PowerMac G5 vs Current iMac

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by dingdongbubble, Jul 10, 2007.

  1. dingdongbubble macrumors 6502a

    Jun 1, 2007
    I want to find out which one of these would be better. I am not a 'pro' so I dont really need a very high end computer.

    If I were to buy a current Mac brand new it would be an iMac. But I want something that will last a long time into the future. The iMac is limited to 3GB RAM but the PowerMac is not. Also it is easier to upgrade on a PowerMac making it better for the future.

    But if we look at them from a current performance point, which would be better? The highly efficient Core 2 Duo iMac or high end dual G5? Or do they perform equally?
  2. TheMonarch macrumors 65816


    May 6, 2005
    Bay Area
    Depends on what kind of G5 you're talking about.

  3. dingdongbubble thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 1, 2007

    Well I found out that the iMac does outperform the G5 in most things. The quad core does not seem to be a good choice for me from benchmarks. The pro apps do benefit a LOT but I am not a pro. It is 2% slower on single thread programs, which is not too much considering the massive increase in performance when you multi task. The quad core might be too expensive for me too.

    I think I would like to go for a dual G5 because the single is slower than even the Core Duo.

    What concerns me are two things: the design of the system in the sense of expandability and the other thing is computer performance and architecture. The Core 2 Duo procs seems to outperform the G5. But that would only seem good in the short term. What would I do when I need to mac out my RAM to get life out of my machine?

    In terms of short term performance, the iMac seems better but in terms of long term performance, the G5 seems better due to expandability. Do you think it is worth the performance drop to go for a G5 for future expandability?
  4. dingdongbubble thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 1, 2007
    Core Duo

    one thing is clear that the G5 dual or even quad blows away the Core Duo processor. So I wouldnt even consider the Core Duo over a G5.

    I can find benchmarks for iMacs vs PowerMacs but I cant find benchmarks for a dual or quad G5 with loads of RAM (4/8 GB?) vs an iMac with say 2 GB RAM. Anyone out there can help?
  5. dingdongbubble thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 1, 2007
    In short

    Well I would put my question in short:

    Intel has advantages. The PowerMac G5s have advantages like expandability. I am not a pro. I want a Mac that will last a long time into the future and a G5 would be good for that as it is very easy to expand.

    So is it worth the small performance decrease annd go for the G5 as I will be able to max out my RAM to a lot more than on an Intel. (not Mac Pro).

    I have another question. How do all the PowerMac basic graphic cards compare with the Intel 950gm graphic card?
  6. jedivulcan macrumors 6502

    May 15, 2007
    Anything with dedicated graphics I can safely say is better than integrated graphics. I'd be careful what kind of PowerMac G5 you get. If I recall correctly, the original releases had PCI-X and later versions had PCI Express? It'd be better to get one with PCI Express if you're looking for upgrade ability and expandability
  7. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

    Dec 21, 2002
    Yahooville S.C.
    Skip the G5, they have terrible record for Apple and Jobs got rid of em faster then u can say motorola. iMac all the way ,the G5 is dated now. New iMacs will be out in the next month or so.
  8. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    Good points in general, but only the super-basic 17" iMac C2D has integrated graphics....
  9. RedDragon870503 macrumors 6502


    Sep 6, 2006
    I'd wait a few months and get a slightly outdated top of the line current gen Core 2 Duo iMac. You'd get a great deal and a computer that is leaps and bounds better than any but the quad G5.

    Not to mention, the X1600 or 7600GT are great anyway.
  10. dingdongbubble thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 1, 2007

    So how much RAM can a Quad G5 take? The iMac is limited to 3GB which will be a big problem in the future.

    When someone looks for an old computer, everyone suggests that they max out the RAM, so I was thinking that a G5 would be able to take a LOT of RAM, possibly outperforming a current iMac in the future.

    Will a PowerMac G5 with MAX amount RAM, be able to beat a current iMac with 3 GB RAM (no graphic intensive programs).
  11. TheMonarch macrumors 65816


    May 6, 2005
    Bay Area
    all G5s had a capacity of at least 8GB. Also ram does not speed up CPU calculations, it just prevents you hdd from becoming a bottleneck.
  12. dingdongbubble thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 1, 2007
    Fast forward

    Right so lets fast forward 5 years into the future. Would it be better to buy a quad or dual G5 (upgrading to 8/16 GB gradually over time) and put in upgrades gradually or just go for a current iMac limited to 3GB RAM and just about no upgrades?
  13. korndog2003 macrumors regular


    May 31, 2007
    Keyser, WV, USA
    Get the iMac I have used a G5 Dual with PCI-E and the iMacs are way faster
  14. dingdongbubble thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 1, 2007

    You are talking about current performanc in the sense what you are experiencing right now. I am trying to figure out which one would last longer and would seem to have been a better option in the future lets say 5 years later.

    iMac=3GB Ram vs PowerMac=upto 16 GB RAM.
  15. MovieCutter macrumors 68040


    May 3, 2005
    Washington, DC
    Seeing as you'll be hard-pressed to find up to date PowerPC software in 5 years, I'd say the iMac is your best bet.
  16. dingdongbubble thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 1, 2007
    Oh YEahh

    Well now that really did it. It really sounds logical to go for the iMac since there would be software problems on the PowerPC. Well thanks for all your help. I think that was the deal breaker. I will let the G5 go.

    Just out of curiosity, can someone tell me how a PowerMac Dual 2.7 G5 with 16 GB RAM goes against an iMac C2D with 3 GB RAM.:)
  17. PowerMike G5 macrumors 6502

    Oct 22, 2005
    New York, NY
    Definitely go the iMac route, as you said you are not a pro user, why worry so much about having so much RAM? What "consumer" applications would you use that would exhaust the 3GB limit of the iMac?

    And of course, all software is being optimized for Intel from this point on ... the main reason why the iMac is the way to go. I would still opt for the G5 tower if you did "pro" work that would involve the use of all the expandability.
  18. MIDI_EVIL macrumors 65816


    Jan 23, 2006
    Another vote for the iMac, don't spend a penny/cent on old tech now that the Intel chips are helping Apple move forward at such a rate.

    The Core Duo and Core 2 Duo chips are unreal.

    In a matter of years, the PPC chips won't get a look in, and you'll have made a big mistake.

    Go iMac! ...but at least wait a few weeks to see what Apple come up with!

  19. dingdongbubble thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 1, 2007

    Yeah i am quite bent on getting the iMac instead. Maybe if I have to wait for some unknown reason when I buy, I might get a Mac Pro which will give me expandability and Intel.

    But JUST out of curiosity, I would like to know how a maxed out G5 will do against a 3GB iMac. Plz give me some benchmarks if you have both the computers accessible.
  20. BornAgainMac macrumors 603


    Feb 4, 2004
    Florida Resident
    Wait until the iMac refresh. I bet they can be expanded to 4 GB or more. That is if you plan on having it for 5 years with no upgrades. I have the first Powermac G5 and loaded it with 8 GB eventually. It wasn't memory that I needed more than raw CPU speed. I think the upgraded video card was what helped prevent me from dumping my G5 and gave it some legs. I wish Virtual PC could address more than 512 per instance so I can use all that memory.

    The only major limitation I see with the current iMacs is the GPU in comparision to the older Powermac.
  21. dingdongbubble thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 1, 2007

    Thanks. Can you please post some kind of benchmark that someone with an iMac can also do? I will be able to compare the performance with your 8GB PowerMac against a 3GB iMac.
  22. vendettabass macrumors 6502a


    Jul 8, 2006
    Wellington, New Zealand
    I'm pretty sure you'll be spending a fortune on RAM for a Powermac in 5 years, it seems RAM prices go up as they get more dated! (saw 1GB RAM for iBook G4 at £61 yesterday! 2GB can be had for £58!)
  23. dingdongbubble thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 1, 2007

    Well I am not going to buy a PowerMac so it doesnt matter. All I want to know out of curiosity is how a Dual or Quad G5 with max RAM compares with a 3GB iMac.
  24. BornAgainMac macrumors 603


    Feb 4, 2004
    Florida Resident
    Rough Benchmarks

    Tested using Handbrake encoding h.264:

    1) Powermac G5 - 2 Ghz - 8 GB = 17 fps encoding speed
    2) Macbook Core Duo (1.8 Ghz) Original model 2GB - 23 fps encoding speed
    3) Macbook Pro 2.4 Ghz - 2GB - 40 fps encoding speed

    I remember when I would encoding Quicktime movies from iMovie with only 1 GB of memory on my Powermac G5 that I only got about a 11% boost in performance when jumping to 8 GB of memory. The encoding was CPU bound. It didn't even matter if I created a 2 GB ram disk and placed the source and destination files in ram or a combination of disk and ram.

    Only with gaming (Universal) does my Powermac perform better because of the GeForce 6800 GT card. I hope the next iMac refresh has a good updated card.
  25. disconap macrumors 68000


    Oct 29, 2005
    Portland, OR
    Jobs moved on to a different architecture; Apple didn't dump the G5 for performance. The PPC was abandoned because it was believed at the time that the G5 chip (and future PPC chips) would not be able to offer the cooling necessary for low-end (ibook) laptops. So far, my G5 has outperformed my neighbor's MacBook Pro. Leopard may change that, though.

    That said, if I was a home user I would pick up an intel imac because I wouldn't need the power, and the intel imac will last for a long while. For my job (audio and graphics), the dual G5 I have is far, far superior.

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