Which PowerMac - Big Question ...

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Blong, Mar 14, 2006.

  1. Blong macrumors member

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    Mar 14, 2006
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #1
    Hello

    Newbie to this forum - hope I can get some help with this. I've been agonising for a long time over which PowerMac to buy.

    Basically, I do a fair amount of photoshop work (but I am not a pro) - I shoot in RAW and may take 200 shots in a day. Many projects that I work on require in the range of 50 or more layers - my old 1.4GHz PC just doesn't cut it anymore.

    Will probably also look at using Aperture.

    I'm really looking for longevity and don't want to spend extra $$$ for a new machine to just keep me happy until the Intel PowerMacs come out, photoshop runs natively on Intel and the bugs are sorted out.

    My question is whether I should get a 2.0GHz Dual Core and bump up the hard drive to 250MB, add 2GB RAM (not from Apple) and add Geforce 7800 256MB video card ...
    .... or go straight to the 2.5 Quad and only bump up the RAM by 1GB and then add a better video card much later (if at all - it will already have the 6600 256MB card) ....
    ... or go middle ground and go for the 2.3GHz Dual core with a similar setup to the first one.

    I have already made the decision that I'll be getting the 24" Dell display.

    The price difference between the 2.0 and Quad set up as above (with edu discount) is in the range of AUS$1219.

    I hope someone can give me some advice on this.

    Rob
     
  2. Glenn Wolsey macrumors 65816

    Glenn Wolsey

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    New Zealand
    #2
    Personally, I am waiting for Intel, I recommend you do that too.
     
  3. sintaxi macrumors member

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    Dec 15, 2005
    #3
    i am also waiting so I picked up a referb iMac G5 (isight).

    the final straw was the fact that the powermac only comes with half gig Ram. It is hard enough to part with $4000 cnd for a computer but to then invest in another $500-$1000 in Ram hurts.

    it is so unreasonable for someone to run 512mb Ram in a $4000 Quad machine. It just bothers me so much that they dont at least start at 1 gig. For heavens sake, a iBook comes with 512mb.
     
  4. QCassidy352 macrumors G3

    QCassidy352

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    Mar 20, 2003
    Location:
    Bay Area
    #4
    I have a friend who is a professional photographer. he has a quad, but only 1.5 GB RAM and the stock video card. He says that according to system profiler, he does not need more RAM than that even when the processors are all maxed out, and that the graphics card has very little effect on his (2d) work.

    So my advice, based on what he's told me, would be to get the quad, bump up the memory when you can, and don't worry about the video card at all.
     
  5. adk macrumors 68000

    adk

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    #5

    3rd party RAM is a lot cheaper than apple ram. I welcome apple to put in 256 stock memory and i'll buy RAM at New Egg for a fraction of apple's price.
     
  6. THX1139 macrumors 68000

    THX1139

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2006
    #6
    Uh, your complaint doesn't make sense. You can get 2GB of Samsung ram from OWC for less than $200. It's the same ram spec that Apple uses. To complain about installing ram in a high-end machine...well, that's like buying a Hummer and bitching about gas prices.
     
  7. Blong thread starter macrumors member

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    Mar 14, 2006
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #7
    Okey dokey - we have one for the quad and one for the intel.

    Glen - waiting for intel. Hmmmm. I've read a bit about this in this forum and find myself teetering on the brink. Will the intel powermacs have a speed jump or just a bump? Judging by the speed jumps with the Macbook pro and intel iMac, there is great potential, but are there processors out there that will better the quad? Also, when is photoshop going to be universal? What about plug-ins and drivers for printers and such? Also, there seem to be little bugs popping up here and there with the intel machines (could be nitpicking). I'm not sure about about new technology and would prefer "tried and true".

    Wouldn't a current powermac last a long time into the future?

    Buying RAM from a third party was already in the equation.

    Thanks for the comments guys - however, still dunno ...

    Cool.

    Rob
     
  8. FFTT macrumors 68030

    FFTT

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Location:
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    #8
    My best friend is a graphics professional running a standard REV B 2.0 (8DIMM) G5 just like mine with 2 GB RAM and the stock 64 MB video card.

    She runs the entire CS2 suite all day long without a hitch.

    Adding a 2nd internal seagate 250GB SATA would be a good idea
    for holding all your data.

    You would be fine running CS2 on a dual core 2.0, 2.3 or Quad and would not have to wait for Adobe to upgrade to Universal Binary.

    Buy guaranteed Apple compatible 3rd party RAM from OWC (macsales.com) or datamem.com or Crucial.
    OWC sells factory original Samsung RAM.

    If you can afford to wait till this summer, then the Intel based towers may be your best choice in longetivity, but if you need something right now
    that will last 4 years plus, then you're perfectly safe with a PPC model.

    Adobe should easily transfer your licence for a nominal shipping fee for the
    OSX version as long as you are a licensed owner.

    I have no idea how much they might charge for their UB upgrade.
     
  9. SmurfBoxMasta macrumors 65816

    SmurfBoxMasta

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    I'm only really here at night.
    #9
    Unless you plan to get into video &/or 3D modeling, for strictly 2D PS work, do NOT waste money on a top of the line the video card, it wont make ANY difference in the speed of your workflow or the system. As long as you have 64 or maybe 128mb of vram, you will be fine.

    Spend the cash now on a DP machine, and maxing the ram + big, fast HDD's.....PS will love you :p

    According to Adobe's latest statements, PS will not be UB until the next MAJOR version (CS3??) is released. And intellimac towers wont be out for a good while either (WWDC/August ??), so that would dictate waiting a while to go that route IMHO.......
     
  10. iGary Guest

    iGary

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    May 26, 2004
    Location:
    Randy's House
    #10
    If you plan on using Aperture you won't be wasting a cent on a good video card, but don't go through the roof with one, either. If you can afford the 7800GT, get it, otherwise, you'll prolly be OK. Aperture is wicked heavy on the graphics card. My X800 XT is away at ATI being replaced/fixed/whatever, and let me tell you, I can sure feel the sluggishness in Aperture using my old stock (256MB) card.

    Since you already have Photoshop, and since Aperture will be a UB this month, I'm always of the opinion of buying as much machine as your wallet can bear.

    I wouldn't play around with a Revision A Power Mac, personally.

    My .02
     
  11. FFTT macrumors 68030

    FFTT

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Location:
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    #11
    I would buy a 2.0 Dual G5, add 2 GB of 3rd party RAM and an additional HD.

    This is more than enough machine for what you're doing even if you go pro.

    The first Intel Tower Macs will be attractive, I'm sure, but the current 2.0
    will hold you quite well untill we see those quad core processors and all the
    applications have gone universal binary as mainstream.

    Figure the 2.0 dual core should hold well through 2008 and longer.

    The Dell 24" is an amazing display, but you'll be glad that the improved graphics cards can handle a second display for checking color corrections.

    Things are changing SO fast in the next 2 years.

    I would get a system that covers all your actual daily needs with a bit of room to spare without going overboard.

    If you can take advantage of education discounts, all the better.
     
  12. Keebler macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2005
    Location:
    Canada
    #12
    quad overkill?

    I would personally get a dual core, but not necessarily a quad. my understanding of the quad is if you need multiple apps working at the same time. sounds like you'll have maybe 2? if so, then a regular dual core would be great with a bunch of ram (maybe 4 GBs?).

    This talk of waiting for intel schmintel - it's driving me nuts - Here's the dilly - it sounds like you do this for a living? if so, then get a powermac now. if it makes your workflow more efficient and fast, thus allowing you to focus on acquiring new business instead of stressing out that your current machine can't hack it, then buy it now. It will be well worth it. Allow it to MAKE you money. By the time intels are out (august is the rumour), then you'll probably have enough to buy another one if you really need too. If you don't, you still have an amazing machine. I simply don't buy the entire intel excitement. I can't believe Apple would stop their support of powermacs for at least another 3 - 5 years. who knows what the computing world will have by then.

    If it's a hobby, then wait for an intel.

    best of luck,
    Keebler
     
  13. Platform macrumors 68030

    Platform

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    Dec 30, 2004
  14. combatcolin macrumors 68020

    combatcolin

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    Northants, UK
  15. asencif macrumors 6502

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    Dec 21, 2005
    #15
    If you need a machine now that will increase your productivity and your business then buy now. Waiting is for people that can truly afford it, have the time, and hobbyists. The PPC G5 is a very powerful chip 64-Bit chip that is now being undermined because Intel is here. Apple didn't praise this chip the past two years because of it being slow. It's true of it's power and many apps weren't optimized yet for DP usage nor 64-Bit during it's beginnings. You can get one now and it will do the job for at least the next 2-4 years. If you want the system that will have the most life, power, and is available now then go for the Quad. That's if you can afford it. A 2.0 and 2.3 would be fine too. RAM is important of course. If you don't need a DC model than you can buy a refurb 2.5 or 2.7 model which are very fast production machines.
     
  16. THX1139 macrumors 68000

    THX1139

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2006
    #16

    Yeah..that's good advice. Then when your done waiting for Intel, you can wait some more for your software to be ported to Universal binary. Then wait awhile longer while they work the bugs out. Then wait some more because of revision B machines are "just over the horizon." Then wait some more because you read a rumor that dual intel quad core machines are coming out "soon." Meanwhile, how much time has gone by and what have you gained by all the waiting?

    What if you do decide to wait...and the new intel power macs suck compared to current line? Could happen you know, they may change the form factor (black plastic cases?) or drastically increase the price for the Pro-line. Then you just flushed all that waiting when you have to go buy a discontinued PPC machine. The thing is, waiting is risky because you can't be sure of what you are waiting for. When you know exactly what is available and have the need, then buy it NOW. The only caveat to all of this, is that it is worth it to wait until April 1st to see what Apple announces on their anniversary. Don't be surprised if they give one last speed bump to the PowerMac line. The reason they would do that is to keep the line alive until Intel can produce Conroe in volume and release the intel power macs the first quarter of 2007 (Macworld), while coinciding with Photoshop Universal Binary release.
     
  17. zap2 macrumors 604

    zap2

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    Washington D.C
    #17
    Get the Quad, it faster then any Mac if the history of Apple:eek:
     
  18. Blong thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2006
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #18
    Thanks everyone for the advice - many differing opinions, all good.

    Just to clarify, I am a hobbyist, and will not be using the machine for work. However, with a cannon 20D and shooting in RAW, i'd consider myself to be more of a "pro-sumer" in this area.

    In terms of how many apps open at anytime, I would generally have normal stuff open - iTunes, Firefox, Photoshop - but generally not too much more - I suppose either Aperture or Lightroom as well when I get to it.

    Starting to lean towards the 2.0 or 2.3 with nvidia7800 video card and as much RAM as I can get.

    Anyone think I would be better off in the long term with the quad?

    Thanks again

    Rob
     
  19. TangoCharlie macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2004
    Location:
    Horsham, West Sussex
    #19
    Wait...

    If your main concern is logevity, then wait for the Conroe based InteliMac. You shouldn't have that long to wait... August (i.e. September!) seems to be the punters' current bet... but it may be as soon as June. You'll have to wait a little longer for the CS3 apps, but again, it should still be 2006 not '7.

    I'm afraid to say, if you buy the G5 now, you'll regret it in the long run.....

    To start another thread.... what do you think the intel Macs will be called? My bet is simply the "Mac Pro". OTOH I think the XServes will stay "XServe", but the "X" now stands for x86!!

    The other question is... will the "Mac Pro" come with a "desktop" CPU, or a "server" CPU? Currenly intels "desktop" CPUs can't do Multi-CPU configurations, whereas the server CPUs (Xeons) can.

    Whatever happens, you can bet your bottom dollar that the Macintels will seriously out-perform the current G5s!! :D
     
  20. ~Shard~ macrumors P6

    ~Shard~

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    #20
    Conroe Intel PowerMacs will be announced in August and shipping a couple months afterwards. All pro apps are moving to Intel, so if you buy a PPC PowerMac now, you might be potentially handcuffing yourself for future apps. I'm sure UBs will be around for a while, but still, personally, I'd prefer to be on the new technology side of the coin as opposed to the old technology side of the coin. ;) :cool:

    For what you need, the quad is probably overkill - or at least, you will never fully realize its potential. That leaves you with the other models, which will get smoked by the new Conroe systems.

    I'd wait for Intel. If you can't wait for the fall, look into a solution to get you by, as I wouldn't want to invest a lot of $$$ in a new PPC PowerMac right now. :cool:
     
  21. bodeh6 macrumors 6502a

    bodeh6

    Joined:
    May 18, 2005
    #21
    If I were you I would get the DC 2.3 with the 7800. Then stick in 2-3 GBs of RAM and get a 23" ACD or 24" Dell 2405. That should be a great system for years to come. Get the biggest HD because with the sound of your work it will probably end up getting filled up. Why have 6+ more months of slow production when you can speed it up now? Mac Pros are likely to be announced in August and could ship either that afternoon or a month later. Plus you have to wait for Adobe CS3 to come out. Aperature will already universal though.
     
  22. ~Shard~ macrumors P6

    ~Shard~

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    #22
    Good point - it's anyone's guess when Adobe will actually release CS3. :rolleyes:
     
  23. combatcolin macrumors 68020

    combatcolin

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    #23

    Am i detecting a slight touch of something...?

    :)

    Anyway, while others might need a ne Mac now, i can most certainly wait 6 months.
     
  24. turtlebud macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    #24
    Hey Rob,

    I'm kind of in the same boat as you are - I'm into photography and shooting with the 20d. I haven't gotten into shooting in RAW yet, but I am seriously considering playing around with it at some point. Lightroom and Aperture are possibilities, but for the time being, I'm making due with iPhoto.

    The cliche, "get as much as you can for as little as possible" applies here. I want to get a machine that can last as long as possible too, but I want to spend as little as possible getting it. That being said, I'd go for the dual core 2.0 right now. The reason being the only major differences between the 2.0 and the 2.3 is the 0.3ghz and the bus speed. Unlike earlier G5's, this "low-end" G5 is NOT crippled. The RAM slots are the same, the RAM type is the same, the expansion slots are the same, etc. The only differences are the video card and the HD size. I could be wrong, but I have a feeling you won't notice the difference between the two machines. Plus, I just always feel that in 3 or 4 years, I'm going to want to upgrade again and this way I would have saved more money upfront.

    Cost wise, if you're buying from the retail store, a similarly equipped 2.0 (assuming graphics card upgrade to 7800GT and HD upgrade to 250GB) will save you $375+tax. You can save yourself some money ($75) and stick with the stock 160gb HD, the add a second HD yourself. I think 300gb SATA OEM drives run around $130+tax. But that all depends on how much space you think you need now.

    Good luck and let us know what you decide on!
     
  25. Blong thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2006
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #25
    Cool - thanks for the comments guys. Prolly not going to wait for intel though - one of those situations where it seems like I've been waiting and waiting for ever to get a PowerMac - I think i've been waiting for the "next big thing" since the first mac mini was released. I've had enough of it and my wife has had enough of me telling her about it - she wants me to buy something and keep quiet...:D

    About to plunge soon, but ... decisions, decisions ...:confused:

    Thanks for the comments turtlebud - try RAW for sure - that's all I shoot now (with the 20D as well) - you never know when a snapshot will turn into a cracker of a shot and there's just that little bit more control when post processing. Dynamic range tends to be better in RAW as well as the ability to set the white balance right if you didn't in the first place.

    If you start shooting in RAW - invest in some more memory cards - I can squeeze around 130 or so (I think) shots onto a 1gig card with the 20D. Then I have a few 512 cards as back up. Thinking about getting another 1gig card - prices in Oz have dropped a fair bit over the last few weeks.

    iphoto is OK, but give photoshop a go (CS, CS2 or Elements) - the RAW converter plug-in is fine. I'm looking at checking out Aperture and Lightroom as soon as I get this machine.

    Looks like the final decision is leaning towards the 2.3GHz and 7800 video card. Additional RAM and Hard Drive will be third party .... I think i'll have a decision by the weekend.
     

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