Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by quidire, Aug 20, 2004.

  1. quidire macrumors 6502


    Aug 11, 2004
    Washington DC (in Kalorama Triangle)
    Hello all,

    I am a xp/linux user about to switch, and I am trying to get a sense for the patterns of obsolesence in the Mac platform...

    Were I to buy:
    2x2.5 gHz G5 PowerMac
    2 GB ram (4x512)
    Nvidia 6800 Ultra DDL

    how long would it be until software minimum requirements outstripped my ability to upgrade? (over time I would fill the 4 remaining RAM slots to an eventual 6GB RAM, and replace the video card, but it is unlikely I could ever replace the CPU units to "G6"s) How long would it be until Mac OS X releases could not be installed on this machine (as software dependencies on an OS revision I could not install would be the likely source for the first requirement I would not be able to meet)

    Ideally I could keep this machine viable up to 2009-2010, but it may be that this is impossible given the rate of platform churn. (for the record, a state-of-the-art PC from 2000, dual 500mHz P3, would probably be unable to satisfactorily run Doom 3, regardless of video card and memory)

    thanks for your time
  2. johnnyjibbs macrumors 68030


    Sep 18, 2003
    London, UK
    Who's to know what things will look like in 2009-2010, but that is only 5 or so years away.

    I'm sure you'll still be able to run Mac OS X on this machine, if it hasn't evolved beyond comprenhension by then (1998 consumer machines can still run Mac OS X Panther) but don't expect it to run the latest games that well by then.

    The system you have selected is the most futureproof and top-of-the-line Mac on sale currently, and has only just been released, so I'd have thought this would last you well.

    I expect my current 12" PowerBook 1GHz (purchased September 2003) to last me until at least 2007 as my old PCs have easily lasted 4 years and I know people with old iMacs still going strong.
  3. aricher macrumors 68020


    Feb 20, 2004
    Macs last much longer than your average PC (non-custom built). I have Panther running on a 1996 Power Computing PowerTower Pro - granted that machine has a new G4 processor, 2 GB RAM, etc. but the point is that you can make an old Mac last a long time. Sure my old PTP only has a 45 MHz bus but for a server and scanning station it works perfectly. I'm not saying that you're going to get 8 high-poweered working years out of a new machine but old Macs can be turned into home servers, web machines, etc. I've purchased a bunch of original iMacs for internet machines for grandparents, nephews, cousins, etc. There's always a use for an old Mac.
  4. Chaszmyr macrumors 601


    Aug 9, 2002
    That machine would last a long time. However... If you are going to be keeping machines until they are totally outdated and then updated, I think it would be much more cost effective to get a lower end machine. A dual 1.8ghz G5 won't really be outdated before a dual 2.5ghz G5, but it is much cheaper and you will be able to afford a new computer sooner.
  5. jsw Moderator emeritus


    Mar 16, 2004
    Andover, MA
    Well, my 1999 PB handles those things pretty well, and, as a laptop, it's underpowered compared to desktop macs from that period.

    Edit: broken_keyboard had asked if anyone's 5-year-old Mac handled Panther, iTunes, iPhoto, etc.
  6. rareflares macrumors regular

    Jun 7, 2004
    Washington D.C.
    yeah, with that set-up you'll have absolutely zero problems trying to run any OS updates in the future.

    I'm on a 400 mhz iMac from 5 years ago that runs OSX decently. It would probably perform even better if Apple didn't radically change the entire operating system in the last couple of years.

    I doubt a similar step will happen to OSX within the next decade.

    As for games, you will have no problem at all for the next 2-3 years. past that, you should probalby thinking about upgrading the graphics card if you haven't done so already by then. Your dual-2.5 will have enough processor speed to last you that long. BUt if gaming is your biggest concern, just build a dedicated PC gaming rig. Costs much less (if you build it) and you'll probably get better performance since it uses DirectX.
  7. pyrotoaster macrumors 65816


    Dec 28, 2002
    Oak Park, IL
    Macs have excellent longevity (the "higher price" pays off in the long run).
    For instance, my 12 year old Mac Classic II still works like it's 1994 ;) (of course, it's obsolete, but it does still work).

    As for more modern machines, I have a five year old iMac DVSE that runs Panther just fine, albiet slowly (it did need its hard drive replaced at one point, but that's the only repairs it's ever needed).
    My two year old LCD iMac still works just fine, although I use it mostly as a server and for DVD burning now.
    And, my one year old Powerbook is just as fast as the day I bought it (although it does have a few dents).

    My point is, a good Mac (and they're all good, aren't they? :p) will probably last longer that you need it to. And I wouldn't worry about OS compatibility, because Mac OS X has a good decade ahead of it (and then we can all go through another four year "transition" to whatever's next).

    Since you're going for a top-of-the-line G5 Tower, you should have nothing to worry about. You'll probably have two to three years where you're not even close to "obsolete," and then another two or three before you'll feel like you absolutely have to upgrade.
    That's just a prediction, so I could be wrong, but I'm at least as reliable as a magic eight ball. :D
  8. johnnyjibbs macrumors 68030


    Sep 18, 2003
    London, UK
    That's a good point there. If you're want longevity, any G5 will do, but a dual 1.8 is like half the price of a dual 2.5 and will still give you decent performance. You could then get a much better one in 2-3 years that will trounce the dual 2.5GHz G5 and end up with 2 computers. Or you could wait for th G5 iMac, expected in a little over a week.
  9. 18thTomorrow macrumors 6502

    Apr 5, 2004
    The Alpha Quadrant
    In response to broken_keyboard, I have a Blue & White G3 that's at least as old as you asked about. I bought it secondhand for $150 (so I'm not sure exactly how old it is, but all signs point to at least 4 years, probably 5 or more...) and it's handled everything I've thrown at it like a champ. It runs Jaguar, iTunes, iPhoto, surfs the web, even PSE 2.0 and Dreamweaver. Granted, it's not snappy-fast, but it definitely gets the job done. Especially if you compare it with a pc from the same era...!
  10. pyrotoaster macrumors 65816


    Dec 28, 2002
    Oak Park, IL
    That was really good deal!
    A machine like that makes a good desktop or a nice server.
  11. wide macrumors 6502a

    May 17, 2004
    it'll be fine so long as you buy dual 30 inch displays
  12. Mechcozmo macrumors 603


    Jul 17, 2004
    My aunt teaches Special-Ed. She has a few computers, donated by parents, in her room.

    2 Macintosh LC's. They run OS 7.x, but they could be upgraded farther. They are amazing, because the kids like pulling out cables, dragging the System Folder onto the desktop and renaming it "." They are really old, but I want to get my hands on at least one of them and seeing how far I can push them.

    1 iMac. The original of originals, it has a tray-loading CD drive. Its running OS 9 really fast. It handles just about everything.

    2 Windoze. They run Windows 2000, and take about 5 mintues to boot up. They don't work, because after the power cables and keyboard and mouse have been yanked out a dozen times, they run a disk-check. Which takes a loooooong time. They are only 3 years old. Plus, the kids cannot figure out the OS...the Macs seem to be simpler. :D
  13. Hemingray macrumors 68030


    Jan 9, 2002
    Ha ha haaa!
    My Yikes G4 400 is still tooling along at 5 years, but I'm ready to get a G5 within the next year. I want to be able to play today's games, which simply isn't possible with a Radeon 7000 PCI graphics card, not to mention a 400MHz processor. But Apple still supports my machine after all this time. So I'd say you'd be good for at least 5 years. And at least the G5s aren't crippled upgrade-wise like the old Yikes were...

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