Should I upgrade PowerPC iMac to Intel?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Morisato, May 4, 2012.

  1. Morisato macrumors member

    Feb 10, 2008
    I'm wondering if I should upgrade my parent's PowerPC iMac to an intel. Currently My parents are using a PowerPC iMac G5, so basically, the last PowerPC iMac, and I have an opportunity to upgrade to a core duo iMac... or basically the first generation intel for something stupid... like $50. Is the upgrade worth it? It's literally going up only 1 generation from 7 years ago. My parents only use it for email and internet browsing, but I see it choke once in a while... plus it kind of bugs me that I can't install Chrome or upgrade the OS because it's PPC.

    What do you guys think? Will there be a significant boost in performance? Is it worth the upgrade for around $50-100?
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    What is the nature of this "upgrade"? Unless you are getting a completely new machine for $50-100 you won't be upgrading at all. You can't just swap in an intel chip onto the motherboard.
  3. Morisato thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 10, 2008
    New machine... exchange for old machine + $50-100

    I'm aware you can't just swap it... I'm not computer illiterate...
  4. forty2j macrumors 68030


    Jul 11, 2008
    For the relative difference in power level, compared to today's models, the only reason to do this is if you had a need to set it up to Boot Camp into Windows XP.
  5. Fuchal macrumors 68020

    Sep 30, 2003
    For $50, I would, because the Core Duo iMacs are considerably faster than the fastest G5 iMac. That plus the ability to run Intel apps is worth a $50 upgrade.
  6. iMacFarlane, May 4, 2012
    Last edited: May 4, 2012

    iMacFarlane macrumors 65816


    Apr 5, 2012
    Adrift in a sea of possibilities
    Not knowing any of the specifics of the two iMacs in question, I took an average of the GeekBench scores for the G5 iMacs and the earliest intel iMacs:

    G5 iMac (PowerMac 8,1 8,2 12,1) - Avg benchmark = 1047
    intel iMac (iMac 4,1 4,2) - Avg benchmark = 2411

    I've got a few aging computers in my house, and if I could pay $50 each to more than double their performance, I'd do it in a heartbeat. :)

    Plus, the added capabilities of intel architecture you mentioned . . .
  7. harrowm macrumors newbie

    May 4, 2012
    Upgrade to Lion

    .. you can upgrade a C2D Intel to Lion .. But not the original Core .. worth checking
  8. InlawBiker macrumors 6502

    Apr 6, 2007
    The real question is, is it worth the hassle for your parents to start over? If the old machine is serving their needs and they know how to use it then it might be better to leave well enough alone.

    If they're savvy and want to do new things faster, then yeah I'd do it in a heartbeat.
  9. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    If you're only "swapping" for the first-generation Core Duo (and not even the Core 2 Duo), that's not "a big enough" jump forward (even for only $50!).

    So long as your parents can continue doing what they need to do with the g5, I'd hold out for something "later and greater", even if it's still used.

    A 2009-2010 27" iMac might comprise a good deal. However, keep in mind that the higher resolution of the 27" iMacs might be hard on your parents' eyes. Younger folks don't understand that it gets difficult for us older folk to see text as the higher resolution makes "normal" font sizes (i.e., 12pt and 14pt) harder to read.

    Ask them about this. An "alternative" might be to get them an Intel-based Mac Mini and a 27" display with native 1920 x 1080 resolution. The lower resolution might look just a bit "grainy" to you, but -very- "readable" to them.
  10. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    My rule is that if it does the job, don't replace it. If it isn't doing the job, replace it but try to "repurpose" the old one. Too much technology ends up in the landfill!

    We've had here a G5 iMac (still in use by a friend) and about every iMac version since except for the Core Duo and latest models with Thunderbolt. For basic use the G5 is fine, however the Intel models are faster and quieter. Also the G5 we had came with a 17" TN display while the first Intel iMac had a 20" IPS display which was superior. It's still in use as well.
  11. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    It's really a software question. If it would be easier for them to view video, surf internet, etc. with new system software I'd go for it. It's often the browser experience or mail syncing or something that forces the upgrade.

    On the other hand if they're using some old software they like and you inadvertently force them into a non-Rosetta world, they may disown you. Just saying.
  12. AppleNewton macrumors 68000


    Apr 3, 2007
    1 Finite Place
    If you can get it a Core2Duo that might be a better benefit, as with all the web video and application support changing, it might be beneficial to be on something that can atleast run Snow Leopard.
    No need to go over kill as most Intel Macs should be able to handle a majority of the intel based apps and new web content.
  13. quasinormal macrumors 6502a

    Oct 26, 2007
    Sydney, Australia.
    I've had both a last generation PPC 2.1Ghz and a Core Duo 1.8. The intel imac was significantly faster at doing Handbrake rips- about double the frame rate. My elderly mother has it now and it is still quite usable. This was the educational 17" model with no bluetooth and only a dvd-rom.
  14. Whargoul macrumors member

    Apr 27, 2012
    The intel imac would be drastically faster than the G5.
  15. Roller macrumors 68020

    Jun 25, 2003
    Another issue is what security updates will be supported by the highest OS level that will run on each Mac. A few years ago, I think that many people would have said that it didn't matter. That's no longer true, and it's especially important if your parents ever buy anything online. This also affects the anti-virus software that they can run. Again, a relatively new but not inconsequential issue for Mac users.

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