7 Replies Latest reply: Jan 5, 2009 5:27 AM by The hatter
Milen Golchev Level 1 (5 points)
Hello everyone,

I am using my PowerMac:

Model Name: Power Mac G5
Model Identifier: PowerMac7,3
Processor Name: PowerPC G5 (2.2)
Processor Speed: 2 GHz
Number Of CPUs: 2
L2 Cache (per CPU): 512 KB
Memory: 2 GB
Bus Speed: 1 GHz
GeForce 6800 Ultra with 256 MB RAM

mostly for Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign (all CS2), work with MS Office 2008 and play World Of Warcraft and other Blizzard games. As I work from home and use this as my main computer (Skype, iPhoto, iTunes, Internet surfing, Streaming content to my Playstation 3 etc.) it sometimes gets a bit slower.

Would you recommend a new desktop machine (Mac Pro 3.2 GHz) or will the advantage be not that noticable and more RAM (I have 2GB at the moment) would give me some speed up so I can work with it for another year or so?

PowerMac G5 Dual 2Ghz, Mac OS X (10.5.5)
  • The hatter Level 9 (60,930 points)
    I think going from 2 x 2GHz to an 8-core 2.8GHz would be more than adequate and nice upgrade, no need for spending a fortune extra for minor improvement when you'll need RAM and disk drives.

    2GB falls in the "malnourished" department

    Some articles and benchmarks, mostly Barefeats:

    http://www.barefeats.com/octopro3.html 4 vs 8 cores
    http://www.barefeats.com/harper2.html GPU tests
    http://www.barefeats.com/harper.html CPU crunching


    And of course well-suited for CS3/4 (you NEED CS3 on Mac Pro). And of course there are Radeon 2600 OEM or 8800GT, or there is a retail ATI Radeon 3870, better options in video.

    Memory. Look for at least 8 x 1GB to get ideal bandwidth of memory performance, and if you work with large files, even more memory.

    If you want to stay where you are for now and wait/save for a year, I'd upgrade your RAM to 4-6GB, and invest in disk drives, anywhere from $150 up, which will help now and tomorrow, now that 100MB/sec is doable with single drives.

    One person put in three WD VelociRaptors, one for boot system, and two for stripped RAID for data and editing (using Sonnet Jive for two of them along with SATA controller). Instantly launch and open large files and applications.

    Shop the Apple Store Specials. You can walk away and save on ref'd Mac Pros.
  • Milen Golchev Level 1 (5 points)

    thank you for your detailed answer! I think I will go for the RAM & HDD upgrade now as maybe there are coming new Mac Pros soon and I can get one in May/June.

    I would like to ask you a few more questions:

    I found the following RAM chips:

    2048 MB (2x1024)-Crucial Kit DDR-400 CL3 RAM - are these compatible with my G5? My current have CL2.5. If these work fine with my computer, I would like to get 2 of these so I can get 4GB extra plus my current 2G (4x512MB)

    For the drives - I have two spots only currently equipped with smaller drives (160 & 320 GB). I was think of switching them for 2x500GB (Does the PowerMac G5 support bigger drives?)

    and found this model:

    Western Digital RE2 WD5000ABPS - 500GB 7200rpm 16MB 3.5zoll SATA300

    The upgrade would cost me:

    108 EUR for the memory ($137)
    150 EUR for the 2 HDDs ($190)

    $320 compared to $2500 for a new Mac Pro (maybe $1500 if I manage to sold the current for 1G)

    What do you think about these?

    I do not work with video or audio - I mostly create web designs and print media in small formats (visit cards, to DIN A0 documents)

    Thanks again!
  • jagered Level 1 (20 points)

    i got the same machine and just recently upgraded. i to had the original 160G and added a 300G... but now i have a wd 640G for the boot and the 300G as the 2nd. my opinion, save the money and buy a newer faster boot drive and keep your 320 as the 2nd. the 160 can be an external if you have no other... mine is a paper weight right now because i already had a 300G external?!?!


    as for the one you listed... the tech specs for our machine says:
    "Main memory 512MB of 533MHz DDR2 SDRAM (PC2-4200); supports up to 16GB"...

    the only other upgrade i have done is the video... i got rid of the stocker and got the Radeon X1900 G5 Edition with 256M GDDR3... nice card! I am an all around user... dabble in video editing, do alot of graphics and audio stuph... then there is the dvd building and my eyeTV.

    EDIT: what version is yours? i'm not familiar with the "codes" but mine is a late 2005 and is this:
    Machine Name: Power Mac G5
    Machine Model: PowerMac11,2
    CPU Type: PowerPC G5 (1.1)
    Number Of CPUs: 2
    CPU Speed: 2 GHz
    L2 Cache (per CPU): 1 MB
    Memory: 5.5 GB
    Bus Speed: 1 GHz
    ... i noticed I had dbl the L2 cache you had...
    2nd EDIT... ok, just checked and yours is a 2004... hmmm... learn something new every day?!!?
    so that link for memory is no good for you... try this one:
  • The hatter Level 9 (60,930 points)
    I would look for the WD Caviar 6400AAKS, they are just really sweet performers and work well in G5 - can't beat the prices either.


    I'd look around on Amazon UK or elsewhere.
    OWC does ship and can be reasonable.

    If you want bleeding edge drive performer:

    There should be new Intel "Nehalem" Xeons in mid-2009, yes, and new OS, and sometimes that can be just too much change, and usher in a cycle of application upgrades, need for 64-bit drivers (that we don't have now).

    Tried and true always wins some races.
  • another new convert Level 1 (25 points)
    Hi Milen Golchev,

    I upgraded my G5 Dual 2.0 Ghz ... It had 2 GB of (4x512) Samsung RAM it when it arrived ... I needed more performance and less applications that "unexpectedly quit" !!

    So I ordered (4x 1GB)of new Crucial RAM - that was specifically matched to my G5.

    The performance & stability are absolutely outstanding !
    (The effective upgrade from the 2GB of Samsung RAM to 4 GB of Crucial RAM cost me Approx US $220 because my Mac has only the 4 DIMMS).

    On the HDS - I have x2 160 GB 7200 RPM: One for Apps the second as a Photoshop scratch disc. And save all my work onto an external FW800 GTECH GRAID2.(Approx US $400).

    That is my up-grade solution ! Hope this info is of use & wish ya good luck


    Apparently one would be borderline nuts to put used or secondhand RAM into their MAC

    Message was edited by: another new convert
  • sabulatodd Level 1 (45 points)
    I've got a 2004 G5 Powermac that is pretty much the same configuration as yours. Mine is a 1.8Ghz DP machine. I have the one with PCI slots and only 4 memory slots. I needed it because I use the Universal Audio UAD-1 card (two of them), and they work best in PCI slots. I originally set the machine up as my music studio workhorse, but I do a little bit of everything on it. I originally built it out with a Radeon X800XT card, which was just about the fastest AGP card you could get (it's no longer available), but after two years the fan died on the card and it died also. Radeon sent me a new one (warranty) and I sold it on e-bay and got a used 9600XT (also no longer available). the 6800 Ultra that you have is a pretty nice card, so there isn't much you can do there.

    I currently have two Western Digital 750GB drives in my machine stripped as a single 1.5T volume. It works pretty well. Bear in mind that the data transfer rates in the G5 don't top out much beyond 50-55MB/s. If data movement is your thing, the Mac Pro can be configured with hardware RAID cards that will give it transfer rates as high as 600MB/s!

    Memory is pretty straight forward-it is easy (and cheap) to max out the machine (4GB with 4 slot machines- 8GB with 8 slot machines. Just match them all at the same latency if you can. I use my machine for writing code, surfing the web, games, music, and streaming movies and audio to my Apple TV (which it does all the time for my family) - and it works just fine. I would love to have a Mac Pro, but the G5 machines, especially the air cooled ones, are really solid and good machines. Max out the RAM, toss in a couple of large hard drives, and you're good to go. With current hard drive sizes getting as large as 1.5TB (Seagate), with many providers of 1TB- you can at least grow to 2TB internally.
  • The hatter Level 9 (60,930 points)
    You should be getting more than 55MB/sec with today's WD Caviar.

    Apple's Pro RAID (hardware RAID5 for Mac Pro) does not get more than half your 600MB/sec (3rd party options yes, but you don't need hardware RAID there either). You just need a 4-channel 4x controller. The current 2008 Mac Pro is actually in some ways crippled and not supporting 8x PCIe bandwidth, but that is another matter.

    The PowerMac G5 early on was never really able to be tested against "native" SATA drives in '03 and the G5 line (memory, PCI/AGP bus, fsb) never lived up to its potential in amount of usable bandwidth. PCI-X though was better and people were / are able to drive enough controllers and drives to hit 780MB/sec.

    One person tried a WD VelociRaptor in their system, also 1.8DP and was disappointed, but not with the 640GB WD Caviar (which is capable of 110MB/sec).