g4 iMacs vs. g4 PPC towers???


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 26, 2002
What's the deal here? What is Apple trying to do to me? How do I admit to my fellow designer compadres that I am thinking about buying the new 800MHz g4 iMac vs. the 933MHz g4 PPC tower? I mean, iMacs are for kids who want to play games and go to sesamestreet.com, right?

However, I'm looking at the stats, and I don't see much difference, except the price! Both come with the Superdrive. Both come with a 60GB hd. Both have g4 architecture. Both come with a kick butt graphics card (g4 PPC slightly better). Both come tih a 56k internal modem. Apple pro keyborads, etc. etc.

The only thing that stinks about the iMac is the 15" display. I am used to working at 19"+ (CRT).

The thing that stinks about the PPC tower is $1300 more if I get a 17" display, or $550 if I am able to use my 20" raduis (still don't know yet).

So, is it worth it? All opinions welcome.


macrumors 68030
Jan 18, 2002
behind you
Depends on what you do

What kind of work will you be doing on this computer? If you need expandibility then the iMac isnt so good, however, it is a great piece of machinery for most people's needs.


macrumors 6502a
Feb 25, 2002
Don't forget Lvl 3 cache

The 2Mb of Lvl 3 cache on the PowerMac's G4 processor (which the iMac doesn't have) will probably make a bigger performance difference to the tower than the 133 MHz of clock speed it has over the iMac

But you're right, the price difference is too great. If you have no need to add PCI cards (i.e. you're not interested in audio or heavy video work essentially) then I'd buy the iMac and hook it up to a large external monitor using video mirroring (it has a port for this, as have the last few iMac generations), and probably save yourself some money.


macrumors regular
Feb 21, 2002
I myself do photo editing and web design and I just bought the iMAC for the following reasons.

1) I'm on a budget.
2) compact design (don't have to much room on my desk)
3) comparisins to a power mac.

If you do video and audio editing wait and save money and get the powermac but if you don't then just get an iMAC with a gig of memory and trust me it'll be faster than you think.
Oh yeah DONT buy an Imac with a 256 in the main slot, at least get one with 1 512 dimm. Becasue if you get one with a 256 Dimm in the first slot when you want to upgrade to a gig of memory you're gonna have to drag your IMAC to an Apple store and do a whole big thing, trust me i'v already heard people's stories.



Moderator emeritus
Jan 2, 2001
Metairie, LA
I think it's an incredible deal to get an 800 mhz G4 plus a rewritable drive....and a 15" LCD for $1800....

but something to consider is the difference between colors on an LCD vs. CRT....esp. if color accuracy is critical or not....


macrumors 68030
Aug 1, 2001
Santa Cruz Ca
Like I've been saying.

The G4 tower is at the end of it's life.

We will soon see a new tower.MWNY or sooner. Probably synchronous with 12:00 on ye olde OS X clock.


macrumors 601

the PowerMac tower is just that POWER. If you want to do high end video or image work get the Tower, but otherwise get the iMac. The iMac 800 is slower for those things than the G4 Tower. If you really want the Superdrive, but need to do high end video work, get a BTO Tower from Apple.com.


macrumors 6502a
May 7, 2001
I hate all this indecisive talk about which comp to buy. A year ago both sets of specs were high end and unless you were a professional, stick with the 466 G4 or 500 G3 iMac. Now, 12 months later, you are wondering if you will get enough power from the iMac. Wow. You must be doing some incredible stuff! You must work for Lucas Arts producing the next star wars. It seems to me that if you really needed the power, you would not even question the iMac. It sounds like you are getting sucked in by the "coolness" of having the faster of the 2 machines, when the truth is in 6-12 months you would be having the same discussion about buying the 933 vs the 1233 (just for example), and in all probability you would be using the same apps.

Here is what I recommend. Do you need PCI slots? Do you need 1.5 gig? Do you need dual displays? Do you need more than 1 hard drive (RAID config)? Notice I said "need", not "want". If the answer is yes to any of these, go for the tower, otherwise, get an iMac. Quit trying to impress your buddies, or if you have a ton of discretionary money, buy whatever you like, or both!

Just remember, no matter how high end you go, in 6 months you are just another guy with an average machine.


macrumors 65816
Jan 3, 2002
I doubt that MOST (I say most not all) of people posting here have never even used one of the new iMacs. For Pros, the PowerMac will remain to be the only way to go. In one sense I agree with buffsldr that if you don't need heavy expandability then get an iMac BUT the fact remains that the lack of cache (which I see after using an 800 iMac) is a HUGE hinder on performance. When it comes down to it, 100MHz bus is no so bad BUT if you don't have enough Cache, it does not matter what speed you bus is, RAM access is FAR slower than Cache access and it shows up.

If you get a new iMac and attempt to work over multiple applications you will see what I am talking about. It even shows up just jumping from iTunes to the Finder. Working over multiple apps I would take my G4533 over a new iMac any day. Working in one app at a time doing one task at a time, the iMac kicks arse. Unfortunately, as an example, if you are playing an MP3 and you put a CD in the drive, expect the music to stop for about 5 seconds. Now, this does not matter to a consumer but, for a pro, you will be doing many things that require multiple takes to run at the same time and you NEED them to work smoothly.

I suppose, though, it really comes down to how you define a pro these days. I think people are still holding on to what a pro was a few years back so that they can call themselves one when, really, basic HTML web design and simple video editing can be done by anyone. The name needs to keep up with the technology.