Will iMac G5 be enough?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by vtprinz, Nov 30, 2004.

  1. vtprinz macrumors 6502

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    Nov 30, 2004
    #1
    I'll say first that I'm coming from an iBook G3 (800MHz), so anything should be a noticeable bump in performance. But I have realized that I'm a pretty processor heavy user, not so much with gaming, but with digital photography. Processing 8 Megapixel RAW files in Photoshop on my G3 can be painfully slow, especially since the RAM is maxed out at 640MB. I've actually gotten accustomed to shooting pictures at a lower quality, and thus smaller file sizes, just to speed things up a bit on the computer. On top of that, I also do a good amount of digital recording (multitrack and synth work), so I need a nice unit.

    However, I'm also a pretty poor college student, so I can't be spending $3000 or more on a new machine (otherwise I'd get a high end PM and be done with it). I've been looking at the 17inch iMac G5, which, with 1Gig RAM and a larger hard drive will run me about $1800. I can ge the same set up in the SP PowerMac G5 for the same price, but no monitor (I have a 5 year old 15inch CRT, but that obviously wouldn't work well for digital photography). I can probably also knock off a bit on the price by getting non-apple brand memory.

    Being able to throw a second hard drive into the SP PM would be nice, but buying a monitor comparible with the built-in units on the iMacs wouldn't be nice.

    So my question is this: will the 17in 1.8Ghz iMac with, say, a gig of RAM be enough for my needs? Should I look at the 20in model instead? Or should I leave iMacs behind all together and bite the bullet with a Powermac, either the SP or the low-end Dual?

    Thanks for you help,

    -Mark
     
  2. edesignuk Moderator emeritus

    edesignuk

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    Mar 25, 2002
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    London, England
    #2
    I'm not sure which would be best of you, but one thing's for sure, never buy extra RAM from Apple (like you mentioned). It's a huge rip-off and offers no gains over 3rd party memory.
     
  3. daveL macrumors 68020

    daveL

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    Location:
    Montana
    #3
    Well, be sure that the vendor for that 3rd party memory guaranties it will "pair up" with the original Apple memory. Otherwise, you'll end up with a Gig of memory with a 64-bit data path, instead of a 128-bit data path. It *does* make a difference. There are several MR forum threads on this topic.
     
  4. asif786 macrumors 65816

    asif786

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    Jun 17, 2004
    Location:
    London, UK.
    #4
    I have an iMac arriving tomorrow, and personally I would recommend you get a SP G5.

    If you do a lot of photography, the Apple cinema display is superb. I know it's a lot of money, but in my opinion it's worth it.

    I would recommend you get the SP, use it with the crappy CRT for a while and then save up for an apple display, or borrow the money for the display from your parents or something..

    The reason the PM is good is because if you're a student, you dont need to buy everything in one go like with the iMac. You can always upgrade (but make sure you get built in bluetooth though, a big MUST). Plus, later on, you can always get a bigger screen if you need one.

    Oh, and lastly, from what I've gathered, the imac dispay and the asd are two totally different beasts.

    Anyway, it's just my view. There's another thread in the buyers guide forum I think that discusses this very topic. Good Luck with your Mac purchase :)

    /asif
     
  5. edesignuk Moderator emeritus

    edesignuk

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    #5
    "Apple" RAM isn't made by Apple anyway (I'm sure you know this, just pointing it out for vtprinz), my iMacs memory was Crucial.
     
  6. vtprinz thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Nov 30, 2004
    #6
    The apple cinema displays are way out of my price range. That would just about double the price of the package, and I'd be looking at close to $4K. And as for the parents? They're poorer than I am.

    The ability to upgrade is the only thing that's really making me consider the PM. But, realistically, the only thing I'd probably do is add a second hard drive. I could get the iMac with an external HDD and spend less money.

    My real question though is whether or not the iMac will be powerful enough. I'm not too concerned with design and space and all that, it just needs to be fast and strong. I messed around briefly with an iMac at the bookstore on campus, and honestly it seemed kind of slow, even compared to my G3. I'm hoping that was just a matter of RAM, as I doubt the display iMac had any more than 256MB, but it does have me a little worried.
     
  7. gekko513 macrumors 603

    gekko513

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2003
    #7
    The iMac gives approximately the same performance at a lower price since the screen you have needs an upgrade anyway.

    The PowerMac support more RAM, but 1GB should be enough for a couple of years. You can upgrade it to 2GB after that. 1GB sticks should be cheap by that time. Since you say can do without the extra internal upgradability of the PowerMac then the iMac would be the best buy.
     
  8. sigamy macrumors 65816

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    Mar 7, 2003
    Location:
    NJ USA
    #8
    I also say go for the iMac. The PM would be a better fit if you needed more internal upgradability and if you already had a decent display. As you said, you can get an external Firewire HD for the iMac.

    The iMac with 768mb will be a good performer for PhotoShop. With 1.25gb RAM it will be very good.

    Check Apple's special deals page. They have had refurbished iMac's for $200 off. This could maybe allow you to move up to the 20" model. I'd go for the 20" if I were you. (But maybe that's because I already have a 17" G4 iMac.) They also had some refurb PMs on there if you go that route.
     
  9. vtprinz thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Nov 30, 2004
    #9
    Any chance we'll see an upgrade to the iMacs in January? Maybe a speed bump?
     
  10. JeffTL macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 18, 2003
    #10

    In my experience the memory sold by Apple isn't that bad a value. Two sticks 512 for iMac G5 1.6 from Apple Store (BTO): $225. From crucial.com, the usual third party suggested by people on Web fora: $180. That's $45, but then everything is under a single warranty (so if anything goes wrong, you know who to blame) and it's installed for you. Seems fair enough a price difference.
     
  11. hitsuzen macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    #11
    Hi Mark,
    If You're really strapped for cash, then the 1.8 iMac should handle your needs. But IMHO, I'd say go for the Dual 1.8 Powermac. I think, the ability to upgrade is important, maybe your needs will change in a few months and you need a better graphics card!
    and if you need a good monitor but not break the bank, check out this Dell 20 inch.
     
  12. Macmaniac macrumors 68040

    Macmaniac

    #12
    If I were you I would pick up the SP powermac. Get a gig of third party RAM, buy a nice CRT monitor, and when you get more money buy more memory and HDs.
    The iMac is nice, but if you get really serious about photography you are going to want expandability.
     
  13. vtprinz thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Nov 30, 2004
    #13
    Thanks for the help everyone. I'm still pretty torn, but I don't think there's any way I can afford a PM. The cost of a decent monitor is just too much. So I'm looking at the 20" iMac, which I think will work well if I boost the memory.

    Not being able to update the video card DOES bother me though. But maybe it's not something I'll need to worry about, as still photographs really only need so much power from a video card (I assume the only reason to upgrade to bigger and better video cards is for gaming, yes?)

    I'm still going to wait until January at least, maybe something interesting will happen.
     
  14. sigamy macrumors 65816

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    NJ USA
    #14
    I don't even own Photoshop so I have no clue about this but can someone explain to me why "doing digital photography" might require the expandability of a Power Mac? I just don't get it.

    You are manipulating large images files. OK, you need plenty of RAM and a decent processor. The iMac can handle 2GB. That is plenty for today and probably the next 3 years. It has the same chip as the SP PM. It has a slower FSB and "budget" video card. These shortcomings really shouldn't hurt you. The video card in there will be more than fine for what you are doing.

    It is a tough decision. If you really think you'd rather add internal drives (vs. external Firewire or USB 2.0) or if you need more than 2GB RAM then you *have* to go with a PM and live with a crappy display until you can afford a new display.

    If you care about the design of the machine, want something that doesn't take up much space, yet still performs very close to the PM then get the iMac load it up with RAM and rock and roll.

    And I'll say it again--check Apple's special deals page for refurbs. You can get any one of the 3 iMacs for $200 off. $1099 for a G5 with a 17" LCD! That is sick!
     
  15. vtprinz thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Nov 30, 2004
    #15
    I looked at the special deals page...no iMac G5's. Where are you seeing this?
     
  16. maya macrumors 68040

    maya

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2004
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    somewhere between here and there.
    #16

    Whatever anyone does do not and I repeat do not buy the 17" iMac G5 1.8GHz that has way too many problems the 20" and the 1.6Ghz 17" are great.

    Apple needs to put some more attention on the iMac G5.


    By the way Apple sells ram that is made by Samsung. And yes it is a bad deal if you know where to look for deals you will find a 1 gig dimm for the iMac g5 for quite less and have money left to buy something else. :)
     
  17. maya macrumors 68040

    maya

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2004
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    somewhere between here and there.
    #17
    The iMac G5 1.6GHz should be more than ample for your needs.

    buy ram from www.memoryx.net and get a gigs worth in there for a total of 1.2gigs of ram. That will be a great machine.
     
  18. coconn06 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2003
    Location:
    King of Prussia, PA
    #18
    You're missing one important factor. The iMac comes with 256MB RAM standard. So the two 512MB sticks for $225 with Apple is misleading.

    With Apple, you spend $225 and get 1GB of RAM. With a third party ($180 as you mentioned; I paid $160 with shipping) you get 1.25GB RAM for $45 (or $65) less. So you're actually getter a better deal with a third party than you suggest.
     
  19. jayscheuerle macrumors 68020

    jayscheuerle

    #19
    I must admit to a chuckle when someone needs a G5 for digital photography when I did a minute's worth of 3D animation on a 6100 with 64MB of RAM seven years ago. Talk about waiting for your machine...
     
  20. Hemingray macrumors 68030

    Hemingray

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    #20
    So, has it finished yet? ;)
     
  21. jayscheuerle macrumors 68020

    jayscheuerle

    #21
    I didn't say I rendered it on there. :D

    At the time I worked at a service bureau during the night shift and used the 8100s and other machines to render segments. Electric Image ruled in those days for the Mac. There really was no other professional level 3D software at the time (which is how they could charge $8000 for it)...

    I gave the 6100 to a guy in Wisconsin for the cost of shipping. Tossed in a Calcom Drawing Slate as well... Old Macs never die, they just.. get old..

    (great sig!)
     
  22. QCassidy352 macrumors G3

    QCassidy352

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    Mar 20, 2003
    Location:
    Bay Area
    #22
    The imac and the SP PM have the same FSB and video card. (yes, the SP PM is "crippled" as well, making it inferior to the one that was originally released.) The PM can take 4 GB RAM instead of 2, can have a second HD internal, and can upgrade the graphics card. None of that matters for you. (well, HD would be nice, but a fast cheap external would be a better idea.) So go imac, definitely.
     
  23. Sabbath macrumors 6502a

    Sabbath

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    Sep 18, 2003
    Location:
    London
    #23
    If it puts your mind at rest at all, I really don't think you'd get much benefit from an sp powermac anyway. It's exactly the same specs as the 1.8GHz iMacs just with more expandability. The iMac should hold enough RAM for you and external hard disks are fine for expanding later. The graphics card will do fine for 2D work, its not going to set the world on fire but it will do fine for your purposes. So all in you're not really losing anything going for the iMac and it is a lot cheaper considering the cost of a decent quality LCD.

    I would definitely go for the 20" whatever you're using it for and especially if you're dealing with big images, the extra space is a big benefit. Contrary to what was said above I believe the 20" iMac screen is identical to the cinema display (I'm certain the old 20" iMac G4 and 20" cinema display for the same and I see no reason why they wouldn't use the new panels in the iMac G5 as well as the updated cinema displays) so don't feel you are missing out there, although I would check with apple to be certain.
     
  24. vtprinz thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Nov 30, 2004
    #24

    What exactly would I need to expand for digital photography? I understand if you're doing digital video then you're always going to want better and faster video cards, but for photography there seems to be a limit on how much the video card will really do, and I don't think I'd need anything more than what comes with the iMac. The only other things that I know you can expand in the PM is a second hard drive and memory. I think a 2GB memory limit should be plenty, and I can always add an external HD to the iMac.

    Setting up a RAID array in the PM would always be nice though...
     

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