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Thread: G4 DA? Looking for a new mac...

  1. #1
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    Default G4 DA? Looking for a new mac...

    Hello,

    I'm considering getting a used PowerMac G4 and was hoping for some advice. I currently have an iBook G3 500, which has served me well for a number of years, as well as a Dell PIII 667. I'm thinking about ditching the Dell for a G4 and putting my iBook into semi-retirement.

    My requirements are pretty low. I mostly use my computer as a media player, for both mp3/aac and divx/xvid kind of stuff, with of course lots of web browsing. I hope to use it for some Photoshop or web design tinkering, but nothing too serious. Basically, I want something reasonably fast that is easily upgradeable and will last me a number of years.

    I am looking at a PowerMac DA dual 533 or single 733 (link:http://www.baucomcomputers.com/). Would one of them be a good investment? Would the dual 533 or the single 733 make more sense for my uses and the long-run? I also noticed that its much cheaper to get a CPU upgrade for a single processor (which of course makes sense), which would make me more likely to go that route in the future.

    I had thought of maxing my iBook's RAM and getting an external HD, which would fit the bill for the moment, but then I'm at a dead end for future upgrades. There is also the Mac mini, but I want something that is easily upgradeable.

    Anyway, I realize this has been rather long-winded, but any suggestions or pointers would be most appreciated. Thanks for your time and as always, you guys have a great site.

    -Alex

  2. #2
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    Default My opinion...

    Buy the Mac Mini @ $399 (refurb)
    or the:
    G5 @ $1299.

    Spending 500-800 for a used machine just doesnt make sense...

    My opinion for whatever its worth
    MacBook Pro Uni 2.4GHz with express card slot

    iMac G5

  3. #3
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    Default

    I would love a G5, but I just can't justify spending that much money (nor really afford it). I never seriously considered the mini. But the G4 1.42 refurb for $450 does sound good and it probably makes more sense. I guess I've just always wanted a Power Mac tower Thanks for the tip.

  4. #4
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    Default Mac-Mini?

    But the G4 1.42 refurb for $450 does sound good and it probably makes more sense.
    I understand there may be a speed bump soon, as well as a better 5400 rpm drive (they threw 4.2K drives in recently and folks are upset they are so sluggish).

  5. #5
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    Default

    Would the dual 533 or the single 733 make more sense for my uses and the long-run? I also noticed that its much cheaper to get a CPU upgrade for a single processor (which of course makes sense),
    You can upgrade the single 733 to a dual easily. You don't need a Dual to start with when upgrading. So don't let that bother you. I had a QS 733 ... Now a Dual 1.3 Giga. - Randy

  6. #6
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    Default

    I agree that you will get the most bang for the buck from the mini, especially if there is a bump soon, which is rumored as TZ said.

    If you really want a tower, for the hobby of it, anything from a 466 up (you get 133 bus speed plus 4x AGP) would be fine for upgrading. No matter which way you go, you will put more money in the tower than the mini, to end up with similar performance, unless you find a give-away tower somewhere.
    "Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining." -- Jef Raskin

  7. #7
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    Default

    More tower info - Barefeats G4/533, G4 DA/733 benchmarks:
    http://www.barefeats.com/G4733.htm

  8. #8
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by rwm
    More tower info - Barefeats G4/533, G4 DA/733 benchmarks:
    http://www.barefeats.com/G4733.htm
    Ah-ha! Thanks for the link. Glad for some data, though I would think that the results would be much different today with the current version of OSX. Does it have better support for DP? Or does it take better advantage of the 733 as the article's author suggests might be the case in the fututre? Just curious.

  9. #9
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    Lightbulb

    OS X has changed a lot since even then (March 2001). some of the difference was that the OS really depended on presence of L3 cache (L1 and L2 were small) and the lack of an L3 cache made some cpus suffer. My G3 has a full 1MB L2 cache running at 1:1 while some have 512K. A huge jump for 32 or 64K. The G5 doesn't even include L3 cache at all. Less redundancy or duplication, and the need to 'hunt' for and find the correct current code which adds latency and complexity.

    And now, you can add dual 1.8 or single 2.0GHz upgrades as well. Tiger includes a lot of improvements in memory handling, threading, etc. Panther was built two years ago. A lot has been learned, and changed, including the compilers themselves and the code generated. Some tweaks went into 10.3.9, but mostly, Tiger. Unfortunately, it also added Spotlight and some problems for some. It will be interesting to see what 10.4.3 brings, which should resolve and fix over 100 documented bugs.

    The minimum system for OS X to run smoothly seems to be around 1GHz (SP or DP) as well as 1GB RAM (more is preferable), and a couple good hard drives plus two backup sets (which hasn't changed!). Just the change from 100MHz bus to 133 makes for a noticeable improvement, too, as well as a better architecture all around.

    With a dual, some apps are dual, the system is dual, and while it isn't 'faster,' it climbs hills without breaking into a sweat better. But, thanks to better threading and design, OS X can do quite well with a single cpu. For some apps that are cpu bound, a dual can be a must, such as compiling code, or video and graphics programs.

  10. #10
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by TZ
    The minimum system for OS X to run smoothly seems to be around 1GHz (SP or DP) as well as 1GB RAM (more is preferable), and a couple good hard drives plus two backup sets (which hasn't changed!). Just the change from 100MHz bus to 133 makes for a noticeable improvement, too, as well as a better architecture all around.
    Yikes! Are the requirements really that high to run it well? I realize this is bare minimum, but Apple's site just lists any G3 and up with 256 RAM. I would think that the G4 533 DP with like 512+ RAM would run Tiger well. At least for most common purposes (such as I described earlier), no?

    Again, thanks for the OSX update info. From what you said, it seems having a DP is well supported in the OS and makes a difference, but only really excels for certain apps/purposes.

  11. #11
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    Default

    Having the Dual will really let you run OS X fine, lot of power.. A real "big" application might take a pull but your day to day home use ... easy.

    I agree a GHz+ and 512MB+ RAM is "better" but don't think you'll be disappointed. - Randy

  12. #12
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    Lightbulb

    lots of web browsing. I hope to use it for some Photoshop or web design tinkering, but nothing too serious. Basically, I want something reasonably fast - that is easily upgradeable - and will last me a number of years.
    If you consider a desktop PowerMac at this point in the game, while you may think a G5 is out of reach...
    Refurbished Power Mac G5 DUAL 2GHz/ 512MB/ 160GB/ SuperDrive/ PCI-X/ GeFr5200/ GigE/ 56K Save 35% off the original price: $2,499.00 Your price: $1,649.00 www.store.apple.com
    Investing in 4 yr old technology is for tinkering, hobby, upgrade enthusiasts. look around, there are dual 1GB G4s as people upgrade to G5s also. Or maybe Mac-Mini after they upgrade the line.

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