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PowerPC or Intel Mac?

Discussion in 'Apple/Mac' started by racerx1, Jun 19, 2007.

  1. racerx1


    Jan 13, 2006
    northern NJ
    I am coming from the PC world and have the opportunity to buy a 16-month old PowerMac G5 with Dual 2.7GHz G5 processors (liquid cooled), 4.5GB DDR RAM, ATi Radeon 9650 (256MB, Dual DVI outputs, can run 30" cinema display), LaCie LightScribe Superdrive (16x DVD +-R/RW) and two hard drives (550 GB total). Plus it has lots of software and all for about $1800.

    However, it is a PowerPC based CPU and I'm wondering if I should get an Intel-based Mac instead, but it would cost a lot more (obviously). Would I be able to tell the difference? I am not a gamer and only use it for photography - Lightroom and CS2.

    I'd appreciate your opinions. Thanks in advance.
  2. RaceTripper


    Jan 6, 2007
    St. Louis
    Personally I wouldn't buy a platform (PPC) that Apple has abandoned. Everything Apple and 3rd party developers do now in terms of system software, applications, etc is going to be optimized for Intel. Things will be backwards compatible for PPC -- to a degree -- for a while, but I wouldn't put that much money into it. Within a couple years you'll start seeing stuff that is Intel-only.

    Used computers are usually a good deal for the seller and a bad deal for the buyer, especially anything that's older than 6 months. And at 16 months old I think that G5 is at least 2 generations behind the current models.

    If you do get it, make sure you get transfered ownership of the software licenses. If the seller is just leaving software on the machine, but intends to keep upgrading the software for him/herself then you aren't really getting the software, just access to use it illegally.
  3. Jump all over that deal! The PowerPC processors are very good. That machine is going to scream for you! Go get that 30" display and make us all jealous!

    I wish I had the available $$$ to sink into a Mac. My PC is a little over a year old and works well (3ghz w/2gb RAM), but Photoshop CS2 stills bogs it down sometimes. I may bump the RAM up a little bit to 3 or 4 GB and see how that works.

  4. TLochner


    Jun 11, 2006
    SW Ohio
    Since Adobe has upgraded the Photoshop software to a universal application I personally would recommend the newer Intel Mac Pro. This is only my opinion but I have a New Intel I Mac and I love the performance I get just using Photoshop Elements. It is a sound machine. Not sure if this helps but good luck with your choice.
  5. Intel Mac.

    I have a G5 iMac (rev B) that I bought in October of 2005 and I have an intel-based 15" MacBook Pro that I bought in May 2006. In addition I have a Mac Pro that I purchased in September 2006. The two intel-based machines definitely run circles around the G5 iMac. Apple is definitely moving forward with intel, and PPC machines are not going to be able to keep up as software continues to change, even though now they are producing universal binary versions. The newest version of the OS -- "Leopard" -- will be coming out this fall, and although it will work with both PPC and intel-based machines, my guess is that the intel-based machines will definitely be able to take fullest advantage of the functions and features.

    Also, I notice that you mention the machine is liquid-cooled. There have been some problems with those machines.

    You have the opportunity to start out fresh -- I'd go with an intel-based Mac. The Mac Pro machines have various configurations and options so that you can start out putting one together at your current budget level and then as time goes on will be able to easily upgrade it in terms of RAM and such. I would consider that before purchasing an older PowerMac at this point.
  6. wbeem


    Feb 11, 2007
    Sanford, FL
    William Beem
    Another vote for the Intel and for the same reasons state. Apple abandoned PowerPC platform more than a year ago. I still get good use out of my iMac G5 (which I'm using now) for the web and some writing, but it does a poor, sluggish job with Aperture and Photoshop.

    On the other hand, my Intel Core Duo MacBook Pro runs Aperture and Photoshop with no complaints or sluggishness. It just needs a 23" or 30" screen for photo editing.
  7. gadgetguy11


    Nov 16, 2005
    Piling on for the Intel Mac for reasons stated. The latest Adobe Master Collection I ordered includes CS3 Extended, a lot of apps, and Premiere Pro, a killer video editing program. At least that program will only run on an Intel Mac.

    The 30" monitor is worth it. I popped for 2. Photo palette on 1 screen, while you pp on the other...
  8. wbeem


    Feb 11, 2007
    Sanford, FL
    William Beem
    Two 30" monitors. Damn, if only I weren't still 8 months away from paying off my Harley.
  9. Lowolf


    Jan 26, 2006
    If you want the Masters collection or video production suite cs3 then don't get a G5 has to be Intel only
  10. Depends on what your budget is.

    For $1800, you are getting a good deal on that powermac that is loaded.

    The absolute bare-bones Mac Pro system is going to cost you more without a monitor:
    Subtotal $2,200.00
    Estimated Ship:
    2-4 business days
    Free Shipping
    * Two 2.0GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon
    * 1GB (2 x 512MB)
    * 250GB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s
    * NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT 256MB (single-link DVI/dual-link DVI)
    * One 16x SuperDrive
    * Apple Keyboard and Mighty Mouse - U.S. English
    * Mac OS X - U.S. English

    Then you would have to buy more ram (probably 2GB more at the minimum) just to get it running smooth. (Yeah, 1GB is "good enough" but I have heard from friends with mac pros who say that 4GB and up really makes a difference.). The cheapest I could find 2GB ram is $156, and that may not be from a reputable source (Omni Technologies™ OPTIVAL®). Better ram equals better system stability. Crucial is very good:
    US $189.99 2GB kit (1GBx2)
    US $399.99 4GB kit (2GBx2)

    IF you can afford it, go for the mac pro or iMac. But if you are only going to run Lightroom and Photoshop CS2, then that Powermac G5 will last you a few years. Heck, CS3 WILL run on that G5. My powermac G5 dual 2ghz will last me a few more years and it's almost 4 years old!

    If I was buying fresh right now, this is a heck of a deal:
    24" iMac
    Subtotal $2,299.00
    Estimated Ship:
    1-3 business days
    Free Shipping
    * 2.16GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    * 2GB 667 DDR2 SDRAM - 2x1GB
    * 250GB Serial ATA Drive
    * NVIDIA GeForce 7600 GT 256MB SDRAM
    * SuperDrive 8X (DVD+R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    * Apple Keyboard & Mighty Mouse + Mac OS X (US English)
    * 24-inch widescreen LCD
    * AirPort Extreme
    * Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR
  11. Intel Mac here as well. With universal code software coming out regularly the G5 will fall further behind in comparison. I have the MacBook Pro and Mac Pro 3.0 ghz and am very pleased. I haven't been inside the case in months, unlike my PC.

    Thanks, Rich
  12. Seeing as how I am on a G5 dual 2.7 with 30" display I can tell you that $1800 is one heck of a deal. The display cost me more than that a few years ago when I bought it.

    If you don't have the big bucks for a new Intel then this is a great deal seems to me. No problems at all with mine, holding out at least until October and Leopard, maybe longer.
  13. GBRandy


    Feb 28, 2006
    Green Bay, WI
    Seems like a good deal on the G5....but I do not know much about them like Connie or Larry would.

    I have had my MacPro 3.0 for about 6 months now. If you are looking for huge improvements in speed versus a PC (a decent one any way), I haven't found it. My Intel MacPro is a RAM hog.... It really needs 4 gig to be be running correctly...that is the least expensive way to fill all 8 slots.

    I have upgraded to 8 gig from 3 to try and get aperture to run at a reasonable speed. 8 Gig in my older Dell would make the thing simply fly.

    Reliability wise it is a push between the MacPro and my PC's.....but I never have any major problems with my PC's so I am one of the lucky ones I guess.

    In the end, $1800 bucks seems like a steal...unless of course your primary tools will be Aperture & anything CS3...in which case your only real option is an Intel Mac.

    My 2 cents.....
  14. Randy is right, if you want speed in CS3 Intel is the way to go more than likely. CS2 and Aperture do pretty well on my G5 but it does have 8GB of RAM.
  15. Aperture runs decently on my G5 with 4GB of ram.

    Randy, the video card is what REALLY helps Aperture to fly. Which one do you have in yours? The optimal one (for now) is the ATI Radeon X1900 XT with 512MB of GDDR3 SDRAM. Ram helps but the video card is what does the trick.
  16. mkawa


    Apr 25, 2007
    San Diego, CA
    Waste of money. Buy Intel.
  17. racerx1


    Jan 13, 2006
    northern NJ
    Thanks folks for all the input- I really appreciate your opinions and experiences. I decided to heed your advice and go with an Intel-based chip. Not cheap (might go with a refurb from Apple) but nothing with photography is, except may be a used lens cap. :) 
  18. GBRandy


    Feb 28, 2006
    Green Bay, WI
    ATi 1900 XT :wink:
  19. Sounds good, RacerX1! I think in the long run this is a wise decision. I think if someone already has a G5 PM, that's great and they don't need to discard it in favor of a Mac Pro right away. There's plenty of good life left in those G5 PMs, iMacs and others! I still use my G5 iMac nearly every day. Even the G4 Powerbooks are still hanging in there. When you're starting out fresh and buying for the first time, though, to me it just makes so much sense to go with an intel-based machine from the get-go. In fact, last year, I held off buying a PM, knowing that the Mac Pro machines were on their way...and that was a LONG wait -- many months -- but definitely worth it!
  20. I still use a G4 PowerBook every day. But I need to live on an old machine because it keeps me honest work wise.

    But I would not buy a G5 at this point unless you were getting it for 2/3 off or something.

    Just got a quad Mac Pro myself. I've run it with 1 gig of RAM. Not so bad really, unless you use Photoshop heavily. Using 4 gigs normally.

    I'm going to be messing around with software and hardware RAIDs as soon as I get a moment to gather the stuff. It's mostly being used for work right now. :rolleyes: 

    One last thing: keep in mind that those us that write the software you use are always primarily focused on what Apple is currently selling. Sure, all recent stuff is supported, but that engineer that makes that Pshop filter you use so much that much faster is mostly worrying about how fast it is on an Intel processor these days. You get the idea.
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