Considering an Imac G5 for photo editing.

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by FrozenMacUser, Jul 17, 2017.

  1. FrozenMacUser macrumors member

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    #1
    Hello everyone.

    I have found a G5 iMac for $80 CDN and it is a 2Ghz model and maxed out in terms of upgrades. I am just wondering if anyone knows if it would be a good buy for a photo editing workstation. My only Mac right now is 2007 Core2Duo Mac mini with 2Gb ram and the standard slow 80GB HDD. It has 10.7 installed. Anyway I find I am stuck with endless beach balls of death and lag like crazy. I am wondering if with a lighter install of Leopard or Tiger with an independent GPU would work any better for photo editing then the piddly 64mb vampire video on the Mini. Basically I would be looking to run Aperture 2 and Gimp 2.6 or 2.8 (can't remember which version is supported on Leopard). I am wondering if at that price point and with the iMac having been more higher end then the Mini if I would be any further ahead. Keep in mind the only G5 I had previously was the PowerMac G5 Dual 2.0Ghz with 8Gbs of RAM that could run circles around the Mini. The Mini was actually bought as a stop gap option when the logicboard on the PowerMac died horribly.
     
  2. kajac123 macrumors newbie

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    #2
    The G5 iMac is most likely slower. It has only a single core CPU. However, as Leopard is an older OS, it might feel faster. Anyway, 80$ is not a bad deal, but don't expect the same power as in a dual G5 PowerMac. Combine that with the fact that support for the PowerPC platform is getting worse every day, it does not seem like a good replacement for the Mini.

    I think your best option will be to upgrade the ram and harddrive in your existing Mini. This will give you a more powerfull and more modern machine than the iMac G5.

    Here is a benchmark comparison between the two machines: https://browser.geekbench.com/geekbench2/compare/2635799/2362354
     
  3. Dronecatcher macrumors 68000

    Dronecatcher

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    #3
    The last G5 iMacs are great machines but sadly can't compete in terms of speed with even the entry level C2D models. Perhaps re-install your system or go back to 10.6 - that'll be a better fit.
     
  4. MysticCow macrumors 6502a

    MysticCow

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    #4
    The original OS was 10.4 Tiger. This is where I would start (sorry @eyoungren) instead of Leopard, only because of the reduced overhead of the OS.

    It won't be super-duper powerful, but it will be strong enough for photo editing. Just make sure to find G5-optimized versions.
     
  5. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    #5
    No big deal. Despite my complaints about Tiger it was actually stable just by itself on my PowerBook for the few years I used it. OP is planning one specific purpose for this Mac and if Tiger is capable of running those apps OP needs to use why complicate matters.

    I do the same with one specific G4 I have because it has one specific purpose and Leopard isn't necessary to that purpose.
     
  6. bobesch macrumors 6502a

    bobesch

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    #6
    What is it - just to be nosy...
     
  7. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    #7
    PowerMac G4 (on the left). Applescript server (process photos, move files around server shares, watch FTP folder for changes, email if there are).

    2017-07-18 15.58.22.jpg

    Both Macs in the picture are headless, meaning no video cards. I access them via VNC (Chicken of the VNC showing the desktop of the Tiger G4).

    Waterfox.png
    --- Post Merged, Jul 18, 2017 ---
    Here's the other G4 by the way…

    Print server so my Mac Pro can print.

    Finder.png
     
  8. Hrududu macrumors 68020

    Hrududu

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    #8
    I wouldn't replace the Mac Mini with an iMac G5 at all. Even the last iSight 20" iMac G5 with its extra 512MB of RAM and faster system bus over the one you're talking about isn't going to gain you anything over the Mini which is just faster across the board. You would be better suited spending the money on upping the RAM in the Mini to 3GB and getting a 2.33GHz T7600 CPU to drop in.
     
  9. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

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    #9
    What kind of photo editing are we talking about?

    If you're handling RAW files from a recent high end DSLR, you'll likely have it screaming for mercy. I use my dual 2.7 to scan film-including 4x5s at 6200 dpi-and those files can really be a drag on that system.

    Once I get my Nikon D800 off lay-a-way I'll be anxious to see how the G5 handles the RAW files from it in Lightroom, but I doubt I'll count on it for the main file handling.

    Aside from that, if you're doing 20mp or less, or doing JPEG you're probably fine. My 1ghz TiBook is fine with 6mp RAW in LR2 from my D70s once it gets them imported and builds the catalog, although it starts to bog with files from my D2x(12mp).

    In general, though, I'd agree that your Mini is a better choice.
     
  10. Dronecatcher macrumors 68000

    Dronecatcher

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    #10
    Don't misunderstand - I'm not saying the iMac can't be put to use, a few years ago inbetween Powermacs a job came up, all I had avavilable at the time was a 1.8Ghz iMac. In just over a week I'd sent a full colour, 60 page, A4 catalogue to print - the iMac had handled hi-res image manipulation in Photoshop, page layout in Indesign, vector graphics manipulated in Illustrator, data import from Excel, final print ready PDFs pushed through Acrobat and delivery to printers via FTP. The printed end result was no different had it been done on a high end Mac Pro workstation. You use the tools you have available :)
     
  11. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    #11
    I once dealt with a designer who was getting specs from our paper for her ad. She informed me that she would NEVER abandon QuarkXPress 4.11.

    I got a perfectly fine and usable camera ready PDF from her built correctly. So, yeah. As long as the end result is exactly what's needed it doesn't matter.

    Spoke to a designer last week and he abandoned two printers because they wanted him to switch to InDesign. Their requirements are PDFs, but because they want customers jobs on file so they can be archived and referenced again if necessary without the customer having to send new PDFs they wanted InDesign files from him. He wouldn't convert. So he dropped them.
     
  12. Dronecatcher macrumors 68000

    Dronecatcher

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    #12
    I used to work for a company that supplied Chinese manufacturers with raw files for similar reasons - they'd change things seemingly at random....sanity was restored when I forced the move to supply PDFs only.
     
  13. FrozenMacUser thread starter macrumors member

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    #13

    A couple of things here. First off the amount of RAM in the computers are identical. The speed of the memory is different. That being said Not sure how big of an issue that will be. For all intents and purposes the Mini does not really have video memory it just chews up 64MBs of the system memory. Also I was under the impression the CPU was soldered to the logic board. I might be wrong. Either way the upgrades would almost certainly be more expensive.

    Also those upgrades only really matter if what I am doing is CPU intensive like Flash. Seems to me most people who do graphics and visual type work on their computers drop in a more powerful GPU before they worry about a faster processor. Is that not why the iMac, PowerMacs and Mac Pros have had higher end video cards to start with? Just looking to see if I can find something that does not have the integrated Intel Graphics that were considered a bad joke even before Apple adopted it.
    --- Post Merged, Jul 20, 2017 ---

    Just looking for an inexpensive way to get around the limitations. I mean sure they RAM would be essentially the same and the CPU might be slower since it is single core but that only helps if the CPU is the bottleneck. My concern is the Intel integrated graphics which were considered a bad joke in the Windows PC world even before Apple adopted it (God knows why). I guess it depends on how CPU vs GPU dependent the software is. And I get what you are saying. I got my old MDD from a graphic design shop that was closing and the MDD was the newest machine in there. Most of the workstations were G3 B&Ws or G4 Sawtooths.
     
  14. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

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    #14
    The early Minis had socketed CPUs. Several of us(myself included) have upgraded the very early CD CPUs to C2Ds.

    In any case, just to get a feel on things-what kind of "photo editing" are we talking about? Are you taking RAWs, doing the basic color/levels/curves/crop editing, and then firing them off as a JPEG? If you are, the CPU requirements are not high although as file sizes increase so do processing requirements. If you're handling RAW from one of the stupid high pixel count sensors from Sony or Canon(I'm including Nikon in Sony) you might want a bit more grunt. If you're dealing with more moderate sizes, you really don't need to worry about it. I can chew through Nikon D2X RAW files(12mp) just fine with any late PPC or early Intel Mac in Lightroom.

    The single most computationally-intensive thing you will do in photo editing is doing lens corrections, something a lot of photographers don't even bother with. These operations are CPU bound and not GPU bound.

    So, again, please give us a bit more to go on.
     
  15. FrozenMacUser thread starter macrumors member

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    #15



    Basically I shoot on 35mm and 120 film and do hi resolution scans to TIFF format and then I edit them in Gimp or Aperture 2. Some of the files can get pretty big. I will have to see if my 2007 model C2D has a socket or not. might be work looking into. Which my adapter for my old 23 inch ADC monitor did not die. Heck I am almost tempted to find an old G4 or G5 just to be able to drive that again. It was perfect for photos. I cursed the day Apple stopped making mate finish displays. Glossy ones are cool for watching video but crap for photo editing in my opinion but that is another matter. Ultimately though of late it feels sometimes like I am trying to do this on my parents old 486 PC from the 1990s.
     
  16. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

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    #16
    Okay, we're in the same ball park.

    I scan 35mm on a Coolscan V then 120 and 4x5 on a V700.

    35mm scans are no big deal for a G4, and even MF scans aren't terrible. The biggest bottleneck is scanning itself, and if you use ICE or equivalent the number-crunching on the scan can take a while.

    I don't know what size MF you're scanning-obviously 645 can be pretty quick and 6x7 can stretch out the time a bit. Most of mine are 6x6 with some 6x7s thrown in.

    4x5 is the real issue with scans running into a couple hundred MB. At 6200 dpi with ICE, I'm thrashing a dual 2.7 for about an hour. A Mini could do it a lot faster.

    BTW, the extent of my post-processing on scans is generally dust spotting with some lens correction and a few other odds and ends. A lot of my MF lenses(at least the "normal" FLs) are Planar-type lenses, while my LF lenses are mostly Tessar-type lenses. These have minimal distortion with the exception of noticeable vignetting wide-open. The real bottleneck is the ability to scroll around the image. Even though I have 7gb of RAM in this computer, CS4(the newest that will run on a PPC) can only use 3gb of RAM-I have scratch disks allocated to help some. BTW, I have the fastest available PPC video card in this computer.
     
  17. FrozenMacUser thread starter macrumors member

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    #17

    Cool. I first got the Mac Mini as a temporary replacement for my G5 Dual 2.0ghz (original version) with 6GBs or RAM. That thing would fly and I loved my 23 inch monitor with it. Perfect setup. Basically with the Mini I am looking on average 30 minutes to 1 hour for scanning 3 or 4 negatives on medium format. Most of it is 6x6 from my Pentacon Six or my TLRs. I have some old folders too. Sometimes I will scan 6x9 from my box cameras. Sadly I have not shot any 6x7 since I sold my Koni Omega Rapid 100 a few years ago. Most of what I do in post is cleaning the negative like you do or colour to B&W conversions. Also clone and Heal are my friend. :) I shoot mostly black and white film so I rarely need to worry about colour correction or dealing with stuff like CA. With the exception of the video card I think the Mini is not a bad system. The orignal G4 was great and had a proper video card. Not sure why Apple decided to gimp the C2D version with integrated graphics that were sneered at on PCs even before they made the switch. Heck even bargain integrated graphics from ATI or Nvidia would have been smarter options if they could not afford a real video card without jacking the price.
     
  18. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

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    #18
    Alright, we're on the same page.

    I don't do 6x9 aside from some occasional sheet film, but I have a couple of 6x6 systems(I'm a big Bronica fan, and have equipment in both the SQ and the earlier S system) along with a handful of Rolleis. My 6x7 work is with the beast known as the RB67. I've looked at a Koni Omega Rapid, but am having trouble justifying it(as if that ever held me back...).

    I do a lot of B&W also-mostly Tri-X and FP4+. Of course, as you no doubt know you're on your own as far as dust spotting since ICE doesn't work. I've gotten really particular about dust management in my darkroom(aka an unused bathroom)-I run a HEPA filter and keep the humidity higher than normal. I can get a good wet print with nothing but a quick blast from a rocket blower as long as I keep the enlarger lens at a moderate aperture. Scanning is unrelenting and shows everything.
     
  19. FrozenMacUser thread starter macrumors member

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    #19
    Cool. Never shot a Bronica. I have a Kiev 6C as a second body on the way. The only Rollei I have is a Rolleicord 3 which is nice. I highly recommend the Koni Omega. It is bullet proof and the lenses are very very sharp. It is also very ergonomic and relatively small which is not surprising since it was intended as a press camera. I actually sold my Pentax 645 because I found it to be way too heavy and clumsy.

    I shoot mostly HP 5+ and FP4+. I am pretty much an ilford guy. I use my bathroom for development and the basement for enlargement. I find running a shower before developing a roll works well. :)


    I suppose the other option is running my scanner on the mini and setting up the PC a friend gave me with Linux or FreeBSD. For some reason there seems to be very very little support for Epson on the open source side even though they provide their own software.
    --- Post Merged, Jul 20, 2017 ---
    Another option I just recently saw was an MDD for $20 more then the iMac. Would a dual processor G4 be any better or worse then a single G5?
     
  20. Dronecatcher macrumors 68000

    Dronecatcher

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    #20
    That will be your bottleneck, don't know about Gimp but Aperure 2 needs a dual G5 and up. I've always prefered Photoshop over Lightroom and Aperture, firstly because I was a designer and secondly because I prefer to use leaner software.

    Yes, a Dual G4 will have more grunt for your kind of work than a single G5 (possible exception 2.1Ghz iSight)

    @bunnspecial is any of your work online?
    --- Post Merged, Jul 21, 2017 ---
    I will add to this that I shared your grumbles with integrated graphics. I switched from a Dual G5 to C2D iMac for graphic design and soon went back to the G5. It's a perceptual thing, the flaky integrated graphics (slow screen redraws and jerky transitions) makes you think the computer's slower - in reality it isn't. Even so I stuck with the Dual until a Quad came along.
     
  21. FrozenMacUser thread starter macrumors member

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    #21


    Thanks for the info on Aperture 2. Gimp and Aperture do what I need them to and I have never needed more so I am cool with that.

    Maybe I will look into that G4 and I know they did make some pretty cool upgrades too.

    For integrated graphics it would be slower for some things for the simple fact that system ram is always slower then VRAM. Also with it being capped at 64 MBs I suspect anything that requires more would require a swap file which means thrashing from in the case of my Mini a very slow original laptop drive (4800 rpm if memory serves). I might be wrong on that. Been awhile since I was a hardware tech. But for anything not GPU intensive it would not really be slower. Depends on how the program you are using offloads the workload I guess. On another note on a whim I downgraded the MIni back to 10.5.8 Leopard and I have to say ironically for online use I think Leopard on a PPC is actually more useable thanks to TenFourFox. On an Intel it is basically unusable online. Unfortunately I misplaced my copy of Snow Leopard so I am now using the Mac to drive my Scanner and I have my Linux machine hooked up to the same monitor with a KVM switch for online stuff.
     
  22. MysticCow, Jul 29, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2017

    MysticCow macrumors 6502a

    MysticCow

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    #22
    GIMP runs on a G3. I know. I've done it. Well, at least the last of the old PPC builds (10.4 on down) ran. Just like Photoshop, though, you'll get more of a benefit from maxing the RAM than anything else.

    The last generation of iMac G5's can take up to 2.5 GB of RAM. So, if you can live with the evil capacitor issue, go iMac. If you want something a hair more stable, grab a hair dryer (MDD) G4 or one of the really old ones with 4 RAM slots (so you get 2 GB under OS X).
     

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