Time for an upgrade from the old 1.6 Ghz G5?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by rdp5008, Aug 9, 2008.

  1. rdp5008 macrumors regular


    Jun 23, 2006
    I have been using a G5 1.6 Ghz single processor machine for the last two years during graduate school. (I got it broken off craigslist for cheap and fixed it for cheap). I have about $400 in the machine now after a memory upgrade to 2 GB (4 512 sticks).

    I have been using it primarily to write my thesis, and I spend a lot of time using programs like DeltaGraph, Canvas, Aperture 2.0, Office Suite, TeXshop and a few others to prepare my thesis and create figures etc. The G5 seems to lag a lot using big programs like DeltaGraph, Canvas, and Aperture 2.0 when I work with large files or try to edit multiple images, but overall it has been fine. It does seem to get bogged down using Safari sometimes too. I have 10.4.11 installed.

    Now I will be doing less intense/frequent work, but I just got a new DSLR and I will be using Aperture 2.0 much more often. My question: if I upgrade the video card and memory can I get decent performance out of Aperture? I know I am at the lowest specs for the program. I have 4 512 sticks of RAM and the original GeForce FX 5200 with 64 MB vram. If I spend another $400 I can upgrade the video card and up the ram to 3 or 4 GB.

    My other option is to buy a refurb Mac Pro ($1,999) and sell the G5, but that is much more than a $400 investment. Should I spend another $400 on the G5 and stick with it until the next major Mac Pro upgrade next year?

    Any other ideas? Sorry for the long post! Thanks guys.
  2. kbonnel macrumors 6502

    Mar 1, 2004
    In a nice place..
    IMO, I think it is time to let the G5 move onto smaller duties for either somebody else in the household, or to other family members :) You could sell it on ebay/craigslist, but you might not be happy with the selling price, or with the whole selling process (people can be brutal, I know, I had recently sold my Mac Pro and MacBook) While you could spend another $400 for upgrades, I don't believe you will really be happy with the performance of the machine any longer, esp. if you plan on doing more photo work. Also, that $400 is going into a very old machine, and I think the value you are really going to get out of it won't be worth it. Me personally, I would be looking for a used Mac Pro (maybe a 2.0ghz model) or get the refurb. Mac Pro from Apple. From the sounds of it, you use your systems for quite a long period of time, so you will get your monies worth out of it! Not to mention, you will be shocked at the difference in performance between the two :)


  3. rdp5008 thread starter macrumors regular


    Jun 23, 2006
    Thanks for the input.

    The only program that would really require me to upgrade from my computer now is Aperture 2.0. I can use Aperture with my current specs, it just lags a bit when making adjustments and loading files. Does anyone have experience with Aperture with a similar machine as mine? If I max out the RAM and put in a new video card will it make Aperture more responsive?

    I have a hard time spending $2k on a new Mac Pro for my current use, but I would be okay spending another $300 or $400 to get my G5 to last me a few more years.
  4. Firefly2002 macrumors 65816

    Jan 9, 2008
    First thing's first; if you get a new Machine, you absolutely *do not* need a Mac Pro. The low-end iMac would suit you perfectly.

    As for more RAM, I don't know if you need more... but I doubt it. My guess is you've got plenty for what you do. Check Activity Monitor if you're in doubt.

    I believe a faster video card would help some, yes, though perhaps not tremendously.

    You might consider a new hard drive; this will make your whole computer feel snappier in general, especially loading and launching things, and should speed up loading images in Aperture some too, I imagine, especially if you get one of the faster 1 TB drives.

    If you have access to it, though, I'd recommend Lightroom, which IMO is superior to Aperture; I think it also probably performs better, though I can't say for sure.

    It's too bad you didn't manage to get a dual 1.8, as that would probably be absolutely perfect for you (still reasonably fast, and wouldn't likely be lagging where you are now).

    However, a 1.6 GHz G5 should really be suiting your needs all right.

    If you've got your heart set on a tower, however, and not an iMac, but don't want to pay $2.5k+ and perhaps even want to keep it a Power Mac, not an Intel Mac, you could buy a Dual 2 GHz G5 w/2 GB RAM for $850 here http://www.macofalltrades.com/Apple_G5_2_0GHz_Dual_Processor_2_0_160GB_p/g520dp3.htm

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