Power Mac G5 1.8ghz performance issues

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by wiscbdgrgirl, Sep 14, 2009.

  1. wiscbdgrgirl macrumors newbie

    Sep 14, 2009
    I currently am using a 5 year old G5 at my office. I am a social science research coordinator so I use this machine for a multitude of tasks, including running SPSS, filemaker, and MS office on a daily basis. This machine runs extremely slow, especially when multiple programs are open. This is very impeding to my productivity as I often have to wait several minutes while it "thinks" when I am switching between programs. I am getting really tired of seeing the colored spinning beachball.

    I know the memory is a biggest problem. I'm currently running on 256 mb. there is plenty of drive space available on the 80gb hard drive. The processor is 1.8GHz.

    My question is, is it worth it to upgrade the memory in this machine to its max, 4gb or should we just replace it? Can I be certain that upgrading the memory will improve this machine's performance substantially?
  2. wpc33 macrumors 6502


    Jul 2, 2006
    Vancouver, BC
    I had the exact machine, and I maxed the RAM, only to completely loathe the machine for a year until I upgraded to dual proc's. I love my dual 1.8.
    Methinks Leopard is too big for the single 1.8 to handle.
    However, you may want to try a permissions repair/PRAM reset or reinstall. It was never as bad for me as it sounds for you...but I did have 8x the RAM, so...
  3. redcupr macrumors member


    Jul 15, 2008
    I also have 1.8 GHz single processor G5. Bought it new with 1GB of RAM, it started to slow down after installing Tiger. I upgraded to 3GB of RAM and the speed increased dramatically.

    I am now running Leopard and the machine is very usable, it's still the one I use most at home. My new MacBook Pro is definitely faster, but I never choose to use the MacBook over the G5 just on the basis of speed.

    I'd give upgrading the RAM a shot, I think you'll see good results.
  4. Dr.Pants macrumors 65816


    Jan 8, 2009
    Max out the RAM and grab a new HDD - the larger HDD the faster it will transfer data. If you have the money to replace it, you could go that route as well and probably be better off, but if you need the legacy applications, go upgrade that puppy! I can't imagine using a comp utter with the amount of RAM in yours, no offense.
  5. seb-opp macrumors 6502

    Nov 16, 2008
    Is that really true? Surely the interface and RPM is the main factor in speed of the drive.
    I think the G5 has a SATA interface and the drive is surely 7200 RPM so the drive shouldn't be a problem, unless the older ones did not have this
  6. Abidubi macrumors 6502

    Feb 13, 2009
    No matter what speed the processor is, single or dual, the single biggest problem is the RAM. 256MB of RAM is ridiculous. Isn't leopard's min requirements 512? In any case of course you are constantly seeing the beach ball when using many programs at once, you are running stuff that should be in memory off the hard drive instead... it's not made to do that.

    For a G5, about 4 years ago 1GB would have been the minimum acceptable amount of RAM. If you are running several things at once you need 2GB or more. 2GB is $74 at OWC. That only takes 2 slots so you can just add that to what you have. I upgraded my G5 from 1GB to 3GB about 3 years ago and it made a big difference even then.

    I just turned the computer on and am using 1.16GB with safari and mail open.
  7. wiscbdgrgirl thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 14, 2009
    I should have mentioned that I am still running Tiger :(. I began on this project 5 years ago when the computer was new. left two years ago and just returned to the computer which has not been upgraded at all. the many reply of shock to my 256 kb of RAM have confirmed my suspicions. Thanks!
  8. rtrt macrumors 6502a

    Jan 19, 2008
    i was going to suggest that if you run just 1 app at a time then that would give you an indication of what additional ram would do for you in a multiple apps in parallel environement.

    but then i realised that 256M might not even be enough for the 1 app - so that might not help.

    If nothing else i'd price up the ram and disk others have suggested - then you can see what your options cost. I looked at ram for an iMac G5 recently and it was much more expensive than i expected.
  9. whooleytoo macrumors 604


    Aug 2, 2002
    Cork, Ireland.
    I just upgraded a G5 DP 2.0GHz from 512MB to 2.5GB, and it's made a huge difference in performance.

    Notably Expose, Spotlight, Dashboard etc. are much, much smoother and more responsive now. Still slightly slower than my MBP 1.8Ghz, but not much. The performance issues you're seeing are precisely what you'd expect from a Mac with insufficient RAM.

    For a small investment (50-60 euros for mine), it's well worth it. Whether a 1.8GHz G5 is ever good enough for your project though, depends on what that project is; and how much faster than a G5 you work! :)
  10. Dr.Pants macrumors 65816


    Jan 8, 2009
    Platter density - big
    Number of platters - big
    RPM - big
    Interface - Not so big (unless serial vs. parallel)

    The amount of data that a drive can transfer is mainly a function of platter density. The amount of data that can be transferred is data density * area covered per second * number of platters. The faster the drive's RPMs, the higher the second number becomes. Ergo, comparing 7200 RPM drives mainly becomes a question of who is larger since many drives use the same platters, only different numbers of them. For instance, a 500 GB drive might use two 250 GB platters while a 1 TB drive might use 4 250 GB platters. Since the data density on the 80 GB drive is low as compared to many other drives, I think that upgrading the HDD would be a valid idea.

    Currently, many HDDs do not saturate the SATA-I bus. The only thing that can saturate the SATA-II bus are SSDs, and those play by different rules.

    Sorry if its all convoluted :eek:
  11. dr. shdw macrumors 6502a

    Aug 27, 2008
    Even if ya'll spent $500-600 on a Mac Mini, you'd still leaps and bounds of improvement, sure a new drive here and more memory there but you're still severely limited by the G5 processor. I'm pretty sure SPSS could use the added power..

Share This Page