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Apple Desktops Discussion of Apple's desktop machines including Mac Pro, iMac, Power Mac, and mini

G5 purchase questions

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I'm about to buy a G5 for my graphics work (graphic design, lots of Photshop, some 3D and illustration) and have a few questions that the sales guys at the Apple store couldn't help me nail down:

1. I want a dual 2.5 gig, but as I'm replacing A LOT of peripheral gear and software upgrades, the dual 2 gig fits my budget better. Is there a major speed/performance advantage to the dual 2.5 gig machine that warrants the cost and would benefit my work environment? At this point I'd rather save $500 and put that towards more RAM.

2. I don't do any gaming on my Macs, but do some 3D illustrations and wonder if any of the video card options will help me. I read some performance reviews that suggest Apple's Quartz display technology hands off some on-screen rendering tasks to the video card. I couldn't tell WHICH tasks, so I can't tell how this will, or won't, effect my work. For design and image editing, will a better video card matter?

3. I want to use two montiors for my work, and wonder if all the video cards from Apple offer this. The Apple sales guy said he thought I could use two monitors with an adapter, but when I explained that I wanted to move windows to specific screens (ie: within Photoshop, the image window in one screen, and the tools palettes in another), he wasn't so sure. That led me to believe he wasn't familiar with dual screen operation.

4. As Photoshop work is disk intensive, I'm wondering if the stock ATA drive(s) will be up to the task or I should invest in a fast SCSI card and a SCSI drive. I'm wondering if the SATA drives will be close enough in speed to SCSI for my needs.

5. I have some legacy hardware (DAT archive drive, image scanner) that require SCSI connection. Neither of these devices are "fast" SCSI, but if I get a fast, dual channel SCSI card for a SCSI hard drive, will I reduce it to a slower speed by having the DAT drive and scanner connected to it?

If anyone has answers or links to information regarding these questions, I'd appreciate it.

thanks for your time,
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Member Since: Nov 26, 2004
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Don't know what you consider a "major speed difference", but i would not consider it "major" between the 2.0 and the 2.5...something on the order of maybe 10 to 15 percent i think it is. Of course, every little bit helps, but if the 500 difference in price makes a big difference to you i would go with the 2.0.

I would rather work with the top of the line than the next down, but many times the price difference means extra goodies, and you are certainly going to want to upgrade the ram to at least 1 gig and maybe 2. The price difference will pay for this easy.

You will probably be upgraiding the video cards too and hard drives. The sata drives should be fast enough for your needs, but you will probably want to put in a second 200-250 gig drive for your graphic files.
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Dual 2.5Ghz G5's run 14-24% faster than dual 2.0Ghz G5s. In terms of real world performance, that is a significant number. A dual 2.5Ghz system will be a noticably superior system, but of course you'll need to have the budget for it. Whether or not you feel that speed increase is worth it depends on your personal preference as to whether or not it is worth the money.

When you look at the pricing of the PowerMac, you will notice something interesting with the processor pricing (all other components the same).

Normal Prices

$2224 - Dual 1.8Ghz
$2549 - Dual 2.0Ghz +$325
$2999 - Dual 2.5Ghz +$450

You are paying $324 for a crappy 200Mhz. Given that same pricing, the dual 2.5Ghz should cost an additional ~ $850, but they are only $450 more.

The difference is even greater if your getting a student go from dual 1.8Ghz to dual 2.0Ghz is $350, and the upgrade to 2.5Ghz over the 2.0Ghz is the same $350.

Dual 2.0Ghz is just a mental barrier most people have trouble getting over, and Apple is capitalizing on it. Its obvious from looking at peoples sigs, most people in the forum seem to be falling for it. To narrow down your choices, or anyone elses choices, when looking at a PowerMac, you should be looking at either the Dual 1.8, or the Dual 2.5. Your getting ripped if you go with the 2.0Ghz system.

Desktop Specs: Core 2 Quad Q6600@ 4.0Ghz | Asus P5E X38 Motherboard | 4GB PC8000 DDRII | EVGA GeForce 8800GTX | CL x-Fi Fatal1ty | 4 x Hitachi 73GB 15,000rpm SAS HDs (RAID 0) | Adaptec 3805 SAS Controller | Dual Sony 16X DVD-RWs | Dell UltraSharp 2405FPW 24" LCD | Logitech Z-5500 5.1 Speakers
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Thanks for the replies. I am leaning towards the dual 2.5 machine, at the moment.

Regarding hardrives:
As I do a lot of Photoshop work, I have questions about hard drives. When working on large files (500mb - 1 gig), and Photoshop runs out of RAM, it uses a "scratch disc" for virtual memory. Even though I will have at least 2 gigs of RAM in the new machine, I will need a scratch disc. As the G5 only has room for two drives, what are my options for a 3rd drive? I will want a drive for OS and applications, another drive for work files and a 3rd drive for the scratch disc.

From what I've been able to find, SCSI drives are marginally faster than the fastest SATA drives, but I would like to hear from other Photoshop users to know what they recommend. I'd like to avoid the hassles and cost with SCSI.

Regarding SCSI cards:
I have a DAT tape and scanner that are both SCSI devices. These are both fairly slow devices, so I don't need a super fast SCSI card. I believe that Adaptec no longer supports Mac OSX, so I'm guess ATTO is the way to go. Any recommendations?

Thanks for any info on this,
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