Better value: Maxed-out eMac or entry-level iMac G5?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by Rovias, Jun 30, 2005.

  1. Rovias macrumors member

    Feb 22, 2005
    I'm in the market for a new Mac. I've priced both of these machines using my Bank of America employee discount, and here's what it comes down to:

    1.42 GHz eMac G4 ($1324 after tax)
    1 GB RAM
    8x dual-layer Superdrive
    160 GB Hard Drive
    Airport Extreme
    Bluetooth & Wireless Keyboard/Mouse
    ATI Radeon 9600 w/ 64 MB VRAM

    1.8 GHz iMac G5 ($1322 after tax)
    512 MB RAM
    Combo Drive
    160 GB Hard Drive
    Airport Extreme
    Bluetooth (no wireless accessories)
    ATI Radeon 9600 w/ 128 MB VRAM

    I'm planning on doing normal tasks (surfing the web, word processing, minor gaming, etc.) as well as some light photo and video editing. Not at the level of Final Cut Pro or Photoshop, but mainly just some dabbling in iPhoto/iMovie and possibly Final Cut Express.

    The catch here is that I'd like to be able to burn my movies/photos to a DVD, and the eMac is the only option with a Superdrive. I'm not willing to fork out the extra $300 for the iMac G5 with Superdrive, although I might invest in an external burner sometime down the road. My main concern about the iMac is the RAM. 512 is getting to the point where it's soon to be the new standard minimum, and I think the eMac's full gig will last me longer. But, the iMac does have more video RAM and takes up much less space.

    Is a G5 really that much better than a G4 for what I'm planning on using my Mac for? Or will I regret it if I purchase the eMac with its crippled processor? Looking for any advice from other Mac users who own/have owned one of these machines.
  2. FF_productions macrumors 68030


    Apr 16, 2005
    Mt. Prospect, Illinois
    to save even more money, buy the ram from somewhere else...get the emac
  3. grapes911 Moderator emeritus


    Jul 28, 2003
    Citizens Bank Park
    I do mild video and photo editing on my 1.67 G4 Powerbook with no problem. Get the eMac with the extra ram and superdrive to save some money. The better video card will only help with games and maybe software like Motion. I do like the look and size of the iMac over the eMac though.
  4. Spanky Deluxe macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

    Mar 17, 2005
    London, UK
    I think the iMac would be a better route. Sure its got less ram but you can always upgrade that later. Processors are hard or often impossible to upgrade so the eMac will always be held back a bit. What kind of a drive does your powerbook have? Is it a superdrive or combo? If its a superdrive then you could possibly get by without one in your desktop until you choose to upgrade. They're both great machines though and you can't really make a 'wrong' decision, I just think that the iMac could have more 'life' in it for the future.
  5. katie ta achoo macrumors G3

    May 2, 2005
    I agree that the iMac with the G5 would be better than a G4.

    Maybe you can find it a little cheaper from Apple, refurbed?
  6. CalfCanuck macrumors 6502a

    Nov 17, 2003
    I'd say the iMac as well - I just got the base 17" model of the second generation, and am quite happy. The video card is much better, and the HD is a 7200 rpm (not sure if it's the same on the eMac).

    I also stuck with the CD-R, as I have an external 16x DVD-R burner.
    (LaCie with the full version of Toast)

    Check out amazon - they had a $150 rebate a few weeks ago (I think it dropped to $100 now), so I got a iMac 1.8GHz with 1.5 GB of Ram for under $1300.
  7. dsharits macrumors 68000


    Jun 19, 2004
    The People's Republic of America
    You also have to make note of the fact that the eMac is a 17" CRT, while the iMac is a 17" LCD with the screen real-estate of a 19" CRT.
  8. mac-toria macrumors newbie

    Mar 31, 2005
    Victoria, BC
    I also have the same question, but I'm looking at 16 of the things. Its time to redo the lab at my design school, and I've been debating this for the last week on which way to go. The lab is used for architectural work (VectorWorks) and graphic design (adobe creative suite). My latest leaning has been toward the eMac, just for the price point. For a grand canadian I can get the combo drive with 768mb ram (non-apple 512 added) But... it's a design school and those iMacs look so appealing....
  9. aussie_geek macrumors 65816


    Apr 19, 2004
    Sydney Australia
    Definately go G5 mate. The G4's are getting a little long in the tooth and if you plan on doing some video work, the G5 will be more productive. As said in another post, the eMac has a CRT display - you always lose a bit of size with them. The iMac G5 has a widescreen monitor, something you will really appreciate after a while.

    Your best bet is to go to an AppleCentre and sit down in front of both computers for 15 minutes or so. Surf the web and maybe even have some text you can type into it. See which one suites best. I am sure the iMac will be the better of the two regarding the user experience.

  10. Spanky Deluxe macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

    Mar 17, 2005
    London, UK
    If its a design school maybe you can get an educational discount?

    I think the iMacs are definately the way to go. Bear in mind that they take up way less desk space than the eMacs and so your school can have more space for drawings and work while they design. Also, surely the extra screen res would help from a designing point of view?
  11. Rovias thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 22, 2005
    It has a Superdrive, but it's only 2x and extremely slow. The last time I used it (which was months ago) to burn some footage of my brother's drama presentation, it took nearly an hour and 45 minutes. And that wasn't even filling the entire DVD.

    Besides that, I am planning on selling the Powerbook, as this is where I will get the funds to buy my new Mac. Since I'm out of college now, I never carry around my Powerbook anymore, and I think a desktop would be better suited towards my needs.
  12. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Apr 3, 2004
    Adelaide, Australia
    iMac all the way. You can always add RAM or an external superdrive later if need be. Otherwise, you may as well stick with the PowerBook.
  13. FFTT macrumors 68030


    Apr 17, 2004
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    I just visited a new ultra posh vet clinic/day spa today and they were using
    3 iMac G5's at each of the 2 reception desks. Schweet!

    Most of the workers WERE previously Windows users and they absolutely
    love working with the iMacs, fast, easy, clean and they leave far more
    work space. It was very impressive to see them in real life working conditions.
  14. solvs macrumors 603


    Jun 25, 2002
    LaLaLand, CA
    You should be able to qualify for a bulk and/or educational discount. The eMac is a great deal for basic stuff, and the g4 is perfectly fine even for graphics. CRTs are better for color anyway. But those iMacs are really nice.

    As for Rovias, buy an iMac. You can always upgrade the RAM (to 2GB for ~$180 here), BT accessories, and add a faster external DVD-R. The Serial hard drive is faster, the unremovable video card is better, and the LCD is nicer (and bigger). No question.
  15. wdlove macrumors P6


    Oct 20, 2002
    I'm not sure what actual price you are looking for, but a refurb would get you more for your money.,55

    I would recommend the iMac G5, it is just newer technology and should last you longer in terms of compatibility. Also you you plan on more RAM, if you can afford it, 1 GB. The above link to Crucial RAM, would be a good choice. That is if you feel comfortable installing the RAM yourself.
  16. CalfCanuck macrumors 6502a

    Nov 17, 2003
    Just be aware which G5 iMac you are buying - the second generation is the MUCH better deal regarding price/performance and the one you should be looking at, and there are probably very few of these in the refurbished store yet.
  17. Crikey macrumors 6502

    Jan 14, 2004
    Spencer's Butte, Oregon
    I second this. The disk performance of the Rev. A G5 iMac is in too many metrics very close to that of the G4 iBook.

    The current Rev. B iMacs are nice computers.



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