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FCP: Dual G5 2.3 or New Mac Book Pro?

2134 Views 11 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  mcoltezo
FCP: Dual G5 2.3 or New Mac Book Pro?

Hi Friends
I suffer from chronic back problems and I notice that I'm much more productive when I can prop myself up with pillows and work on a computer on a couch.

I have a G5 Dual 2.3 tower, and it's great for editing FCP, Garageband, SoundTrack Pro, etc., but hard for me to sit in front of for long periods.

I have a pile of external drives for footage and files, and I'm wondering if a Mac Book Pro can handle FCP Suite, SoundTrack Pro, etc., and an extra monitor attached if desired.

I think I'd be a lot more productive with a laptop, but I want to know if you folks think a MBP would keep up to what I'm used to with the G5 Dual 2.3.

Should I sell my floor model and get a shiny new Mac Book Pro, or bite the bullet, fight the pain with whiskey, and re-arrange my cushions more often?

Thanks for any and all advice!
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Hey SoyMac,

I think you're at the perfect time to sell if you need to. I think you've pretty much lined out perfectly that you need to get another way to perform your work.

I definitely think that the Macbook Pro will do whatever you need it to. All of the apps you use are Universal so, you're not going to see a speed decrease, in fact, you may see a gain.

If it was me, I'd probably invest in the new Airport Extreme (for your drives) and the new Macbook Pro.

Make your back happy! :) Now is the right time to sell your old G5 if you're going to ever get rid of it. It's only going to go downhill from here.
keep in mind
There is a very good chance mac book pros and imacs will be updated in about 2 weeks or so, WWDC is in 2 weeks and I would wait til the Jobs keynote is done before I make any buying decisions.
You waited this long, the next update will be worh waiting a couple of weeks for.
I have both the machines you listed (dual 2.3 and a Macbook Pro) and I can say that FCP runs equally well on both systems. The graphics card on the Macbook Pro actually outperforms my Dual 2.3 base video card, so Motion and Realtime effects are actually faster on the Macbook Pro. However, I have a RAID hard drive setup on my G5, so it tends to run a tiny bit faster overall on the G5.

The only thing I would mention is that a 15" screen is not something I'd edit with on a regular basis. Too small for my needs (my main G5 has a 24" screen), as it lacks detail. You might get away with it if you're not pro, or not doing heavy compositing or things that require precision.

If your 2.3 GHz G5 can handle your editing work (you didn't specify if it was HD or standard definition), a similarly equipped MacBook Pro with a 2.33 GHz dual core processor should be able to handle it no problem as the applications are universal binaries, which won't incur any speed reduction due to the emulation overhead of Rosetta.

For what it's worth, a couple of MacBook Pros have been set up at work for editing HD on a trail basis. These are 17 inchers with 3 GB of RAM and external hard drives. Since they were installed recently and I haven't done any followup, I can't speak as to how well they're working out.
Here are the specs from my G5 (please note the Graphics cards).
I wonder how this stacks up against the maxed-out, new MacBook Pros.

Machine Name: Power Mac G5

CPU Type: PowerPC G5 (3.1)
Number Of CPUs: 2
CPU Speed: 2.3 GHz
L2 Cache (per CPU): 512 KB
Memory: 3 GB
Bus Speed: 1.15 GHz

Built In Sound Card:

Texas Instruments TAS3004:
Crystal Semiconductor CS84xx:


Interconnect: ATAPI
Burn Support: Yes (Apple Shipped/Supported)
Cache: 2048 KB
Reads DVD: Yes
CD-Write: -R, -RW
DVD-Write: -R, -RW, +R, +RW, +R DL
Burn Underrun Protection CD: Yes
Burn Underrun Protection DVD: Yes
Write Strategies: CD-TAO, CD-SAO, CD-Raw, DVD-DAO

FireWire Bus:

Maximum Speed: Up to 800 Mb/sec

ATI Radeon 9800 Pro:
Bus: AGP
VRAM (Total): 128 MB
Chipset Model: ATY,RV100
Bus: PCI
VRAM (Total): 32 MB

Serial-ATA Bus

AirPort Card Information:
Wireless Card Type: AirPort Extreme

Built-in Ethernet

Storage: 2 X 250 gig HDs

You're probably saying to your self; "Self, why doesn't he just compare those specs himself?!"
I'm afraid the new technology has gotten too complicated for me to figure out. I still haven't gotten past "Core Duo" and "Dual Core".

So any opinions on how my present, back-breaking-system compares to a new MacBook Pro?
(I shoot/edit only SD)
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..If it was me, I'd probably invest in the new Airport Extreme (for your drives) and the new Macbook Pro...
Vexel, are you saying I could have my external drives wireless? The data transfer speed is okay that way?

I mean, wireless storage would be cool!... :clap:
(please note the Graphics cards).
I wonder how this stacks up against the maxed-out, new MacBook Pros.
FYI - a new "maxed out" MacBook Pro has a significantly better graphics chip than the ATI Radeon 9800 Pro w. 128 MB in your G5 currently - without question.
Vexel, are you saying I could have my external drives wireless? The data transfer speed is okay that way?

I mean, wireless storage would be cool!... :clap:

Have a looksee over at

Apple - AirPort Extreme - Sharing

nstant drive sharing.
New to AirPort Extreme, AirPort Disk turns almost any external USB hard drive into a shared drive. Simply connect the drive to the USB port on the back of your AirPort Extreme and — voila — all the documents, videos, photos, and other files on the drive instantly become available to anyone on the secure network, Mac and PC alike. It’s perfect for backups, collaborative projects, and more.

A simple-to-use AirPort Disk Utility gives you more setup options. You could set the disk to become available whenever you connect to the network. You could set up password-protected accounts for everybody on the network, or allow read-only access to certain files and folders. The choice is yours.
It also allows for multiple drives through a daisychain, the only problem I've noticed is that it's USB2 only. :( But, still.. great idea. As long as you're using the drives for storage, it would work perfectly for you. :)
Before you listen to these "wireless is great" reports from people, I have to interject with a little dose of reality. If you are storing your family photos on your external drive, I'm sure it will be fine. But if you're using it to store video for FCP (since this post IS after all about FCP) there is NO WAY it will work well for you. Apple themselves, among others, state right in the documentation that you should NOT capture or edit off a USB drive. I know of a few people who use Firewire 400, but I would never touch it. I'll only use Firewire 800 or eSata.

The point is... a wireless drive, even in the absolute BEST of conditions (wireless N, sitting next to the router, no interference) will give you a MAXIMUM of 300Mbps (real world, likely closer to 200Mbps). That's WAY too slow for editing, and personally I would find it too slow for even copying files back and forth to edit locally. I have a feeling these people suggesting wireless drives don't realize we're talking about 20-40GB projects.


P.S. Again, see my previous post about FCP on a Macbook Pro. I have the EXACT same G5 as you, and the Macbook Pro. Graphics card is faster on the MBP, drive performance is faster on G5. It evens out for straight editing.
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I have to say, another couple of beers and I'll be posting this G5 for sale tonight! :lmao:

But seriously, it does look pretty certain that the tower will soon be out while the MBP will soon be in.

Thanks for your help, all!
(My back feels better already!) :)
Hey SoyMac,

Thanks for posting this question. I'm contemplating exactly the same thing but mine is a 2.0 Ghz and 1 gig I'm excited by the prospect of even better speed! I figure I'll add more than a single gig to it ....and I was thinking of 3 gig.

Also, and unrelated: I like your quote. Who is the author? I mean, I see his name of course....but I just wondered about him. I'll also google his name.

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