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Old Jan 20, 2005, 11:48 AM   #1
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Hello everyone. If you don't use a mac, turn away now.

Iím a freelance journalist who is starting to get into amateur photojournalism and landscape photography. Iím hoping to possibly make photography a second source of income in the next few years. I also use my computer for storing my music collection, for doing a little layout work in Quark, and for surfing the net, doing the accounts and using iLife extensively.

Iíve currently got a 1.8 GhZ single processor PowerMac G5, from the first line-up of G5ís released in 2003. I originally forked out money I didnít really have for the machine because I wanted longevity. As a consequence of the expenditure, I couldnít afford a great monitor. I bought a 15í LCD, and now Iíve got the money for a new monitor I want to upgrade to 19í or 20í.

So I started shooping online for displays, but then I got a great offer from my local apple centre. They said If I traded in my G5, theyíd give me a brand new 20í iMac G5 for Ä550. I donít particularly want or need a new computer, but look what Iím getting for this dealÖ

- A brand new 20í display.
- A brand new computer
- Both of these under warrantee
- A chance to get AppleCare, Appleís Bluetooth moduleÖ
- A gorgeous all-in-one machine which will save space and has the potential to be wall mounted (the aesthetics are REALLY temping meÖ)

All of this for Ä550.

Or, I can keep my Powermac and buy a secondhand 20í Apple Cinema display (one of the last generation) for at least Ä620, but probably more. Of course I could buy a third party monitor (The Formac Platinum 1900 could be picked up for about Ä550). Like I said, Iím moving into a new home soon so aesthetics are important, and the Apple Cinema display and Formac are the only monitors that really appeal to me.

So would a move to the iMac G5 be a Ďdowngradeí?

Both machines are 1.8Ghz G5, the most important hardware factor. The iMac can go to 2GB of RAM, the PowerMAc to 8Gb. But the most Iíll ever do is some light photo retouching, iMovie/iDVD editing, internet, word processing and using Quark.

Will 2BG be enough to do this for the next 3/4 years or will I want more?

The graphics on the Powermac are upgradeable, but not on the iMac. Does upgrading graphics only make a difference in games or will I notice a real effect in movies and photography? If itís only for games, Iíve no interest, but if it makes my pictures better and DVDís clearer Iím interested.

Whatís my best option for colour accuracy? The Formac Platinum, the OLD 20í Apple Cinema Display or the 20í iMac? This is obviously of particular application to folks here. Iíd be really interested in hearing from people here about colour accuracy on the iMac G5.

The mac HD on the iMac is 250GB, and on the Powermac itís twice that. But even for someone into photography and who keeps a music collection on his machine, isnít 250 enough?

Also, is it likely there will be processor upgrades for for my 1st generation PowerMac, and if so, how high could I expect them to take it?

I guess what this comes down do is whether by plumping for the gorgeous good looks of the iMAC G5 (at a great price for a 20í screen) am sacrificing anything I might need to carry out me computing needs successfully for the next 3/4 years.

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Old Jan 21, 2005, 3:34 PM   #2
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OK, one of your main points is, is it still going to compatible and upgradeable in 3 - 4 years. The answer for both the iMac G5 and the G5 is probably not, no computer is. Things move on so quickly the parts out live each other. Apple and any other computer manufacture for that matter only support their machines for three years, for all of above reasons, plus they would have to keep making parts for older machines.

The most upgradeable of the two is defiantly the G5 tower, however even that is fagging a bit compared to the new G5ís. If you can get hold of last months Mac format there is a article in there about how upgradeable your Mac is, if you can not get hold of it let me know and I will send you my copy.

For what you want to do, all options are very viable ones, just to make things even more confusing Apple have just released the Mac Mini which is one hell of a computer for the price, its not a G5 but I would not get to obsessed about that as for what you want to do with yours, your not really using it to its full potential anyway. My point is you might be able to afford a new Mac Mini plus the Apple monitor your after. And then after a few years just upgrade the Mac Mini.

The only thing I would say is if your going to just replace the monitor go for apple all the time, even if it is second hand, apple second hand is often better than third party brand new. The other day I got offered £300 for my iMac Tangerine 233, yes one of the original iMacís. The point being that Macs last for years and hold there value to a point.

So I would say go for what suits your needs best now!
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Old Jan 25, 2005, 11:23 PM   #3
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grant.smith wrote:
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Apple have just released the Mac Mini which is one heck of a computer for the price, its not a G5 but I would not get to obsessed about that as for what you want to do with yours, your not really using it to its full potential anyway. My point is you might be able to afford a new Mac Mini plus the Apple monitor your after. And then after a few years just upgrade the Mac Mini.

It's my understanding from mac friends that the mac mini must be ordered with all the RAM you want (total 1 gig) when you order it... it is not at all "user upgradable". Another point is that the mini uses smaller 40 or 80 gig hard drives (laptop drives I do believe) with 80 gigs being the max.

For lots of photo and some video or music work, someone would have to buy an external hard drive to store the files on (as you can fill up 40-80 gigs pretty quick with this stuff)Kind of defeats the purpose of having a tiny computer when you have to havesomething just as large sitting next to it that's needed to store files on. I would bet the next generation of these things will be slightly larger to handle normal sized hard drives with much larger capacities.

Regarding monitors, I know a couple of Mac people who shunned the Apple displays due to price and both own Dell "Ultrasharp" monitors and rave on and on about them saying they're just as good and half the price or less of the Apple versions. There was also a thread I read on dpreview once a while back where lots of Apple people were raving about the Dell displays too, so there must be something to the Ultrasharp series. I use a NEC LCD and it's fine for me, but doesn't match up to that quality. Just an option as far as displays go.


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Old Jan 26, 2005, 4:00 AM   #4
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What you are suggesting about the RAM of Macs is true of any Mac, they are traditionally awful at offering any! Even the 20" G5 only comes with 256 and Apple charge a fortune for it. I always buy mine else where.

The external hard drive point is a good one, however again that is true with most computers including PC's thats were the G5 tower has the advantage, being able to add up to four I think. I think you are kind of missing the point of iMac's, they are entry level machines aimed at the home user, but some machines obviously go way and belong, such as the 20" G5. At home I have a eMac and just store all my photo's, music and movies on a firewire HD and it works amazingly, I don't really see the disadvantage apart from the ascetic's, in fact its safer being apart the main computer, I have never lost a thing!

Monitor's, yes Apple are very expensive and I am off to look at your suggestions now!
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