Upgrading From PowerPC G5

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by wacomme, Sep 24, 2010.

  1. wacomme macrumors regular

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    Jun 21, 2009
    #1
    The graphics card on my 2.3 Dual Core G5 failed (Radeon x800 xt). So, it's time for a new computer; I'll replace the card and give the computer to my daughter.

    I've had the computer since 2005 and don't like replacing computer. However, I'm a teacher and the Mac Pro's are so pricey. I dabble in photography as a side-business, so I have a nice 30" monitor (NEC LCD3090), and a slew of eSATA drives and enclosures. If I go the route of a 27" iMac, I could sell my NEC monitor (darn) to offset the cost of a new computer. How good is the 27" iMac screen? The glossy screen bothers me, but . . . Also, does the iMac have eSATA ports? If not, what's a good work-a-round system for multiple drives and backups?

    Or, for my needs, is a Mac Pro the way to go - just suck it up and fork out the money?
     
  2. BanjoBanker macrumors 6502

    BanjoBanker

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    #2
    Have you consider a MacBook Pro? Both the 15 and 17" are available in build to order with a matte screen and you could continue to use your 30" monitor. The Current MBPs are as powerful as the iMac and portable to boot. Stop buy an Apple reseller and give the MBPs a look before you plunk down long green for a Mac Pro. I think you will be surprised. The Multi Touch track pad is also a great thing to have if you do photo work.
     
  3. Hrududu macrumors 68020

    Hrududu

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    #3
    Considered a used Mac Pro? The older models are still going to be at least a quad core setup and since they're Intel, you will get new software support. I've watched a few 2006 models sell under $1000 on eBay somewhat recently. It would be a good way to keep your existing equipment, and still get an upgraded system.
     
  4. wacomme thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jun 21, 2009
    #4
    This is an interesting option. However, I have a PC laptop from work, so laptop really isn't a necessity for me. I was thinking the iMac would be the bigger "bang for the buck".

    How bad is the glossy iMac screen?
     
  5. wacomme thread starter macrumors regular

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    #5
    I hadn't considered these older models, just the refurbished ones on the Apple website. Are there any preferred models to consider?
     
  6. 92jlee macrumors 6502

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    Sep 11, 2009
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    Cardiff, Wales, UK
    #6
    The glossy display is good but don't have a window behind your desk or you won't see a thing!

    I've got the 24" and its good, but I regret not buying a Pro just for the simple reasons of its outdated, no hard drive upgrade (without taking off the glass etc - which I don't want to do for a computer worth this much! - and I know externals but that doesn't help if I dual boot windows and have everything on one disk as well as taking my iMac to work events as a media stand, plus hard drives are messy - I use a G5 loaded with drives near my router to act as a wireless 'server' type thing.

    No graphics card upgrade - I can't even run a game from 2007 (GTA) on full rez, highest textures ect. Might not matter to you, but as a Photographer PS might (not a programmer) get more graphics oriented - something about using the GPU as a CPU type thing..

    Ram limit - Not that 16GB isn't enough, but you never know for the future... 4MB used to be loads!

    All in one design is frustrating (although this has changed with the 27") you couldn't use the 24 as a monitor when the hardware gets too outdated.

    Pros of the iMac - Very neat and smart looking, Near silent, built in iSight/speakers ect.

    Sure you have heard enough of these type discussions but I do regret not saving up and buying a pro.

    J
     
  7. wacomme thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jun 21, 2009
    #7
    The options as I see it now:

    1) iMac 27" (top end) - about $2200 minus what can get by selling my 30" monitor.

    2) Used older Mac Pro (how old, model???). I'd like to stay under $1500.

    3) Macbook Pro. Hooked to 30" monitor when at home.

    I'm so confused.
     
  8. Hrududu macrumors 68020

    Hrududu

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    #8
    Not that I'm aware of. So far it would seem as though all Mac Pro models have proved to be good machines without known defects etc. Basically, I'd just do some looking around and see what the best setup you can get for your budget is. For $1500 I would think an early 2008 model should be doable. Of course, RAM configuration and other upgrades can make a huge difference in asking price.
     
  9. Silencio macrumors 68020

    Silencio

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    NYC
    #9
    I think the idea of finding a used Mac Pro is a pretty sound one. One of the 2008 models would be preferable, though even the 2006 Dual 2x2.66GHz Xeon would be a pretty significant upgrade over your PowerMac G5.
     
  10. wacomme thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jun 21, 2009
    #10
    I'll be looking at ebay and craigslist over the weekend. Should I be concerned about the lack of AppleCare? Lemons?
     
  11. evilcat macrumors member

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    Apr 18, 2005
    #11
    If you are in the US, you can have OWC (macsales.com) convert the second internal SATA port on a 2010 iMac 27" into an eSATA port, and re-use at least one of your external disks. They charge about $170 dollars.

    The 27" will also power a second monitor. Does your NEC take a DisplayPort connection? That would save you losing the screen. Then you could do your work on the NEC and maybe throw Photoshop palettes and web browsers and email etc. on that monitor.

    If you're set on a Mac Pro, you can get good used Macs from Powermax.com. They'll even take your old one as a part-exchange. I enquired recently and was quoted $700 for my Quad G5 Power Mac.
     
  12. Sweetfeld28 macrumors 65816

    Sweetfeld28

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    #12
    This is exactly what i did a couple of weeks ago. I bought a 2.0 Quad Mac Pro, with AppleCare still on it. It only has about a month left, but at least it gives me that much time to make sure there are no problems remaining on it.

    However, the only thing i have an issue with is upgrading my old Leopard install to Snow Leopard. The 1tb drive i had in my G5, was formatted to GUID, like what Snow Leopard uses, so as of right now I need another drive to do a clean install.

    Other than that, I don't have any issues, and couldn't be happier with my purchase. Just watch out for the Optical drives though. The older [original] models, had IDE Superdrives, where as the newer ones have SATA.
     
  13. wacomme thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jun 21, 2009
    #13
    For better or worse, my wife convinced me to not buy a used Mac Pro - lack of warranty, unknown history, etc.

    I'm also deciding against the iMac. I know it's a good machine and plenty powerful, but we had one some time ago and the resale value was horrible. A Macbook Pro is still a possibility, but most likely it'll be a new Mac Pro - One 2.8GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon “Nehalem” processor. I want a computer that's flexible enough to be functional and upgradeable to last me more than 3 years. I also want a sturdy computer than can be left on 24/7 with no ill effects.

    What are worthy upgrades to the base configuratation?

    3.2 Ghz?
    6GB or 8GB? Buy from Apple or 3rd party?
    2TB drive?
    5770 card vs. 2 x 5770 vs. 5870?
    magic trackpad?
    Apple's mini displayport to dual link dvi adapter vs. third party?
    other?

    Thanks.
     
  14. seb-opp macrumors 6502

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    London/Norwich
    #14
    best to always get ram from a third party. Its cheaper, and easy to do it yourself

    It might also be an idea to not get a larger/extra hard drive now, as capacities keep going up and prices go down. If it was me, I would get a new one as and when its needed.
     
  15. chaosbunny macrumors 68000

    chaosbunny

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    #15
    3.2 Ghz?
    Personally I wouldn't say this is worth it, especially when budget is tight. It's also quad-core with hyperthreading just with a bit more mhz. I went with the 2,8 ghz model and it's performing incredibly fast. Definitely a huge upgrade from your G5. The next significant upgrade would be the 3,33 ghz six-core or the 2,4 ghz eight-core Mac Pro, but these upgrades are pricey and in my opinion not needed for your purposes.

    6GB or 8GB? Buy from Apple or 3rd party?
    Definitely 3rd party. I got 2x4gb ram sticks for about 120 euro each - 3rd party is way way cheaper and has zero disadvantages, just the 30 seconds you'll need to put in the ram yourself.

    2TB drive?
    What seb-opp said. Depends on how many gbs of data you want or need.

    5770 card vs. 2 x 5770 vs. 5870?
    You'd only need 2 5770s if you want to use more than three monitors. Since you didn't mention any gaming or 3D stuff the 5770 will be just fine.

    magic trackpad?
    Just try it out at a store before you buy. If you are serious about retouching your photos it's definitely no replacement for a wacom tablet.

    Apple's mini displayport to dual link dvi adapter vs. third party?
    I guess your 30" NEC needs dual-link dvi and both gpus have one, so unless you don't have any other monitors you won't need an adaptor.
     
  16. wacomme thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jun 21, 2009
    #16
    Thanks for all of your advice. However, after looking and playing with the iMac at an Apple store this afternoon, it's back in the running - definitely cheaper than a Mac Pro and will probably satisfy my needs. I could sell the NEC 30" monitor and essentially make the cost of a new computer about $1000. For a three year lifespan, that's not bad.

    I need to sleep on it some more . . .
     
  17. wacomme thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jun 21, 2009
    #17
    Is there any way to utilize my eSATA drives and enclosures with an iMac?
     
  18. InfoSecmgr Guest

    InfoSecmgr

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    Dec 31, 2009
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    #18
    I'm amazed the first thing people do is take the time to create an account here instead of looking at the specs on Apple's web page. Hm, you want an Apple computer, so where do you go? www.apple.com perhaps?
     
  19. chaosbunny macrumors 68000

    chaosbunny

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    #19
    Nope. And that 27" mirror display will suck compared to your 30" NEC.
     
  20. CodeRaven macrumors member

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    Florida
    #20
  21. wacomme thread starter macrumors regular

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    #21
  22. wacomme thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jun 21, 2009
    #22
    While the iMac doesn't have eSATA ports, the intention of the question was to ask if they could be added> They apparently can be added through OWC. Thus, if I had looked to Apple's stats only I would have less information about possible configurations than I have now.
     
  23. wacomme thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jun 21, 2009
    #23
    Wow! I was looking at eSATA merely because I have the drives for them now and don't want to convert to Firewire. I had no idea about the speed potential of eSATA if I wanted to go solid state in the future. This makes me rethink the advantages of a Mac Pro over an iMac.

    I'm not a computer geek or gamer who like to tweak my computer. However, when, for example, solid state drives become cheaper it would be nice to convert to them (a year or two in the future?). I could do this on the iMac through OWC, but it's much easier to move my eSATA pci card from my G5 to the Mac Pro (this is possible, correct?). Anyway, it's upgrade like this that makes me rethink the flexibility of the Mac Pro, and the lack thereof for the iMac. Hmmm.
     
  24. evilcat macrumors member

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    Apr 18, 2005
    #24
    Resurrecting this thread to answer your question. I forgot I'd been in on this thread. If it's one of the final G5 models with PCI-E then you can move the card over. Check if it needs drivers for Snow Leopard first. If it does, Newertech make a good 2-port eSATA card for $50.

    Adding an SSD will feel fast. You can get a 120Gb from OWC for $250. Run your system and scratch disks off that and use hard disks for everything else and the user experience will be extremely snappy.

    Also, if you're in the US, check B&H Photo. They have brand new 2009 model quad-core 2.66GHz Mac Pros for less than 2 grand... and since they're new in box, they qualify for the full three years of Applecare. That model rates at least three times the speed of a 2.5GHz quad core G5, it should be more than enough speed for you.
     
  25. wacomme thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jun 21, 2009
    #25
    This is really quite the dilemma. I've had recommendations from a mini to the Mac Pro. My current inclination is to go with an i5 or i7 27" iMac and sell my 30" NEC monitor. Though I don't really know for sure, but I think I can sell my monitor for about $1000. I can buy the iMac for about $2000. Thus, for about $1000 I have a new computer. This seems better than spending a grand for a less powerful mini or $2000 for an older Mac Pro. However, I'm still undecided.
     

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