iMac G5 vs PowerMac G4

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by davidg4781, Jan 29, 2013.

  1. davidg4781 macrumors 68020

    Oct 28, 2006
    Alice, TX
    I've had an itch to buy a PPC Mac for a little over a year now. Almost bought one about 8 months ago but had to buy a car instead.

    So, that itch is coming back. I have a nice MBP so I don't need anything super awesome but I'm just looking to have the experience and play around with it, along with maybe playing some older PPC games (I have Diablo (II??)).

    I was planning on getting a PowerMac G4. Just because of the pro-audio thing and ADC connectors, thought that was cool. But I'm thinking of getting an iMac G5 instead.

    Is there a huge performance gain in the iMac, being a G5? I know when comparing Intel models the Mac Pro was a lot more powerful than an iMac, but these were different times.

    I don't think I can put OS 9 on the iMac though, correct? I do have a retail copy of Leopard so I can use that. If not, I guess I should sell it while there's still a good market for it.
  2. RedCroissant Suspended

    Aug 13, 2011
    The main question is which iMac G5 and which PowerMac G4 you're comparing. There were plenty of each. And yes, you can put OS 9 on the iMac G5, but only by using classic mode while running OS X Tiger. Leopard does not support OS 9 at all and to be honest, a more recent G5 iMac benefits greatly from Leopard. So the only way to justify getting an iMac G5 and running Os 9 would be to get an older G5.
  3. skateny macrumors 6502


    Jul 19, 2012
    New York, NY
    Speaking for myself, I'd be happier with a Power G4 rather than an iMac G5. Can do some nice mods with the G4 -- HDD, graphics and more. The iMac G5s had some notorious hardware problems, though I don't at this moment recall what they were. I'll bet that if you looked on eBay, you'd likely find more iMac G5s being offered for parts than whole systems.

    Yeah, I believe you'd have more fun playing with the G4, and that you'd likely get a lot more power out of it, depending on the model. The G4s are also, to me, much more beautifully designed than the iMac.

    With a lot of the G4s you can boot with OS 9 as well as run it in Classic Mode within OS X, but you can only run it in Classic Mode with Tiger 10.4.11, not Leopard (10.5 - 10.5.8). You can't boot OS 9 with any of the G5s, though again, you can run OS 9 within 10.4.11 only.

    If it were me, I'd go for a Power G4 and install Leopard. You can always sell your installer disks after you've finished with them.
  4. davidg4781 thread starter macrumors 68020

    Oct 28, 2006
    Alice, TX

    OS 9 wasn't really that important. It was going to be one of those, "Ohh, this is how it was back then. Ok, back to OS X" type things.

    And I'm really leaning on the PowerMac, with an ACD. Kind of to keep it stock looking.

    Last year I was finding them on Craigslist for $100-200. Not much on there last time I checked.
  5. RedCroissant Suspended

    Aug 13, 2011
    Then if you're leaning toward the PowerMac, then be sure to get one that's a dual core. Sure, one with a single processor might be fun, but the performance gain from a dual core CPU would be preferable in my opinion.

    But then again, the PM does have expansion bays and you could have different bootable drives with different versions of OSX so that you could utilize OS 9 whenever you felt like it.
  6. wobegong Guest

    May 29, 2012
    Sorry if i upset any G5 iMac owners out there but moving from my MDD 1.42 to a iMac G5 1.8 was one of the biggest mistakes I made - The iMac was slower in every single way (games, applications and 'feel') to the G4 PM - out of the two if I had that choice again it would be a no brainer - Hi end PM G4.

    Of course there other considerations for choosing the iMac - space, noise, asthetics etc. if these are more important to you get the iMac.
  7. Zotaccian macrumors 6502a


    Apr 25, 2012
    First generation iMac G5's become very noisy when you tax the cpu but when idling or doing light tasks they are pretty quiet. I have never owned second generation machines the the third generation 1.9GHz did not make that much noise as the first revision machines do. I read somewhere that the third generation has bit lower power consuming version of G5, codename 970FX while first generation has 970.
  8. OSMac macrumors 65816

    Jun 14, 2010
    I considered the same and went with the G4 PowerMac Quicksilver 2002 as it boots into OS 9 and OSX and can use OSX classic mode under tiger.

    I wanted to have a machine that could boot into OS9 for the best compatibility to run the large number of old mac abandoned programs on macintosh garden, etc, also just for nostalgia it's nice to have an option to boot direct into OS9.

    Also as others mentioned its very easy to change hardware on the tower compared to a G5 imac, too.

    I even ended up with 2 G4 towers, a dual 1GHz and a single 1.4 sonnet upgraded.
    Don't need both but can't decide which one to keep :)

    A warning , once you start buying old macs you'll want more, so you might end up with both...
  9. MisterKeeks macrumors 68000


    Nov 15, 2012
    No G5 can run OS 9.
    I think you mean dual-processor.

    As for iMac vs. Power Mac, I would get one of the later models with the Mirrored drive doors. Try and find a dual processor one. I just got one (for $20 with RAM), but it sorta kinda is missing some sorta important fans, so...
  10. 666sheep macrumors 68040


    Dec 7, 2009
    Only iMac G5 worth to own is free one. ;) :p I had all three generations (original, ALS and iSight) and was always happy when I managed to sell one.
    Hi-end MDD beats most of them in real world usage.
    I'd recommend any non-FW800 MDD with 167 MHz bus. CPU is easily upgradeable. 1.25 single is quite overclockable too. It will run OS 9 natively. MDDs do have one major advantage over Quicksilvers: 2GB RAM. This makes a singificant difference in Leopard.

    This is very true. I bought 3 G4s recently only because there was a Beige Tower bundled with them. Now I must get rid of G4s ASAP, otherwise my better half will make me homeless ;) :D
  11. RedCroissant Suspended

    Aug 13, 2011
    I thought that the G5s could run Os9 in classic mode with Tiger installed?

    I do mean dual processor.
  12. MisterKeeks macrumors 68000


    Nov 15, 2012
    Yes, they can, but it isn't the same. :D Besides, the DP 1.25 G4 (Firewire 400) can boot OS 9 natively, and is faster than some early G5s.
  13. RedCroissant Suspended

    Aug 13, 2011
    Well then I'm sold. I will also take a PowerMac, please.
  14. MacinDan macrumors regular

    Jun 26, 2010
    If you get a MDD look into CHUD Tools and Nap Mode, otherwise you may get a nasty surprise on your electricity bill.
  15. MisterKeeks macrumors 68000


    Nov 15, 2012
    The previous owner of my G4 (a university) decided to take all of the fans out. Probably consumes less energy that way; even more because I can't use it until I choose some fans for it.
  16. OrganMusic macrumors 6502

    Sep 21, 2008

    Started by successfully jamming Tiger onto a Wallstreet PowerBook G3 (with Wifi even!) someone gave me.

    Then a nice 600mhz iMac G3 for $35 several years ago, and set it up as a good first computer for my Mother-in-law before iPad.

    Then a Cube for my home away from home, which I still use with leopard to stream iTunes to my basement stereo.

    Then traded my iPod touch for a nice PowerBook G4

    Just recently picked up a nice MDD and trying to scheme up something useful to do with it.

    (And pocketed a CLASSIC and a PLUS recently too!)

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