View Full Version : imacG5 vs. powermac G5

09-19-2005, 05:12 PM
I am looking to upgrade from my ibook G3 500Mhz to a desktop G5. I would love to get the Powermac G5 Dual 2GHz, but the price is up there so I am considering the iMac G5 1.8GHz.

Would an imac be able to handle Lightwave? What problems might I run into? Would I be better off purchasing an older G4 dual processor than an imac? If I loaded the imac with 1-2GB Ram, would that be sufficient? How much difference is there between the 1.8GHz and 2GHz?

I am interested in other's opinions on this.

I am still in the learning stages of Lightwave (educational version) and hope to upgrade soon. So there are plenty of aspects of Lightwave that I have not even attempted yet. For instance, everytime I try a displacement map, Lightwave crashes. Would this happen on an iMac?


09-19-2005, 05:59 PM
Well, I have used a 2x2 Ghz Powermac for almost 2 years now and I am pretty pleased. I was even happier when I added a Radeon 9800 SE, nice speed boost on the OpenGL side. As far as renders go, the G5 handily beats the dual 1.25 G4 I have at work (2x speed on most stuff... sometimes more). There will be a big difference between the iMac and the Powermac for 2 reasons:

1- single processor. This will be very noticeable... especially at render time.
2- video card. The iMac comes with the base video card used in Powermacs and cannot be upgraded... this may bug you when your scenes start to get large and the GPU starts to bog down.

I recommend the Powermac for 3D, you can get a refurb from Apple for$1799 (I highly recommend the refurb products they sell. No real problems for me in nearly 2 years. That's a stock congiguration with 160 HD, 9600 graphics, 512 Mb, and a 16x dual layer Superdrive... pretty good deal. Then when you feel like it, go for a faster graphics card (I would recommend checking Powermax.com).

Hope that info helps.


09-19-2005, 06:37 PM
The computer wont save it from crashing, that's the software. 8.3 is quite stable... or I have just learned what makes it crash and I avoid it..?

From what I understand and the way it looks is that LW doesnt use much of the graphics card (yet). Seeing how there hasnt been much chip advancment over the last year, I would go with a Power Mac. I would say your quite safe with what ever motherboard you get, you can expand on it when your ready. Way more flexibility with the Powermac.

09-20-2005, 02:18 AM
Obviously the workstation is preferable for all kinds of reasons (the RAM limit on the imac is also a major bottleneck) but I used to run LW7.5 on a 400MHz G3 iMac and it ran OK! If all you can afford is the iMac it will do the job, just not as well as the workstation! - Baz

Captain Obvious
09-20-2005, 02:36 AM
I'd say a PowerMac is a better choice than an iMac. That extra processor really gives it some extra oomph. You might want to look into refurbed models, or outgoing models. Even a dual 1.8GHz PowerMac is quite a bit faster than a single 2.0GHz iMac. It really is worth the extra money.

09-20-2005, 06:29 AM
Refurb also gets my unreserved endorsement. Very happy with my Apple store, refurbished Dual 2.5 machine. It's between 30 to 40% cheaper going down that route.


09-20-2005, 11:53 AM
I'm running LW8.3 on a 1.8GHz iMac G5 with 1Gig RAM and a FX5200 64Mb video card here, and I have to say that I have had absolutely no problems with it at all. Of course, I didn't really have a choice, because a PowerMac would have set me back about 2000, even with the base model, whereas my iMac cost me 1600 with a greatly increased spec, three year warranty and FCE.

09-22-2005, 08:34 PM
Thanks for all the advice. It is nice to hear that someone can run lightwave on an imac. I am planning on purchasing Creative Suites and upgrading Lightwave to the commercial version, so money is an issue- that is why I was even considering an imac in the first place. I checked out the refurbished Powermacs at the Apple store and they are a little cheaper, but I am a little hesitant on purchasing a refurbished computer, It seems like the chances of having problems with it could be greater.