View Full Version : Speed bump for G5 Dual 2.0 (4 RAM slots)

09-17-2009, 05:08 PM
I've recently started doing some more image processing with a Dual G5 (PCI-X, 4 RAM slots). Specs today are:

- Dual 2.0 GHz G5
- 2.5 GB RAM
- 1 x 750GB HD, 7.2k (User data, system)
- 1 x 350GB HD, 7.2k (Scratch, temp drive)
- External 750GB HD (FW800) for backup only
- OS X 10.4.11
- Photoshop CS2

I'm processing MF scans from a Nikon CoolScan 9000, so the files are pretty hefty (8900 x 10000 pixels for 6x7 negative). Needless to say, the computer is getting taxed pretty well.

What would be my best options for upgrading? Going to a new Mac Pro isn't an option, too much money. Things I've considered are:

- Bumping RAM to max 4 GB ($100)
- Swapping the 350GB HD for a 10k one; the drive is essentially a temp drive for everything I do. Cheapest 10k drive I can find is the Western Digital Raptor 74GB for $120
- Investing in external SATA RAID 0, with an external SATA card, to use as scratch?

Realistically, what matters more: image drive or scratch drive?

One thing to note is that I will be upgrading to 10.5.x soon since some software I need is only available on 10.5.4 and above.

Thanks for any input.

09-17-2009, 06:12 PM
If you decide you want a 10k drive I have a (lightly) used Raptor 150gb that's just sitting here. Be aware that the 150gb raptor would not work on my Oxford bridges so if you plan on using it external you will need external SATA. It was in my dual 1.8 G5 tower but when I traded up to a 24" iMac the tower went away. 125$ plus shipping would do it or make me an offer..

More ram is always a good idea and it's a cheap speed bump.. get the max ram

I really don't know much about photoshop, what I do know is that a fast image drive will speed up the open, close and save times. If I understand correctly PS puts the image in scratch while it is openso everything you do will seem to have a bit more zip with a fast scratch drive

Building an external raid is quite an investment do you have enough work and will it continue, to justify the cost?

09-17-2009, 07:53 PM
Do not go too crazy on multiple drive upgrades. Pick one and apply it.

The sad fact is that the 4 RAM slot G5 has a seriously limited PCI-PCI bridge bandwidth. The PCI-PCI bridge is the connection from all the attached buses to the memory controller and from there to RAM and CPU. EVERYTHING goes through the PCI-PCI bridge from hard drives, graphics card, USB, Firewire, audio, and any PCI cards.

And the bandwidth limit through said PCI-PCI bridge is less than that of just a couple of hard drives.

So don't get too carried away with multiple directions for your hard drives, there just isn't any benefit. Eventually you will need to change to a more capable computer, even a late model G5 with 8 RAM slots is a HUGE upgrade from the 4 RAM slot models. They were pretty crippled because of the bus limitations.


09-17-2009, 09:29 PM
I will only add that as fast as the Rapters were a couple years back, with no real peers, the latest and best 72K drives will keep up and give you gobs of storage for the $. Cooler and quieter too.

Having said that, I too have a used Raptor I am going to part with, so if you want 10K cheap (or two of them!) between Damien and myself......we can get you into dueling Raptors for less $.

If a Mac pro is not in the cards, I would agree that a late model G5 (8 slot) can be had fairly cheap. Turns yours around and sell to a more average user who won't know or care about, and you can get a good bump for what might be a few hundred bucks after the shuffle.