Thinking about a G5..................

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by wyrtyr, Jun 17, 2008.

  1. wyrtyr macrumors newbie

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    #1
    as a way to introduce myself to Macs. I am a tried and true desktop user, have two laptops but seldom use them. My latest PC build was a quad core Intel DX38BT with 4 gigs of DDR3 memory, so I am not a neophyte. I have become intersted in trying a Mac to peruse the OS. I have done an Ebay search for G5s with Leopard installed. They usually are in the $800 to $1K range which seems like a lot for a used box, but compared to $2-3K for a Pro does not seem as bad.

    Is there anything in particular to watch for in looking at G5s? I am not a gamer, so not an issue. I am just a power freak. Any suggestions would be great.
     
  2. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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    #2
    id really suggest getting an older intel mac as there are reports that ppc support will be dropped after leopard
     
  3. Jack Flash macrumors 65816

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    #3
    And that esentially, the lowest end Core 2 Duo will be faster than the G5. You already have a PC; dip your feet in with a Mini
     
  4. mixmacface macrumors regular

    mixmacface

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    #4
    definitely. . don't listen to the lies about the mini being dead. . it's very amazing. and for the price. . you're not missing out.
     
  5. Techguy172 macrumors 68000

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    #5
    I would at least try to get a used or Refurb last Generation Mac Pro, as PPC support is diminishing. Apple is slowly trying to convert people to intel.
     
  6. JNB macrumors 604

    JNB

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    #6
    A refurb Mini would be perfect to "get your feet wet." You could use your existing keyboard, mouse, & monitor, a KVM switch is all you'd need.
     

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  7. wyrtyr thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #7
    Need help with acronym "PPC". I assume this to be "Power PC". If I'm wrong please correct me. Is the Mac Pro not just an extension of the Power PC line? If not, how does the PPC differ from the Pro?

    What qualifies as an "older Intel Mac"?

    Please bare with me, I am a complete noob to the wonderful world of Mac/Apple.
     
  8. JNB macrumors 604

    JNB

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    #8
    You are correct on the PPC = Power PC part. That's just referring to the processor line, though, not the machine line (desktop/laptop, consumer/"Pro"). They all came in PPC, and they all now come in Intel.

    An older Intel would include the Core Duo-based machines (as opposed to the current Core2Duo--also referred to as C2D).
     
  9. Techguy172 macrumors 68000

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    #9
    PPC is Power PC. The Power Mac is Power PC and Mac Pro is Intel, An older one would be say a 2.66GHz Mac Pro, or anyone from the first revision. You can find these on eBay.
     
  10. tsice19 macrumors 6502a

    tsice19

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    #10
    The PowerPC architecture was Apple's line of processors up until 2006. After that, they became Intel only machines. Why? Intel was faster, and it offered support for Windows in BootCamp.

    Basically, any Apple computer with an intel processor can run circles around a G5 on any given day. Don't get me wrong, the G5 would be nice, but you should find a Mac with Intel.

    If you want a desktop... here's basically a summary of Apple's lineup.

    Mac Mini- Small desktop (about the size of a few jewel cases) to get people's feet wet with Apple. You can bring you own display, keyboard, mouse and speakers. Downsides: Not upgradable, no dedicated video card.

    Mac Pro- Professional desktop... highly upgradable... very powerful. The average consumer doesn't need most features on the Pro.

    iMac- All-In-One computer for the consumer who needs more power than a mini, but doesn't need all the power in a Mac Pro. Semi-Upgradable (hard drive and RAM). Advantages: Big screen, dedicated graphics
     
  11. nick9191 macrumors 68040

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    #11
    I'll think you'll find they switched to Intel because of Power per Watt consumption. Well thats what Apple say anyway, the true story is IBM were making chips for the Xbox 360, and they couldn't supply both Apple and Microsoft, and so they told Apple to go pound sand.

    As for the Intels beating the PPC macs, well not quite, the last G5's were in 2006 and its now 2008, this is not a statement proving Intel is faster than PPC overall. I believe the fastest super computer in the world is built on PPC chips. And still PPC macs like the Powermac G5 are still much faster than many of the consumer Intel Macs. Hell my friends dual G5 is much faster than his Intel mini, and the G5 is from 2003.

    Also the PPC chips were RISC, Reduced Instruction Set Computing http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RISC a CPU design which increases arithmetic speed by decreasing the number of instructions the CPU must follow.
     
  12. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

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    #12
    The MacBook Air is faster than all but the last of the PowerMac G5 series.
    The Mac Mini is faster than all but the last of the PowerMac G5 series.
    The MacBook is just barely beaten by the last of the PowerMac G5 series.
     
  13. aaquib macrumors 65816

    aaquib

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    #13
    I wouldn't recommend buying a Powermac, just because it runs Power PC chips as apposed to Intel. The next version of Mac OS X, "Snow Leopard", is highly rumoured to be Intel only. In fact, the developer preview in Intel only. I'd get the $679 2.0ghz refurb Mac Mini if I were you. It'll run faster than any PPC Mac and is future proof for upcoming OS's.
     
  14. nick9191 macrumors 68040

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    #14
    I think you'll find its a hell of a lot more complex than that.
     
  15. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

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    #15
    I'm speaking in terms of benchmarks. Yes, you can encode faster on a PowerMac G5.
     
  16. mBurns macrumors 6502

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    #16
    I own both PPC and Intel machines. I do not own a G5.

    My two cents: if you can find a PowerMac for sub-$300 go for it (you won't lose money). If it's more then that, purchase a Mac Mini. If this is truly just a machine to "test the waters" with and you'd be planning on upgrading in a year or two once you decide you like the Mac environment, there's nothing wrong with PPC. The issue with PPC is long-term use.. it won't support new software say 1-3 years down the line (though, you don't need new software right away which gives you extra time with the machine). Hence, if can find a cheapo PowerMac G5 go for it but if not, purchase the Mini. They'll both hold their value in the $300 price for a PowerMac and $400-500 price for a Mini.

    Good luck!
     
  17. tsice19 macrumors 6502a

    tsice19

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    #17
    Summary:

    If you have the funds, by an Intel machine.

    If you don't, PPC will suffice for testing the water we call Mac OS X.
     
  18. kjs862 macrumors 65816

    kjs862

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  19. flyinmac macrumors 68030

    flyinmac

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    #19
    I would absolutely avoid the G5 systems. I could give you pages of issues that I had with the couple of G5 Macs I had (both iMacs). I never did actually get much use out of them (they spent all their time in the shop).

    Do not buy a G5 anything. The PowerMac G5 systems had even more issues.

    If you buy a PowerPC system, get a G4 (older, slower, but more reliable).

    But, I'd strongly steer you towards and Intel system.
     
  20. ironjaw macrumors 6502

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    #20
    I bought a Powermac G5, 1.6 GHz (the single processor), with 1.25 GB RAM and 80GB Hard drive. I've installed Tiger 10.4.11 on it and it runs really fast and smooth:D

    I'm still shocked, I haven't had any trouble with it what so ever. It plays flash on youtube, even my ripped mp4 perfectly. I tried also an mkv at 720p and that was fine :eek: not smooth though but definetly watchable. I run Adobe CS2 on it without a problem.

    And this is a machine from 2003. I bought two G5's

    I went for the single processor as the dual processor machines I have heard have had problems. What I do miss sometimes is being able to run some Windows apps, via VMWare Fusion.

    All in all the G5 is a great machine and I can still use it for the next 5 years easily. My next purchase is definetly a Mac Pro. These machines are an investment for the next 10 years.

    But as some other posters on the thread have commented (I actually just skimmed through) - a Mac Mini would be a great buy (I have one - it rocks) and its a powerhouse.
    :D
     
  21. Coprolite macrumors member

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    #21
    G5 vs. CD

    I have two Macs, an iSight G5 iMac (late 2005) and a first gen macbook (middle-ish 2006). The iMac actually seems faster. I believe that this impression was due to the fact that the poor little macbook was running a quite full hard drive, so the performance suffered. Now that I have cleaned up the computer, the performance has pulled even with the iMac. I am not surprised by this, as the speed of the processors and memory are basically identical. Running Rosetta handcuffed the MacBook enough that it was slower.

    The iMac has 1.5 GB of RAM, and I don't think that I have used all of it. Given the price of RAM right now, I will be upgrading it to 2.5 GB (max it out) so that it will be better future proofed. The macbook is maxxed out at 2 GB and uses all of it on a regular basis*. I find this quite strange, but can only attribute the difference to running programs under Rosetta.

    *slight misnomer- it runs out of free memory, but page outs are still reasonable and there is plenty of available memory to recycle(Inactive). The iMac always seems to have "Free" memory.

    In the end, it will all depend on what you want to use the computer for. If you use programs that can take advantage of multicore processors, a newer computer would be the best.

    I have always been a fan of getting the best that you can afford. That way, you won't regret it in the future. For example, I wish that I had bought my wife a MacBook Pro instead of this MacBook, as she has adopted my iMac and given me "her" computer. Lesson learned: buy the best for your wife as you may get stuck with it ;)


    -----When it comes to the mini, I just wish they would refresh it! Such great potential. This would be a good option in your situation.
     
  22. wiseguy27 macrumors 6502

    wiseguy27

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    #22
    Generally, the older a computer, the more the chances of having problems. So I would not recommend an older system.

    If you just want to try a Mac, go with a new or refurbished Mac Mini (although you would have to spend more for the display, keyboard and mouse). The PPC G5 systems are pretty good in terms of performance - if you can buy it from a reliable source, then it'd be a good choice. The Power Mac G5 systems provide more extensibility compared to the Mac Mini. You could also consider an older Mac Pro (which is Intel based). If you decide on a Power Mac G5, avoid the liquid cooled models!

    Leopard is supported on PPC Macs - so it may not be a big deal if Snow Leopard (the next version) is Intel only, since the release time frame for Snow Leopard is anybody's guess (and my guess is middle of next year). Moreover, it's not like you have to upgrade every time Apple releases a new version of Mac OS X.
     
  23. Jenheta macrumors regular

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    #23
    My wife has an iMac G5 2GHz 17in running Leopard and many other goodies (MS Office 2008, Photoshop CS3, Sims2, Scrapbook software, etc.) without any problem. I bought this mac after her PC died and she has never looked back to Windows. Thanks to my boss, this Summer I will be getting a second laptop and she will get mine. I have plans to sell it on Ebay but if you are interested we can talk. Sent me a message if you are interested (we live in St Louis).

    Obs. Here are the original specs (I did two upgrades : 1.5Gb of RAM and 500GB of disk) http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/imac/stats/imac_g5_2.0_17.html
     
  24. Techguy172 macrumors 68000

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    #24
    Actually it's the exact opposite of that, Problems usually happen within the first year.
     
  25. flyinmac macrumors 68030

    flyinmac

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    #25
    Yep, I'd put my old G3's and G4's up against any new Intel system for reliability. They're work horses.

    But, the G5 systems were notorious for trouble and failures. So, they do tend to expire more as they age.
     

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