Just snagged an iMac G5 20" for $250!

Discussion in 'Apple Collectors' started by coupdetat, Feb 15, 2010.

  1. coupdetat macrumors 6502

    Jul 11, 2008
    My school was closing out an old stock open box iMac G5 2.0ghz 20" for $249 so I went and picked it up. It's sitting on my desk now.... and it's AMAZING! I've been skeptical of Apple lately because of their preoccupation with super-glossy screens, and this iMac just further confirms my skepticism. Matte IPS displays are really the way to go :D This iMac easily has the best screen I've ever seen. I can't believe how bright and evenly lit it is. I put on a full-screen image of a black background, and it literally looked like the monitor was off. No nasty backlight spots, just a nice solid black. I watched a couple episodes of Glee (in SD due to CPU limitations :() and they all looked amazing.

    A few questions. I'm running 512mb of RAM right now, which is clearly a limit. I ordered 2gb... do you think that might help me with decoding .MKV videos? Or is the CPU going to prevent me from watching any HD? Also, would Leopard run well on this? I'm using Tiger right now, but I'm finding that lots of apps are no longer Tiger-compatible. At the same time, I find little inherent reason to upgrade to Leopard... Tiger is very very nice and modern as it is. I'm using mostly Unix-y apps on it anyways.

    Finally... what on earth should I do with this thing? I don't have a TV in my dorm, so maybe a dedicated TV/movie player/jukebox? What do you guys use for your older iMacs?

  2. chrismacguy macrumors 68000

    Feb 13, 2009
    United Kingdom
    That is a very nice system. Leopard will run perfectly nicely on your iMac G5, and congrats on getting it so cheap :D. That should be fine for HD Video Encoding, although it may take its time because it is only a Single Core and not Dual-Core or more like most Intel Macs. I use older Macs for media as well - in my case a G4/450 and G3/500 for iTunes, iPhoto and a very very little amount of light Photoshop and iMovie Work :D
  3. macgeek18 macrumors 68000


    Sep 8, 2009
    Northern California
    Very nice find,I would trade my G4 for that iMac G5 in a heartbeat.
  4. wesrk macrumors 6502a

    Nov 4, 2007
    Congrats, good find.
    I also have that same lamp ;)
  5. California macrumors 68040


    Aug 21, 2004
    Make sure the two gigs of ram are MATCHING sticks, this will double your video ram capabilities. My mom has same machine, running leopard.

    I also upgraded her to a newer five hundred gig hard drive, plus the two gigs of ram and this sped things up nicely.

    Agree with you wholeheartedly on how the matte LCD screens of yesteryear for Apple are way superior to modern glass LEDs. This is why I sold my aluminum Macbook and bought an old iBook and why I am running a 30" Apple Display off my mac mini.
  6. coupdetat thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 11, 2008
    Running 2gb of RAM now :D Everything is really fast, even Flash pages. However, running a Flash movie still eats up 80% of my CPU. Oh well...

    As an aside, I'm surprised at how upgrade-friendly Apple made the iMac. It's ridiculously easy to remove the back panel and access the whole computer. Even the CPU looks like it could be replaced without too much effort. I wish they still did that with their consumer-level machines! I remember my old G3 iMacs (Rev. D and slot-loader) were also very easy to service, although their unique case designs made getting inside a little tough.

    I think I'll stick with Tiger for now. Leopard costs $70 at my university, but I don't see any reason to pay that much money for an old operating system. The features don't matter to me enough. Coming from open-source world, I find myself being a little irritated that software actually costs money.

    Anyone else have one of these things? I still can't believe how nice a $250 Mac can be. For an everyday user, I feel that a G5 definitely fulfills all of the basic needs.
  7. gkarris macrumors 604


    Dec 31, 2004
    "No escape from Reality..."
    iMac G5 complete in box for $250?

    AWESOME! (I hate you...)

    I've been wanting to add a white G5 AIO to my collection.

    I did find a while back a 15" G4 iMac Mint Complete In Box for $225 shipped - that was awesome...
  8. rdowns macrumors Penryn


    Jul 11, 2003
    I'd sell my G5 iMac for $250.

    Shipping would have to be at least another $250.

  9. coupdetat thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 11, 2008
    I'm seeing some heat issues. Not major, but it shuts itself down if I leave it on overnight copying files through the network. Also, I experienced the "beep of death" where my iMac beeped three times, cranked the fans to maximum speed, and stopped responding. Any ideas on how I could graft a fan into the iMac? After reading around, it seems like that is the only real way to deal with the issue.

    It's sort of surprising because my iMac G3 600mhz also runs very hot, but it's dead reliable.
  10. Archon Gold macrumors 6502

    Jun 7, 2009
    Canada, Ontario
    G5 iMacs are notorious for over heating, its a common problem, unfortunately there is not easy fix to it without modding the case to add an external fan.

    As for ideas for the machine, wallmount it and use a wireless keyboard/mouse and make it an entertainment centre, or make it your main machine.

    Flash is slowly killing PPC now, you will only see smooth playback if your on a decked out PowerMac G5, otherwise PPC is dead when it comes to normal internet usage, such a shame :(.
  11. coupdetat thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 11, 2008
    I'm going to mod it with an external fan. Probably will drill holes into the case and grab electricity from one of the (kind of worthless) small fans. Or maybe just get an external fan adapter. Either way, I need to get some more airflow into my iMac if I want it to last anywhere near as long as my iMac G3.

    My hard drive is running at 61 degrees celsius! That seems way too high to be safe.
  12. MacHamster68 macrumors 68040


    Sep 17, 2009
    yes upgrading the ram is a must do , and you could just plug in one of these tv dongles for dvbt or so and use it as a tv too , i use my eMac as such and on my old powermac 5500/275mhz i have a setopbox with arial feed connected to it and it works digital tv on a 275mhz and 2mb vram mac from 1997 :D
  13. California macrumors 68040


    Aug 21, 2004
    Disabling Dashboard will win you back some CPU. Try it. Then run Leopard, get it off Craigslist or something. I don't know what the cache was on the original hard drive, I'm thinking it was only 8mb, but this is actually a tiny bit of a problem. I'd buy your original drive from you (since it is unused and I need one for back up) and you should get a faster bigger hard drive in there it will speed things up. Bigger cache, faster drive.

    Also, on these machines, keep the area well ventilated. I would shut it down instead of sleeping it, but that's just me. Have you noticed the ambient light sensor working yet?
  14. coupdetat thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 11, 2008
    Actually, I just installed Linux because I was feeling that OSX is inadequate for what I need to do. Unfortunately Matlab isn't available for Linux on PowerPC, but there are some good open source substitutes.

    I first tried Fedora since the PPC version is officially supported, but it seemed crappy and half-baked. Ubuntu, on the other hand, had awesome hardware support and stability, despite being a "community supported" distro. The PPC repositories are very complete.

    Some cool things... I can now play 720p MKV videos!! I was never able to do that on OSX. Also, I have now gained teh snappy! The whole OS just feels way more responsive. The biggest downside is that I can't use my Logitech Vision Pro webcam anymore--seems to be a glitch with the software though, not a problem inherent to PPC Linux.

    Basically, I'm incredibly impressed with how useful and comfortable a $250 iMac can be when paired with appropriate software.
  15. 7031 macrumors 6502


    Apr 6, 2007
    That's a damn nice machine for the money. Seriously. My school is still selling eMacs for about 4x that, although hopefully nobody is stupid enough to actually buy them for that.
  16. PhelpsiPhan macrumors 6502


    Dec 31, 2009
    New Jersey
    Hey, i work at an apple reseller in Australia, and A guy came in the other day, with his G5 not booting up, so i told him it was the HD, he said he didnt wanna fix it, so he said i could have it. 60 bucks later i had myself a fully working G5 20" imac with all accessories, a copy of Tiger (i installed a leopard we had in the shop) and original box

    All for $60!!!

    Not bad eh?
  17. coupdetat thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 11, 2008
    That's a really good deal! It's too bad that PowerPC's are becoming more limited these days. Ubuntu PPC does offer a huge variety of software though. I haven't noticed anything missing from the repositories compared to my Thinkpad.

    The big bummer is Flash... Flash 9 runs well on a g5 but it's not compatible with many sites. Flash 10 is a total dog and horrible for everything. The open-source substitutes on Ubuntu are pretty horrible too. Oh well, this is mainly a work computer anyways.

    Here's a few pictures and a screenshot! I'm putting my cheap iMac to great use, mostly schoolwork and lab work and movies/music. I still can't get over how good the screen is.



  18. dmr727 macrumors G3


    Dec 29, 2007
    Nice buy!

    This is why I hate Flash. There's no excuse for it to perform so poorly on such a machine. It's so horribly written, I just want to head to Adobe headquarters and give the entire Flash development team an atomic wedgie. :p
  19. Mars478 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 6, 2008
    NYC, NY
    I got a 17 incher 1.6GHZ from the computer lab that I work in for free. I'm the assistant there. It's beat up, a student scratched up the screen but i cleaned it up with an eraser. specs in my sig. I love the upgradeability of it.

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