Replacing a PowerPC G5 Desktop

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by wacomme, Dec 13, 2010.

  1. wacomme macrumors regular

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    #1
    I love my G5, but I can run fewer and fewer programs so I need to upgrade to an Intel Mac. iMac are the logical choice, but I hate the glossy screen and I already have a wonderful 30" NEC monitor (dual-link connection). My desktop space is limited; two monitors will be too much. As a photographer, my processor and graphic intensive programs are Photoshop and Aperture. I web surf, email, and use MS Office programs often. I tend to have many programs open at once. I have a couple of eSATA external drives.

    Frankly, the Mac Pros are just too expensive. I'll have to exchange the eSATA drives to firewire if I go the iMac direction, but that's ok. I'm also considering the Mac Mini or even a laptop, though I already have a Dell laptop from work that I use for portable usage. My concern with the mini is that it's not powerful enough, but I don't know. Ideally, I want a headless iMac with an i7 processor.

    Thoughts? Suggestions?

    Thank you. Michael
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #2
    What's your budget? Is photographing part of your job? If photographing is just a hobby and you like to play around with computers, you could build a Hackintosh. That way you could get your dream Mac, i.e. a headless iMac for around 1000$ or so. If you don't want a Hackintosh, think about used Mac Pros or even refurbs if your budget allows. Older Mac Pros aren't that expensive and would satisfy your needs just fine
     
  3. mstrze macrumors 68000

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    #3
    The highest-end Mac mini should be fine for your application. I have had no issues with running multiple apps and 'Handbraking' video in the background. It performs well. Plus, you have the nice monitor already...and a keyboard and mouse, so why not just do this upgrade for about $1000.

    Plus, it's cheap enough to allow you to upgrade in the future without a big hit.

    Of course, you can go portable with an Air or MBP...it's all up to what you feel is important.

    The Mini tho, is no slouch as long as you don't need a special video card or something like that. I have 3 external HDDs (both FW and USB 2.0) attached to mine with plenty of storage. Have been using a Mini as my main computer since 2006...and I do a lot of video editing and of course all the usual stuff and it keeps up without a hiccup.

    You will be blown away by the speed increase from your G5 and probably kick yourself for not upgrading sooner whatever new system you choose.
     
  4. Winni macrumors 68030

    Winni

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    #4
    Based upon what you already have and what you said you like and don't like, it's either a Mac Pro or a Hackintosh for you. You can buy legal (by German laws) Hackintoshes with support from the German company PearC (and they also speak English):
    http://www.pearc.de/en?XTCsid=e7f1dc0234467f73146a42ee373918e0

    Or you consider switching to Windows or Linux. Bibble Pro is an acceptable alternative for Aperture that runs on Linux, Windows and Mac OS X. On Windows, you could also settle for Adobe Lightroom.

    Personally, I think the 27" iMac i5 (or i7) is an amazing piece of hardware and probably one of the most interesting desktop systems out there -- and that even if you DON'T run Mac OS X on it. Although I had severe doubts, it turned out that the glossy screen was NOT a problem for me. I had two 20" Cinema Displays before that I really, really liked a lot, but I got over it.

    The i5 quad core CPU will run circles around your G5, and Aperture will also perform very well on it. However, Aperture is the SLOWEST application on the market for its purpose, both Lightroom and Bibble are much faster. But then again, the speed alone doesn't matter if Aperture fits your workflow better.
     
  5. wacomme, Dec 13, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 13, 2010

    wacomme thread starter macrumors regular

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    #5
    What's a Hackintosh? How do I get one?
    How well does the mini handle a 30" monitor?
     
  6. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #6
    Hackintosh is a normal PC running OS X. That way you can have your headless i7 iMac. You can either 1) build one yourself 2) pay for a company to build a PC for you from the parts you select/provide and then install OS X yourself 3) just buy a complete PC that is already running OS X. If you're familiar with computers and building a PC isn't a problem for you, then #1 is definitely the best choice.

    But please, answer the other questions as well. Hackintosh may not be ideal if your income is dependent on the computer since updates and stuff may cause issues.
     
  7. wacomme thread starter macrumors regular

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    #7
    One idea is to buy the 27" iMac like you say and then sell my 30" monitor to offset the cost. That means having to deal with a glossy screen. I just don't know.
     
  8. wacomme thread starter macrumors regular

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    #8
    Photography is a side business of mine, and one I'm cutting back on due to the expensive of equipment and the limited time I have to work on the business; as a teacher and now a bicycle racer getting back into racing after a 30 year hiatus, my time is very, very limited. Still, stock photography brings in decent income, so I don't want to give up taking photos. Therefore, I no longer need the best and fastest computer out there. My wife and I will be buying iPad 2's when they're available. Thus, with my PC laptop, a desktop Mac may only need to run my 30" monitor, Photoshop, and allow for external drive access.
     
  9. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #9
    In that case, a Mac Mini should be sufficient. Or if you prefer having internal HDs, you could invest on a first gen Mac Pro, they go for around 1000$ in eBay. Should be faster than Mini and lets you use eSATA HDs easily
     
  10. wacomme thread starter macrumors regular

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    #10
    An older Mac Pro - now there's an interesting option. Is there any downside to this option over a mini or even a newer iMac?
     
  11. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #11
    First gen Mac Pros have 32-bit EFI so it's possible that future OS Xs such as Lion will not work in it. We don't know yet does Lion have only 64-bit kernel though so it's just speculation. The another downside I can think of is that it consumes more power so in the long run it will cost more. It may also be noisier.

    You just have to decide what are the most important things. Mac Pro is very upgradeable and you could use your existing 30" monitor but on the other hand, iMac is faster and newer.
     
  12. wacomme thread starter macrumors regular

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    #12
    What generation Mac Pro will not have the 32-bit limitation? What should I look for on eBay when buying a used Mac Pro?

    An iMac is still an option, and probably a likely one. However, a used Mac Pro may work too. The mini is interesting, but if I can handle a glossy screen I'm better off getting a 27" iMac and selling my NEC monitor.
     
  13. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #13
    You would have to look for 2008 Mac Pro or newer. That would get you a 2.8GHz 8-core, they seem to go for as low as 1600$ on eBay. That is already quite a lot more than an iMac is if you sell the NEC
     
  14. wacomme thread starter macrumors regular

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    #14
    So it appears that a 27" iMac and selling my NEC monitor is probably the best bang for the buck, that is if I can handle a glossy screen.
     
  15. Evan_11 macrumors regular

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    #15
    Buy a mini. You have a great monitor and don't make a full time living off of your computer.
     
  16. brucem91 macrumors 6502

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    #16
    Yes, the glossy screen isn't a problem in controlled lighting environments, such as an office with not much light. If you play with an iMac in the store, of course the glossy is going to be bad, because Apple Stores are normally very bright inside. I can tell you though that an iMac 27" looks amazing in the right lighting.
     
  17. wacomme thread starter macrumors regular

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    #17
    If I go the iMac route, to which I'm leaning, which 27" iMac? i5? i7? Which RAM configuration? Anything else?
     
  18. jonjons macrumors newbie

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    May 16, 2009
    #18
    Replacing a PowerPC G5 Desktop

    I just replaced my dual 2.5 G5 for the same reasons.
    I bought a refurb. 24" ACD and brought my under-utilized 2 GHz C2D Mini back from the home theatre (replaced with an :apple:TV2 which is much better suited to our Netflix/streaming usage).
    I guess I should not have been surprised - based on the benchmarks - but it is faster, cooler, quieter than the G5. Media libraries on an external is a bit of a pain, but I am pretty happy with this setup for now while I wait and see what Apple does next with the Mac Pro.

    I traded my G5 and an ancient 23" cinema display at PowerMax towards a loaded 13" Mac Book Air (replacing trusty/creaky 12" PB G4). Good transaction but I was glad to have the Mini setup in the meantime because the whole thing took a while.

    I'm all Intel for the first time - Woot!
     
  19. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #19
    Again, how much are you ready to spend? If you want the 27" iMac, then go for the quad i5 at least. RAM you should get from aftermarket, 2x2GB is only like 70$ and makes the total amount 8GB
     
  20. wacomme thread starter macrumors regular

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    #20
    I hear adding RAM myself voids the warranty - so says Apple.
     
  21. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #21
    Nope. Apple even provides instructions how to do it. Your warranty will not be voided unless you damage something while doing the upgrade

     
  22. wacomme thread starter macrumors regular

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    #22
    Is 8GB of RAM enough? Is the i7 worth the upgrade over an i5?
     
  23. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #23
    8GB should be enough. What you could do is get a single 4GB module so you would still have one empty slot for future upgrades.

    In your case, I don't think the i7 is worth it. If you're on budget, take a look at refurbs. You can get an i5 for as low as 1529$ IIRC and it's not going to be noticeably slower than the current gen i5, but you save nearly 500$
     

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