G5 purchase questions

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by davidp158, Feb 8, 2005.

  1. davidp158 macrumors member

    Feb 8, 2005
    I am lusting for a new dual 2 or 2.5 gig G5 Mac, and hope you can offer some answers. I do mostly Photoshop work, some graphic design with Xpress (soon to include Indesign), illustration with Adobe Illustrator and 3D work with Maxon Cinema 4DXL. I am also finally making the transition to OSX, and will be upgrading many applications, possibly a new inkjet printer, and need to budget funds for these as well. I've read many threads in these forums, and there is a lot of info to sift through. I'm hoping a few brave souls will address my questions, to condense the answers into on location.

    1. Video cards: I don't do any gaming on my Mac, but wonder if I should spring for one of the better video cards from Apple, or add it later. Do the better video cards improve performance of screen redraws? I've heard that the Quarzt display is very computure intensive, and want to know if any cards assist this. I'm guessing that the midrange video cards are improved for gamers, while the high end cards help 3D and video artists. My 3D work is very minimal at the moment, and I'd rather put the $ into more RAM, hard drives, and OSX software upgrades.

    2. Dual 2 or 2.5 gig: The Photoshop benchmarks I've seen between these two machines don't seem to be dramatic, so I wonder if the additional cost for the faster frontside bus, ATI Radeon 9600 XT and 128MB DDR video memory in dual 2.5 is worth it over the NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200 Ultra and 64MB DDR video memory in the dual 2 gig G5. Any thoughts on how the dual 2.5 might better suit me, or if the dual 2 gig is fine for Photoshop work? Is the 2.5 worth the extra $500?

    3. SCSI versus SATA/IDE drives: As I often work on large files, I'm concerned about disk drive performance. How do the SATA drives compare to SCSI for performance, noise levels and reliability? Are most Photoshop users getting good results with SATA drives, or do they prefer fast SCSI drives?

    4. Legacy equipment: I have a DAT tape drive and scanner that will require me to add a SCSI card. Both are fairly slow devices, so I won't need a fast SCSI card. If I buy a fast, dual channel SCSI card and use one side for a SCSI drive, can I use the other channel for the DAT and scanner, without effecting performance of the SCSI drive?

    5. Although there are always new "better" machines coming over time, I'm anxious to get a new Mac and get familiar with OSX, instead of holding out for a few months to see if Apple updates the PowerMac line. I usually have more free time to set up hardware and learn software in the winter months, so this is a good time for me to make this purchase. However, if there is a good chance that Apple will announce new PowerMacs by March, and start shipping shortly thereafter, I may be compelled to wait.

    thanks for your time,
  2. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    Have a dual 2.5 G5 at work with 2.5gb RAM. I'm a print designer...

    For graphics, the video card is fine. I don't think it's critical...
    Your instinct is right – spend the money on RAM & HDs.

    We also installed Western Digital 10,000 rpm 74gb Raptors, they're great esp. as Pshop scratch disks.

    If you do a lot of large publications, then distilling them through Distiller, you may appreciate the 2.5 over the 2ghz. It really rips right through them...

    The 2.5 may also be that bit more powerful for 3D work, but I know less about this. One of of my colleagues uses Carrara on an exactly same-equipped G5 and he adores it...
  3. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    Legacy equipment...

    SCSI will be a transition problem with the G5, both if you have an old 5V card (won't work), and it may also not go into deep sleep in the G5 or may lack drivers.

    Of course it may also be worth keeping the other machine around as a scan station, and to run the DAT.

    Don't know which cards are fully supported (including deep sleep) on the G5.
  4. vtprinz macrumors 6502

    Nov 30, 2004
    The 9600XT is only about $50 extra to upgrade from the 5200 Ultra. So really the question is about whether the 500MHz processor bump
    (which is quite a bit) and 250Mhz FSB bump is worth ~$450.
  5. davidp158 thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 8, 2005
    Thanks for the replies. Regarding SCSI hard drives, I assume that PCI or PCIX SCSI cards are available, but I'm still not sure how the SATA drives compare. When IDE drives first came out, I recall many Photoshop users were disappointed with them, but the specs on the SATA drives seem better. I could use more info on the difference between fast SCSI drives and SATA drives, regarding performance, noise level and reliability.

    I think VTPRINZ put the difference between the dual 2 and 2.5 gig into a better perspective. Thanks.

    What is the current consensus on buying a G5 now, or waiting for the next generation of Macs? I'm hoping that the G5 I buy will serve me well for 3 to 4 years.

    thanks again for your comments,
  6. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    You can't compare the first IDE drives to today's SATA drives...

    I don't know of a single designer that uses SCSI drives these days. That's not to say they don't exist but honestly...

    If you want good Pshop performance without the hassle of SCSI then put a WD Raptor in as Pshop scratch disk...

    Take my word for it... No, take AnandTech's word for it.

    I work in a busy office. Phones, PCs etc. I can't hear the HD over the G5s fans...

    If my home G4 could take SATAs I would have installed one ages ago.
  7. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus


    Jul 24, 2002
    Still heavily used in the Enterprise sector. We've got loads in our Sun boxes at work (all the boot disks for a start).
  8. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004

    Yeah... but what I really mean is the 1-6 person studios...
  9. davidp158 thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 8, 2005
    Thanks for the feedback and link info. I'll research this a bit more. Admittedly, I haven't purchased drives for a few years (no drive failures and some dumb luck), so I haven't kept up on current hard drive trends. Yeah, I'd like to avoid the hassles of SCSI, but I thought that SCSI was more effecient than ATA. In the past I had read that although ATA drives have decent seek, read and write times, there is some file management handled by SCSI drives that ATA drives hand off to your computer. This made the specs on ATA drives much slower. 3-4 years ago, many people I knew were still favoring fast/wide SCSI drives over ATA drives, but maybe this has all changed with contemporary SATA drives.

    thanks again for your feedback,


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