G4/G5 power comparison?

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by Tim Fullerlove, Sep 24, 2003.

  1. Tim Fullerlove macrumors newbie

    Sep 24, 2003
    Im planning to buy a G4 or G5, primarily for gaming. Im a bit confused as to the relative merits of G4s and G5s with various graphics cards.

    Ive narrowed my choice down to either the Dual 1.25Ghz G4 with a GeForce 4 Ti graphics card, or the 1.6Ghz G5 with an ATI Radeon 9600 card. The two packages cost roughly the same, but Im not sure which one to get. I know the G5 is basically a more powerful processor, but Ive read that in certain applications specially written to make full use of its dual processors, the G4 will outperform the G5. Do many games use the dual processors?

    The other main issue I have is that while the G5 is more powerful, I can only afford to get it with an ATI Radeon 9600, which I understand is a slower graphics card to the GeForce 4 Ti. Is it sufficiently slower that overall, the G4 will be faster for playing games?

    Id really appreciate any advice as to which will run games better. My other concern is that the G5 will presumably be more upgradeable for lower cost in the future (so for example in a year or so I could buy a better graphics card) whereas if I buy the G4 Im pretty well stuck there with little possibility of improving it.

    Currently, Im leaning towards the G5, but Im worried that even after spending that much money I might still not be able to run newer games at the best graphics settings, whereas if I buy the G4 I might be able to do so. Id really appreciate any advice...


  2. MacsRgr8 macrumors 604


    Sep 8, 2002
    The Netherlands
    Tough one.

    I have a Dual 1.25 (FW 800) with Radeon 9800 Pro.
    I have played around with the Radeon 8500, 9000, 9800 and also the nVidia GeForce 4 Ti.
    The GeForce 4 is not much faster than the Radeon 9000! And the Radeon 9800 is very much faster than the GeForce.
    So, IMHO the Radeon 9600 would be a very good gaming card, compared to the GeForce 4.

    Dual G4 vs. single G5:
    This is the hard part. Games which do take advantage of the two processors, will perform better on the Dual 1.25 GHz G4. The games I play which are SMP aware are: MOHAA / SpearHead and Nascar 2002 / 2003. Also Quake 3 is SMP optimized, but I don't play it.
    Games which don't use dual configurations obviously are faster on the G5.

    So, if you are sure you play games which actually do use both G4's, then I would go for the Dual 1.25, save the extra cash by not getting the way-overpriced GeForce 4, and buy the Radeon 9800 Pro!
    If you are not sure if your favourite games are SMP supported, and whether or not future games will support this feature, you would be better off with a G5. As the Radeon 9600 grfx card is similar in performance to the GeForce (maybe even better...?), I wouldn't base my decision on this.

    Extra info:

    Check this out for a review of the Radeon 9800, and specs of all major gaming cards for the Mac

    Also check this out for a some comparisons of the Dual 1.42 G4 and the different G5's

    Decisions, decisions..... what a drag.... :D
    I hope you choose the right one!

    PS. Get at least 512 MB RAM, if you want to enjoy gaming... ;)
  3. Tim Fullerlove thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 24, 2003
    Hmmm, much to think about...

    Many thanks for the very informative answer. Im pretty sure I'll go with the G5 - I dont think many of the games Im playing (or trying to play on my poor old iMac) would make full use of the Dual, and the price difference isnt too major. I didnt realise the 9600 was that good, I had got the impression it really was a much weaker card than the other options - that really makes my plan to get a G5 with the 9600 look more appealing.

    One final query - if I could manage to stretch my budget just a little (unlikely, but worth a try), would I be better getting the 1.6Ghz G5 with an ATI 9800, or the 1.8Ghz with only the standard GeForce FX (fairly close in price)? My basic feeling is that its better to get the fastest basic computer possible, because its much easier and cheaper to upgrade the graphics card in a year or so, but Im pretty well stuck with the processor. I shall peruse those sites you mentioned though...

    Thanks again,

  4. MacsRgr8 macrumors 604


    Sep 8, 2002
    The Netherlands
    The 1.6 GHz G5 with Radeon 9800 Pro will outperform the 1.8 G5 even with the Radeon 9600 installed in it.
    I'm not sure if you will be able to get the Radeon 9800 in a 1.8 GHz G5, if you don't order it BTO....
    The retail version of the Radeon 9800 supports an AGP 2x and 4x bus. The G5 comes with an AGP 8x bus, so I'm not sure if the Retail version will be supported in a G5.
    The difference between the Single 1.6 GHz and 1.8 GHz isn't big enough, IMHO, to comprimize the Radeon 9800.

    Its difficult.... But I would go for the 1.6 w/ Radeon 9800 if I hade to choose....
    Don't forget the extra RAM :)
  5. Tim Fullerlove thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 24, 2003
    Why is nothing simple? ;-)

    I really dont think I can afford the 1.6 with a 9800 AND the extra RAM, whereas the 1.8 comes with 512 MB Ram as standard, and I could just about manage the price of one with a 9600. Still more pondering to do...

    Cheers again for the very helpful advice.

  6. MacsRgr8 macrumors 604


    Sep 8, 2002
    The Netherlands
    You're welcome :)

    The 1.8 Ghz G5 with 512 MB RAM + Radeon 9600 stiil is a gr8 gaming machine....
    Either way, it will be nice gaming.

    Have fun deciding.... and playing with your upcoming G5! :)
  7. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2001
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    I'd say you're going to be happy no matter which way you go, but here's a page from XLR8YourMac that compares a DP 1.42 w/9800, and G5s w/9600 and 9800:


    Hopefully that'll give you a bit more to work with.

    I've also read PC reviews praising the 9600 Pro in terms of bang for the buck (not that it's wicked-fast, but it performs well and is $300 cheaper than the 9800), but I can't find the links right now.

    Have fun with whatever you get!
  8. Macpoops macrumors 6502

    Jan 15, 2002
    Your really better off spending alittle extra cash on a 1.8 G5 instead of the 1.6 if your conserned with upgradablity. The 1.8 has PCI X(yes i know nothing uses it yet) and has more ram capacity

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