Help with PowerMac G4 or G5 choice.

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by GreenManedLion, Nov 13, 2009.

  1. GreenManedLion macrumors newbie

    Nov 13, 2009
    I have a PowerMac G4 MDD 1.0 DP which I got just as the MDDs came out. It is now my girlfriends computer and we are REALLY tight on money. I am toying with two choices.

    The first is buying a PowerMac G4 MDD 1.25DP or 1.42 DP, moving the 1.0DPs stuff to the newer one, and using the 1.0DP as a ready source of spare parts.

    However, I am noticing that the G5 1.8 is about the same price as the 1.25 DP and cheaper then the 1.42 DP. So I am considering buying a 1.8 G5 instead.

    Now, durability is a big issue here. I don't expect to be able to purchase a new computer for several years and PCs are out of the question. Speed is not a huge issue, but her ability to continue using web-based applications such as Oekaki and other java-based or Flash-based apps and the like for that time period is. We are both web-dwellers to some extent. I can do basic repairs myself, I don't mind a fan or the like failing. But I can't afford to go out and buy another computer after this. It will drain me.

    So given the above, which makes more sense?
  2. eRondeau macrumors 65816


    Mar 3, 2004
    Canada's South Coast
    I've got a PMG4 used daily, but the sad reality is it's now several generations out-of-date. The PMG5 is a little newer, with faster RAM, a faster bus, a better video card, USB-2, etc etc etc. And recent Xbench tests put the 1.8 G5 at about double the effective speed as the 1.42DP G4. I'd go with the G5.
  3. brendu macrumors 68020

    Apr 23, 2009
    how much are each gonna cost? a used mini with core2duo might be better for you... can run snow leopard whereas those powermacs cant... but i understand the desire to have an easily user serviceable tower... if so, the g5 is prob. a better bet... just throw in a bunch of ram...
  4. GreenManedLion thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 13, 2009
    What problems do the G5s have? Which has better durability?

    I have/had a MacMini, a G4, and it died on me for no apparent reason and Apple wanted $150 to look at the thing. I don't trust a computer I can't figure out the problems of without Apples hyper-draconian rip-off repair processes.
  5. Badger^2 macrumors 68000


    Oct 29, 2009
    whats your budget?

    the fastest way to make a G5 faster is to put a mini on top of it...

    do you still have that mini G4? "died" is pretty vague, maybe just the drive blew? which is an easy fix? what kind of diagnostics did you run to determine that it was dead?

    G4s and G5s are just not worth anything anymore =(

    putting any money into one just isnt the best choice money, speed or longevity wise...

    2.0 Core 2 Duo refurb minis are $420 when they are in stock... just got to watch
  6. MacMini2009 macrumors 68000


    May 22, 2009
    Well that PowerMac you might buy can also die for no apparent reason and Apple probably doesn't even have support for it anymore. It is best you buy a refurbished 2GHz Mac Mini for I think $429 as it will have a free 1 year warranty and is fairly cheap.
  7. Dr.Pants macrumors 65816


    Jan 8, 2009
    If you can afford the Mini, its well worth it. If not, you would probably want to compute on a G5 more than a G4. The G4 CPU is quite limited compared to a G5, IMO.

    Still, you should tell us what's up with your G4. Maybe there's a cheaper way to fix it...
  8. GreenManedLion thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 13, 2009
    First off, I was being pretty serious when I said I don't have that kind of money. I don't have that kind of money. The $2-300 I'd be spending on either of these computers is more then I can afford, much more. I mean I'm talking forgoing meals to cover up the deficit this is going to cause me. The more I spend the more meals forgone. Can't do it.

    The MacMini just went kaput one night. Shut off and would not turn back on again. The power supply wasn't the problem. I tested it using my trusty handy-dandy multimeter and it was right on the money.

    The Apple Store tried testing it with their own powersupply and it wouldn't turn on for them, either. They told me it was likely the logicboard (which strikes me as horsepocky, by the way) and if I want an estimate on what it would cost, I was going to be forking over $75 to diagnose the thing. And if it was the logic board, it would be like $400 and if I decided not to go through with it then I was out $75.

    Since it was a spare and I was tight even then (much worse now) I told them they could shove the thing up their *cough* for all I cared. The thing was like 14 months old then, and frankly I've had more then enough of Apple as a company and their "customer service". If some other operation produced a computer nearly as good, I wouldn't be an Apple customer anymore.

    And I've been a satisfied MacUser since the Mac SE, too.

    So to put it another way: I have $2-300 to spend on a computer. I want it to be user serviceable and it can't have a built in monitor. It must run MacOS 10.5 and it can't be a piece of crap. Given these tight specifications, and the fact that I have a G4 that could potentially be a ready source of spare parts, what do you think I should go with?

    Does the G5 have a known tendency to die young? If the G4 is more likely to survive 2 years then the G5, all things being equal, the reduced performance is not important to me on this subject. All she does with the thing is iChat and draw.

    By the way, your automatic log-out thing is the biggest pain in the ass since I sat on a rusty nail.

    The problem with my G4 is its USB circuitry. Its causing the computer to grey-screen occasionally. AFAIK that's a board-level repair. The idea of buying the G4 was my original one in the sense that I'd get a working logic board... and an entire computer worth of spare parts, plus the convenience of not having to disassemble the entire computer to have to swap in the board, and for not all that much more than the board itself.

    And then I saw that the G5 was actually a little cheaper. Which is why I came here for advice.
  9. CubeHacker macrumors 65816


    Apr 22, 2003
    I honestly wouldn't bother going from a dual processor 1.0Ghz G4 to a single processor 1.8ghz G5. The two computers are going to feel approx the same in terms of speed. Most people on these forums will tell you to stay away from the single processor G5 Powermacs because they just don't feel all that fast. Now, I know you aren't searching for blazing speeds, but if you are expecting it to be much faster than your MDD G4, you will be very disappointed.
  10. ClassicII macrumors 6502


    Sep 21, 2009
    Chicago, IL
    If you are looking for rock solid durability say with the G4. I work on them all the time and have found that they are very reliable. I use a 1.42 dual as my office computer because I KNOW that I will not have to worry about it. The only problem the MDD's have is the power supply. It's not as durable as the old square one before it and can be expensive to replace at about 80$ - 100$.

    Now Powermac G5's are not as reliable. Dont get me wrong they are great machines, fast and the case looks fantastic! But the dual 1.8 and 2.0's are known for bad logic boards and then when you go a little newer to the water cooled units they end up leaking and ruining every thing from the logic board to the power supply.
    On the single processor units they are not as slow as people think, they do run at a decent speed and should be plenty fine for what you guys are doing. Interesting thing is the singles do not have the logic board problems that the dual 1.8 and 2.0's have. You can find a good single G5 for around 200-250 with faster memory, SATA and better graphics!

    To be honest i would recommend a 1.83ghz intel imac. They seem to be right in that sweet spot right now where they are just old enough where you can get a hold of one for around 300 if you keep a good eye out. I know you said you did not want a built in unit, but they are reliable and now that you have an intel you will not be left in the dust with by not being able to use the latest mac os. That dual 1ghz is still a good machine though, it should last a long time. If you know its the USB just try out a usb pci card that you can find for about 10$ and see if thats the issue.
  11. Winni macrumors 68040


    Oct 15, 2008
    Neither. If that PowerMac still works, stay with it. There is absolutely no sense in investing even more money in dead technology.

    If you really want to put money in a new used computer, and it ought to be something that runs Mac OS X, then build yourself a Hackintosh. Seriously.

    But for 300 bucks you can have a PC that runs Ubuntu 9.10 - and it will be faster than your G4.

    Heck, you could even put Ubuntu 9.10/PowerPC on your G4 and it would feel like having a new computer. I've tests Ubuntu 9.10 on my 17" PowerBook G4 and the felt performance was somewhere between two or three times the performance of Leopard on that machine. However, as always, it's the applications that make the final platform decision.
  12. Techhie macrumors 65816


    Dec 7, 2008
    The hub of stupidity
    I don't know that users with high expectations and extremely low budgets always get what they want. You will have to make compromises, or put in more money.
  13. Aldaris macrumors 68000


    Sep 7, 2004
    Salt Lake
    Go with the G5, you have the 64-bit advantage, as well as the USB 2.0. has some good G5 deals.
  14. GreenManedLion thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 13, 2009
    *sighs* It doesn't work- it has a USB module that seems to be on the way out. One more crash like this and I'm going out and doing something. I don't want fast- it means absolutely nothing to me. The G4 1.0 is perfectly acceptable in performance for our needs at the moment. A 1.25 or 1.42 will be a bit faster, not much but a bit. I'm honestly looking for a more sensible way to repair what I have then to upgrade. It just makes sense to me that if I am going to do this, I might as well go with a slightly faster processor.

    If we need a computer that blows away the sky, my MacPro 2.66 dual-Xeon thing does that quite admirably.

    I'll put it this way: If I have a 1985 Chevy Caprice with a busted tranny. It would make a lot more sense to go out and buy myself an Aveo or Yaris. In the end, it would make my life a lot easier. But I don't have the money for even an Aveo. So what I'm thinking about doing is buying a 1986 Caprice for very little and now I have two Caprices, so if anything goes wrong, like the engine blows, I can swap the parts.

    However, I saw that a 1992 Caprice costs about the same as a 1986. So I'm asking does it make sense to buy a 1992 (which is newer and more modern, but still old and outdated) or buy the '86 since I have more spare parts for it.

    Because honestly, at the end of the day, what I really want to do is keep that PowerMac G4 running for a couple of years, at which point I should have the money to buy myself a new MacPro and give my girlfriend my current one.

    Thank you, Classic II, you're the only one that actually answered my question, and I appreciate it.
  15. Spanky Deluxe macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

    Mar 17, 2005
    London, UK
    I'd have a look for some first gen Intel Mac Minis. I've seen them go for your kind of budget. An unorthodox route might be to look for faulty iMacs. I.e ones with broken screens. If you keep your eyes open you can get a steal. I got a 2.0GHz Core 2 Duo 17" iMac a few months ago for just over £100. I didn't need the screen and use it as a 24x7 webcam server. You could easily just use such a machine with an external display. You can get some serious bang for your buck this way as long as you don't mind putting up with an odd looking machine under your desk.
  16. macshill macrumors 6502


    Aug 22, 2008
    London, Ontario, Canada
    ;) The fact that you have a 1985 Chevy Caprice (In a quasi-OT note: Ever see cars going around with padded rooftops; either leather or fabric? I don't think they even MADE cars w/ padded beyond 1988! When you see a car like that, you KNOW it's older than a college-aged student.) and use the word "horsepucky" and have a PowerMac shows us you respect nostalgia. :p
  17. GreenManedLion thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 13, 2009
    Actually, just the other day I saw a late model Altima with a fabric roof. I am scarred forever. I was using the '85 Caprice as an example. I actually have a '79 Mercedes diesel.
  18. feelthefire macrumors 6502a

    Jun 13, 2006
    I'm wondering why, if you have a Mac Pro, that you even need to be fussing with the G4 at all?

    I wouldn't buy a G4 from anyone, in any condition right now. We had a perfectly working dual 867 in the shop as a bench machine, decided to sell it off, popped in a new hard drive, cleaned everything up, etc sold it for $299-- and in the time between the refurbishing and the customer buying it, the power supply blew. They are just too old to be considered reliable machines at this point. Yeah, if you buy one you'll have spare parts, but it doesn't really help you if the motherboard decides it's done, since you don't have a spare of the most expensive part.

Share This Page