a 1.0 albook? And $900 for a 1 Ghz tibook?

    Second, we have the "but it's still very usable" theory. This seems to be what actually controls the used mac market. Even though new computers blow the old ones away in every way, the old ones remain quite usable and capable, thus, bargain hunters will pay more than they should as long as it's still an overall savings of a few hundred over a new machine.

    Finally, there's the "in comparison to new machines it's a joke theory." Looking at it this way, paying $900, or any substantial amount of money, for a tibook is stupid because it has so many limitations (no BT and no usb 2.0 are the first two that jump to mind) compared to a new machine that unless it's going for dirt cheap, a new computer will be the better option.

    I never buy used computers because I think the second category is the least logical way of looking at it. But I sure do make a lot of my money back selling used macs because category #2 is how the market seems to think. :)
     
  5. Demon Hunter macrumors 68020

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    #5
    I think you nailed it. There seems to be a market for bargain hunters who want a supposed "deal" on a Mac. The cost is lower, but they're nearsighted or don't know a G3 from a G5 or they don't care about cost/features ratio.

    There are other factors, of course. Legacy designs hold great appeal to certain people (Pismo, anyone?) and it still delivers the Mac experience (more or less).

    The Macs on eBay are usually only a few pages. That kind of ownership is a beautiful thing.
     
  6. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

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    #6
    I was looking at some PMG4s for a possible HTPC on eBay. Sawtooths with 400-500MHz processors were priced about the same as a refurb G4 mini, if not more. Quicksilvers, with 1GHz or so were around $600. Several MDDs were over a grand. Just an absolute ripoff.

    Cubes are around 400. G4 mini refurbs are also 400 I think. Smaller and faster. Granted, cubes have the uniqueness and coolness factor, but I wouldn't consider purchasing one over $200
     
  7. dmw007 macrumors G4

    dmw007

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    #7
    It is truly amazing (and perhaps slightly disgusting) how Apple computers hold their "value" long after they have been replaced by newer, faster machines. Which makes it nice when you want to sell your old Mac, but makes it less than enjoyable when you are in the market for a used one. :)
     
  8. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #8
    The PowerMac G4 market is still healthy partially because of the Mini, not in spite of it.

    It makes less sense now because of the Intel switch, but many people shopping for a Mini bought a G4 PowerMac. Why? I'll use mine as an example. I bought it in October of '04, before the Mini was more than a rumor. I needed a cheapish computer to replace my dying G3 iMac, and didn't want an all-in-one (ruling out the eMac). I paid around $600 (when you include shipping) from a reseller for a dual 533MHz Digital Audio in a 512/40GB/Radeon 7500 config. Since then, I've added a 1.4GHz CPU, two 250GB SATA drives, a DVD-RW, another 512MB DIMM, AirPort card, USB 2.0 card and a GeForce 6800GT, along with a 20.1" LCD.

    Now, I've spent as much as an iMac G5 would have cost, but I spread the expense out over a long period of time and ended up with a very capable machine - one that is substantially better than a Mini and equal to an iMac G5 in many ways (slower CPU but more storage and better video card). More importantly, I couldn't afford a new computer at the time the old one failed. For a Mini shopper the G4 PowerMac offers some advantages, especially if you think you might need more expandibility than the Mini offers. Again, the arrival of the Core Duo/Solo Mini changes things somewhat, but there is still something to be said for PCI slots and extra drive bays.

    With 1GB or more RAM, most Digital Audio or newer G4s run OS X quite fast for day to day tasks, and can even handle light use of pro-level apps and games. With one of the faster upgraded CPUs, maxed RAM and a decent video card, they can even hang with G5 Macs in a number of tasks, as Barefeats has shown on a number of occasions. They are certianly no G5 but are still surprisingly effective.

    With that said, I'm amazed at how healthy the used G4 market still is - I could take all the upgrades out of my G4 and potentially get back almost what I paid for it - I certianly didn't expect G4 towers to still be touching $1000 at the high end, as the MDDs still are.

    I'm less able to explain the high prices of the TiBooks and slower PowerBooks - they are not upgradeable like the towers but still command very high prices. When you can buy a new Celeron M or Turion laptop for under $600 (I know, blah, but just for hardware spec's sake), or a refurb iBook G4 (three times faster)for $800, those $1000 TiBook prices seem excessive. Still, Powerbooks have always had an insane resale value, so it really isn't anything new. I remember when the G4 Powerbook appeared, and the Wallstreet and Pismo G3 Powerbooks stayed above $1000 on the used market for what seemed like forever. They still run $200-400 hundred today.

    BTW, that link is dead for me.
     
  9. dmw007 macrumors G4

    dmw007

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    #9
    Good post Lord Blackadder! :) It gives a good explanation for the higher prices of Power Mac G4s.
     
  10. macgeek2005 macrumors 65816

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    #10
    I have a good explanation for the price of the PowerMac G4's. Those things are ****ing MONSTERS. I get a score of 45 in xbench 1.2, and on a 2.0Ghz iMac I get 55. The reason? Very simple.

    Towers are superior to every other form of the macintosh. Every component in the machine is full size. Full size optical drive, 3.5" hard drive, etc.

    Now, I cannot describe in words how WRONG it is to compare a G4 tower to a Intel Mac Mini. The difference in speed is indescribable. The G4 is at LEAST 5 times faster. There are SO MANY dozens of factors that make the tower SO much faster than any other form of a computer. I'd say that a 3 year old tower, is about as fast as a laptop of today. In 3 years from now, we'll FINALLY see an iMac/MacBook Pro, as fast as the G5 Towers are right now.

    My Dual G4 Tower will remain a fair comparison to other computers for a long time, simply because it is a tower, and it has a Level 3 cache, a Backside Bus (neither iMacs nor Laptops have these), and full size parts.

    Am I right or what? Something about the tower is so much more powerfull than any other form of a computer. That's why my dad just got a brand new 2.0Ghz iMac, and I can make close comparisons between his machine and mine.

    I'm telling you, the price they sell for is what they're worth.
     
  11. macgeek2005 macrumors 65816

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    #11
    The MDD's are worth over a grand. Read my previous post if you do not understand.
     
  12. QCassidy352 macrumors G3

    QCassidy352

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    #12
    Yes, a very good post. But, I don't think the scenario you describe can account for all of it. There just aren't that many people in your position, I'd wager (short on funds at the moment, but able to upgrade heavily later, and want something headless).

    Also, as you pointed out, the minis were just rumor when you purchased your machine. That makes a purchase of a G4 tower much, much more appealing. Now that the minis are here (and the intels are fairly powerful), the continued demand for G4s is a lot harder to understand. You still make good points about expandability, but I don't think it's enough to really explain it.

    So I'd suggest this, in addition to what you said:
    Even as time passes, the towers (and powerbooks) retain the mystique of being "pro machines." Sure, they're slower than today's consumer machines, but they were once $3k (in some cases) top-end machines. Should that matter? No, I don't think so. But nonetheless, it remains in people's minds - that a mini is a "consumer," or "entry-level" machine, and a powermac is a pro machine.
     
  13. QCassidy352 macrumors G3

    QCassidy352

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    #13
    No, you're absolutely wrong by every benchmark I've ever seen. Show me the bench mark that puts an MDD "at least 5 times faster" than an intel mac mini. You will beat the mini on 3d gaming or rendering and possibly on tasks requiring a lot of HD access; beyond that, a core-duo mini will thrash your MDD soundly. To say the G4 would be 5x faster is... beyond absurd.

    You're falling in to exactly the trap I explained in my above post: thinking, "this is a 'pro' machine so it must be faster than much newer 'consumer' machines." Bull.

    3 years for a MBP or imac to be as fast as a G5? Try right now.
    linky link
    linky #2
     
  14. FF_productions macrumors 68030

    FF_productions

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    #14
    Someone has to explain how a MacBook Pro beats a current dual G5 in pro apps. I still adore the PowerMac G4's, I'm trying to get either that or a G5 for video editing, but I would have to disagree with that statement for now.:D
     
  15. dmw007 macrumors G4

    dmw007

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    #15
    Makes the new MBP look pretty darn fast. :) Performance like that (from a laptop especially) makes my mouth water! :D
     
  16. bbarnhart macrumors 6502a

    bbarnhart

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    #16
    Funny thing is, I was thinking about selling my dual 1.25 PM G4 MDD on eBay for around US$1,000 and getting a dual core Mac mini. I'm assuming because the Mac mini has the Intel chip and it's newer it would be much faster than my current box for about the same about of money. I'd have to buy a monitor as I currently have one of those displays with the Apple Desktop Connector.

    Problem is, even though my machine is 2+ years old, it's a pro machine (although I don't run pro apps) and I worry that the Intel Mac mini wouldn't feel as fast as the MDD. I don't have time to switch to a new machine until late this summer so I'll have plenty of time to think about it.

    Has anyone switched from a MDD to a Intel Mac mini?
     
  17. asencif macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2005
    #17

    Yeah they are fast, but equal to a PM 2.0. The Quad and 2.3 still hold their own. Now to me the biggest issue is the heat coming out of those things...I like to see someone run all those pro apps for a full day of heavy work and see how it will burn a hole thru anyone's pants. So I guess we do get the power, but whine and heat are problems we have to deal with. Eventually, these issue will get cleared out and then the price will be worth as those newer machines also will have clearly surpassed the current PM lineup. Until then the PM's still perform well for most pros and have expandability. What's the hurry to go Intel at the moment? There will be a time when the lines will be more stabilized and the transition over. It's not waiting forever...Just till everything is worked out to it's best potential.
     
  18. macgeek2005 macrumors 65816

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    #18
    You guys are simply wrong. I hate to be so blunt, but it's the truth. Towers are really that much more powerful than iMacs or Laptops.

    The iMac gets 55 in xbench, the G5 towers get over 100.
     
  19. QCassidy352 macrumors G3

    QCassidy352

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    #19
    xbench is highly unreliable; I thought that was common knowledge by now. Besides, what imac and what G5 tower are we talking about? They run from single 1.6 to single 2.1 and single 1.6 to quad 2.5, respectively.

    Do you have anything except for your assertions that "towers are faster because everything is bigger" to back up your claims?

    I presented 2 sets of real world benchmarks of a MBP running equal to or beating a dual 2.0 G5. Can you do the same?

    I can just assert that my ibook is as fast as a dual G5, but when someone else shows me benchmarks that prove I'm dead wrong, don't you think I'm kinda left without a leg to stand on?

    edit: ok, after some checking, even by xbench, which is unreliable, you simply aren't reporting accurately. imac G5's average 65, while powermac G4 MDDs average 48, and powermac G5's average 85. That's across a lot of models, but overall, not even xbench supports what you're saying.

    edit again: xbench is worthless. That's what you get with user reported scores. There are G5s in the G4 categories, quads in the "june 2004 G5" category... it's impossible to even make sense of the averages of their numbers because the reporting is so sloppy.
     
  20. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #20
    There are a couple areas where the G4 towers are still competitive performers:

    1. Apps, like Motion, that need a powerful video card. G4 towers (well, some of them) can use flashed X800XT, 6800 GT/Ultra or even 7800GS AGP video cards that can run two 23" displays without braking a sweat, and are significantly more powerful than any of the iMac/Mini GPUs. Couple that big video card with an aftermarket dual 1.7/1.8GHz CPU and performance is quite good. The slow FSB is a handicap but the big video card possibilities make a big difference.

    2. If you are doing work that requires a big, fast RAID array then a G4 is the cheapest Mac that you can do it with. Even without the RAID, being able to install a PCI SATA card and run 2-4 500GB drives or a Raptor boot + big scratch drive is a nice option. 3.5" 7200RPM drives are cheap nowadays and are important for performance.

    Overall, G4 towers are good performers - if you plan on upgrading. In stock form they are too slow for games or pro apps, except for maybe the MDDs.

    For those of you who already own a G4 tower and are considering putting money into it to keep it going, I think that's a good idea - they have plenty of life in them yet. But if you are cross-shopping a used G4 tower with an Intel Mini, take a very careful look at benchmarks for the apps you plan on using - those Core Duo/Core Solo CPUs are very powerful and the only things holding that Mini back are the video hardware and HDD. The iMac G5 is also viable option, as long as you don't mind having an all-in-one (but the ones with GeForce 5200s are a bit on the meh side GPU-wise).

    Also, don't forget that a refurb dual G5 tower can be close in price to the more expensive G4s - right now Apple has a refurb dual 1.8GHz for $1300...You certainly don't want to drop $1000 on an MDD and then spend a few hundred on upgrades when you can get a G5 tower for just $300 more! :eek:

    EDIT: Yes, xbench is crap....I've had it give significantly different scores after several runs on the same computer, rebooting each time. Cinebench is much better, but overall the best benchmarks are the real-world ones on the apps people actually use.
     
  21. asencif macrumors 6502

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    #21
    This post proves my point of my earlier post. Yes the G4's are overpriced, however many are underestimating the value of expandability for these systems. I have clients who have setup Raids with these systems and getting great performance. To say that a MBP destroys a G5 now is not being accurate as many Pro's will not be using one for major production work. Can you set up a raid system with 4 HD's? Run dual PCI-E cards or for the older models have a video card that runs two screens? Some pros require the 4GB RAM or more, need a Fibre Channel card or the ability to put in a capture card and attach a DigiBetaDeck. You can actually still pull this off with a PMG4 even, although of course not to the efficiency of a G5 system.

    These needs may be out of the norm for most users, however there are people that belong to a pro market that still makes great use of these systems. So just because the latest CD chips are on par with a DC 2.0 G5 doesn't mean that the overall system is. Now when the Intel Powermacs come out then it will change a lot of things, however there is still nothing in the immediate future that will beat a Quad in the Intel pipeline until maybe Mid 07.
     
  22. macgeek2005 macrumors 65816

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    Jan 31, 2006
    #22
    Oh i'm sorry, did I not warn you to NOT look at the submitted benchmarks? Those things are completaly unreliable. I actually do tests on the actuall machines, the the Dual Core 2.0Ghz G5 got 103, whereas the 2.0Ghz iMac got 55.

    Check this out.

    http://barefeats.com/imcd2.html
     
  23. form thread starter macrumors regular

    form

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    #23
    There is no question that you can upgrade an older Power Mac G4. And, to come even close to recent models...you'd have to upgrade, quite a bit. And that will cost you. Quite a bit.

    But you will always have bottlenecks like AGP, the system bus speed of 100, 133 or 167mhz, the sdram/ddram speeds, and, of course, the processors themselves. And no matter how much you upgrade, the same motherboard will have those same limitations.

    The Intel processors will, I believe, make the contrast between "Power Mac G4" and "Modern Mac" become very stark. Perhaps the money spent upgrading an older mac to Somewhat-Close-To-Modern speeds...would be better invested in something that HAS a future.

    You may say it's wrong to compare a Power Mac G4 to an Intel Mac Mini, but I disagree. Ask yourself: Who's buying these computers? They're within the same price range, and you know that neither of them is, or will EVER be, the top of the line. What do you expect to upgrade in your Mac? Ram, Hard Drives, Processor, Graphics card. Well, ram (Much faster ram) and processor (much faster processor) are already taken care of in the Mac Mini. The built-in hard drive on the Mac Mini is Serial ATA, and external hard drives are widely available. So that leaves...graphics cards. Well. Your G4's NEVER going to be a graphics behemoth, gaming or otherwise. So, really, the only thing left which makes the Power Mac G4 more preferable would be the capacity for PCI cards, and RAID storage for server use. And by the time you've invested in all those extras, the price will so far exceed your one-time outlay for the Mac Mini that you...might as well have waited for the next XServe design.

    Let's be honest. Very similar people are buying both types of computer, though the mental emphasis of "oh it's new and cool" sometimes takes precedence. Both computers are inexpensive, and neither one is the top of the line, and they both appeal to someone who's NOT LOOKING TO SPEND A TON OF MONEY. This person has been me, several times over, and I have gone between these two options, back and forth, back and forth.

    The Mac Mini is, right off the bat, as fast or faster, processor-wise, than ANY of your Power Mac G4s will EVER be. The RAM and system bus of the Mac Mini are also faster than ANY Power Mac G4 will EVER be. So, once again, I say you have graphics and expansion bays...and your Power Mac G4 isn't the latest in either of them, but rather the middle-upper road. But neither is the best, fastest model out there. Those who spend $1,000 on a Power Mac G4 are paying a premium for internal hard drive expandability and somewhat better graphics acceleration. And THEN they'll have to pay for the extra hard drives and faster graphics card!

    Am I being redundant? I don't mean to...but just the same, I've heard that most people have to read a thing three times before they really, fully get it, and it sinks in.

    Those various viewpoints mentioned in an early response do very strongly influence perception of this situation. Price slots: Where does this fit relative to that? Is it usable: Relative value aside, can it improve my current situation somewhat, at a lower price than the latest models? And, compared to the latest: Is it a piece of junk?

    Ideally, if everything goes pretty smooth, and most things work usably (if not with the fluidity of instant results or silky frame rates), then "that's enough." But I am absolutely bound - by the way I perceive things, which, I hope, allows me a smaller chance of getting ripped off - to consider relative performance with respect to the price.

    Upgrading? It's a selling point, but I know that the older systems have severe limitations that grow more and more overt as fast moving technology leaps forward. Plus, upgrading costs more, thus reducing the appeal (to me).

    Performance relative to Price. Can I put a value on an older computer based on its current performance? And what about if it's upgraded? This is where my opinion has diverged from the ones of sellers (and buyers) of Power Mac G4s and other models from a similar era.

    I was never, ever able to justify sinking $1,000 into a computer that, though it did most things okay, performed only half as fast as a newer computer which sold for $1600, and had older technologies which would never be possible to update to nearly the level of the newer model.

    There were many G4 macs that were considered good deals at over $1,000, even when the G5 had been in use for a while. Single-Processor Sawtooth G4s occasionally still sold for $400 or more. I would often take the older and modern computers, find various performance benchmarks for each, and then compare them by multiplying the older model's performance...and then I'd do the same with the price.

    A modern comparison: If, in theory, a Dual 2ghz G5 system costs $2k, and it's...probably 8-10 times as fast as a 500mhz G4 system in many tasks - processor alone, excluding the major advances in RAM and graphics acceleration, and the capacity for more modern updates - then the 500mhz G4 should, I think, be worth NO MORE than $250, and probably a bit less.

    That's how I look at it. Of course, I do consider other factors as well...but I think I've said enough to get my view across.
     
  24. macgeek2005 macrumors 65816

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    #24
    Look I don't know how to explain this, but because the MacMini is a small computer it is considerably slower than a Dual G4 Tower.
     
  25. form thread starter macrumors regular

    form

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    #25
    The G4 mini or the Intel mini? Please remember that the Intel mini is currently emulating via rosetta.
     

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