Time to upgrade from Power Macintosh G5 2.5 DP?

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
Howdy everyone, I used to frequent these forums but it's been a long time and it appears I'm starting from scratch



I've had a Power Macintosh G5 2.5 DP since they were released ~6 years ago... been a good machine, but lately I've been doing some basic video work in iMovie that has been frustratingly slow. Not to mention so much of the new software and games are only available for Intel-equipped Macs.



I'm curious how much of an improvement I'd see in iMovie if I replaced this tower with the new 6 core Mac Pro. As an example, it took this machine about 20 minutes to export a 5 minute video from 1280x720 to Youtube quality 640x480. I'd like to think that a new Pro Mac would handle this very very quickly, but I know that sometimes more cores doesn't really mean that much.



As I'm fairly new to messing about with video, are there any BTO upgrades that help significantly? Maybe a couple SSDs in a RAID? Is it enough to have the drives striped or do you really need the hardware RAID card to get the most out of them? Would one of the other processor configurations make more sense? Worth it to go whole hog for the 12 core machine?



I tend to keep my towers for 5-6 years before upgrading again since I usually go for the top of the line stuff, does it make sense to do this nowdays? Thanks for any input



edit: oops, just noticed that general is for purchasing advice. I'm more interested in performance data than opinions, but move if necessary

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 9
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,217moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by enderty View Post


    I'm curious how much of an improvement I'd see in iMovie if I replaced this tower with the new 6 core Mac Pro. As an example, it took this machine about 20 minutes to export a 5 minute video from 1280x720 to Youtube quality 640x480. I'd like to think that a new Pro Mac would handle this very very quickly, but I know that sometimes more cores doesn't really mean that much.



    Both cores of the G5 will perform about the same as one core of the new machine so I'd estimate 6 times faster. That won't translate directly to all tasks though as they don't multi-thread the same way.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by enderty View Post


    As I'm fairly new to messing about with video, are there any BTO upgrades that help significantly?



    You get USB hardware encoders like the Elgato Turbo 264 but experience seems to vary with it suggesting it's not much faster than the CPU. They might have used it on faster Macs though:



    http://www.elgato.com/elgato/na/main...oduct1.en.html



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by enderty View Post


    Maybe a couple SSDs in a RAID? Is it enough to have the drives striped or do you really need the hardware RAID card to get the most out of them?



    SSD is young technology and not as reliable as it could be. RAID SSD will be fast but it's not going to encode your video much quicker. The money would be better spent on a new machine.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by enderty View Post


    Would one of the other processor configurations make more sense? Worth it to go whole hog for the 12 core machine?



    I doubt you'd see any difference between 6 cores and 12 cores in iMovie. I think you'd be wasting money on that but for a 5-6 year purchase, there's no harm in getting more cores if you can afford it.



    Instead of the 12 cores though, I'd suggest you upgrade the 6 core model with more RAM, get an SSD if you like and the better GPU. That should still cover you pretty well for a few years. The 6 core chips show up as 12 threads so it acts like 12 cores. The 12 core shows up as 24 threads. Not that you get double the performance but 6 is plenty for the task.



    In general, I would avoid using iMovie because it sucks - the encoders are very slow. Buy Final Cut Express or the Studio package.
  • Reply 2 of 9
    programmerprogrammer Posts: 3,409member
    I'd recommend a quad core i5 or i7 iMac and as much memory and disk as you can afford. These machines will crush the G5. The MacPro is overkill for your stated use, so unless you really need to pay for the expandability of the machine, don't spend so much.
  • Reply 3 of 9
    @programmer: ah I don't really care for the iMac's weak graphics card and I like having three monitors, so I don't think the iMacs would be a great fit. I like to do some sporadic gaming as well. The top of the line iMac is still tempting, but I don't think it'd last me as well as the towers do. Video editing is prompting the decision to upgrade, but it's not nearly all I do with my computer.



    Bought this G5 at a fairly bad time though since they went all intel and changed the graphics card bus completely in the next couple of models, really hampered the upgrade path :P They likely to do that to me again in the near future?



    @Marvin: thanks for the speed estimate and advice regarding iMovie and Final Cut Express, I'll look into that.
  • Reply 4 of 9
    programmerprogrammer Posts: 3,409member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by enderty View Post


    Bought this G5 at a fairly bad time though since they went all intel and changed the graphics card bus completely in the next couple of models, really hampered the upgrade path :P They likely to do that to me again in the near future?



    They won't change away from x86 (although that doesn't rule out AMD completely). PCI Express is likely to stand for a while, although its possible something would happen with QPI (or HyperTransport if they went AMD). Mostly I wouldn't worry about it this time around though.



    You sure 2 27" displays wouldn't be enough?



    Can't stop a gamer from spending tons of money, but you really ought to ask yourself if the cost delta is worth the price delta.
  • Reply 5 of 9
    Im in a similar situation. I have a Dual 2.5 G5 that I bought in 2004 and its lasted me pretty well but Im ready for an upgrade now. Originally I was going to get the top of the line iMac which will be plenty fast for my photo/video editing, will play my games just fine, and has a great screen BUT I need expandability. I have 6 HDs connected to my G5 in one way or another and I realy like how easy it is to upgrade RAM and other attributes. If the iMac had USB 3 or eSATA I would have already ordered one but for now Im going to wait for the new Mac Pros to become available and see how much the system I need is going to cost me before I decide.
  • Reply 6 of 9
    programmerprogrammer Posts: 3,409member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by EpyonXero View Post


    Im in a similar situation. I have a Dual 2.5 G5 that I bought in 2004 and its lasted me pretty well but Im ready for an upgrade now. Originally I was going to get the top of the line iMac which will be plenty fast for my photo/video editing, will play my games just fine, and has a great screen BUT I need expandability. I have 6 HDs connected to my G5 in one way or another and I realy like how easy it is to upgrade RAM and other attributes. If the iMac had USB 3 or eSATA I would have already ordered one but for now Im going to wait for the new Mac Pros to become available and see how much the system I need is going to cost me before I decide.



    You can daisy chain external HDs (and enclosures) using FW800. In practice you're not likely to notice the performance difference for most applications... the graphs I've seen show eSATA performance as significantly better at one edge of the disk, and the same as FW800 always is at the other edge... so FW800 gives you consistency.



    "Ease" of RAM upgradability is irrelevant in my mind... you probably only do it once. USB3 isn't enough of a win over FW800 to bother adding to a MacPro anyhow.



    <shrug> I'm quite a demanding user, and I've discovered that I can't justify going beyond the iMac. I probably won't even get a 2nd display as a 27" is pretty good. The price difference between the iMac and the MacPro could buy that 2nd display.
  • Reply 7 of 9
    I have had a 1.8 DP G5 since 2004 and it has served me very well over the years. It still performs regular tasks quite well, but I really began to notice how slow it was when I updated to iLife '09. iDVD was sooooo slow, and iMovie was almost as bad. It was at this point that I decided to experiment with a Hackintosh. Bought some parts and essentially built a system similar to a 2008 Mac Pro (2.8 Ghz Quad-Core, PC6400 mem, NVidia 9500 GT, etc). I was amazed how much faster it did everything! I also do a lot of video encoding, and Handbrake is about 10x faster than my old G5.



    I ended up buying a Mac Pro 3.2Ghz Quad this week to replace my G5. I just wasn't comfortable using my Hackintosh for daily use (it still does not sleep properly, System Updates are dicy) and wanted something that I can expand over the next 4-5 years. I went with a Quad because I just couldn't afford the Hexa core ($1200 option!!) and figured the 3.2 would be faster for most tasks than a 8-core 2.4Ghz.



    If you are looking for something cheaper, I would check out the Elgato H.264 USB encoder. It will definitely help iMovie exports and other video encoding that use Apple's QuickTime library (unfortunately Handbrake does not). SSDs will help app launching, boot time, and general responsiveness, but will not improve your export times.
  • Reply 8 of 9
    I ordered a 3.33 GHz 6 core mac pro on tuesday
  • Reply 9 of 9
    Here's Anand's comparison of a 2.5GHz G5 to the current Mac mini. It ain't pretty: about 2/3 the CPU power and ten times the power consumption.
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