G5 vs. G4 Value

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by jcook793, Sep 29, 2003.

  1. jcook793 macrumors regular

    Aug 18, 2003
    Cincinnati, OH
    I'm looking at getting my first Mac. I had decided to make the switch just before the G5's came out, and once I saw that dual G5, I started lusting big time. :)

    I actually have a dual 2GHz G5 on order (due to arrive 10/28) but now I'm starting to get a little squeamish on the price. We're talking over $3000 for just a computer... that's a lot of cash!

    To complicate matters I really want to get a Cinema Display. I've pretty much settled on the 20" as the best value. So even finding a good used one, I'll end up spending like $4,500 when it's all said and done. That seems like an absurd amount of money for a computer system. Yeah, it's super-duper nice and all that, but still. I probably couldn't get $4,500 in trade for any of my vehicles.

    A couple weeks ago I passed on a deal that I probably should have taken. It was a dual G4 1.25 (combo drive) and a 20" Cinema Display for $2,300. That number seems a lot more sane to me.

    So what should I do? I can strictly afford the G5 system (read: I'm not in college anymore), but it turns my stomach to think of the money. However part of me also sort of hates to settle with a G4, especially the Doom III part of me. ;)

    Am I going to notice *that* much difference between the systems though?

    What's weird is that there is a lot more vendors/choices in the PC world, but I've never been this indecisive over a computer before.
  2. djtet macrumors regular

    Apr 7, 2003
    Charleston, SC
    i do a bunch of graphic/web design and needed a new computer. i have had an old pc and an old mac, and was on a tight budget. i just got (3 days ago) a refurb G4 DP 1.25. besides some glitches the first two days, this thing kicks ass. much more power than i expected. even if i had the money, i probably wouldn't have bought a g5 dp 2.0. it's supposedly the fastest personal computer out there, but i really don't need that much power. now bragging rights is a different story if you have a g5 :D . you do have a tough decision, but i would just suggest weighing out the pro's and cons of buying a g5 vs a g4 and then make your decision. i'm sure you'll be happy either way!
  3. idea_hamster macrumors 65816


    Jul 11, 2003
    NYC, or thereabouts
    You might consider getting a 1.8GHz G5 instead. The 1.8GHz model has all the high-end architecture (PCI-X, 8GB RAM, DDR400 RAM, etc.) that the 2x2.0GHz model does, so you only really give up processor speed.

    It may be a better system if you're considering future hardware and software than a dual G4-based system. Of course, if you're not planning on incorporating too much future stuff, then the G4 might be OK. Just remember, the G5 isn't just 64-bit; it's my understanding that the G5 is better in lots of ways.
  4. Macette macrumors 6502

    Mar 5, 2002
    I agree - I think it's much better to fork out a big amount of cash and get something which is going to keep up with tech changes for a while, rather that get something that apple are no longer as interested in or excited by... i reckon that within 18 months, there'll be a lot of stuff that's 'optimized' for G5 64-bit... so even if you get a lower-end G5, you'll be doing better than with a dual G4.

    EDIT: like when i got my G3 ibook a couple of years ago, and ical and mail run like peanut butter on it. they are so slow i can barely use them. and that's because the G3 was so, like, old by then.

    on the other hand, i'm typing this from a dual 867 G4, and it's really snappy. I have no complaints about it (except that this morning i picked up my dual G5 and it's sitting at home waiting for me to come and play... so in that sense I HATE this dual G4!)

    but i just spent 10000 Aussie dollars on my new setup, and it hurts me to my very core. i will be eating only lentils for several years.
  5. jcook793 thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 18, 2003
    Cincinnati, OH
    Hey thanks for all the feedback so far.

    One of my "schemes" was to get a dualie G4 now and then sometime next year sell it and get a G5. But then I'm really spending the same amount on a system, I'm just spreading out the cost over time. So not sure what my goal would be there exactly.

    Maybe I could just take the lump, get the dual G5 now and then breathe a little and get the Cinema Display early next year. Or possibly late this year if they do in fact come out with new models.

    Oh and I'd be on that 1.8 in a heartbeat if I knew it had future dual capabilities. But as I see it, the only G5 truly worth the cash is unfortunately the most expensive one.

    I hate being obsessive.
  6. Arantor macrumors newbie

    Sep 29, 2003

    According to barefeats.com, the 2.0 GHZ has the best bang for buck. However, it also recommends that you get a DP G4 rather than a SP G5. I don't know if or how that will change as there are more optimizations made for the G5.

    The barefeats page

    Hope that helps. Good luck in your decision-making!
  7. jcook793 thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 18, 2003
    Cincinnati, OH
    In fact I was reading that very Bare Feats page earlier today as I was mulling over what I should do. That page made me think that maybe I should reconsider the G4, especially a good used one.

    I did do the coin toss benchmark the night I ordered the G5 and it smoked the G4, 8 to 1. Hard to ignore the gods.
  8. solvs macrumors 603


    Jun 25, 2002
    LaLaLand, CA
    If you can afford it, buy the G5. It's not about the coolness factor. It is cool, but it's fast. Really fast. Forget about benchmarks. Real world is all that matters. Plus it's quiet. And runs OS X pretty well. Unless you need portability, dual CD drives, more than 2 internal hard drives, etc. - the G5 wins hands down. If time is money, it will pay for itself and be easier than a G4 now and a G5 later.

    The LCD would be nice, but I know I'm happy for now with a CRT. Maybe when prices come down on the 20" (and the specs get a little better) they'll be worth it IMO.
  9. panphage macrumors 6502

    Jul 1, 2003
    I've been showing people those barefeats benches too, and they are impressive for the dual G4s. But I've used a 1.8 G5 at the local apple store, and man, that thing smokes. It's just stupid fast. I don't do video so I didn't know how to put it through it's paces with a movie, but goofing around with HUGE files in photoshop was just silly. AND I'm willing to bet that this new Photoshop CS is EVEN FASTER, what with being OS X native and fully optimized (yes, I know about the G5 plugin, but does anyone think that was anything but a stopgap until the fully optimized version was released?) And THEN, panther is going to come out and be even FASTER STILL.

    Ok, I'm a little excited. Ahem.
  10. m4rc macrumors 6502

    Sep 15, 2003
    What you have to remember is that less than a year ago everyone was saying how incredible the Dual G4 was, how it was stupidly fast etc. Now we have something quicker, it's still not slower. You will not be disapointed with a G4, and unless you are doing video and graphics work you won't notice much difference in the real world surely. Also, Apple is still making G3 iBooks (maybe not for much longer) and G4 Powerbooks, so they have not written off the G4 just yet.

    We will always be thinking maybe I should wait for the next revision. I am waiting for my G4 15" PB to arrive, but I also know that not long after Apple will announce the G5 PB and I will wish I had waited!

    You could look at it the other way - buy a dual G4 and wait until the G6 comes out, I have heard that is going to be able to work by reading your mind......
  11. bbarnhart macrumors 6502a


    Jan 16, 2002
    I have a dual 1.25 that I bought in February when they first came out. I don't use it for video or Photoshop or rendering or any CPU intensive application. I just use it for regular home computer stuff.

    It is plenty fast. Finder windows pop open and I can scroll through my files with my cursor keys as fast as the auto-repeat will go. Nearly all applications open in one bounce.

    I have a Pentium 2.8 at work that has one CPU. My Mac "feels" like it is twice as fast as the PC because of the dual processors.

    So, you're not going to miss out if you get a G4. Maybe you can get a used one even cheaper.
  12. the future macrumors 65816

    Jul 17, 2002
    The specs of the 20" are great, actually. And LCDs – *especially* Apple LCDs – used to be a lot more expensive than they are now.

    To the original poster: get the dual G5 and the 20" NOW and enjoy! Life is short.
  13. iPC macrumors 6502


    Jul 22, 2003
    East Windsor, CT
    20" LCD specs will not be that good by early part of next year.

    Get the dual G5. With all that RAM potential, you can have a decent system for much longer than the dual G4 system. Plus the advantages of a true 64 bit OS that is in the pipeline.
  14. maelstromr macrumors 6502


    Aug 8, 2002
    Charlottesville, VA
    one more thing

    I'd like to add one more thing in my very humble opinion...
    The G5 is in a 1st generation stage...now applke has been very good about it's hardware in general, but I personally like to know something has made it through at least one generation of tweaking before buying. That's what made the Pismo the best powerbook ever, and that's what makes the last gerneration G4's so great.
    The only future of computers you should really worry about is the stuff in the pipeline...making that last comment about the 64bit OS a good sell on the G5.
    Since I'm waiting to get the money for it anyway, my next purchase is the first revision of the G5 hopefully early next year...

    Finally, how many of us not doing video editing really need more than a dual G4? Are you sure that what your doing can even take much advantage of the DP? Just checking...
  15. D*I*S_Frontman macrumors 6502

    May 20, 2002
    Lombard, IL
    My take

    I am embarking on a career change involving starting a new video production company. I had the choice as to which system to get, and I opted for the 1.25 DP G4, and here are my reasons why:

    1) Way cheaper than a DP G5
    2) Nearly the same specs for most things as G5 SPs
    3) Will make a great "Studio B" system in a year or two when I buy a 2nd generation G5 DP

    I learned from a friend of mine who owns a audio/video recording company that you never actually "upgrade" your computer system--you just add new ones. This guy has four or five Macs running all of the time--his fastest does the mission-critical video editing, another does audio acquisition, still another two-track mastering, another web content, and another office work. He has a 9600 he uses all the time. I wouldn't be surprised to see a Classic in his closet running MIDI sequencing for his keyboard set-up!

    DP G4 1.25 w/2GB RAM will serve me quite nicely until I actually see some return on my investment. Shortly thereafter I'll splurge on a DP G5 system--if it actually increases my throughput and productivity in measurable ways (which it probably will, as video rendering leaves a lot of unproductive "downtime" over the course of a day)

    Anyway, that's my $.02
  16. jcook793 thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 18, 2003
    Cincinnati, OH
    Wow, what a great forum. Tons of great replies!

    I finally decided to stick with the 2GHz dual G5. That way I'll get the maximum life out of my purchase without having to do the PowerMac Shuffle anytime soon. Plus maybe I can convince my brother that switching is not "going over to the dark side" when he sees that sweet system. Or perhaps he will mistake it for the Death Star... hmmm...

    I have a good 21" ViewSonic CRT that will do just fine for now. I'm gonna play it cool and see if Apple updates the LCDs. If they do I'll evaluate if the new ones are to-die-for and if not I'll scoop up a discounted 20".

    Maybe that will also tie in nicely with the release of Doom III. :D I'm not a hardcore gamer but this game will probably suck me in for about 6 months like Quake III did when it came out.

    And D*I*S_Frontman, I'd probably have bought the dual G4 if I were in your shoes as well. Personally I already have quite the collection of aging PCs which have been converted to Linux servers so I don't need another "retired" system for the forseeable future. Also if you are looking for an intern in Cincinnati, let me know! :) I'm a programmer who is bored with flipping bits and has always been envious of those doing video production. I guess I never recovered from having to sell my Amiga 2000 and Video Toaster all those years ago...

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