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MDD 2003 vs G5 1.8 single

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So...for Tiger or Leopard (Haven't decided which way I want to go), which machine would provide the better experience in your opinions?

 

The MDD is the final 2003 1.25ghz single CPU. The G5 is the cut-down single 1.8ghz "iMac in a tower case".

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Whichever unit is not giving you problems.  The G5 runs hot and is more prone to failure, but is newer so with SATA and faster bus speed probably feels quicker.  I dont do anything heavy with my PPC's these days so I dont see much difference.  You may depending what your doing with them.  

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Neither machine is super reliable, TBH. The 2004 1.8GHz was one of the least reliable G5's, but the MDD's on average aren't much better. 

 

If you don't need more than two disks or one optical drive, and you don't care about running OS9 natively I'd pick the G5 though. Most of the failures on the SP 1.8 2004 seem to be ancillary components: 

 

pmg5_components.png

Edited by TheWhiteFalcon

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exactly, ram slots on those seem to blink out pretty regularly.  All the G5 towers boards are so long that when that board gets hot it flexes against itself and all the solder seems to crack over time.  limited success on reflowing them, was not even worth the effort.

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Tiger will run pretty nicely on either machine, and Leopard will run pretty well on both too I would imagine.  The G5 advantage is of course the MUCH faster system bus, double the RAM, and more graphics card & SATA HDD options.  If I were to pick, I'd of course go G5 in this situation.  Now if that is a dual 1.25 or 1.42 G4, things may be a little different.

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Get both and benchmark 'em!

 

There used to be talk about late G4s being faster and feeling faster than early G5s, and that would be a perfect opportunity to test them.

 

But, it ultimately depends on what you want to do. I believe that G5 also has a higher RAM ceiling, and so if you're going for OS X, that's the no-brainer.

 

But, the MDD is really probably where you want to be for OS 9. The only better configuration I can think of for any work that's CPU-heavy in OS 9 is the fastest single-upgraded QuickSilver you can get, which will run 1.5GB of RAM and should be easier to get and set up and waste less hardware (aka entire second idling CPU) than the faster MDD configs.

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Well, I've got both up and running. The G5 is running Leopard, the MDD has Tiger. G5 has the max 4GB RAM, but I'm stuck using a crappy old PCI video card from a B&W because I don't have a single card that'll work in the AGP slot on the G5. The MDD is pretty maxxed out. Only 1.7gb ram, but the BTO Geforce 4 video card.

 

I need to come up with a usage scenario before I can really decide which to keep around I think.

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Don't care what anyone says, that G5 is going to be a much more enjoyable experience as far as performance is concerned. Especially with web browsing, you will see a stark difference.

The only time you're going to really get ahead of a Single G5 system, with a Single G4 (Even the latest), is if you're pushing atleast a 1:1 or higher clock speed. My 2Ghz PowerBook G4 was still only about ~20-30% faster overall than that 1.8Ghz G5. That thing was what I would consider just tolerable for a modern browser experience.

Edited by asaggynoodle

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Given that 1.8 to 2.0GHz is a 10% increase in clock speed, if you had a 2GHz G4 and it was "only" 20-30% faster than a 1.8GHz G5... that's honestly extremely impressive.
 

Almost impressive enough to suggest that perhaps Apple should have NetBursted the G4 and just gunned for higher frequencies. If this is true, a dual 3GHz G4 would have been an utter powerhouse, relative to Power Macintoshes and PowerBooks that actually shipped, of course.

 

It would be interesting to see a comparison, although a lot of things like "browsing the web" will be subjective unless you run a few tests:

 

All three of these on browserbench.org would be neat to see on both the G4 and G5, probably under TenFourFox since I'm not 100% sure that, say, the versions of Safari on 10.4 and 10.5 will even run all of these tests.

 

All of that said, not 100% sure if "web browsing" is a particularly good task or use case, for security and performance reasons.

 

Perhaps you can run some DNG conversions or Gaussian blurs or Cinebench on them as well.

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When 10.5 was first released, my primary computer was one of these single 1.25GHz G4s. I installed it on a spare disk to test and switched over to it several months later, and I have no memory of 10.4 performing better or 10.5 feeling slower. I continued to use it happily for another four years or so, although I eventually installed a dual-processor card. Given that experience, I don't really think there's much reason to avoid 10.5 unless you're getting very close to the minimum requirements (say, under 1GHz).

 

I have very little experience with Power Mac G5s of any kind, but I remember hearing a number of anecdotes from the time about the first G5s, especially the low-end ones, tending to feel less snappy than the last and best G4s at everyday use, even if they were better at specific "pro" tasks. I forget most of the details by now. Either way I doubt you'll notice a massive difference between the two.

 

I'm partial to the G4 because I lived on one for a long time, but I'm not sure what you intend to do with it. If you want to, the G4 could be expanded a fair way (dual CPUs, USB 2.0, SATA, etc.) for not much money, all of which I did over time. I am not familiar with what kind of worthwhile expansions exist for a single 1.8GHz G5, but it looks like adding a second CPU is not possible, which makes it less interesting in my opinion. I don't recall the G5 being such a significant improvement over the G4 that a single G5 at 1.8GHz offers anything over a pair of G4s at the same clock or even at 1.42 or 1.25GHz.

 

EDIT: I just took a casual glance at eBay and observed that dual 1.25GHz CPU cards for this machine are very cheap now. If you're patient you may even find better ones.

Edited by ianj

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Just a note in regards to the G4 MDD, if it has a FireWire 800 port it can NOT boot OS 9. The MDD units that only have FireWire 400 ports were the last PowerMacs to boot OS 9, IIRC.

 

The folks over at OS9 Lives have been working on getting OS 9 on unsupported machines, and the FW800 MDDs were-I think-the first ones they "cracked." 

 

The early technique was to downgrade the firmware to the FW400 firmware. As I recall, this disabled the FW800 port, but actually had the interesting side-effect of making the internal USB ports run at USB 2.0 speeds in OS X(they were actually USB 2.0 compliant but were artificially limited-my theory is that Apple wanted to push people toward Firewire for data transfer, and thus drug their feet on including USB 2.0 across the line). I think they now have an OS 9 install that will install directly on the FW800 MDD. 

 

As a side note, though, I know that when I refer to the "MDD2003" I'm talking specifically about the FW400 version that Apple introduced at a VERY low price point after the G5 was announced. I've heard that it was done for OS 9 support, although I don't know how true this was. In any case, though, the majority of these computers are single 1.25s and make for great dedicated OS 9 machines. 

 

As to the original question-I can tell you that Geekbench will score the single 1.8 G5 about 1.5x faster than a single 1.25 MDD. To be fair, I have the "original" Single 1.8, not the iMac in a tower version. 

 

A dual 1.42 MDD can trade blows pretty well with a low spec G5, although if you're using software that can leverage the G5 instructions completely the G5 will come out ahead. Also, the super speed 7447A-based G4 upgrades don't really get competitive with the dual 1.42 until they pass about 1.6ghz. I have a 2ghz 7448 upgrade card in a DA G4, and it really only shows its speed in single threaded tasks. 

 

There's a lot more to the G5 than just the processor-the entire system really can just move data around faster than the G4 towers and consequently I find even lower spec ones are often faster in general use. It doesn't stop me from using G4s, though. In fact, I only recently "retired" a dual 1ghz Quicksilver in favor of a dual 2.7 G5. 

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The memory susbsystem of a G5 tower should be much faster (plus you can use more then 2GB of RAM). I have a last gen 1.25ghz single G4 MDD for OS 9 work, not sure why people wasn't to hack the FW800 dual model for OS 9.

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The QuarkXPress Edition Power Macintosh G4 was $1299. Compared to the 1.6 G5 at $1999 it looked cheap, but there had been Power Macintoshes close to that price point before, and eventually as the iMacs were released and the G3 sped up, the G3/266 and /233 desktops got to around that price point. The specs on this one were quite low for the time. 256MB/80GB, Combo, no Airport card, etc.

 

Truly, it was meant to fill in the gap for people who needed a new machine but didn't want to buy a G5 because Quark had yet to release an OS X version of XPress (and there were a few similar situations) and not specifically for the fact that it was cheap, but I'm aware of a lot of people who got them instead of iMacs at the time because of the price.

 

Such a configuration didn't need to have a particularly high end configuration, because XPress 4 was already seven years old and would run on a potato. 6 did run OS X and was released later that year, I wonder how much Apple and Quark collaborated on things like this. Quark was basically dragged kicking and screaming into almost every transition Apple has done. They didn't support PPC natively until 3.2 in 1996. Oddly, Quark was a little bit ahead of the trend on the Intel transition. They seem to be a little bit better now, if only because Adobe is keeping them on their toes with inDesign.

 

I have often wondered if the cheap Power Macintosh G3 "MDD 2003" (which is what EveryMac calls it, you can also call it "For OS 9") would ever have existed without the fact that a few really big name programs simply didn't exist for OS X by the time the G5 came out. This is the main reason I call it the QuarkXPress Edition. I'm guessing Apple, still trying to keep their product stack somewhat manageable after the four boxes idea grew a few more boxes over the years.

 

As I mentioned on the previous page, I would love to see some web browsing performance measurements done on G4s and G5s. 

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I manged to replace the shit PCI video card in the G5 with a 9600 Pro. Even with the upgraded video, the G5 still feels sluggish just moving around in 10.5. Honestly, I think I'd rather keep the MDD for it's somewhat historic place in the lineup.

 

I have several older versions of Adobe products and other older OS9 era programs that I'd like to start using again, so I think I'll keep the MDD with dual boot partitions. OS9 for actual use, 10.4 or 10.5 for when I need to do more modern tasks.

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