: Want to switch, can't decide

Feb 24th, 2005, 09:59 AM

I'm new to the borard and want to be new to the mac world.

Here's my situation, I want to get a new computer to do music production. I have a PC and have been using cubase for quite a while. I would probably want to move to pro tools with and mbox (which has pro tools LE)

I'm trying to decide wether I should get a new G5 imac or try and find a used dual processor G4.

I like the power and somewhat portability of the Imac but there isnt as much room for expansion.

I like the price and expandability of the G4 but I wonder if I should get the G5 under the hood.

Can you guys offer me suggestions on if I was to find a fairly souped up G4 dual vs new G5 stock with probable ram upgrade in the near future.


Feb 24th, 2005, 11:00 AM
Go to your nearest Long & McQuade store and they'll probably have both hooked up to various audio-musical devices and the latest gadgets. Some things are sweeter with a PCI board but many aren't compatible with the new Powermac.

Feb 24th, 2005, 02:16 PM
I know thats an option, but being to enough L+M's and dealing with their staff, I know that they are rarely the most well versed in their supposed areas of expertise.

I was hoping someone here would be able to offer their opinions if they have worked in similar situations with this (G5 vs dual G4) or similar setups.


Feb 24th, 2005, 02:28 PM
You will get a lot of mixed feeling here about G4 vs G5. I am not in the music production world so I cant give you any advices about the hardware/software other than the basic crap.

Personaly, I think that you should aim at dual processor. Would that be G4 or G5, it depends of your budget. if you are very low on cash, eMac are a very good option too and so can be the mac mini if you want portability. It all depends if your creation jobs are time sensitive and how patient you are.

BUT if you are doing this as a pro job you will discover how wonderfull Mac are fiscaly wise. The depreciation rate on mac on paper is much higher than in real life so you can sell them with a profit every year and stay on top of technology. For this reason, I would say that you shouldnt be affraid to buy something that isnt expendable since you can change it every year.

I guess Macaholic will pop soon to answer the technical musical questions.

Feb 24th, 2005, 03:29 PM
Hey Jake:
To be honest, I would have to weigh in on the side of the dual g4's. The imac g5 is a great machine, but for serious audio, you will want a machine with as much expandability as you can get, as much ram as you can get, and not to mention the ability to boot both mac os x and os 9 for the widest range of audio apps. I believe that the dual g4 setup will not only cost less right now, but in the future as well.
check out
click on the audio link at the top of the page to get an idea of some very capable audio setups that he has for sale. the dual g4 has a higher L2/L3 cache capability than the comparable imac G5.

Feb 24th, 2005, 06:57 PM
Well, for a couple hundred more than the 17" iMac, you could buy the same G5 1.8Ghz processor in the more expandable PowerPC tower!


Feb 24th, 2005, 08:23 PM
Wouldn't the PowerMac G5 be better because of the optical audio (I think that's what they are?) capability?

Feb 24th, 2005, 10:04 PM
For a knowledgeable place you might try Saved By Technology (http://www.savedbytechnology.com/index.html) if you are within driving distance of downtown Toronto.
Make sure you get something with a fast hard drive and lots of RAM, that's my advice.

Feb 24th, 2005, 10:34 PM
Optical i/o would be handy, but chances are Jake5 will go with a Digidesign interface for ProTools.

Tough call, jake5. the 1.8GHz G5 is pretty competitive with the fastest dual G4 in rendering, and its drive bus is better. I don't use ProTools, but use Logic pro. I do not do a lot of hard disk recording but rather do A LOT of virtual instruments and effects. Typically, I'll use over forty (easily) virtual instruments, most of them the EXS24 sampler. I'll usually also have at least the EVB3 organ or EVP88 electric piano going. Also, I'll be using at least one Space Designer convolution reverb at an aux and perhaps six or seven lessor plugins (like EQs, compression or the odd chorus) used inline on a channel. my upgraded old G4 Powermac handles it great. I have also recorded ten tracks at once (a stereo mix plus four stereo stems). I got some overloads here and there, but that was before my RAID. I have not had to do stems since the RAID.

Here are some benchmark tests to consider -- none of which are exactly penitent to your use. But what the heck; you'll at least see how a fast dual G4 compares to the G5s available:







EDIT: cleaned up that "G44" typo, and want to say that sample loads on my work goes easilly beyond my physical RAM capacity (2.5GB samples -- PLUS the OS, apps and plugins). Logic Pro's virtual memory is absolutely awesome! :)

Feb 24th, 2005, 10:46 PM
That's a pretty good summary. Bandwidth on the G5 helps sampling etc but you to feed it RAM.
The MDDs have good crunch and loads of drive space.

Whatever DON'T get a lightly configured box - spend on RAM and drives -

Feb 25th, 2005, 08:15 AM
Thanks for all the advice everyone. I amy have made up my mind (we'll see though, I love to change it every hour) I was in at CPUsed yesterday and the dude there pointed out that if I was thinking Imac G5 I could get the power mac for 100 bucks more. Not as much hard drive space but I've already got 1 160 gig that I havent even used yet and the 30 gig that is in my PC now. Plus I guess I could pull the RAM out of the PC as well.
That is looking like a viable option for me and I might be able to finance it througgh work as well.