Advice for replacing old PPC G5 with MBP

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by quimbydog, Oct 14, 2009.

  1. quimbydog macrumors newbie

    Oct 14, 2009
    Hi all

    I have an old PowerPC G5 with a 23" HD Cinema Display that I bought in 2005. Since Snow Leopard does not support my G5 I was thinking about purchasing a new MacBook Pro to eventually replace her as I don't have a laptop at this time and was going to use it for my "only" Mac. A couple of questions:

    1. How does the screen size of the MBP relate to what resolution(s) I can run on my current display?

    2. I have seen conflicting information on what adapters I would need to buy to use my current display - any help appreciated.

    3. Is it worth the extra $1,000 for the 8GB RAM? I am a graphic designer and use AI/PS/DW CS4 etc - but nothing super heavy (not doing million layer PS files or anything....) I am conflicted here: it's a lot of $$$ and I know the laptops don't last as long as the towers due to wear/tear etc.

    Looking forward to your advice...

  2. PeterQVenkman macrumors 68020

    Mar 4, 2005
    I believe that has more to do with the video card capabilities than anything else. The faster 15 inch macbook pro has the same video card (512 MB ram) as the 17 inch macbook pro.

    What interface does your monitor currently require? DVI, dual link DVI, VGA?

    Don't buy your ram from Apple. That's over $500 too much. Buy it elsewhere and install it yourself:

    You could probably save more by shopping around. If you use AI/PS/DW simultaneously, I dare say it could be worth it. The CS4 suite is dog slow for what it does. Especially illustrator.
  3. CubeHacker macrumors 65816


    Apr 22, 2003
    1.) The screen size will obviously be smaller. However, resolution wise, it depends on the model MBP you buy. The 17" comes in 1920x1200 resolution which is exactly the same resolution you have on your 23" HD display - so you won't lose a single pixel of screen real estate. The 15" and 13" are much lower resolution - about half the pixels to be exact.

    2.) If you have the metal 23" cinema display, then all you need is a small adapter to DVI. If you have the old plastic cinema display then you need ADC-> DVI and then from minidisplay port to DVI.

    3.) I would get the ram from elsewhere if you really want 8gb.
  4. leekohler macrumors G5


    Dec 22, 2004
    Chicago, Illinois
    I've thought about going this route too. But the thing that stops me is superdrive death and general lack of upgradeability. I've gone through three superdrives in my dual core G5. Easy and cheap to replace in a tower- VERY different scenario with a laptop. I will most likely keep a low end Mac laptop and build a Hackintosh once I feel the need to upgrade- unless Apple comes out with a mid-range tower.
  5. seb-opp macrumors 6502

    Nov 16, 2008
    personally I would wait a while after purchasing the MBP to get 8GB ram. Unless you multitask with the most demanding apps, you probably won't need it yet, so why not wait until newer apps come out with more demanding system requirements, and then purchase the RAM when prices are lower?
  6. moviebrain macrumors member

    Oct 13, 2008
    I've had a few mac laptops...

    I've had 3 since late 2002, starting with the "Titanium" 1GHz Powerbook G4. I sold that in 2005 the day the 1.67 GHz "Aluminum" was released for $1000. I kept the Aluminum Powerbook until 2007 (selling it for $1000 again) and bought the 2.4 GHz "SR" Macbook Pro. In that time I had the superdrive fail on the first and second notebooks but a quick call to Applecare resolved the trouble each time.

    While I haven't held onto my laptops as long as you have your G5 tower, I know both of the 'books I sold worked without problems for at least a year after I sold them, and am still friends with both buyers if that says anything =)

    My current powerbook is still chugging along, refreshed by a RAM and HDD upgrade that cost less than $140. I'm not even looking at another laptop right now. I highly recommend doing RAM and HDD upgrades yourself. It's cheaper and super easy on the current crop of notebooks.

    I can imagine that the current and even the next gen Macbook Pro's will hold their value even better with the Unibody shell and LED backlit LCD's that don't dim over time like my first two notebooks did. Definitely get Applecare though. For notebooks where 95% of the internal parts (outside hdd, ram, and display) are on a single motherboard, repairs could get pricey if not covered by an extended warranty if the unthinkable happens.

    Good luck on getting a new computer, I think you'll really dig the speed bump made possible with the Intel transition a few years ago.
  7. quimbydog thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 14, 2009
    Thanks for your help so far - I appreciate it.

    I do have the metal 23" Cinema Display, so I think that's where the confusion was before with getting conflicting information as I had forgotten about the plastic one.

    I'm still not clear on the screen resolutions. Right now I have my resolution set at 1920 x 1200 and want things to look "the same" with the laptop when I am running it through the display here at my office. Is my only option the 17"? (I had also thought it had to do with the video card itself, so I am wondering about PeterQ's comment about the high end 15 and 17 having the same video card.)

    Thanks for the clarifications...

  8. velocityg4 macrumors 601


    Dec 19, 2004
    Yes you should be able to run the 23" at native resolution
    - 23" ran alone: full 1920x1200
    - screen spanning (either can be primary): external 1920x1200 and MBP at 1440x900
    - Mirrored mode: both will run at the MBP resolution of 1440x900 since it is the lowest res (basically mirrored mode will allow the highest res supported by both displays)

    As for the RAM definitely buy third party. For the price of the RAM from Apple you could be very close to buying 8GB RAM and a 256GB SSD for that MBP through

    The current best prices are
    FileMate 3FMS2S256M-R0 256GB SSD $595 and it uses the much lauded Indilinx controller
    Mini DisplayPort to DVI adapter $10
    As for the RAM the 8GB from OWC listed above by PeterQVenkman is the best price I could find for guaranteed to work memory.

    Newegg has some slightly cheaper DDR3 from G.Skill but there are no reviews confirming it works on Macs and indications from reviews of 4GB kits by G.Skill seem to have freezing issues on Macs.

    Also if you have need for a lot of storage on the go but not much need to burn DVD's/CD's then you can get kits to turn your Superdrive bay into a hard drive bay. Then you can toss a 500GB drive in there:cool:. If you just burn the occasional DVD you can always get a slim portable DVD Burner. Though thumb drives should cover most occasions.

    Don't forget to budget for a backup drive.
  9. CubeHacker macrumors 65816


    Apr 22, 2003
    Sorry, I think I misunderstood your previous question. Any size of the current MBP's can run your current 23" display at full 1920x1200 resolution. All I was saying that only the 17" MBP has its own 1920x1200 resolution screen, so if you want things the same resolution on both screens, then only the 17" MBP will do. But if you don't mind running at different resolutions (say 1920x1200 for your 23" and 1440x900 on the 15" MBP) then the lower sized MBP's will work too. It has nothing to do with the video card, as any modern video card made in the last 10 years can drive a 1920x1200 resolution display.
  10. MacKiddyWiddy macrumors 6502

    Aug 18, 2009
    i honestly dont think the 8gb ram is needed in the 17 [​IMG] just go 15 and if need be, upgrade... it'll be sure as hell cheaper, the 15 also has the same gfx card as the 17 so when hooking up to external monitors, the resolution options will be exactly the same [​IMG]
  11. JCP21 macrumors member

    Oct 15, 2009
    Hes right 8gb is to much, you are never going to need all of that, i would go with 4gb its all your really need. I would only go with 8 if you want to impress your friends[​IMG]

Share This Page