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Lee Knight

Mac guys! Help a PC geek switch?

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Like Ken, I'll be heading over to the Mac side for my Pro Tools setup. Unlike him though, thanks to a serious misstep on my part regrading compatibility with new PCs and Pro Tools, I'm "stuck" with a very nice new but incompatible PC. That's fine, I need it for my day gig.

 

So...

 

I'm curious about the new iMac vs. a used G5. What are the advantages/disadvantages of each? Thanks! :)

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Like Ken, I'll be heading over to the Mac side for my Pro Tools setup. Unlike him though, thanks to a serious misstep on my part regrading compatibility with new PCs and Pro Tools, I'm "stuck" with a very nice new but incompatible PC. That's fine, I need it for my day gig.


So...


I'm curious about the new iMac vs. a used G5. What are the advantages/disadvantages of each? Thanks!
:)

 

Uh, in my case, the G5 was free!!! :D

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Seriously, I don't know the specs on each, but I suppose the iMac comes with a monitor and is quiet and all-enclosed.

 

The G5 has an extra firewire port and lots of room for expansion (bays), including extra internal HDs and that kind of thing. I would also hope that the G5 also has a beefier power supply.

 

The new 24" iMacs are (I believe) 2.8GHz Intel Dual Core processors. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong. The G5s are...well, it depends on how old of a G5 you get. Mine is 2GHz dual processor, so I suppose it's slower than the new 24" iMac. I don't think I'll care that much. If it becomes an issue eventually, I'll swap out the CPU for something else.

 

I like PCs with Windows XP and was seriously considering that route as well, but I was lucky to have the G5 donated to me by someone who also works on the radio show with me, and all I have to do is put in new internal HDs and install a new operating system. This G5 will be the second Mac I have; I've owned three PCs, four if you count the laptop.

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I'm curious about the new iMac vs. a used G5. What are the advantages/disadvantages of each? Thanks!
:)

 

I unfortunately don't have the time to get into the pertinent details for each one in audio applications. However, the G5 is an older architecture. The processor itself is the IBM PowerPC 970, which is now long beyond current in Apple's plans. It was retired (aka obsoleted) over two years ago, and all Apples since then have used an Intel processor.

 

It's my advice that for GENERAL applications of computing, the new iMac is going to smoke the old G5, and is going to be much better for compatibility for continuing operating systems. That having been said, if you're looking to build a dedicated Pro Tools rig, it can certainly be done with the G5, with the awareness that at some point in the near future, you're not going to be able to take advantage of new features introduced by Apple or Digidesign, who have all moved on to dedicated development geared toward the Intel chip.

 

On the downside, the iMac is not built with expansion or massive interfacing in mind, which may be a problem depending on what you'll be using as your interface.

 

That's it for now... I'm sure others will chime in.

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PPC is over, don't get it. the next version of MacOS won't run on it. there are enough external expansion options that the iMac wont be an issue, especially for audio

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Yes, the G5 I have does not use the newer Intel chips, so one does have to bear that in mind as well. I am going to be installing Leopard in it, but hopefully there will be no issues. If there are, then I'm going to have to go back to an older OS, but I've been told that I'd be okay by several people.

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Will Lee or I be able to install another faster CPU that uses Intel Dual Core processors now or in the future?

 

It's going to be costlier and more risk-prone than just dumping it and getting a new Mac.

 

About the only things that you may ever want to consider upgrading in a Mac are the graphics processor and RAM. Once you get to the point of getting a new CPU, just get a new computer and get all the other new stuff along with it.

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I'm looking at the 20" iMac. It has 2 firewire ports (one with a different looking plug config?). I can daisy chain firewire for my exteranl HD, yeah? It can take 4 gig af ram. It's on the approved list for Pro Tools which is my number 1 concern.

 

I'm just kind of weirded out by the all in one concept. But really, why? I don't upgrade cpu's. I buy a new computer. So with a ram upgrade, and external HD, I'm in with a pretty serious Mac for under $1400.

 

Seems like the way. I'm just asking to find out if there may be some issue Mac guys know about that wouldn't be on my radar. So far it looks the the 20" iMac might be it.

 

Yeah?

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No, just the upgradability issues that we discussed. But an iMac would be fine for you. It's got enough horsepower.

 

I may do that as well should the G5 prove to be too much of a liability, but i figured since I'm getting it for free, there's not much to lose here.

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Exactly. You got me looking into the G5's. I believe there are Intel G5's and was thinking that might be an option but... what the hell? I get a screen in the deal too with the iMac. That will keep my PC setup intact with its dual screens. Run them side by side? Cool.

 

Sometime this week I think. Any naysayers? Please speak up.

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I believe there are Intel G5's...

 

Nope. The model became the Mac Pro in August 2006 immediately upon the introduction of the Intel processor. The chassis looks similar, but the inside of the box is definitely different.

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Nope. The model became the Mac Pro in August 2006 immediately upon the introduction of the Intel processor. The chassis looks similar, but the inside of the box is definitely different.

 

Great info, thanks. Since I can't swing for a Pro, a new iMac (Intel) it is.

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I unfortunately don't have the time to get into the pertinent details for each one in audio applications. However, the G5 is an older architecture. The processor itself is the IBM PowerPC 970, which is now long beyond current in Apple's plans. It was retired (aka obsoleted) over two years ago, and all Apples since then have used an Intel processor.


It's my advice that for GENERAL applications of computing, the new iMac is going to smoke the old G5, and is going to be much better for compatibility for continuing operating systems. That having been said, if you're looking to build a dedicated Pro Tools rig, it can certainly be done with the G5, with the awareness that at some point in the near future, you're not going to be able to take advantage of new features introduced by Apple or Digidesign, who have all moved on to dedicated development geared toward the Intel chip.


On the downside, the iMac is not built with expansion or massive interfacing in mind, which may be a problem depending on what you'll be using as your interface.


That's it for now... I'm sure others will chime in.

 

BTW Jeff, for not being a detailed post, that was pretty detailed by my measure. Thank you. Good info.

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More info:

 

http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/powermac_g5/faq/powermac-g5-processor-upgrade-pci-pcix-pcie.html

 

Is the CPU on the Power Mac G5 upgradable? How is it mounted?

 

Unfortunately, no. The processor, or processors, in the Power Macintosh G5 models cannot be upgraded.

 

The processors in all models are mounted on a custom daughtercard with a 300-pin connector. Although this daughtercard does not contain the ROM, it appears that the processor is controlled by Apple ASICs (Application-Specific Integrated Circuits), and consequently it is not feasible to upgrade the processor.

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BTW Jeff, for not being a detailed post, that was pretty detailed by my measure. Thank you. Good info.

 

You're welcome. :D

 

By "not detailed", there are particular things to keep in mind for Pro Tools-specific use, but I think you're fine ith the iMac in that regard. I mean, it's a powerful computer. Studios continue running PT on much lower-end machines. The current iMac runs at up to 3GHz on the latest Core 2 Duo chip, comes with a 500GB internal drive, and can hold 4GB of RAM. That's a kick-ass machine.

 

As long as you can use it with the built-in interfaces (three USB 2.0 ports and 1 FW400 and 1 FW 800, I think), it should be great. :thu:

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The processors in all models are mounted on a custom daughtercard with a 300-pin connector.

 

Right. The only way to upgrade is to install an entire custom card, which is not for the easily-frightened. It's ridiculously expensive and has a good chance of not working at all.

 

Get a new one! :)

 

By the way: when you're ready to be depressed, try donating your old Mac to a local school. $50 says they won't take it.

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Since this G5 is free, I'm not too worried. I'll use it, and then if I need something faster, I'll do the iMac thing. I've been reading about running Leopard on it, but people largely seem to think that their G5s run it fairly well, although some people report problems.

 

But yeah, if I were getting something new, I'd lean heavily towards iMac, given my budget constraints.

 

Who knows, maybe in a few years or whenever I need a replacement for my G5, someone will give me a Mac Pro! :D

 

And you're probably right about my nine old Mac (a G4). I think I'm just going to sell that and the Digi001 on eBay and take what I can get for it.

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Make sure you've got yourself covered on whatever Firewire you need. It seemed the number one kvetch topic among Mac users at GearSlutz for a while. (New MB's don't have it and MBP's only have one port; there are also some issues with people who couldn't get their older FW400 devices to work with FW 800 ports.)

 

A general discussion of the new machines:

http://www.gearslutz.com/board/music-computers/333919-new-apple-laptops-coming-14th-october-2008-a.html

 

FW 400/800 port/issues:

http://www.gearslutz.com/board/music-computers/335201-unhappy-about-serious-firewire-downgrade-new-macs.html

 

 

For some reason the Agere chipset issue has been back up on the board lately:

http://www.gearslutz.com/board/music-computers/335773-new-macbook-pro-lucent-agere-fw-chipset.html

http://www.gearslutz.com/board/music-computers/166225-imac-mb-mbp-agere-firewire-chipsets-can-troublesome-okt-07-till-feb-08-a.html

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PPC is history. Remember that ad with the Mac PPC smoking the Intel snail? Uh...never mind. PPC's RISC architecture seemed like a good idea at the time, but didn't anticipate the logarithmic increase in clock speeds. Intel (and AMD) anticipated it.

 

Also remember that you can run Windows on an Intel Mac.

 

But there's one other very important point to remember: Apple is a HARDWARE company that uses its software as an incentive to buy their hardware. The hardware is where the money is. Therefore, Apple will do everything possible to convince you of the need to buy new hardware, including such things as producing new operating systems that are not backward-compatible with older hardware.

 

Microsoft is a SOFTWARE company (I'm not including Zune, LOL) and they make their money by being compatible with as much hardware as humanly possible. It is still possible run software written in 1995 on Windows XP. Trying running Mac software written in 1995 on an Intel Mac.

 

When you sign up with Apple, you agree to the following:

 

"We will make sure you're on the leading edge of technology, along with some really cool software, as long as you promise to buy new hardware periodically, and don't complain if we screw up because there are no second sources. But most of the time, we'll get it right."

 

When you sign up with Microsoft, you agree to the following:

 

"We will make sure that you can run whatever software you have on whatever computer you have, but understand that serious attention to backward compatibility limits what we can do. And remember that we service mostly big companies, so if we make it hard to reformat your boot drive, you'll understand why."

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Unlike Ken, I payed for both my G4 and G5. :D

 

btw- You shouldn`t be worried about the all in one nature of Macs... I think after you get your system going and you`ve done a song or two, you`ll wonder why you waited so long. Come to the dark side...

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Unlike Ken, I payed for both my G4 and G5.
:D

btw- You shouldn`t be worried about the all in one nature of Macs... I think after you get your system going and you`ve done a song or two, you`ll wonder why you waited so long. Come to the dark side...

 

10 years ago I was a Mac guy. I didn't know anything about PCs. Then I got this job doing computer/telephony audio and you better believe it is a PC world there. So I embraced Pro Tools on a PC. Built a few machines based on the DUC. Everything was peachy. Until this new Dell and clusterf*ck of downgrading to XP, incompatible Firewire chips, etc...

 

So it's more "welcome back". :) All in one? OK! I'm in!

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