Replace my current setup, or add to it?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by evilcat, Feb 22, 2010.

  1. evilcat macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2005
    #1
    Hello folks.

    I love my Quad G5 but I need to get access to Snow Leopard and Intel chips (mainly for testing purposes). Here are my options:

    1. (A)
    Spend $1000 on my G5, bumping it to 16Gb RAM, replacing the hard drives with two 2Tb disks (one for the OS, one for data) and upgrading it from Tiger to Leopard. Also, replace the 7800GT fan with a Zalman cooler so it'll be silent again. This way I have an explicitly 'workstation' machine, for work only.

    1. (B)
    For using Virtualbox, and using as a mini file server and iTunes server, buy a Mac Mini, bump it to 4Gb RAM and add an external 2Tb FW800 drive to hold all my media. Approx. cost $900

    So Option 1 has a total cost of appx. $1900

    2. (A)
    Trade in the PMG5 for appx. $900

    2. (B)
    Buy a 21.5" 3.06GHz Core2Duo iMac and use an adapter so my 24" matte TFT can be monitor #2. Add 16Gb RAM. Use the internal 1Tb drive for data, and run the OS from an external, FW800 SSD. Use an external 2Tb HDD for iTunes / Media. Appx cost $2700

    Option 2 has a total cost of appx. $1800

    =============================

    Questions:

    With the iMac, the internal SATA drive will be data only. No issues there. The external SSD is silent and doesn't vibrate, which is great. Since it will only be used to boot the OS and start apps, I don't think the reduction in speed via the FW800 bus will make that big a difference. However, drive #2, daisy-chained to the SSD, will be used a lot: whenever importing to iTunes, for example. And obviously, whenever iTunes is playing music (which is all day, every day, and the files are lossless). Question is, what are the odds of the SSD causing issues if it tries to open an app while iTunes is shunting a 900kbps file thru the same bus? Or, in reality, will I not see any problems?

    I've noticed iTunes likes to use 100% CPU on my G5. Not a problem with 4 cores. If I, instead, run iTunes from a Mini and keep my G5, then it would never be a problem because the Mini would have 2 dedicated cores and it wouldn't impede my work. However, if I go C2D on the iMac (i5 or i7 are out of reach, financially), what are the odds iTunes will cause me issues when it grabs half of my machine's power while I'm working?

    The G5 is a power hog. With the Mini, I'd be happy to leave it on all the time and turn the G5 on/off as I need it... work only. What's the power usage of the iMac like if it's left on all the time (screen asleep but machine powered up)?

    I really rely on Fireworks CS3 and have heard bad things about it under Snow Leopard. Can't afford $600 to upgrade to CS4, so I need it to run okay. Anyone have any experience?


    ======

    So as I see it, the benefit of Option 1 is that I keep my powerful workstation, reduce my electric bill and have a neat little up-to-date box. The downside is that there's only so much longer the G5 can do what I need it to do, although I dare say it has 2 years or so in it once it's upgraded to Leopard.

    The benefit of Option 2 is I get a free extra monitor, and a nice one at that. I'll be able to swap between the glossy and the matte depending on my needs. The downside is that I'm trying to run everything off 2 cores and 16Gb RAM, as opposed to the 6 cores and 20Gb RAM split over two systems in Option 1. There may also be issues with the new OS and CS3.

    ======

    I'd love to hear your thoughts!
     
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Location:
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    #2
    How does using two computers, one less efficient than current models, "reduce your electric bill" when compared to the iMac?
     
  3. evilcat thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2005
    #3
    Allow me to elaborate. One of them (the Mini) will be left on 24/7, while the G5 will only be on when doing work. That's less electric than the current, 24/7 G5 usage. That thing sucks power!

    With the iMac, it would have to be on 24/7 also, and I'm unaware of the difference in power usage between it and the Mini.
     
  4. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #4
    Wait till Mac Pro update and sell your G5 and buy a brand new Mac Pro (or prev gen from refurb store to save money). iMac has very limited amount of ports and it's not upgradeable really but with Mac Pro you would have several free SATA ports and you wouldn't have to worry about bottlenecks or slow downs
     
  5. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Location:
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    #5
    Ah, I see. At this point I am hesitant to recommend anything to do with the PowerPC architecture. They're very clearly going out of style quite quickly.
     
  6. evilcat thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2005
    #6
    Unfortunately the price of the Pro is too high and, as stated, it needs to be on 24/7 and I think the Pro is too power hungry for that. Thanks for the advice though.
     
  7. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #7
    2.66GHz quad core Mac Pro is 2149$ from refurb store. Then sell your G5 for 900$ and it's only 1249$. It still leaves you money for Mini and second 24" monitor if you want. If you wait till update, it'll be even cheaper
     
  8. evilcat thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2005
    #8
    Good call. I don't know whether I can sell the G5 for $900, but I do know Powermax will give me $900 part-ex. They don't do refurbs, though :(

    HOwever, if I knew I could get $900 for my G5 off eBay (or wherever), I'd seriously consider the option you presented.

    It just pains me I don't have $6k available like I did when I bought the G5 :rolleyes:
     
  9. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #9
    http://shop.ebay.com/?_from=R40&_tr...kw=powermac+g5+quad&_sacat=See-All-Categories

    Even if you get around 800$, it'll still be cheaper than the options in your first post. It still leaves you money for more RAM, extra HDs and even for Mac Mini.

    Wait till the update and then decide what to do. Feel free to PM me or send email if you have questions now or in future :cool:
     
  10. PandaOnslaught macrumors regular

    PandaOnslaught

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2010
    #10
    I say option b, the screens on the new iMac are very nice and i think having dual monitors will be a great plus to your set up, Option 1 is still a good choice though, i like the G5 macs :p
     

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