G5 or iMac

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Regis27, Mar 5, 2008.

  1. Regis27 macrumors member

    Dec 13, 2006
    I've read the similarly titled threads posted here in the last few months but I'm not looking for purely a speed boost. I'm currently running a ibook G4 1.2GHZ with max'd 1.25 GB RAM.

    My problems:

    1. 1.25 GB is not enough RAM. I keep an eye on MenuMeters and Activity Monitor and I'm often running out of free memory and sometimes out of the inactive space as well. I'm closing apps to open others, and I feel it's cutting into my productivity.

    2. Simple things like browsing through the finder are taking too long. It should take more than a second to load a window's contents or scroll through the applications folder.

    My considerations:

    Most importantly, I don't have time right now to reinstall everything from scratch and get everything set up again. I want to simply clone my drive over and keep on working. One of the reasons I'm considering a G5 is because I assume that my current system installation would be able to work without a reinstall. This is also why I don't plan to move to Leopard in the near-term (everything that's working now has to keep working for at least 6-8 months, or I might as well stick with the ibook).

    Since I'm running out of ram now, I don't want a mac that will max out at 2GB. With the g5, I could get at least to 4GB even if it's not optimally filled.

    I don't do a lot of computationally intensive tasks like movie encoding or Photoshop transformations, instead I'm working with databases of lots of files and writing (finishing up my PhD).

    When I graduate latter this year I plan to replace the ibook with a macbook or mbp (or macTablet :) and retask the g5 or imac to home for iPhoto, ichat, email, Quicken, and playing DVDs.

    Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated.
  2. ebouwman macrumors 6502a

    Jan 5, 2007
    Well the iMac does support up to 4GB of ram, not just the 2GB you said, so theres a plus.

    I really think that eventually you're going to have to move to leopard so why not get it over with. You could still keep working on your iBook until you are completely happy with the way you're iMac is set up, if thats the road you take.

    I'm personaly all for new technology rather than getting older equipment and then replacing it sooner.

    Also if you say you want to get an MBP then why don't you just do that now instead of later? The only problem then being that then you would be limited to 2GB.
  3. Regis27 thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 13, 2006
    Sorry, I meant to add that since most iMacs were limited to 2GB, I'd have to choose one of the more recent (and more expensive) ones. And with the limited slots I'd have to probably throw away (ie. sell) the RAM that came with an iMac if I wanted to get it to 4GB. (on the flip side, iMac ram is cheaper right now than G5 ram.)

    Also, the thing with getting a MBP now is money: I figure $600-700 for a single processor G5, $700-800 for a DP G5, and about $1000 for an iMac.
  4. Pees330 macrumors 6502

    May 26, 2006
    Las Vegas, NV
    I would go for the iMac considering it has intel inside. This is the direction that Apple is moving in. But if you already have a monitor and all that, you could go for the G5. I don't know if money is an issue, but if I were you I would get the iMac. It's more future proof.
  5. velocityg4 macrumors 601


    Dec 19, 2004
    Well since both time and money are important factors for you I would say just get the G5. Since your intention for this machine is a temporary solution to cover your needs while you get your Ph.D this should work rather well for you. I don't know how many years are remaining for your Ph.D but you can always sell the G5 when you can afford the Macbook and have the time to fiddle with Leopard and find Universal apps.

    Since it uses a PowerPC chip the transition should be less time consuming. A switch to the iMac would not only mean installing the OS and software it would also involve finding all of your current Applications in Universal Binary assuming they have been updated.

    As for cloning the hard drive to the G5 I would try using Superduper. I am not absolutely certain if this would work with an iBook to G5 transition. However, I have successfully taken a hard drive from a pre-firewire G3 iMac and placed it in a G4 iMac. Which I then installed 10.4 onto, this installation was then returned to the G3 and it worked fine. From this I gather that Mac OS X installs all drivers onto the hard drive making it machine independent. Though you may run into problems if you are using the included version of Mac OS X rather than a retail copy.

    What must be considered is that the G5 is a temporary solution and uses a PowerPC CPU. It will not have the useful life of an Intel iMac, you can not run Windows (at least without a real slow emulator), it is generally slower and does not include a screen.
  6. Regis27 thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 13, 2006
    Thanks everyone for your ideas. I'm going to keep my eyes open for a good deal on G5s but if Apple updates the iMac and my bookstore closes out the old model, I'll definitely consider one of those.
  7. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6


    Aug 17, 2007
    Good advice and I agree.
  8. Techguy172 macrumors 68000

    Feb 2, 2007
    Ontario Canada
    G5's are still very good machines and If you already have a monitor I would get one the iMac is nice because it will last longer but it also takes up less space and still provides a nice upgrade so if you want to spend extra and get a better machine the iMac is for you.

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