G5's, displays, iMacs, and a confused user.

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by Smileyguy, Jan 13, 2005.

  1. Smileyguy macrumors 6502

    Nov 29, 2004
    Hello everyone,

    I've been doing some pondering this morning. At the moment, I've got a 1.8GHZ SP G5 and a little 15' Packard Bell LCD. I really don't like the LCD, it's got an awful glare, and it hurts my eyes to use it for two long no matter what I do with the brightness and contrast. So I want a new monitor, and an Apple Cinema Display is top of my list.

    But then I got to thinking. I really don't use all the power of my G5. The most I do on it is a little Photosphopping or Quark-ing. I don't need all that power. If I'm buying a new monitor, I realised I should investigate the possiblity of selling both my current monitor and G5 and buying an iMac.

    Here's how I see it. I could get $1000 for my G5, and maybe $150-$200 for my monitor. The leaves me with about $800 to make up for a 20' iMac, and about $250 to make up to the 1.8Ghz 17' iMac.

    If I just buy a new cinema display, it leaves me with about $800 to make up after I sell by current LCD. Perhaps I could get one of the last generation LCD's online (They are sexier!) but I want something that is going to last as long as possible.

    I'm also looking at future costs. I like to make my machines last as long as possible, ideally 4 years. If I buy the monitor, it will leave me paying $1600 or so every four or five years to buy a new bottom-of-the-range G5.

    If I buy an iMac, it will be about the same for the midrange machine or more for the top-line. It does seem a waste to get rid of such a perfectly good screen every four or five years.

    So has anyone got any advice? The iMac option is attractice as I'll have just as good a computer, 2" extra screen space and lot more free space for only $300 more or so. But I'm not the kind of person to impulse buy or buy what's new and cool, I want functionality and longevity.
  2. Smileyguy thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 29, 2004
  3. edesignuk Moderator emeritus


    Mar 25, 2002
    London, England
    Unless you really want an Apple display, I'd just pickup a 3rd party 17-19" LCD (regular ratio). You get can get panels for not a lot these days.

    This will save you money over either options you mention above.

    Just a thought.
  4. baby duck monge macrumors 68000

    baby duck monge

    Feb 16, 2003
    Memphis, TN
    just get yourself a new monitor. it's not too hard to find an LCD that will not hurt your eyes with the stylings of an apple lcd, but for a fraction of the cost. i would recommend the samsung 172x (i just got one) if you're looking for a beautiful monitor that's not hard on the eyes. you could also find a nice looking monitor that costs a bit less.

    while your tower might be more computer than you need right now, it will remain useable for longer (new applications will require more power, and keeping a computer that is overpowered now is a form of future-proofing), so your costs over time (at least in the short-term) will be lower (ie: you will not need to drop another $1600 or whatever on a new low-end system for longer, and even then you will already have a useable monitor).

    so yeah, just think about selling the monitor you have now and upgrading to something that you are more comfortable using.
  5. emw macrumors G4


    Aug 2, 2004
    Without a doubt, keep the G5. It will carry you through the next couple of years and serve you well, especially if it's a little too "overpowered" right now. Plus, it's upgradeable, which the iMac is not.

    Also, although you can sell your 15", you may want to just purchase a new 17" (about $300) or 19" (about $450) LCD and run them both, using the 15" for palettes, or other "non-essentials." It does come in handy. Plus, if your current LCD is really that bad, I doubt you'll get much for it - a new 15" LCD can be had for about $200.
  6. Smileyguy thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 29, 2004
    I was thinking the same thing about upgradability. But then I thought - What does that mean? I'll only every use a gig or two of RAM, and will probably never upgrade the graphics. So looking at it like that there's not too much difference between the iMac and the G5, and I don't see any reason the G5 should last longer.

    I must admit that the all-in-one design of the iMac is luring me, as is the wall-mounting potential. Of course, functionality comes first though. But to me it seems both are equal in that area.
  7. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

    May 7, 2004
    Sod off
    Newegg has some good deals on 19" flat panels nowadays, I'd just get one and chuck the CRT.

    The Apple displays are cool but lean toward $bling$ for most uses. :)
  8. Smileyguy thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 29, 2004
    I really like the Samsung 172X. ;)

    The iMac is still tempting me though. I'm convinced it has the same longevity potential as the G5, but I might be wrong.
  9. maxterpiece macrumors 6502a


    Mar 5, 2003
    If you think that the space saving and wall-mounting capacity of the imac will make your workspace much more pleasant and comfortable then it is worth the investment. You are right in saying that there longevities are equal if you don't plan on upping the graphics (or ram beyond a certain point).

    Let's say that, two years down the line, Mac OS 10.5 runs much better on a 128mb card than the 64mb card in imacs. Then for $60 or so you have a machine that is much more capable than the imac. Also any kind of processor upgrade that might be offered for the tower would never be offered for the imac. And there are a couple of speed differences between the current imac and your tower - the tower has a faster frontside bus, burns faster, may have a faster disk drive... all these seemingly little things speed up your overall computer experience.

    Keeping the tower is probably your most economical choice - if you decide, in 2 or 3 years that you need to upgrade, you can pick up a mac mini and plug it into your new display.
  10. Smileyguy thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 29, 2004
    Thanks maxterpiece, perhaps I have been taken over by a wee bit of impulse temptation! I'll take your advice on board. ;)
  11. Smileyguy thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 29, 2004
    I guess what I'm trying to figure out is which machine will last longer.

    To me it seems both machines have about the same longevity. I'll only ever use a gig or two of RAM, won't upgrade the graphics, might want to get a bigger hard disk but I can put a 160 in the iMac.

    So, in my mind, I've got two computers with the same insides (for what I do) and the iMac gives me a gorgeous 17/20 screen, a beautiful design and the potential to wall-mount.

    Am I seeing this wrong?
  12. Veldek macrumors 68000


    Mar 29, 2003
    Your PowerMac is more future proof. You say you don’t need the power, but don’t forget that apps get higher system requirements from year to year, so you might be glad that you can upgrade more easily in the future.

    Edit: And you can get a display that is mountable if you really want it.
  13. Smileyguy thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 29, 2004
    Thanks Veldek,

    Do you mind If I probe into this a little further? In what way do you think it is more upgradeable? The way I see it, adding more than 2gigs of RAM is pointless for me. The only upgrade that would improve performace considerably is a processor upgrade, right?

    How do you see it? How do you think I could upgrade the machine in say three years time to keep it going?

    Thanks, and sorry for being a pest. :D
  14. Veldek macrumors 68000


    Mar 29, 2003
    Well, NOW, you say more than 2GB RAM is pointless, but the requirements get bigger for this every year. I’m content with the 1.5GB I have now, but I wouldn’t say that I won’t need any more. And in the other thread you mentioned that 80GB harddisk is enough for you. I have a 160 GB one and there’s less than 100GB left, so I’d get problems soon with an 80 GB one. But even the 160GB one won’t last forever, I’m sure.

    But the most important point is that current G4 PowerMacs can be improved with processor cards which is impossible with an iMac. I think there aren’t any for G5 PowerMacs yet, because of some problems, but these problems will be overcome in the future for sure and then you will be able to upgrade your processor( though not making a DP out of your SP).
  15. Smileyguy thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 29, 2004

    Thanks for the advice again. Can I just ask, how much of an upgrade do you think a processor upgrade will give? How high could it take it? I read somewhere online that Apple has made it difficult for third parties to offer upgrades. Always wanting us to by a new computer they are!

    I think I know what I'm going to do now. I'm going to keep the G5, possibly upgrade the RAM to a gig or two in the next year, and buy one of the last generation of cinema displays, either a 17" or 20", whichever I can afford.

    Here's my logic:

    - I can upgrade the processor once the cards start coming out, which should give it an extra year or too.
    - I can easily take the RAM to 2.5 or 2.6
    - I'm getting into Photography, and think it might be a potential source of income in the near future. The possibility of upgrading my HD will help here.
    - My computer is basically my stereo system, so again, music needs memory.
    - On the Cinema Display, I think the last generation ones are much better-looking, and cheaper. I don't want to fork out alot know because monitor technology is coming on in leaps and bounds. So I'll buy a secondhand 20', and upgrade in a few years.
  16. nsrii macrumors newbie

    Jan 11, 2005
    I don't think you're seeing the comparison wrong. However, what stops me from purchasing an iMac is the very fact that they're an all-in-one system. What happens in two years, after your one year warranty expires, if your iMac screen goes dead? You're pretty much out of a computer. Whereas with the PowerMac if something goes wrong with it, with exception to the motherboard completely failing, you can fix it yourself (ie. replace hd, ram, video card, etc.).

    I agree with others that the Powermac is the machine to stick with, as far as longevity is concerned.
  17. Smileyguy thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 29, 2004
    Good point nsrili, and this also means you can upgrade your computer/monitor separatley if one falls behind first.
  18. Smileyguy thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 29, 2004
    I think I'm going to get a formac and keep my g5. They're gorgeous, great and affordable.

  19. mrgreen4242 macrumors 601


    Feb 10, 2004
    Just as a factoidal correction, the SP 1.8ghz G5 PM has a 600mhz fsb, just like the iMac 1.8ghz. The 1.6ghz SPs and the 1.8 DPs have the full speed 1/2 fsb's, but the SP 1.8 has a 1/3.

  20. cmvsm macrumors 6502a


    Nov 12, 2004
    Be careful with Formac as they are an overseas vendor and I've heard that customer service, should you need it, is a little on the weak side. If you've read some reviews about the Formac, you'll find that they state for some reason, the plastic frame around the screen is "flimsy". Don't know about you, but if I'm shelling out money like that for a monitor, the adjective flimsy better be last on the list of attributes.

    Also, be careful of monitors that you haven't seen work in person, as it can obviously make a world of difference. If you like the acrylic look, you can pick up the old model Apple 20" for $799 which isn't a bad price at all and the monitor is top notch!

    Good luck with your choice!
  21. Apple!Freak macrumors 6502a


    Jan 11, 2005
    East Coast

    :rolleyes: I remember the day when 15" LCD's were going for $1,000 +. :p

    I paid $500 for the Sony 15 inch I have now which I bought 3 years ago and now it might be worth $175.

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