8 Replies Latest reply: Sep 21, 2009 4:19 PM by Samsara
DeaconJoe Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
I'm looking to finally abandon my G4 and get a new Mac Pro. I'm probably going to get the Quad core and Apple offers a number of "configure" options. Is it best to get the extra memory, hard drive storage, etc. when first buying, or can I save significantly (and not get complications) by adding later? I'm considering 2.66 processor, 8 gig ram, 1 T drive -- also considering Time Capsule. Any advice? Thanks. Besides standard usage, I do video work and web sites.

Mac G4, dual 1 gig processors, Mac OS X (10.4.6)
  • 1. Re: Mac Pro options
    The hatter Level 9 Level 9 (58,880 points)
    Base system with ATI 4870. Do the upgrades yourself over time. Maybe go with 3 x 2GB RAM though. But single stock drive.
  • 2. Re: Mac Pro options
    mhollis Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    OK, I just did what you are proposing. And I learned a lot.

    I used to have a G4-400 (Sawtooth). I upgraded the processor to 1GHz after a while and was very happy. RAM expanded to 1.5G. Then I upgraded from Tiger to Leopard and the G4 was suddenly very slow.

    Also, I could not run Adobe CS4 applications, hadn't done any video editing on the G4 in a while (too slow) and, as the computer was about 10 years old, it was time for a modest trade-up.

    What you invest today is highly dependent on whether or not you are making money from your Mac. If you are and you can afford it, here are a few ideas:

    Get as much processor as you can afford. As far as I know, there are no processor upgrades for Intel.

    Get the 8G RAM upgrade. You will be happy you did. Apple installs the 8G systems as 2G DDR3 ECC sticks in DIMM 1, 2, 5 and 6. RAM must be installed in pairs. The 8G systems can be very cheaply (relatively) upgraded to 16G by filling the four remaining slots with 2G DDR3 ECC sticks. That is a very cheap doubling of your RAM. The stock systems come with 6G of RAM that use 1G DDR3 ECC sticks, leaving two slots free. To double system RAM or to upgrade to anything appropriate for compositing or multilayered green-screen work, it will cost you more to add the RAM, and you'll be throwing away more RAM sticks.

    Save your money on Time Capsule. Instead, go buy an aftermarket 1.5 or 2T drive and install it in your system. Then use that as a Time Machine backup. It's cheaper than a Time Capsule. Time Capsule is great for laptops (as soon as they connect wirelessly, they can begin backing up) and for sharing limited material wirelessly, but you have four drive bays in your Mac Pro. If you are doing intensive video editing, you'll use an array anyway. If it's not intensive HD, you can set up a two-drive RAID 0 array internally.
  • 3. Re: Mac Pro options
    Samsara Level 4 Level 4 (1,320 points)
    OK, I just did what you are proposing. And I learned a lot.

    You'll find that a lot in the Hatters and others replies, they point you in a direction but you must find your way there yourself. Maddening in a way, but I've learned an awful lot because of that kindness (tough love?), just as you have.

    You've done a service to yourself and others by what you've discovered and shared. Thank you very much for that. You're always welcome here.

    One thing I thought to add was the topic of cloning. Its really the safest way to back up your data and your system. And using clones in troubleshooting makes life a lot easier, a lot. I prefer Superduper because I like the maker, but there are other apps out there as well.

    Message was edited by: Samsara
  • 4. Re: Mac Pro options
    The hatter Level 9 Level 9 (58,880 points)
    A cat with nine lives.

    RAM prices have gone up, oddly makes Apple RAM not that bad, but OWC will buy your Apple RAM (once you feel safe of course). 3 x 2GB was for single socket quad-core; I think 6 or 8 x 2GB sounds like a lot, but is something you'll find Mac OS uses (it is a memory hog) and by CS4.

    2.66 ain't bad. And what you spend going 2.26 x 8 can do some serious damage to your budget. SSDs and anything you want.

    You can buy Intel Xeon W3580s or 5590s, it has been done but some saw it as a challenge though a couple people really do need that 3.3GHz.

    Start over or start fresh and experiment, but the G5s could turn a Mac Pro into.... a sluggish molasses that was running like it was.... PowerMac G5! due to those old PPC library and support files that got migrated.

    OS X just simply flies on quad core 2.6 to 3.3 (and there are people that would like to spend the money on BTO 3.3 seeing as Intel has them). Easier to upgrade single socket with 1366 socket 975s.

    I'd almost rather see someone budget for today and realize the whole hardware and software is moving enough in 2-3 yrs to make it worthwhile. (The G4 PCI Graphics came out in late 1999, so debut was a full decade ago!)
  • 5. Re: Mac Pro options
    Samsara Level 4 Level 4 (1,320 points)
    sluggish molasses

    Yep, that was what the transition to 10.6 from 10.5.8 was like, for me anyway. Only an erase and install would do it, and even that was less than ideal. 10.6.1 has gone a long way towards cleaning things up though. I have few or none of the speed problems I had before. I look forward to the next upgrade though.
    I've been finding it hard to say what to recommend these days, 4 core, 8 core, ghz,.... all the machines are really just so darn good now.
    So you think we'll be seeing something equally marvelous in the next few years as these new MP's have been?. That should be something.

    Yeah, the G4s were great machines weren't they (are)? Jobs wasn't there then was he? I think the G5 was though, his return maiden product. Well, you've redeemed yourself in my eyes, Steve.
  • 6. Re: Mac Pro options
    DeaconJoe Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    Thanks for the suggestions. I'm headed to the Apple store tomorrow -- looks like I'll try the 2.66and the 8 ram, and then add another hard drive later. I've read up on the "migration" and tried transfering some of my software, etc. to my wife's mac book and that all seemed to work well. The only software conflict I have is with my version of final cut -- I think I'll invest in final cut express with the new Mac. I use CS2 and the apps seem to work fine on the laptop.
  • 7. Re: Mac Pro options
    The hatter Level 9 Level 9 (58,880 points)
    Your Mac won't like CS2. And you'll find it will have 10.6.x on it.

    10.5.4 really meant you needed to upgrade to CS4 and Adobe does have limited support for CS3 under Snow Leopard.
  • 8. Re: Mac Pro options
    Samsara Level 4 Level 4 (1,320 points)
    "migration" and tried transfering some of my software, etc. to my wife's mac book and that all seemed >to work well.

    Seemed is the key word, but you'll have more than enough chance to see for yourself with the Tower. If you see a beach ball, duck