View Full Version : Mac upgrade?

04-13-2005, 06:25 PM
OK, I'm starting to think that I need a new mac, my iMac is nice, but I would like something a bit beefier. Bearing in mind my current machine is a 1.25Ghz G4, how much overall speed boost would I see with Dual 1.8GHz G5 with 1Gb RAM? I know this is more than ample to run Tiger (as is my current machine). Also would it be that much more future proof than my current machine, which lets face it has 0% upgrade ability in it apart from a bit more RAM and an airport card which I don't need.

fat elvis
04-13-2005, 06:35 PM
I think you should just max out your RAM and wait a little longer for a faster G5. Your processor isn't that old so you can squeeze a little more out of it.

I have a dual 1.8 G5 at work, and a 1.25 PowerBook for the road, and I'm not bothered by the difference in speed...when doing normal stuff.

04-13-2005, 06:37 PM
So the dual bit and the slight speed increase isn't worth shelling out 1500 quid for?

04-13-2005, 06:40 PM
Also, forgive the ignorance here (still thinking about PC land). If I have a standard Mac, (one with a tower case that is) can I upgrade the processor and/or motherboard at somepoint like you can with a Windows box?

04-13-2005, 06:52 PM
The Dual G5 with a higher clock speed is significantly faster than your G4, but with new G5s due out soon, it may be worth the wait.

As for upgrading processors, yes you can. I've never seen the point to it though. After all, processors usually run faster than their motherboards anyway. Replacing a processor with an even faster one just makes the bottleneck more severe. Sure, you get somewhat better performance, but is it enough?

04-13-2005, 07:00 PM
OK, that sounds like a reasonable suggestion. Any ideas as to what this new G5 offers over and above current ones, or any links to some juicy info?
I know if I keep waiting new machines will always be released just afterwards, so I would end up never buying anything. The lure of a nice new tower style Mac is very tempting, but it is a lot of cash to shell out (The one I'd specced up was 1500, or $2,840 USD), so I thought I'd better do some homework first! Do dual processors have more of an impact than they do in the Windows world, and is a 64bit architecture worth it?

04-13-2005, 07:37 PM
A lot of interesting, reasonable questions!

Replacing motherboards is not often done in the Mac world. Not impossible, but Apple doesn't make it easy technically and doesn't make it worthwhile financially.

Replacing processors is a similar story. There are other manufacturers that sell processor upgrades for various Macs. I haven't seen any out there for Power Mac G5s yet.

The waiting game is a tough one to play. I bought a 2.0GHz Power Mac in December. I went for that over the 1.8 because it holds more RAM and because it uses PCI-X expansion slots instead of PCI. I saved about 20 percent by getting a refurbished unit from Apple. I don't know how it works where you are but in the US there is a red "SAVE" tag on the web site that leads to refurbs and closeouts. You get the same warranty as a new Mac. Other mail order companies also have refurb machines.

One strategy would be to wait for the new Power Macs to be released and pick up an old model 2.0 on refurb/closeout.

It does seem like Apple should freshen up the Power Mac line soon, but I don't know if it will happen. The G5 chips are made by IBM at East Fishkill New York. Does IBM even sell any faster G5 chips? That would be one thing to look for in the news, announcements of breakthroughs, etc. I think any "speed bump" to the Power Mac G5 line would involve minor changes, not major ones. But I don't have any special knowledge.

fat elvis
04-13-2005, 07:42 PM
So the dual bit and the slight speed increase isn't worth shelling out 1500 quid for?

It'd be worth it if this machine were being used for graphics or anything along those lines. When working with the Adobe applications there is a huge difference. As for surfing the web, writing, iTunes, watching DVDs, stuff like that is fine.

04-13-2005, 07:45 PM
GREAT IDEA!!!!! I had never even thought about a refurbished unit. Apple online from 10am on a Wednesday could save me a small fortune. I will definately check that out next week!

04-13-2005, 07:46 PM
I do some work in Adobe and Macromedia and find they chug a bit at times, so maybe an option to consider

04-13-2005, 07:57 PM
Do dual processors have more of an impact than they do in the Windows world, and is a 64bit architecture worth it?
Yes, and sort of.

OS X is very good at dividing tasks between the processors, and most apps are multi-threaded. My dual 2ghz G5 (only 1 gig of RAM) is running two instances of www.d2ol.com 24/7, plus the apps that I run. I notice no performance hits. On those rare occasions when the system doesn't feel super snappy, it's usually because there's a problem with my internet connection. (Grrr, darn Comcast and their dns issues!)

The 64 bit archetecture is important because it leaves room for the future. Applications can be written (some are) with the assumption that they will be able to access more than 8 gigs of RAM. Think of it like 15 years ago when PCs were still having trouble getting past 640K and Macs were using 8 MB. There were things like fax modems for Macs (Dove Computer was first, in 1988 or 89 I believe) that just couldn't be made for a PC at the time.

04-14-2005, 12:16 AM
Any ideas as to what this new G5 offers over and above current ones, or any links to some juicy info? I don't usually pay much attention to all of the rumors. There is one rumors site called thinksecret that is currently being sued by Apple for revealing trade secrets. They are predicting a Power Mac G5 update soon:


Also, I agree with cwtnospam that you will notice a difference with dual processors, particularly in Photoshop. I had a Power Mac G4 with a single processor 400MHz. I used it with OS X for a couple of years. For the third year of use I pulled the processor card and replaced it with an original Apple Dual processor 450 card I found on the net. There was a substantial performance difference!

I also agree the 64 bits is not that big of a deal now, but may be important in another two years or so when you may be running OS X 10.5 "Woodchuck," Photoshop GoD, etc.