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Advice needed : which is faster/better (iMac vs G5) ?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I'm now running with some hard decision problem :

I currently have a good'old 2.0 GHz G5 dual (less than 5 years old), with 4 GB of ram and ATI's x850 XT video card (256 MB). The full description of my setup is in my signature bellow. This setup is perfect for my needs and I really don't want/need to upgrade.

However, since last week, this computer is having a serious hardware issue related to the video card, and the setup is now unusable (fullscreen video artifacts). Sending the G5 to the repair shop will cost me an arm (about 500 to 900 CAN$ + taxes, depending on the video card which should replace the old x850 XT)

If I put more cash on a new computer instead, I may have something better, but I'm not sure yet since if I switch for an Intel upgrade, I'll have to upgrade lots of applications too. This is why I'm asking for your advice/opinion/experience.

For about 1250 CAN$ + taxes, I can brought a new iMac (21.5 inches, 3.06 GHz), so I'll get OS X Snow Leopard + slightly larger screen + slightly larger HD. But what about the processor speed and graphics ? (the video card is very important to me).

Is putting about 2000 CAN$ for the best iMac worth it (27 inches, 2.66 GHz Core i5, 1 TB HD, ATI's HD 4850 with 512 MB), compared to a fully functionnal 2.0 GHz G5 dual ?

Mac mini 2.53 GHz, 4 GB, NVidia's 9400M.
13" MacBook Pro 2.66 GHz, 8 GB, NVidia's 320M.
OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.8

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Mac mini 2.53 GHz, 4 GB, NVidia's 9400M.
13" MacBook Pro 2.66 GHz, 8 GB, NVidia's 320M.
OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.8

Reply
post #2 of 12
Everything in your G5 is eclipsed by the iMac by orders of magnitude, especially the video card. The integrated Nvidia 9400m would walk all over your old video card, let alone the Radeon 4850. The processor is on a whole different level. If I recall correctly, the G5 was roughly equivalent to the original Core Duo from 2006. Things are much faster now (as much as 5x at the same clockspeed). Also, Apple still includes Rosetta with Snow Leopard, so you don't have to upgrade everything right away.
post #3 of 12
I bought a Core i5 27" iMac a few weeks ago- it utterly crushes my brother's old G5 tower in every way.

If you're looking at a 21.5" iMac, then opt for the model with ATI graphics. The Radeon HD 4670 trashes the X850. The CPU will be a very significant improvement over what you have now as well.
PC Gamer, Musician, Mac Geek. | Jerion.us
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PC Gamer, Musician, Mac Geek. | Jerion.us
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post #4 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kali View Post

I'm now running with some hard decision problem :

I currently have a good'old 2.0 GHz G5 dual (less than 5 years old), with 4 GB of ram and ATI's x850 XT video card (256 MB). The full description of my setup is in my signature bellow. This setup is perfect for my needs and I really don't want/need to upgrade.

...

If you want a reasonably well-respected comparison of systems, then there is no better place to start than the Geekbench Mac Benchmarks webpage. FWIW:

System............................................ ..................Score*
2.00 GHz Power Mac G5 (Late 2005)....1816
3.06 GHz iMac Intel Core 2 Duo...........4081
2.66 GHz iMac Intel i5..........................(not listed)
2.80 Ghz iMac Intel i7 (4 cores)............8237

* Be reminded that raw benchmark scores tend to overestimate the relative performance of systems. Many people like to compare the square roots of the scores for a more reliable figure of merit for real world performance.
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks a lot for the comments, guys.

I'm now considering to buy the 27" i5 iMac, but I'm not sure yet.

When was the actual iMac generation released ? Can we expect some new iMac to be released soon ?

Also, what about all the heat generated by the 27" iMacs ? I played a bit with them yesterday, in the Apple Store, and I found them pretty hot. What average lifetime may I expect for an 27" iMac ?

I don't want to put 2500$ on a new computer (just because of a faulty video card in my G5 !), which may turn mad after just four years !

Mac mini 2.53 GHz, 4 GB, NVidia's 9400M.
13" MacBook Pro 2.66 GHz, 8 GB, NVidia's 320M.
OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.8

Reply

Mac mini 2.53 GHz, 4 GB, NVidia's 9400M.
13" MacBook Pro 2.66 GHz, 8 GB, NVidia's 320M.
OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.8

Reply
post #6 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kali View Post

Thanks a lot for the comments, guys.

I'm now considering to buy the 27" i5 iMac, but I'm not sure yet.

When was the actual iMac generation released ? Can we expect some new iMac to be released soon ?

Also, what about all the heat generated by the 27" iMacs ? I played a bit with them yesterday, in the Apple Store, and I found them pretty hot. What average lifetime may I expect for an 27" iMac ?

I don't want to put 2500$ on a new computer (just because of a faulty video card in my G5 !), which may turn mad after just four years !

IIRC, the current line was released late last fall. Any new refresh would probably see the graphics options updated- with the 9400 replaced with a GTS 210 or 310- and the ATI cards replaced by the newer Radeon HD 5000 series. It would probably also bring Core i5, or at the very least Core i3 CPUs to the 21.5" iMac.

My Core i5 27" hasn't had any problems with heat, though the back case does get very warm. I would suggest putting it in a place where there is plenty of airflow around the machine.
PC Gamer, Musician, Mac Geek. | Jerion.us
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PC Gamer, Musician, Mac Geek. | Jerion.us
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post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
When can we expect Apple to update the iMac line ? In june ?

Mac mini 2.53 GHz, 4 GB, NVidia's 9400M.
13" MacBook Pro 2.66 GHz, 8 GB, NVidia's 320M.
OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.8

Reply

Mac mini 2.53 GHz, 4 GB, NVidia's 9400M.
13" MacBook Pro 2.66 GHz, 8 GB, NVidia's 320M.
OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.8

Reply
post #8 of 12
Could you not just replace the graphics card?!
post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kali View Post

When can we expect Apple to update the iMac line ? In june ?

That should be a safe bet.
PC Gamer, Musician, Mac Geek. | Jerion.us
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PC Gamer, Musician, Mac Geek. | Jerion.us
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post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrochester View Post

Could you not just replace the graphics card?!

I'm unable to find any video card for the G5. Too old (less than 5 years !?). And from the repair shops in Montreal, it's way too costly !

Hell ! I could even buy a Mac Mini, for the repair price !

Mac mini 2.53 GHz, 4 GB, NVidia's 9400M.
13" MacBook Pro 2.66 GHz, 8 GB, NVidia's 320M.
OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.8

Reply

Mac mini 2.53 GHz, 4 GB, NVidia's 9400M.
13" MacBook Pro 2.66 GHz, 8 GB, NVidia's 320M.
OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.8

Reply
post #11 of 12
Since the G5 machine is perfect for your needs and the software is paid for, my advice is to hunt for a new/used video card in the 500 MB or better range or buy a used G5 and use that one for parts.

More performance isn´t going to help you if you don´t need it. The PM G5´s have a whopping 1Ghz bus PER processor and they are separate processors, not the dual cores sharing a bus like today. So the machine has plenty of bandwidth, meaning it can access drives, video cards etc very fast. Data can get in an out of the processors pretty quickly and heat isn´t a issue like it is with the newer multi-core processors. The key to getting a G5 duallie fast is faster hard drives and video cards and decent memory. 7,200 RPMś drives (or faster if you dare) or 500 MB or better video cards, enough RAM to meet all your always running needs.

I had two 3D games, Unreal Tournament and Doom, running each in their own window at the same time on my Duallie G5, with a better than 60fps per game. Or I could have 3 HD (1080i) TV channels and two SD channels on at once, plus a mix of other things going.


The all-in-one iMac´s have their drawbacks, first off you can´t access the hard drive, memory or video card. If one part goes down the whole machine is out of commission. And they get hot due to their closed design, resulting in the processors being throttled to keep the temperature down like in laptops.

The new iMac´s all have that annoying reflective screens which could be a issue if you like normally bright rooms. With the G5 you can choose the monitor you want to use.

Having owned a G5 dually myself, sometimes just getting a new monitor, keyboard/mouse makes one feel like they got a whole new machine, without the huge cost.


If you decide to save some money and just install a new/used video card yourself remember these few things:

1: You have to install the drivers for the new video card (download from the card makers site or have the disk) before making the hardware switch.

2: Remove the power cord and discharge static electricity before opening up the G5.

3: Don´t touch the components, only the plastic edges of the video card.

4: You´ll need some small magnetic tools, screwdriver, for the removal/installation.

5: While your in there, use a can of compressed air and lightly blow out the dust and wipe the fans/inside with a static free cloth


Also since you´ve installed a new video card, the drivers for the card will most likely not be on the G5´s OS X installation disk that came with the machine so it won´t work to boot from. To be able to boot your G5 from something other than your boot drive (in case it fails) you will need to clone your whole boot drive to another internal/external drive.


Rather easy to do.

1: Disk Utility Erase with Zero a new blank drive to map off any potential bad sectors (only need to once per drive, will erase all data) equal to or larger than the boot drive.

2: Download Carbon Copy Cloner and clone the whole boot drive over to the other, Disk Utility Repair Permissions on both afterwards.

3: Hold Option and reboot, select the clone and test it out. Simple.


If you got BootCamp itś a bit more involved.

http://theappleblog.com/2010/01/12/h...-to-a-new-mac/


If you got Filevault enabled, ask over at Carbon Copy Cloner forums if it will boot a cloned Filevaulted image.

If I was you, I would get me a new, fast boot drive, a newer video card and perhaps some more RAM, likely all for under $300. Feel like you got a new machine.

Also upgrade to Leopard

Should be able to buy the disks online or eBay, check compatibility with your current software, what you will have to upgrade and it´s costs if any. Clone your boot drive first and check it out, disconnect, then upgrade Tiger to Leopard with the disk.


If this is all too much for you, I´m sure you could find a local Mac friendly computer support that can get your machine right and fast for you, it has the potential believe me!

I´d do it for you, but your far from me.
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
What do you think about the current Mac Mini, compared to an old G5 2.0 GHz dual, and what about the next gen Mini ? Do you think there should be an update to the Mac Mini, this summer ?

More specifically, what about the Mini's video card (NVidia 9400M), compared to ATI's x850XT ?

The Mac Mini may be a solution to my puzzle, since at least I could save my 20" LCD monitor, the keyboard and mouse.

Mac mini 2.53 GHz, 4 GB, NVidia's 9400M.
13" MacBook Pro 2.66 GHz, 8 GB, NVidia's 320M.
OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.8

Reply

Mac mini 2.53 GHz, 4 GB, NVidia's 9400M.
13" MacBook Pro 2.66 GHz, 8 GB, NVidia's 320M.
OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.8

Reply
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