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Old Sep 27th, 2006, 09:29 PM   #1
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Upgrade questions (G4/733 to G5 or wait for Intel)

Hey group.

I'm currently the owner of a nice QuickSilver 733. The machine has some of the standard upgrades: 1.2 GB RAM, 500 GB HD, USB 2.0, SCSI and a "big drive" IDE card. For the past year it's just been an end-user machine, but I've started doing some imaging with it again, doing some light PhotoShop work.

A lot of my time is spent scanning with a Nikon Coolscan V and an aging Microtek ScanMaker 4 (which is why I have SCSI). Scanning is fine, but the resulting scans (5000x3000 odd pixel 24-bit scans from the Coolscan) take a lot of power to work with comfortably.

I'm pretty tight on funds, and I'm not sure what upgrade path to take. I can get a G4 upgrade from a place like OWC which will push me past the 1.2 GHz barrier, or for double that price I can upgrade to a low-end 1.6 GHz G5. Since I'm willing to wait and save though, I can also shell out for a new Intel tower (probably the bare-minimum configuration on the apple.ca site), but that'll cost me upwards of $2500 or more.

My main concern is Photoshop performance. Most of my other software, AFAIK, will run fine with the Xeon chip. But I've done some reading and apparently Adobe hasn't released an Intel native version of Photoshop yet, so if I upgrade I'll still be hampered by slow PS performance.

Can anyone with a G5 or Intel machine comment? I've got one friend with a top of the line Powerbook Pro who did comment that Photoshop "seemed slow" compared to his G5 at work. What kind of performance hit do you get with an Intel machine? What kind of gains could I expect upgrading from the G4/733 to a G5/1.6? I've got no problems sticking with the PPC line for a few more years, since I usually stay well behind the curve, only upgrading when I have to if new software has features that I require.

Thanks,
-10d
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Old Sep 27th, 2006, 10:13 PM   #2
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I'm in a similar situation with a G4 (AGP) 500mhz, 80gig+20gig, 1.12gig ram, scsi card for my Polaroid Sprintscan 4000. I am also finding the performance of Photosop, shall we say, a bit slow with the files from my scanner. I will almost certainly get a Sonnet Encore ST G4 1.8ghz processor upgrade. It's the least expensive solution (seen them sell for $383 at Macdirect), and after reading all the positive user comments at xlr8 your mac I can't see any better upgrade path at this price. It seems like a more reasonable upgrade than getting a G5 (money wise) but I'm certain that a new Mac Pro would be much faster even if Photoshop has to run under Rosetta. That being said, the price difference is quite substantial. I'm sure many members will disagree with me and tell you to hold off for a new Mac Pro (many extra features that come with getting a new computer, etc.), but for me (it would take me years to save enough for a new Mac Pro) the processor upgrade seems like the way to go.
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Old Sep 27th, 2006, 11:39 PM   #3
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Both of your decisions are partially due to the fact you have an expensive scanner with a SCSI card that probably can't move to a G5, let alone an Intel Mac. I feel for you that you paid $X thousand for it, but the scanner just isn't worth much on the market now.

If the slide scanner isn't critical for you, then you can replace the flatbed scanner for $250 to $600 with equivalent or better quality imaging, but modern software and interface. Your other option is to keep the G4 as is as a scanning station and just network over the files to the new machine for work. (that way you can continue to read ehMac while the Nikon takes 3.5 minutes to scan on the other machine...)

Software-wise, you are making a decision based on the non-availability of Universal Binary Photoshop for the next, 3 - 5 months, which will affect your Mac computer use for (based on your history) the next 5 years. That doesn't make sense to me. All new software will be made for the Intel architecture. Count on it. So Photoshop on a MacPro, it will perform a bit better than your G4 for a couple of months, then WAAAAYY better for another 44 months.

The other thing you have to look at is whether any other software that is critical to you is running under Classic, or would have problems running under OSX Rosetta. If so, what do you need to do to upgrade or replace those?

Thanks
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Old Sep 28th, 2006, 12:52 AM   #4
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Mac Pro's have significantly narrowed the gap in performance during Rosetta translation due to sheer processing power.

http://www.barefeats.com/quad06.html

Recently seeded 10.4.8 is said to have significant Rosetta performance improvements as well.

In any case, if you held on so long, wait until Intel Kentfields get adopted in the nex Mac Pro's (8cpu's!) and buy an EOL Mac Pro Quad then on discount.
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Old Sep 28th, 2006, 07:02 PM   #5
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Well, I'm not too concerned about the flatbed scanner and my Zip250 drive -- those are the only two SCSI periphreals I still use. My CoolScan, LaCie F/W DVD burner are both USB/FireWire. As for Classic apps, I still have a Pismo I use for web surfing, so I can run anything that requires Classic there (still running 10.3.x on that one).

I might just keep back, buy a G4 upgrade in the interim, and then purchase a used Intel machine in two years; the way I use my computers, a G4 upgrade will last me for quite a while (I tend to drop my money into storage space over processor speed). Hell, I only have the G4 because it was practically given to me; up until then I was still happily using an 8500 with a G3/500 upgrade.

On a related topic, can anyone tell me what kind of improvements I could get by cross-grading to a Dual G4 800 vs my stock G4 733? The most powerful apps I would be using are Adobe Photoshop CS and Mac OS X itself. Most other software is lightweight in comparison.


Thanks,
-10d
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Old Sep 28th, 2006, 11:27 PM   #6
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On the graphics end, the high end dual G4's will out perform the single processor G5's and the dual G5's outperform the intel's with CS(2) Suite apps. I wouldn't bother with a G5 1.6 upgrade-you'd be better off grabbing the dual G4 800 or even better a dual 1.0+ MDD which will give you a faster system bus (167mhz vs 133mhz) and faster hd bus (ATA100 vs ATA66) as well.

Processor isn't everything tho. Photoshop thrives with lots o' ram and a dedicated scratch drive. The scratch doesn't have to be huge-but faster is better-a 36gb 10K raptor is ideal on a budget. Even better is a raided scratch if you can swing it. Grab two cheapo 7200rpm 40 giggers and stripe em up.

I still have my dual 1.25 MDD with the goodies and am plenty pleased with it even after using a smokin G5 quad all day at work.
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Old Sep 28th, 2006, 11:38 PM   #7
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Great first post! And you joined May 2004? I'd welcome you but... you were already here. Welcome nonetheless, I guess.

Your post indicates that there are some great savings to be had with careful shopping for near-current dual processor purchases.


Quote:
Originally Posted by shaker440
On the graphics end, the high end dual G4's will out perform the single processor G5's and the dual G5's outperform the intel's with CS(2) Suite apps. I wouldn't bother with a G5 1.6 upgrade-you'd be better off grabbing the dual G4 800 or even better a dual 1.0+ MDD which will give you a faster system bus (167mhz vs 133mhz) and faster hd bus (ATA100 vs ATA66) as well.

Processor isn't everything tho. Photoshop thrives with lots o' ram and a dedicated scratch drive. The scratch doesn't have to be huge-but faster is better-a 36gb 10K raptor is ideal on a budget. Even better is a raided scratch if you can swing it. Grab two cheapo 7200rpm 40 giggers and stripe em up.

I still have my dual 1.25 MDD with the goodies and am plenty pleased with it even after using a smokin G5 quad all day at work.
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Old Sep 29th, 2006, 12:38 AM   #8
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The thing with a Quicksilver or a Graphite G4, even a Quicksilver with a dual G4 upgrade, is that it is limited by its memory buss and PC133 DRAM. The MDD machines are more viable partially because they can push much more bandwidth through their DDR memory.

For this reason, if you are considering a G4 upgrade product, choose the one that is a bit slower in MHz but has a hefty onboard cache. I don't believe that the high MHz, zero cache upgrades are the way to go.

Thanks
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Old Sep 29th, 2006, 01:07 AM   #9
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C'mon CR - the MDDs are design choked as well - never did take advantage of the memory bandwidth.
G5 the way to go and are and will remain competitive against the Intels.
We are and have been just flying through G5s of all types. It's a great chip and everything works.

We love the Intels - we also love the G5s. The 20" G5 2.1s have been real hot.



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Old Sep 29th, 2006, 12:21 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CanadaRAM
The thing with a Quicksilver or a Graphite G4, even a Quicksilver with a dual G4 upgrade, is that it is limited by its memory buss and PC133 DRAM. The MDD machines are more viable partially because they can push much more bandwidth through their DDR memory.
Are you saying that the Sonnet encore 1.4ghz with 2mb L3 cache would perform better than the Sonnet encore 1.8ghz with no L3 cache in a G4 (AGP Graphics) with 100mhz system bus speed? I just posted on another thread that I thought the opposite to be true. Am I mistaken?
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