Can We Run A Screen Printing/Sign Shop on A G4 MAC?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by myles919, May 17, 2009.

  1. myles919 macrumors newbie

    May 17, 2009
    We are adding sign making to our screen printing business. Our graphic artists have always wanted MACs and now our Sign guys are piling on.:eek:

    Naturally, they want the latest and greatest MAC PRO, but i don't have the budget for that kind of gear.

    So, i have been on Craigs List and EBAY and there are a lot of G4 DeskTops that are very fairly priced. Do they have the horse-Power to run the entire CS-4 Suite? Can we upgrade RAM and/or graphic cards to make the G4 Generation work? if G4 will not cut it, what is the lowest MAC configured PC that we can purchase. We plan on getting 3 or 4.
  2. grue macrumors 65816

    Nov 14, 2003
    If you want anyone who works on it to commit suicide, that's a good route.

    Get a G5 at the least, but keep in mind that'll be a dead end machine in terms of future compatibility with anything.
  3. 300D macrumors 65816


    May 2, 2009
    Get a first generation Mac Pro. PowerPC is a dying technology for Macs.
  4. dimme macrumors 65816

    Feb 14, 2007
    SF, CA
    I am in the printing business also and use a one of the first intel mac pros, we also have a G5 mac but it is too slow so I do not use it much. I think a G4 is a waist of money I would rather use windows on a faster machine.
  5. Spanky Deluxe macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

    Mar 17, 2005
    London, UK
    You'd be better off getting some new Mac Minis if you want to save on the pennies. Get the base spec and then buy 4GB RAM kits from Crucial or somewhere like that for each of the machines. If you want to go all out then get third party 7200rpm drives. For a smidgeon over the cost of the top spec Mac Mini from Apple you can have a machine with 4GB of RAM and a 7200rpm 500gb drive. ($599 base spec Mac Mini + $67.98 4GB Crucial Memory Kit + $149.99 7200 rpm 500gb notebook drive = $17.97 more than $799 mini). If you go for a 320gb 7200 rpm drive instead then it'd be $80 less. Mac Minis are easy to upgrade and there are plenty of tutorials online. If you were just buying one machine and were daunted at opening it up then fair enough but if you're buying as many as you say then the savings quickly mount up. If you do decided to get Mac Minis, just make sure you max out the RAM to keep Photoshop happy. 4GB is more than enough but the stock 1GB will make you cry. Bonus is, Mac Minis actually hold their value very well due to their usually very slow replacement cycle so if things pick up at work, you could always sell them later on to fund some more powerful Mac Pros.
  6. brad.c macrumors 68020


    Aug 23, 2004
    50.813669°, -2.474796°
    I know the Mac Pros cost money, but as you know, so does time. You don't need the latest killer MP, but have a look at refurbs and used Intel machines.
  7. awmazz macrumors 65816

    Jul 4, 2007
    Adobe's minimum system requirements for CS4 for Macintosh is PowerMac G5 or Intel multicore processors, so it's a moot point anyway.

    The cheapest alternative already mentioned if you already have displays/monitors at hand, are Mac Minis. And a quite viable one too. I recall I tested my minimum spec Core Duo Macbook against my maxed-out G4 MDD dual 1.25GHz when I first got it and it rendered the same 3D image (in Modo) approx 4 times faster. Mac Minis are basically the same innards as Macbooks, and the latest C2D Minis will perform even better. No graphics card upgrades though and RAM is maxed at 4GB on Minis, but it should be more than enough. Photoshop can't use more than 4GB RAM or something like that anyway, or have they changed that now? With only one HD per Mini, an external firewire HD as a scratch disk may be useful as well.
  8. chrismacguy macrumors 68000

    Feb 13, 2009
    United Kingdom
    I, as others have mentioned/suggested, would go for a couple of Mac Minis. If you can get them, higher specced new ones, else some of the last generation with Vampire Video (just make sure you have 4gb ram). I have a G4, and I wouldn't do much more than office work, and this is under Panther.
  9. Tesselator macrumors 601


    Jan 9, 2008
    I totally agree with this! Sure you can find G5's for like, $200 but they really are only worth about $200. You can get into something like a Mac Pro 1,1 2006 Intel Xeon dual 2.66 for under $800 now and it'll do everything that the new $5,000 models will do where the G5 likely will not. Later for an additional $400 or $500 you can upgrade the CPUs if you need and bring the 2006 4-cores up to 8-cores and increase the speed at the same time from 2.66 to 3.0 or 3.2 GHz.

    Anyway, if I had a company, the budget was low, and the guys were asking for Mac Pro I would go for the 2006 line! Excellent choice! 2008 Macs are a slightly better choice with higher memory and PCIe bus speeds but they're still over $1000 and likely will be for a year or two more. G4's are just too long in the tooth for professional use IMHO.
  10. leavingwave macrumors newbie

    Apr 13, 2009
    So Cal
    for cs4 to be workable in a business.. you need atleast a quad core G5 or the 1st Mac Pro. Or even an Intel iMac or Mac Mini.
  11. Flash SWT macrumors 6502

    Flash SWT

    Mar 14, 2009
    Houston, TX
    I've gotta add another "me too." I don't know your employees but please don't do that to them.
  12. myles919 thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 17, 2009
    Going with the Mini

    Thanks guys. i am going to go the Mini route. that way we have a warrenty.

    pls we have all the keyboards/monitors already. great forum. helped a lot! i am sure my media jocks (their name, not mind), will be thrilled.
  13. ventro macrumors 6502a

    Sep 23, 2006
    Where would one find this deal?
  14. Tesselator macrumors 601


    Jan 9, 2008
    On-line. I see them occasionally. Tho they are now pretty much gone off even the used scene. It's a bit like trying to find a Commodore 64 used. :p

    Here's one for $60 LOL

    Power Mac G5 1.8GHz 1.2GB/HD80GB/SD/GF5200
  15. zmttoxics macrumors 65816


    May 20, 2008
    Ya, refurbished Mac Pros or new Mac Minis / iMacs would be the way to go here. G5s are still great for day to day home use, but just cant compete in the market any more.
  16. benborman macrumors member

    May 28, 2008
    I laughed when I saw the title of this thread, and the first reply about committing suicide...

    I happen to work in a small screen-printing/sign shop as the graphics person, and I am forced to work on a Powermac G4, Mirrored Drive Door model, Dual 867 Mhz processor, I believe.

    When I started work there in August 2008, the machine was running Mac OS 10.3, had a hard drive 99% full and had a grand 768 MB of RAM.

    I've since nursed it back to health by upgrading to 2GB of RAM, adding a hard drive, installing Leopard, and upgrading to Adobe CS3 (my own license) mainly so we could open files created in newer versions of Illustrator. I set up Time Machine so the years and years of client artwork files would not be lost... Basically rescuing the business from a complete computer crisis, on a very limited budget.

    Working in Illustrator on fairly simple t-shirt designs isn't so much of a problem.

    However, once you start working with high-res bitmap files banner-size documents in Illustrator or Photoshop, get ready for some beach ball.

    Basically, the point I'm trying to make is this:

    Can you run a Screen Print/Sign Shop on a PowerMac G4 in the year 2009? Yes.

    Should you?
    NO! VERY NO!

    I'm praying that I'll be able to convince my employer that the "Band-Aid" I slapped on his trusty Mac is wearing thin... It has had a good seven-year run, but it is about time to upgrade...
  17. cosmos macrumors regular


    Dec 17, 2003
    Cincinnati, Ohio

    I agree that anyone depending on a G4 is throwing the dice. I currently run a laser etching business on my Mac Pro. Due to the drivers and related software, I run them in Parallels under XP. With my current system, I have redundancy and speed along with Apple Care should a hardware failure occur.

    Having worked for a Fortune 50 in their storage operations which included offsite tape backups, I also clone my system with an external drive and have it safely stored in a fireproof gun safe.

    Most electronic hardware usually fails using the "bathtub" curve. Usually it will fail during the first 30 days of service or after several years. Of course, this does not take into account factors such as power surges or abuse.

    IMHO, anyone depending on their business using aging hardware is throwing the dice until they roll snake eyes. Then it is a chinese fire drill to recover the data (if they have good backups) and get a new system up and running all the while they are losing money.
  18. brad.c macrumors 68020


    Aug 23, 2004
    50.813669°, -2.474796°
    You're shooting yourself in the foot, argument-wise.

    Not only is it a risky proposition to have your license installed on a machine you don't own (think about what happens if you get fired, and are shown the door before you can delete), but adding any band-aid solution allows the owner to delay the decision indefinitely. He'll be more likely to act when he understands that revenue is walking out the door because of inadequate equipment.
  19. TonyK macrumors 6502a


    May 24, 2009
    My suggestion would be a 24" iMac for about $1500. It would be a first start, have an included screen you can calibrate with a Huey Pro or SpyderPro and not go broke doing it.

    For a business I think it is important to try and stay closer to newer technology, though not always the latest. As you say it costs money and needs vs requirements have to be balanced with the budget.

    Good luck with your decision.


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