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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a mac mini powerpc g4, 1Ghz processor, 1GB ram, 80 GB HD, Mac OS X 10.5.8. My bro has a Power Mac G5 tower with Dual Processor 2.0 Ghz, 1.5 GB ram, 300 GB HD, Mac OS X 10.5.5.


For some reason a DVI to HDMI wire will not work for the mac mini to a Panasonic tc-p54s1 plasma that I have. My bro likes my mac mini and wants to trade and have me add cash. If this tower works on my plasma, I don't mind using it as my HTPC. Will the trade plus cash worth it? If so how much? Will the specs make a difference in performance?


Here is more info on the computer:


Hardware:

Model Name: Power Mac G5

Model Identifier: PowerMac7,3

Processor Name: PowerPC G5 (3.0)

Processor Speed: 2 GHz

Number Of CPUs: 2

L2 Cache (per CPU): 512 KB

Memory: 1.5 GB

Bus Speed: 1 GHz


Graphics:

GeForce FX 5200:


Chipset Model: GeForce FX 5200

Type: Display

Bus: AGP

Slot: SLOT-1

VRAM (Total): 64 MB

Vendor: NVIDIA (0x10de)

Device ID: 0x0321

Revision ID: 0x00a2

ROM Revision: 2060
 

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Quote:
My bro likes my mac mini and wants to trade and have me add cash.

I bet he does...his dual G5 sounds like it's the very first dual 2.0 model, which means it's maybe 7 years old? Spec-wise that machine doesn't seem too impressive--it's not like he's offering you an already loaded or upgraded machine--1.5GB RAM is barely enough to run Leopard well, it has the lowest end video card (it's supposed to ship with the Radeon 9600 Pro) and that particular model, if it is indeed the 2003 dual, wasn't very reliable, getting a grade of "F." More here:

http://www.lowendmac.com/ppc/power-m...h-g5-2003.html


In present day home theater terms, even a used first gen Intel Mac mini model from 2006 would handily outperform it.


But, with that said, his old PowerMac would kick the crap out of your G4 mini. That first mini was very enticing, I bought one the first day, loved using it, but ultimately it was a very weak machine in the HT which required the added expense of an M-Audio DAC in order to get AC-3/DTS passthrough. If you did swap models besides the obvious upgrade in horsepower you'd also benefit from more storage, flexibility, gigabit, optical audio, FW800 and teh shiny aluminum sculpture. (I think all G5 PowerMacs had optical audio out--confirm to be sure.) If I were in your shoes, I'd be interested in all that, and I bet it would be fun for you.


The problems for you are:


1) that dual G5 can't play back high def adequately, which means in terms of video you'll still need a better Mac, an Intel with a C2D down the road anyway, and


2) since it's still a PPC, it means you can't start playing around with some of the new fun Intel-only things in Mac HT, like Plex.

Quote:
Will the trade plus cash worth it? If so how much? Will the specs make a difference in performance?

Very tough question, neither Mac is worth much in home theater terms...your G4 mini can't even function as an adequate iTunes music only player without additional expense because its analog only out is crap...obviously the dual G5 has value for you short term, and may retain added value long term, when you do eventually spring for a C2D mini, you could re-purpose it for storage and serving files up over your network. That brings up a third problem for you, risk of hardware failure, since other owners of that model deemed it very unreliable. That means any cash you did spend today for the swap might be lost in an instant if something fails, say if the logic board goes one month after you take ownership.


If I were you, I'd say go for the swap if it would only cost you $100-$150 in extra cash, there's enough upside left in that machine despite its age. Any more than that and I'd probably advise you to sell the G4 to him and pick up a used/refurb Intel C2D mini instead.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by chefklc /forum/post/18216141


Very tough question, neither Mac is worth much in home theater terms...

This sums it up quite nicely... Mac's are GREAT systems and even with the 'cheaper' building practices employed since Job's return, the boxes still hold up like tanks much of the time.


They also do a remarkable job of holding their value especially when compared to other PC box makers (Dell, Gateway, etc).


I'd say the most bang for your buck would be....



1 - Clean up the current systems.


2 - Post them for sale on Ebay or Cragslist etc.


(use ebay to get suggested selling prices - search the 'ended auctions' for the most realistic pricing)


Finally... buy boxes from Apples Refurb Store if at all possible... you'll save anywhere from 10-20% (sometimes a bit more) and get a machine that is fully backed by Apples standard warrantee and you can still get AppleCare for added protection if you feel the need.


If you don't want to deal with the hassle of ebay and the like you might search out some companies who specialize with buying used macs. Just be sure to search various places for people who have had prior experience with the company since some MAY have issues of promising one price before you ship to them and then a much reduced price AFTER they have it. Also look into who is responsible for shipping fees if you decide you don't like the 'new-adujested' price.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for of the advice. Before reading this, I end up making the trade and adding $150. The G5 works great in terms of power for my purpose. It has optical in and out. I would only need to use it for watching movies from an external hard drive, stream netflix and youtube, play dvd, listen to music via itunes and internet radios, use for occasion web surfing, and downloading. I think I have invested about $425 (plus soon to be purchased bluetooth for wireless mouse/keyboard) for the g5 tower, apple magic mouse,and wirells apple aluminum keyboard.


Have I chosen the wrong computer for my media purposes? For the cost invested, could I have gone with a better HTPC mac or windows pc?


Why would this be inadequate for playing HiDef? Should I invest in bluetooth and new graphics card? If so what kind?


Is $425 already too much for a HTPC?
 

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Quote:
Have I chosen the wrong computer for my media purposes?

No, from what you've described your media purposes aren't that demanding, I think that dual G5 will serve you just fine, all except for Netflix streaming, I believe that's an Intel only thing. As long as you don't also want to record and play back high def TV or rip and play back blu ray discs, that dual G5 will handle music, standard dvds and most low bit rate downloads fine.

Quote:
Why would this be inadequate for playing HiDef?

Because it's a 7 year old computer and the CPU isn't powerful enough.

Quote:
Should I invest in bluetooth and new graphics card? If so what kind?

This is where the value equation starts to go awry, it's not really worth spending much money in order to upgrade such an old machine. You could buy a brand new 2.26 C2D mini as a refurb from the Apple store for $499.


So, put as little money as possible into it for the time being, maybe just add some RAM. That means no video card upgrade, if you can pick up something better used and/or inexpensively, fine, but don't spend any real dollars. You'll never get it back on resale. Any accessories you do buy to use with it, make sure you plan to use them with your next Mac so they're not wasted. The Apple wireless keyboard is nice, but how much to add bluetooth?


And just so you know, it's not really that convenient to control things with a KB and mouse from the couch. You may want to budget for an iPod touch to use as a remote control instead--and that's something you can also continue to use when you upgrade to an Intel Mac.

Quote:
Is $425 already too much for a HTPC?

No. But if you really want to watch high def TV, rip blu ray discs, do Netflix Watch Instantly, and run Plex, you'd need to spend that $425 on a different Mac.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by chefklc /forum/post/18218285


No, from what you've described your media purposes aren't that demanding, I think that dual G5 will serve you just fine, all except for Netflix streaming, I believe that's an Intel only thing. As long as you don't also want to record and play back high def TV or rip and play back blu ray discs, that dual G5 will handle music, standard dvds and most low bit rate downloads fine.




Because it's a 7 year old computer and the CPU isn't powerful enough.




This is where the value equation starts to go awry, it's not really worth spending much money in order to upgrade such an old machine. You could buy a brand new 2.26 C2D mini as a refurb from the Apple store for $499.


So, put as little money as possible into it for the time being, maybe just add some RAM. That means no video card upgrade, if you can pick up something better used and/or inexpensively, fine, but don't spend any real dollars. You'll never get it back on resale. Any accessories you do buy to use with it, make sure you plan to use them with your next Mac so they're not wasted. The Apple wireless keyboard is nice, but how much to add bluetooth?


And just so you know, it's not really that convenient to control things with a KB and mouse from the couch. You may want to budget for an iPod touch to use as a remote control instead--and that's something you can also continue to use when you upgrade to an Intel Mac.




No. But if you really want to watch high def TV, rip blu ray discs, do Netflix Watch Instantly, and run Plex, you'd need to spend that $425 on a different Mac.

Thanks checkfklc, you were very helpful. I guess that's my plan for now. I think I will be interested in buying a new setup in the future to rip blue rays and record tv shows.


I don't know how how it cost to buy bluetooth. I have an iphone, that should work in place of the itouch correct?


So why would anyone want to rip blueray dvd? I mean they already purchased the dvd right? It's just taking up storage space on the hard drive. And I didn't know that I couldn't stream netflix with this mac, darn.


I will look into a new setup, and would like to know what kind of specs both on PC and Mac would be sufficient to carry out ALL of the task mentioned by chackfklc. THANKS ALL!
 

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Quote:
I have an iphone, that should work in place of the itouch correct?

Correct.

Quote:
I think I will be interested in buying a new setup in the future to rip blu rays and record tv shows.

You can record HDTV just fine now, even with the G4 mini. It's playback that is demanding.

Quote:
So why would anyone want to rip blu-ray dvd? It's just taking up storage space on the hard drive.

A couple of reasons...1) hard drive prices keep dropping, drive capacities keep increasing, 2) you need to rip the disc first in order to then transcode it to a smaller size for another device, like an aTV, and 3) it isn't the easiest thing to actually play a commercial blu-ray disc back in OS X, so if you don't have a standalone player, and/or prefer to have all your video content available at the touch of a button through your Mac, you need to rip. The MakeMKV beta released last summer was the best thing to happen to our Mac HTPC scene in 2009.
 

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I have a 2.5 Ghz dual G5 tower that is adequate for HTPC use. It also serves as my test server for web development. For most video-related uses, it's not much different than my 2.2 Ghz Core 2 Duo Macbook Pro. It will be six years old in September.


I record on average about 20 hours of 1080i HD using my EyeTV 500 a week and it plays back just fine. Of course, that's MPEG-2 and not h.264. I've been recording HD programming using the EyeTV since 2004, even before I bought this Mac, and it's always done just fine. I have a Hauppauge HD PVR that should ship in the next few days so I'm going to be looking into how h.264 playback and recording work when it gets here. The only thing it doesn't do well right now is playback HD Flash from the web. I'm pretty sure that's a Flash deal, but we'll find out when Flash 10.1 is released.


The main advantage to having the G5 tower over the Mac Mini, besides speed, is that you can put two fast hard drives into it and store and incredible library of material. I have 2.5 TB of storage, including more than 200 GB of DVDs, 80 GB of music videos, TV shows, video podcasts and movies in iTunes, and 650 GB of HD recordings from EyeTV.


At some point, I'm going to replace the G5, but it's still very functional. A little more than a year ago, the liquid cooling system leaked and Apple replaced the motherboard and other parts so I expect to get at least another year or two out of it.


Dennis
 
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