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G4 vs G5 iMac performance

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I have a 1 GHz G4 iMac that I use for running a few music applications under Tiger.

 

One of them is a bit heavy, and sometimes I think about getting a G5 iMac to replace it just for performance, although I much prefer the look of the G4.

 

Does anybody know in some sort of numbers how big the performance difference is? Only thing I know for comparison is that my Sawtooth is quite a bit slower than the 2x2.0 PMG5 I used to have, but I'm assuming this would be much less drastic.

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Depending on which G5, I'd say 1.5 to 2x.

The G5 iMacs do have a reputation for bad caps in the power supply

For even more speed you might also consider a 2006 or 7 intel iMac. Those will run 10.4.

And if you want hugely hugely more speed, there's the 2007 8 core Mac Pro but any 2007 or earlier Mac Pro will give you a lot more speed

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The main programme I want to run (Reaktor 4) is PPC only, unfortunately, and I don't want another tower here, so the G5 iMac is my only option. 1.5x would be worth it though. Thanks for you reply.

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Back in the day, my old iMac G5 seemed a good deal faster than my G4 Cube, especially doing things like copying files. Now, a Cube is not as fast as a G4 imac, but I do think you'll notice improvement.

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As far as iMac G5's go, there were three primary models; the launch units, the Ambient Light Sensor (ALS) models, and then the final iSight models, which were only produced for a few months before being replaced by the Intel units. 

 

The iSight models are like most final PPC Macs; upgraded in a lot of good ways. In addition to the webcam, you get DDR2 memory, a 2.5GB RAM limit (512MB onboard + 1 2GB stick), PCIe graphics, and Apple Remote support. (these were the models that introduced Front Row)

 

The problem is that the 17" iSight models almost all had LCD panels that failed; most computer makers using 17" 1440x900 panels around that time were burned by it. They also had a unique connector + protocol, so replacements are almost non-existent compared to the Intel units. 

 

A 20" iSight iMac G5 would be a serious upgrade over your 1GHz G4 (I have a 1.25GHz 15" G4 with a 17" panel hacked on, so I know they're kinda slow) and definitely the one I'd go for, but having only been sold for three months means there aren't many out there. An ALS model would probably be the best compromise. 

 

The only one I would avoid is the first gen 17" unit with GeForce 4MX graphics; it doesn't have any Core Image support so you'll be paying a performance tax running CI in software. An FX5200 was optional and that's enough to run CI (barely), so keep that in mind. 

Edited by TheWhiteFalcon

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Any Intel Mac capable of running 10.6.8 or lower supports Rosetta to run OS X PPC software.  Maybe the very slowest Core Solo based Macs would be passed by the late Intel iMac G5s, but I'm confident that almost every dual core Core 2 Duo based iMac, even accounting for the overhead of Rosetta, will still out perform the best iMac G5 running PPC software.

 

If Reaktor 4 is PPC and requires 10.4 or below, the very last and fastest iMac capable of Tiger was the Mid-2007 24" 2.8ghz aluminum iMac.

 

Assuming that Reaktor 4 can run okay in 10.6.8 via Rosetta, you could go all the way up to a Mid-2011 iMac, the last generation to support booting 10.6.x.  The top end from that generation is a beautiful 27" unit with a quad core i7 @ 3.4ghz and a ram ceiling of 32gb of RAM.  With this system you could have a dual boot partition for 10.6.8 for an OS X PPC software and then 10.12 for modern software (it is still supported by Apple), or some Windows if that is your thing.

 

I know you are looking for a PPC machine, but if you have limited space a quad core i7 is no slouch and would still be a good performer for modern tasks.  I'd recommend doing some research to see if Reaktor 4 can run in 10.6.8 or if it breaks.

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Even the best iMac G4s are bottlenecked by their GPUs in OS X.

 

With that said, I've never been a fan of the iMac G5. They run hot and have a lot of issues. G5 towers are a different story.

 

I'd agree that an earlier Intel iMac running Snow Leopard might be ideal if a tower is out of the question.

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