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What to buy? (P4 2.8, G5 1.8, Dual 1.4)

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by Zooley, Aug 3, 2003.

  1. macrumors newbie

    I've always been a PC user. After much raving from a friend about OS X, a thumbs up from my father (who is a UNIX person at heart and thus likes OS X being built on UNIX technology), and using a mac at work, I've been thinking of switching. However, I'm torn. First, there is the cost of software. Namely, the Adobe products, all of which I have already for PC but would need to re-buy for mac. Second, there's the performance issues. Which would ultimately be better (with Photoshop as the primary process intesive program)?

    P4 2.8 GHz hyper-threading 800MHz FSB, 1 gig of RAM, 128 Meg video card

    G5 1.8 GHz, 1 gig of RAM, 128 Meg video card

    G4 dual 1.4 GHz, 1 gig of RAM, 128 Meg video card

    Through various configurations, I can get one of the three above for close to the same price as each other. In the long run, the Macs will cost more due to re-buying software as mentioned above. But is it worth it? I have little trouble switching between a PC and Mac when it comes to using them. I do, however, like OS X more than Windows. Admittedly, the market domination of Windows and PCs worries me a bit in thinking about switching to a Mac.

    I'll be stuck with a new computer for a few years and want to make sure I go the right route.
  2. arn
    macrumors god


    Staff Member

    It may be a bit premature to make definitive recommendations.

    Obviously, posting to a Mac board, you will get mac-biased recs.

    But, we don't have real benchmarks yet of the G5 in real life scenarios... such as Photoshop.

    Once the new machines start shipping, there will be tons of benchmarks posted, I'm certain.

  3. macrumors 603


    As talked about here, some software companies let you buy cross-platform upgrades. That should be a little cheaper for you. Although VirtualPC is pretty slow, it could be fine for some PC specific apps.

    I would suggest getting a Dual 2 GHz, the 64MB video card over the 128 MB one, adding third-party RAM yourself, and your own monitor. Plus, if you buy it from someplace like PowerMax, or some other place that doesn't charge sales tax and has cheap or free shipping, you can save even more.

    Not to mention a possible discount if you're a student, or know a teacher.

    You could buy a PC, but do you really want to run Windows? Especially for stuff like Photoshop?
  4. macrumors newbie

    Despite working between 2 to 5 jobs at any given time, I am not made of money. A dual 2 GHz G5 would be very nice, but it is simply out of my price range. The 1.8 GHz G5 is pushing the limits of my funds all on its own, even with a student discount.

    As I stated, I HAVE been running Photoshop on Windows. Honestly, I haven't noticed any problems that wouldn't be encountered on a Mac as well (lack of RAM, etc.).

    Basically, I was wondering if anyone knew how the single processor 1.8 GHz G5 would compare to the dual 1.4 GHz G4 (which I can get for a bit cheaper). And at that, how either would compare to the PC? I would like to switch to a Mac but the monetary cost of doing so is beginning to be a deterrent.
  5. macrumors 6502a


    I thought HyperThreading made things like Photoshop slower in real-life use. :confused:

    I'd wait and see if the rumors of a Dual 1.8 GHz G5 are true, and if they are, then go with that. The 200 Mhz per processor shouldn't make much difference, and it seems as though the cost savings would make it worthwhile. Wasn't it speculated to be $400 off the Dual 2 GHz?
  6. macrumors 68000


    Ok, my question to you is what machine are you running on right now?

    CPU, memory, HD, etc.

    This is to address how much actually you want to "gain" per say on your switch. What do you find lacking that you would gain from switching? Or if you prefer, upgrading? What is lacking in your current system?

    BTW: the 865 and 875 chipset for intel will only support the P4 C processors and lower, and will not be supporting the newer prescott. This means if you want a 2.8ghz P4 C 800fsb processor, the highest you'll be able to upgrade is 3.2ghz.

    In that sense, i would opt for the cheaper 2.4c and bump up the the FSB, as these processors and their respective chipsets can support the higher bandwidth. OC of 1000+ on FSBs are NOT uncommon if you decide to purchase the Abit boards (IC7 or IS-7 based on budget). This kind of memory bandwidth certainly would help in photoshop.

    p4 2.4c = 173
    Abit IC7 = 130
    memory = up to 300, depending on how much you will need (i would suggest getting 3500 or PC3700 ram to support the FSB, as anything less would be restricting its HIGH fsb potential).

    [edit]: oops, saw that you said you wanted 1 gig of ram. 2 sticks of 512MB corsair 3700 or even 3200 sticks would suffice in getting your frontside bus comfortably up to 900-920. As you do not mention the "need" to overclock, 900fsb is certainly something you can simply change in bios and forget about it. 1000fsb does take a bit more work, in tweakin the voltage, memory timings, etc. 2 sticks would go for about 260-320, depending on where you purchase.

    Funkwhat2: You are aware that HT can be turned off and on, it is an option.
  7. macrumors 6502a


    Aware I am, but is it a hassle? Not to hijack the thread or anything....:D
  8. macrumors 68000


    i was under the impression HT is under a BIOS option...but i'll probably need to look into that.
  9. macrumors 603


    If you are comfortable with Adobe apps under a PC, and Windows doesn't bother you, you can buy or build one that will be very fast and pretty cheap. Personally, I can't stand Photoshop and Illustrator under Windows, even on a faster P4. For some reason it just feels like it runs better on a Mac. But that's just me. Some people say Macs have better color correction. At least OS 9 did. Don't know about X.

    To be honest, we don't know how well a G5 does compared to a G4. Even duals. It's supposed to be faster than a higher clocked P4, and we'd hope that to be true, but we won't know until after they come out and are tested more. Normally I'd suggest playing with one first, but it's not an option yet. If you can get a dual G4 cheap, and want OS X, that might be the best bet. Just load it full of third-party RAM.

    If speed and price are your only concerns, hate to say it, but a PC may be your best bet. Much cheaper, and you already own the software. There is a reason why a lot of photo editors use Macs, but if Windows doesn't bother you, well... you're lucky. What about your work Mac? Can you :ahem: borrow software to :ahem: test it on your machine? Not that I would ever advocate such a thing, but, you know. You can always buy the upgrades as you can afford them.

    If, after the G5 comes out, you can play with one in person, that might give you a better idea. There is no definitive answer, unfortunetly. But if you qualify for student discounts, that helps on the Mac end. Besides the Apple Store discounts, you can get software from places like http://www.academicsuperstore.com or do the cross platform upgrade (you gotta buy a Photoshop upgrade sometime). And you can use some of the stuff you already have - monitors, drives, printers, scanners, etc.

    There's also the student developer program. For $99 you can get a really big discount on hardware (but you can only use it once).
  10. macrumors 6502a

    If your main application is Photoshop, without a doubt between the dual G4 and Pentium IV, the Pentium will perform faster and more efficiently. I've sat and timed my laptop verses top o'line dualies applying different effects and filters and depending on the size of the files, you can time the difference between minutes to in one case, an hour. This is with my lappy only with 1/2 Gig and the dualie with 2 gig of RAM (work machine.) Adobe Photoshop just isn't very "friendly" to G4s with OS X (other Adobe products are not such an issue.)

    G5s are an unknown, but from what's been demonstrated, a dual 2GHz will win against a PIV 2.8, but a single 1.8Ghz probably won't; I'd wait and try it out because the 1.8 is even more of an unknown than a dual 2.0. Once again, all of this will only be truly important if you're using Photoshop alot.

    If you're strictly in favour of Macs, take the G5 1.8; the operating volume from the G4s is annoying and the system architecture on the G5 will give you some growing room for the future. As for software, if all the software you use is available for the Mac, don't worry because most companies offer low-cost or no-cost cross-platform upgrades (including Microsoft-- at least they did when I needed it back awhile.) If it isn't avail for the Mac and only on x86, as long as it isn't processor intensive, VirtualPC should work. If it does use lots of resources, a critical application, or time is a major concern, then you will find VPC not sufficient. Just remember that VirtualPC is more of a crutch to run x86 apps, not a solution.
  11. macrumors regular

    As long as you get a mac your fine

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