View Full Version : Used 2Ghz G5 iMac - vs - intel mini?

12-27-2008, 11:49 AM
I'm considering a good deal on a 2-ghz G5 iMac with 2 gigs of RAM for about $500 US versus anything macintel and wanting to gather opinions/facts about the choice.

to go macintel is potentially more expensive because of needing more RAM bcs of the intel chip/graphics handling, and ultimately software upgrades.

I hear tell that *any* intel mac is faster than *any* G5 mac, even when running apps in Rosetta, but I'm skeptical....my work got me the latest MacBook Pro with 4 gigs of RAM, and I swear, sometimes that thing acts like a worthless pile of... way slower than you expect for a machine of this caliber, video "mistakes," taking a screen capture cripples it for upwards of 15 seconds, and to be honest, it seems undiscernably faster than my G4 Minis.

a G5 iMac will run all my present software with no upgrades, and will offer some RT effects in Final Cut Studio which the G4 can't. And with the economy threatening to huck big bloody chunks, I'm more inclined to go with a less expensive older PPC-based mac than a more expensive anything...

So, I guess my question is this: would a new Mini or iMac (intel) be way faster out of the box, or just a wee bit faster, or a bit faster? A Mac Pro is not in the budget, and I've already seen what the new mac book pro can do...

And, would I/we need to wait for apps to be released for MacIntel to see any significant speed increase?

Speaking as one who used to keep up with major hardware releases from Apple, I'm just not into buying a new rig for $1000+ only to get a 10% - 20% boost from what the G5 iMac would give me.

Basically, it would have to peel my scalp right off, like that old Maxell tape ad...

any thoughts?



12-28-2008, 03:50 AM
Well i don't know how long you usually keep your Macs, but i think its always better to go with the newer IntelMacs, especially with the new LW Mac version just around the corner (at least i hope that).
Since i have an old G5 Mac and a new Intel MacMini i can tell you that you also have to consider the costs for upgrading older software to the IntelMacs, although most programs run fine in Rosetta.
And since we maybe see new MacMinis soon its worth to buy a discontinued MacMini than for a bit less.

Captain Obvious
12-28-2008, 09:40 AM
Unless it's a quad G5 Power Mac for some bargain price, I wouldn't really recommend buying a PowerPC Mac anymore. The Intel Macs are significantly faster, and there's actually a fair bit of software that's Intel-only nowadays.

If it's mostly for Lightwave usage, I'd honestly recommend installing Windows on the Intel Mac and using LW there instead, until the UB version is sorted out.

12-28-2008, 01:01 PM
although most programs run fine in Rosetta.

See, that right there could make or break the decision....if I could run my current apps in Rosetta AND get a speed boost, that would make it immediately worth it to go macintel....


Captain Obvious
12-28-2008, 07:29 PM
Rosetta is almost always slower than pretty much any late PowerPC. Software that relies mostly on system calls and doesn't do much "internally" should run really well through Rosetta, but it won't be as fast as on a G5.

Edit: Here are some old benchmarks of old Adobe software running in Rosetta:

12-28-2008, 10:03 PM
If you ever want to develop iphone apps, the sdk requires an Intel Mac.

12-29-2008, 04:49 AM
IMHO go for intel mac. My macbook - first generation, about 2 yrs old, with 2GB ram - works way better than G5 DC 2.0 with 4 GB RAM, as long as I don't run more apps simultaneously.

Since buying an 8core MacPro I wish I have bought it sooner.

Perhaps you should wait for a new mini:

And yes, with intel you have an option of running windows.

Well, I haven't been buying any (b)leading edge SW or HW, but HW for professional work I try to get something around "2nd or 3rd level from the top". Reliable, fast and robust. It doesn't pay out to buy anything obsolete... what G5 is becoming. Except if you have a dedicated function for it, like my MacMini G4, which is a simple, cheap and low power FTP server.

12-30-2008, 09:54 AM
What others have said—the G5 Macs are a bad choice.

In addition to comments already posted, it should be noted that due to Apple changing from PCI to PCI Express bus, no compatible graphics cards exist to upgrade the early G5s—you'll be stuck with the factory-installed one, which is totally gutless and is likely to slow your workflow to a crawl.

01-04-2009, 01:48 PM
Intel is the only way now - and yes, even apple's cruddiest and lowliest intel machine (the mini) is faster than a G5. I have a dual 2.5 G5, a quad G5, a macbook and a MacPro (2008 model). The macbook is faster than the dual cpu G5. The macPro is faster than the other 3 machines COMBINED :)

Also - you do know that the next release of OSX is intel only? that alone pretty much makes it a no-brainer in my books

01-04-2009, 04:29 PM
thanks to all of you...this is great data to have..

I didn't know, but I suspected, that an intel-only Mac version of LW was on the way.

thanks for the heads up.


01-04-2009, 08:31 PM
I love my Dual 2GHz G5. It is a great computer and I have no complaints about it at all. It was the right at the time choice considering that my none retail copy of FC Studio was not upgradeable and would not run very well under Rosette. The majority of my software at the time would also have had to run under Rosette as well. However if I were buying today I would definitely go with Intel Mac. Even the iMac is faster than than my G5.

01-05-2009, 04:55 AM
thanks to all of you...this is great data to have..

I didn't know, but I suspected, that an intel-only Mac version of LW was on the way.

thanks for the heads up.


I'd be surprised if Newtek dropped PPC support for lightwave any time soon - they have an excellent track record of supporting older hardware and software configurations. Plus why risk losing a significant chunk of your existing userbase. Maybe by Lightwave 11 it might be a consideration.

Having said that, a number of other key apps are Intel-only now (After Effects, the next version of FCP) and that number will only rise with time. The new mac pros are out soon - based on the new i7 cores. Those suckas should absolutely scream! :) The new mini should be a nice piece of kit too - fingers crossed.

01-05-2009, 07:52 AM
The new mac pros are out soon - based on the new i7 cores. Those suckas should absolutely scream! :) The new mini should be a nice piece of kit too - fingers crossed.

yeah, can't wait for those new rigs to be announced...so far, I'm leaning toward an iMac with the better graphics card...perf is within striking distance of the Mac pro without forcing me to eat ramen noodles.


01-05-2009, 04:08 PM
Get the MacPro and go Ramen for a year! ;) Seriously though, wait till after tomorrow before buying anything, and I would go Intel since that is the future.


01-08-2009, 12:00 PM
Intel for sure! That's my vote.