Buying a G5 to replace MBP

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by CWD, Aug 7, 2012.

  1. CWD macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2012
    Location:
    Tokyo
    #1
    First of all I would just like to say hi and thanks, the information on this board is great and has taught me a lot. Its my first time posting on here, although I have been following and reading for a while now.

    Our situation is as follows:

    My wifes 2006 MBP needs new parts again, this time a battery (2nd one) and the HDD has just died.
    She bought it second hand in 2007 and since then we have:
    Bought 1 replacement battery from apple.
    Upgraded the ram to 4 GB (3GB)
    Upgraded the the HDD (2007)
    And along the years bought numerous software and taken it into apple for a repair ( I cant remember what for but it wasn't free! )

    More information on her MBP - http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/macbook_pro/specs/macbook-pro-core-2-duo-2.16-15-specs.html

    Im not complaining, I think the above is all fairly standard. But, its got to the point where we don't want to keep throwing money at it. Its served its purpose well but I think its time for an upgrade rather than a repair now ( and to be honest I think she is just bored with it )

    I have been thinking of buying a G5 tower as a replacement/upgrade for her due to its hardware expansion options should we need them in the future. Something new is not possible due to lack of funds. Peripherals, monitors and software etc are not a problem we will be using the same ones we are now.

    A little information about my wife and what she does and does not need:

    Works as an illustrator/designer using CS3 tools.
    Portability is now not a problem ( we have a baby on the way and she is working from home )
    The new machine must be happy handling large files, being turned on all day and being used daily ( the MBP isn't )

    I know the above is nothing too intense (no 3D etc), we are just looking for a workhorse to use at home.

    I would like to know if i'm right in thinking this will be an upgrade rather than a replacement, and what model/spec machine to look out for? (the quad seems more hassle than its worth...).

    I have read all the benchmarks etc, but they don't really mean much to me. I am interested to hear from people on here who are in a similar workfield just how these machines handle in real world situations.


    Danny.
     
  2. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #2
    If you are absolutely set on getting a PowerMac G5 then one with dual air cooled one that can hold at least 8GB of ram might be the best one. Of course they are getting old and their modern upgrades are limited to ram and hard drives. Video cards can be upgraded as well, but even the newest one is slow and old by modern standards. However, from what you say the user will be using it for it may work. Just make sure all of the current software that she uses is PowerPC compatible and can run on Leopard.
     
  3. GermanyChris macrumors 601

    GermanyChris

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    #3
    I'd probably stick with Intel. The hunt for software is in many ways fun but can be frustrating
     
  4. CWD thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Tokyo
    #4
    Thanks for the replies,

    Software will not be an issue we are using CS3 and I have checked the compatibility.

    I am aware the machine is old but they are in my price range.
    We still use our cube at home for net surfing, mail, documents and to take the strain and user hours off our work mac's. If the machine is up to the task I have no problem buying or using old equipment.

    I am by no means set on a G5, it just seems to be the best option. The prices here are pretty cheap and if you know where to look you can get what I believe to be a good deal ie cheaper than a new SSD and battery.
     
  5. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #5
    If you're already using a Cube and happy with it. Then a G5 would be a very nice upgrade. But it would be a slight downgrade form your Macbook.
     
  6. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    #6
    I'm using CS4 in a production environment (I work for a newspaper). Ad design, composing/pagination, etc. My work Mac is a 1.8Ghz G5 with 4GB ram. I'm using Leopard and typically have about 10 apps or so open. The G5 handles it all really well.

    Seeing as your wife is using CS3 the load should probably be less. And all of the later G5s are more powerful than the one I have.
     
  7. takezo808, Aug 7, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2012

    takezo808 macrumors member

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    #7
    have you considered a mac mini?

    It's updated with intel cpu. New Lion OS removed PPC support via rossetta emulation layer. so if you have a lot of PPC apps then i guess you got no choice but for the latest PPC MAC.

    But if your interested in a very inexpensive mac that got lots of power, mac mini is the way to go.

    new mac mini is $599 far cheaper than any other mac. It's even cheaper than some ipad options. they will be updating it soon so if you can hold on a bit, it will have a much faster gpu in the base model. Though the 3000HD is not a slouch. Sure it may not be enough to quench most gamers but it's actualy pretty good. It's would make a very good content creation machine.

    i am envious of your location. i visited my brother who is in the jet progrm in hiroshima, Our trip started in tokyo then made our way through osaka, kyoto, fukuyama, hiroshima, and onomichit, Nozomi back to tokyo to fly back to Honolulu. Japan is awesome.
     
  8. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    #8
    That sounds painful. I've assembled a number of comps, and some of the more modern features run painfully on the 1.8s. I remember them. Even the late model G5 is incredibly slow compared to modern hardware for this kind of thing. I wouldn't look forward to going back to the tiled redrawing or CS4's incredibly slow OpenGL implementation. I guess it's kind of doable. Personally I'd stick with Tiger and CS3 if going this route with something like a dual processor 2.3 model. This would probably be one of the most stable. It supposedly had one of the lower failure rates out of that line. It's important to note that these aren't officially repairable as in if you take them to Apple, they will most likely not provide service options. I'd look for something like this in the sub $200 range. It could be faster than a 2006 macbook pro. First the 2006 macbook pros weren't fast. Beyond that hardware of that era was still reliant on 32 bit applications and a G5 with a scratch drive is a much smoother experience than a macbook pro with an extremely slow 2.5" 2006-2007 era HDD.

    In either case an ssd is another option if it's hitting the scratch disks constantly. I'd turn off spotlight on system folders so that it's not constantly watching scratch data. This will save you some cpu power. I've gone as far as disabling activity monitor's parent process on hardware of that era simply because it was running a 15%~ cpu overhead under Tiger. That may not be a good idea, but it worked. I could still check things with top in terminal. In any event it's important to make sure an old machine doesn't need a bunch of upgrades, or the cost effectiveness can quickly evaporate.
     
  9. CWD thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2012
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    Tokyo
    #9
    Thanks for the reply.

    Yes I have been looking at the new mac mini's for a while now, I really like them they are just out of our price range about 60,000 yen here I think.

    I do really enjoy living here, been here for about 4 years now although I have not visited half of the places you have!

    I work as a photographers assistant and I get to see some pretty cool places when on location shoots, like little old villages right of the map etc. Getting abit off topic though...:)

    Yes this is what I'm being very wary of, buying a cheap machine and then spending money upgrading it ( putting me back into the situation I'm in now )
    Luckily though all the G5's I have been looking at seem to have been upgraded by the previous owner ( excluding an SSD )

    I have never got on with PS CS4,5 or 6 and always go back to CS3 all the re-touchers at the studio I work at are all still on CS3!

    A dual 2.3 sounds like an option then.
     
  10. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    #10
    Well, to be honest, the paper I work for is a community weekly. So, the ads we do aren't horribly complex or taxing. We also process "camera ready" ads, but those are mainly PDF. Editorial lays out their own content and sends me EPS files of their pages when done. I've got an Applescript that calls Graphic Converter to deal with photo processing. That runs on a G4 next to my G5.

    I looked forward to Tiger in early 2009 with great anticipation as I'd been stuck on Panther since 2005. Unfortunately, my experience with Tiger seems to have been the inverse of the typical. Tiger did not play nice with our WinSBS and Win2003 server. Finder was always crashing. Leopard fixed all that and I haven't noticed any real slowness either. My one issue is boot time for Office 2008 and Illustrator CS4. Illy by far takes the largest chunk of RAM.

    My coworker has and does everything I do with the same OS on a PowerMac G4/450. It of course runs much slower, but it gets the job done.

    I have developed a number of tricks though. Optimized network commands, stripping out unused languages, ShadowKiller, etc, etc. It's no speed demon, but it's still reasonably fast for our purposes.
     
  11. thekev, Aug 8, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2012

    thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

    Joined:
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    #11
    Actually your experiences don't surprise me. Windows server support is a little hit and miss there. The finder crashing issue was mostly due to an aggressive spotlight in that era. I dealt with this by turning off spotlight access where necessary. This killed issues like the crash when you'd go to change the directory when doing a save as in CS products. If your disks are still hanging, disk warrior typically helps, especially with many of the older external HDDs. The HFS+ file system isn't that efficient, but disk warrior can solve a portion of that issue. I found CS4 to be a bit clunky. Adobe had to make enormous changes late in their development cycle on photoshop. Illustrator also seemed to have become a bit rushed on OSX development there. I still found some of these issues under Leopard. I also ended up killing activity monitor's parent process under Tiger simply because it took up a lot of cpu overhead and didn't have any apparent system benefit. I could still check via the top command in terminal even after disabling this. Out of the box, I found hardware of that era to be incredibly laggy with larger files, and I've dealt with a lot of stuff in the realm of 800MB-2GB with layers. Given the forced file compression with larger files and single threaded nature of the save command, it could take quite a long time with raster data. Vector based images varied. If the data was generated on an earlier version, it could cause issues.

    It is important to realize that people will accomplish work on any generation of hardware and older software had older hardware specs in mind. I can say that with CS5/CS6 and some of the available hardware from the past couple years, I'd never want to go back to watching those stupid tiles redraw and some of the plugin and preference testing for optimizing performance. Especially for any added illustrative work, it's soooooo much easier with some of the CS6 updates to brush handling and everything is so much smoother. If I had a cintiq, it would be perfect. That's my last issue. It's annoying getting a large enough working area. I can buy a 27" display, but then my tablet mapping will feel wacky. If I have to severely limit the mapping, that kills the point in the big display. I actually wish I could get one of the oversized intuos tablets with the weighted base and extensions of the cintiq for positioning. Cintiqs cost a lot and have too many display issue complaints (and wacom service sucks).

    You know I think that is typical. You work with what you have available. At that time the G5 was what was available, so you needed to find a workflow that worked. The G3 era pretty much killed the last of the dedicated graphics workstations, and the G5 was much faster than that (no more grabbing coffee while waiting for a comp to update or filter to run:cool:). Even the G4 could be comfortable maxed out. It's just much smoother on newer hardware. A lot of things where I was used to choppiness run in real time.

    I got a little off track there. I wanted to mention that I wouldn't suggest investing a lot in such a thing present day. Your shop most likely uses it because it's what is in place today. You have a system set up. Other hardware is set up around it. For an individual buying a new machine today, I don't think looking at something so old with limited repair options in place is a great idea. The G5s also had a higher failure rate than G4s. If it's still running today, it was likely one of the good ones. Even then I don't truly suggest it. The problem with macbooks is that notebooks do chew through expendable parts. These include hard drives, chargers, and batteries. If you look at the Apple store, chargers and batteries are rated quite poorly even when factoring in that these are parts that people hate replacing. I would almost suggest a used PC workstation or a mini. The problem is I want to suggest a 2012 mini given the improvements on integrated graphics that they will bring. The OP is running CS3 or whatever. Past the end of the year, that will no longer be eligible for upgrades, and CS6 is a very nice update.
     
  12. Lancer macrumors 68020

    Lancer

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    #12
    I would suggest only getting a G5 if you have software that won't run on Intel based Mac's, I've read reports that CS3 will and works with ML. If you don't need the expandability of the Pro then look at a new iMac, the base unit will cost about as much as a good used Pro.

    I have a G5 and the biggest issue is the growing lack of software for the PPC based systems.
     
  13. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    #13
    It would run better on something like Snow Leopard if possible. CS3 and CS4 were universal binary applications. CS2 was the last version to use Rosetta. The reports of using CS3 on mountain lion seem to have been on upgrades. In some cases you may experience troubles installing it directly on Lion or Mountain Lion (tested this a long time ago on a Lion installation, and I've also seen a couple threads on this). Overall the OP may consider upgrading to CS6 if possible. CS3 and CS4 are only eligible until the end of the year due to Adobe's changes in their licensing policy. Beyond that you're locked out of an upgrade path. This is something that annoyed me with Adobe. They originally announced licensing policy changes late in a refresh cycle. They should be announcing these things right when they come out with a new version, not move it from several versions back to their attempt to make some people buy CS5 and 6 back to back.
     
  14. Lancer macrumors 68020

    Lancer

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    #14
    I just have enough money to get a new iMac (yes still waiting on Apple and the 2012 model) so I don't have money to get CS6. I'll be hanging onto my G5 in case CS3 has issues and only getting CS6 if I have to as I use it for work.

    Yes an older Mac Pro with CS6 might run better on SL, I haven't and can't test this as me G5 is limited to Leopard. One of the problems if you now get an older PPC Mac like this.
     
  15. eyoungren, Aug 8, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2012

    eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    #15
    My boss bought this Mac in Feb. 2005. It's a small company and they spent a lot on new PCs and a new server in 2006 (that's a whole other story). Then the economy went south so this Mac is the only one I'm going to have for the foreseeable future.

    It's been on 24/7 since my boss bought it (I leave the computers up and running at work). The only failure I've had was a ram stick in the early days. I made my boss buy DiskWarrior at a certain point too. Used to do routine maintenance every Thursday, but I get to it when I can now. So, I'm guessing this was one of the good G5s.

    In any case, quality is a factor too. We are doing production work with a 7 year old Mac and two 12-13 year old G4s. My boss has replaced several PCs during that time period.
     
  16. CWD thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Tokyo
    #16
    I do have software that will run on PPC as I have said in an earlier post software is not an issue. I also said my funds are limited so a new iMac is out of the picture and so is the mac pro you suggested :confused:

    Oh no! they are dropping support for CS3! I assume it will still be usable just not updatable?
    Luckily my office has pretty much every copy of CS on hand collected from the past years, I was using PS6 today actually just for some batch work, I don't know what it is about CS3 that keeps me going back to it, it just feels smoother, looks nicer ( CS6's UI :mad:) and more stable ( probably not the case I know ) maybe its just down to what you get used to.
     
  17. thekev, Aug 8, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2012

    thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    #17
    Oh I was just saying you might have to jump through hoops to get CS3 to run on anything past SL. Do take a look at this link. Keep in mind this is US pricing. It applies to single applications as well as suites. I just want you to be aware of it so this doesn't end up becoming costly for you later. Sometimes Adobe gets unfair criticism. This is not one of those times. Initially they were going to change their upgrade eligibility to CS5 only late in the cycle a few months before CS6. That is just ridiculous telling people they may have to buy a double upgrade late in the cycle. They conceded to this. Note the bolded portion.

    http://www.adobe.com/products/creativesuite/designstandard/buying-guide-upgrades.html

    I would agree with you that you got a good one. Disk warrior is also extremely helpful. It eliminates a lot of file system quirkiness which I like. Unfortunately it doesn't seem to boot properly past SL:mad:. I need to boot from a backup drive instead bleh. I will say even my macbook pro is much faster than my old G5. It has 16GB of ram and an ssd. It is very smooth even with large files. I worked with the tiled screen redraw for years. I never want to look at it again. I had it loaded with ram. I had things tuned. Large tile plugin was enabled. I kept thumbnails off in all of these programs to save memory. I disabled indexing on the scratch volume. I did a ton of little optimizations and that gave me a very usable machine, but I still lacked the kind of responsiveness on large files that is possible today. I will say that it's great that your machine has been working so long. Your boss definitely got what he paid for there. I just wouldn't really suggest it to someone buying it today with at least 6 years or wear to use for the next several years. The OP also mentioned expansion options. This isn't a good scenario for the G5. It takes a total of 2 drives and will not accept anything over 2TB volumes if I recall correctly. It's a significantly older SATA standard. Peripherals still aren't necessarily that cheap. Beyond 4GB of ram, your gains aren't that great. If you're running a couple CS3 applications, you might go to 8 just because it's reasonably cheap. The HDD is potentially from a much slower generation of HDDs. This is a significant factor if you're doing anything that makes heavy use of scratch disks. This is mostly from personal experience. I put together huge comps on a G5. I kept layer thumbnails turned off to reduce lag as I had everything labeled anyway. You can hit a pretty harsh wall if you're using slow drives and hit the wall on ram. Something like an SSD would kill the economy of the purchase.

    Edit again: I should mention if we're talking about a slow notebook hard drive, the G5 would be much faster with large files, not slower. If it's hitting disk and you're using the boot drive for scratch, I'd suggest files on something else and that volume set to privacy on within spotlight. It would make for a much smoother experience.
     
  18. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    #18
    I never miss an opportunity to remind him of that. Usually when he has to call the IT guy for a PC problem. :)

    We aren't working with many files above 200mb. We only have a linescreen of 150dpi to deal with so anything of higher quality is wasted resolution. But yeah, I can see (extrapolating from my experiences with this G5) your issues in dealing with much larger files.
     
  19. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    #19
    I get that. For what you're suggesting I could see it working just fine. I actually mentioned for larger files it will most likely be faster than the macbook pro. Even with a 2008 or 2009 macbook pro, if your files are large enough to hit scratch drive, expect it to be significantly slower than the G5 tower with a reasonably fast 3.5" that isn't mostly full. If I look at my mac pro 1,1 compared to my macbook pro from 2011, the macbook pro is significantly faster. Technology got to a point where some of those bottlenecks weren't so much of bottlenecks anymore. If you do a lot of free hand masking or drawing work too, even quickmask, CS6 is soooo much nicer. I can draw really well on paper, but I pulled my hair out at times trying to translate that to programs like photoshop. I've demoed painter and used manga studio, so I know it wasn't me:p. It was just hard to avoid that subtle waviness at times with broad strokes, and without turning up tilt sensitivity, I sometimes got weird bumps in my lines. If you're masking out an edge precisely, this is aggravating. I used the pen tool with anything with smooth curvature as it's well suited for that. You can virtually guarantee curvature continuity at that point as long as you keep the spline handles equal in length and don't cross the path or other handles. If it's something that's changing all the time though, it's so much easier to just paint it in a nice clean flowing border.

    Okay I'm getting carried away. I didn't really want you to think that I'm a computer snob. I only move on when there's a reason. I get things the way I want them for my needs at that time, then I basically freeze it in time as long as possible:cool:. I hate Adobe's forced upgrades now. Buy this if you want to maintain upgrade eligibility. If I don't like a release, I'll wait until 10 days of the following release so they float me to the next. I don't expect them to make prior releases work with newer OS revisions that came out after the version was replaced (some people do and it's stupid), but the new licensing policies are annoying as they limit my ability to ignore a release that I hate. It also annoys me that they frequently break file compatibility between versions.
     
  20. Lancer, Aug 8, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2012

    Lancer macrumors 68020

    Lancer

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    #20
    I realized this after posting... I know all about limited funds, been saving over a year for my new iMac but have to hang onto my G5 for some programs until I can upgrade.

    Looks like I'll have to save up for CS6 now.

    I managed to install CS5 on a MBP with Lion, no issues installing but I haven't used it much to know if there are any other issues, just did it to see if it would work.

    ETA - if it wasn't for newer software and ML I wouldn't need an Intel Mac. 99% of the time my early 2005 G5 PowerMac with 4Gb of RAM and some big external HDDs is more than enough. It has a screen the same size as a base iMac and I could add a 2nd or a bigger one anytime.

    That said I agree if your funds are limited then go for the best G5 you can get, that would be the late 2005 duel core G5 (mine is the duel CPU one).
     
  21. GermanyChris macrumors 601

    GermanyChris

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    #21
    The only time I miss the Hackintosh or the MacPro is when I handbrake. The G5 80-100FPS, MP 200ish, Hack 800ish. The G5 has been quiet and competent.
     
  22. Lancer macrumors 68020

    Lancer

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    #22
    I must say unless you have aircon the G5 can get loud in the summer, but I guess that can be said by most computers.

    Right now (winter here) I have to use a torch to check inside the front grill to see if the fans are turning :)
     
  23. Jessica Lares macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

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    #23
    I have that same model MBP, a Late 2011 one I just got, and a 1.8 PowerMac G5 with 512MB of RAM (with a 300GB HDD RAID). I really enjoy using it more than I do my Intel machines, and I run CS3 perfectly on it.

    However, I also think a used Mac Mini would suit you better. It's a lot quieter than the PowerMac, and you could probably get one at the same price as the later G5s.
     
  24. Zeke D macrumors 6502a

    Zeke D

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    #24
    I think you are both crazy. I enjoy messing with my Power PCs and eMac, but if I had the money they would all be intel machines. I wouldn't run Lion or Mountain due to the lack of rosetta, but if I could replace every PPC machine in my house with their equivalent intel machine I would in a heartbeat. I keep my G5 alive because it is more powerful than my air. My eMac is about on par with my iBook and my Air. All my G4 Powermacs and G3 iMacs are relegated to the garage.
     
  25. Jessica Lares macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

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    #25
    Both my iMac G4 and PowerMac G5 have a better screen resolution than the MacBook Pro I just bought. It is a lot better to work with them, than it is my MBP for that reason. Maybe they don't have the rich display, but you know, I'm not that bothered.
     

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