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View Full Version : iMac G5 or Intel iMac - to be or not be


joabpower
2005-11-26, 12:14
I need your help! I am going to defect the windows-PC platform in favor for Apple! Yes! Damn! But should i wait for the intel based iMac or buy the iMac G5 now?!?!?!

Bryson
2005-11-26, 13:07
The usual answer is: If you need it now, buy it now. The iMac G5 is a great machine and it will last longer than the comparable PC. If you can wait, do, the Intel Macs are likely to be faster and will have better future-proofing. However, some people are worried about the possible problems with a brand-new product line.

Matsu will pop up in a minute and tell you that you should never actually buy a computer, just think about it, really hard. ;)

shell
2005-11-27, 16:24
If you were buying a notebook it would be best to wait until after January 6, to see what pops up, but since you are talking about a desktop it's safe to buy now. The iMac just recieved a nice update last month; we don't know when the iMac will go to the dark side, it might be this january (unlikely) or it might be a year from now. While the next revision will no doubt be faster and more full-featured, that's not a very good reason to not buy a computer, in that case you might as well never buy anything - something better's always in the future. I wouldn't be surprised if the next update is still PPC, there's yet plenty of room for growth with the G5 chip.

Robo
2005-11-27, 18:54
I wouldn't be at all surprised to see the iMac stay on the G5 until 2007.

If you need it now, buy it now. I just bought the 17" iMac this month, and I love it.

If you were considering buying a Powerbook, I would wait, but I think it's definitely safe to buy an iMac.

Brad
2005-11-27, 21:52
Like Roboman, I don't expect the iMac to switch over to Intel chips any time soon. The G5 is a fantastic chip for desktop use.

Remember that Apple's primary public motivation for switching to Intel is the performance-to-Watt ratio, meaning the switch is happening primarily for laptop users since the G5 is a high-power chip.

kcmac
2005-11-27, 22:10
How hard is it to wait a month? I have purchased plenty of rev A Apple products and have always been pleased.

Congrats on your future switch. Buy now or buy later, you really can't go wrong though so good luck.

AWR
2005-11-28, 03:36
Buy now.

Rev. c iMac is HOT. And cheap. And tested. And available.

badtzmaru
2005-12-04, 18:04
I'm a G4 PowerBook owner who has been on the fence about this for the past month. After a lot of research I decided to order an "iSight" iMac G5 2.1GHz w' 500GB hard drive the other day.

A big basis for my decision to buy now is that I need G5 performance and the iMac's internal SATA hard drive speed and capacity now. I look forward to doing an Intel Mac switch someday, but I prefer to wait for Macs with the next generation Intel CPUs (Merom and Conroe) and until a time when the software I use is available as Xcode fat binaries (able to run on PowerPC or Intel-based Macs) and proven. Personally, I don't want to be an early adopter guinea pig during the transition; the software and hardware I have now runs nicely and I like it.

As previously mentioned, the iMac recently got a rather nice update recently. From my own surfing around for news and speculation on when the iMac become Intel-inside, it seems like not for at least 6 to 12 months.

From what I've read, the first Intel-based Macs will be based on a 32-bit dual-core Yonah CPU. Would this provide a significant performance increase compared to the current 64-bit G5 in the iMac? It doesn't seem like it to me. If someone has reason to believe, lets say, an Intel 2.2GHz 32-bit dual-core Yonah CPU would be significantly better than a 64-bit 2.1GHz G5, I'd seriously like to know because I haven't seen anything convincing of that yet.

Anandtech has a good review of Intel's "Yonah" CPU, the one expected to be in the initial Intel-based Macs. They basically conclude that Yonah should be great for notebook PCs, call it a mixed bag for desktops, and elude to waiting for forthcoming Merom and Conroe-based PCs...

http://anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=2627&p=1

Ars Technica provides a nice speculated roadmap that seems logical and consistent with other stuff I've read (like expect the initial iMacs to be based on Yonah)...

http://arstechnica.com/columns/mac/mac-20050608.ars

SystemShootOuts.com provides Apple and PC system comparisons and "CPU shootouts" - also says the 2.1GHz G5 CPU in the "iSight" iMac is comparable to a 3.2GHz Pentium CPU...

http://www.systemshootouts.org/shootouts/desktop/2005/1013_apple_desktops1.html

Absent direct comparisons between Yonah and the G5, and considering information about Intel's roadmap with Merom and Conroe expected in late '06, it seems to me that if one is interested in an iMac and wants to buy now, that should be a reasonable and safe decision, one should end up with a Mac that will be immune to becoming obsolete for a number of years.

It also seems reasonable to me to hold off on buying an Intel-based Mac until they use Intel's more advanced 64-bit Merom or Conroe CPUs, which could be late '06 or sometime in '07. A good thing about Merom is that its supposed to be pin-for-pin compatible with Yonah, so I would think that once Merom is out, Apple should be able to drop it into their Yonah Macs.

Another matter I think is worth considering is software. Software designed for G4s and G5s should run on an Intel-based Mac under Rosetta emulation, although with a performance hit (20% to 70%, I've seen the numbers vary). While Apple's own software apps will be Xcode fat binaries (able to run on PowerPC or Intel-based Macs) upon the Intel Mac's release (at least the iLife apps, don't know about Final Cut and other pro software), how long will it be for other companies (like Adobe and Microsoft) to release Xcode fat binary versions of their software? I've seen forecasts like late '06 or early '07 (a year from now). I don't know whether that is a conservative or ambitious estimate, and with Adobe and Microsoft, we're talking about some pretty big software suites that need to be converted from their old carbonized versions to Xcode.

I would reason that if one is a heavy Adobe or MS Office user (like if they don't want to experience a performance hit by running those apps under Rosetta), it seems appropriate to wait until those companies release Xcode fat binaries of their software before buying an Intel-based Mac. At that time, Intel Macs based on the more advanced Merom and Conroe CPUs could be available, and you have the advantage of running native apps. Even if Xcode versions of your favorite software isn't available, running software under Rosetta on a Merom or Conroe Mac should be better than running it on a Yonah Mac.

In my own case as someone doing an increasing amount of video and DVD work, I look at it this way... buying a G5 iMac now maximizes my current software investment. I currently have all the pro graphics and video software that I need or want (using it on an 18 month old G4 PowerBook), its robust, it works. Moving it all to a G5 iMac will provide me a system that should be robust for my graphics, HD video, Motion and DVD authoring work for a number of years, or until the machine dies of old age, so I would suspect.

I figure that in a couple of years, I'll see what the state of Intel iMacs are, like how would a 2007 Intel iMac really compare with the G5 iMac relative to my own usage and need for speed, see how many of my favorite apps have been switched to Xcode fat binaries, and then decide whether the G% to Intel switch is worthwhile. I'm sure it'll be someday, but maybe not until '07 at the earliest, give or take.

pscates2.0
2005-12-04, 18:29
Being that the iMac is G5-based (and, unlike everything else in Apple's lineup, has already been updated about 18 times in 2005 :p , I'd feel very good about it being one of the last Macs - along with the towers - to go Intel.

It's the G4 stuff that has hit the ceiling, and needs the boost (laptops and Mac mini).

With these latest iMacs (the iSight/Front Row models) just out, they're an AMAZING computer for a great price. The newest issue of Macworld gives it four mice.

If I was wanting/needing a desktop Mac tomorrow, it would be the current iMac G5, hands down. Slim, powerful, built-in iSight, strong graphics, plenty of hard drive, SuperDrive, built-in wireless, Mighty Mouse, etc.

What's not to love? Darn near perfect, IMO. And as full-featured and "no compromise" as you could ask for!

If you decide to wait for an Intel-based model, you might be in for a wait...I'd put money on it.

Satchmo
2005-12-07, 13:39
However, some people are worried about the possible problems with a brand-new product line.


Man, I'd hate to be Apple... reading all these threads with advice to never buy a first gen model. Sure there'll be your early adopters, but with all the fence sitters waiting till gen two of Intel Macs, maybe there won't be a gen two. :)

Joshua
2005-12-07, 16:07
I was a switcher and got the Rev C iMac a month or so ago and am in love with it.

If your a switcher as well, you WILL NOT be dissapointed.

Theres not much I can say about it that hasn't already been said. But you'll love it. Don't wait months in *hopes* that the intel stuff will come out. I too think the iMac will not see the intel chip for awhile. One of my theories is the iMac got such a big revamp to tide it over till it does go intel (late 2006-early 2007)

Anyways, buy and be happy.

flounder
2005-12-08, 22:00
I'm planning on picking one up after their next rev, whatever the processor. I'm waiting on iLife '06 to be preloaded and at that point, I figure I might as well wait for the next rev. Even if it doesn't show up until June, my trusty 3.5 year old ibook G3 is still kicking :)

ontoslaw
2005-12-30, 02:17
Wonder what you think of how the Intel Macs will affect running Windows apps on a Mac. I will have to do this because of my profession and I wonder how will the Intel chip affect the need for Virtual PC.

Fahrenheit
2008-09-19, 17:03
I wouldn't be at all surprised to see the iMac stay on the G5 until 2007.


Like Roboman, I don't expect the iMac to switch over to Intel chips any time soon. The G5 is a fantastic chip for desktop use.

Remember that Apple's primary public motivation for switching to Intel is the performance-to-Watt ratio, meaning the switch is happening primarily for laptop users since the G5 is a high-power chip.

Being that the iMac is G5-based (and, unlike everything else in Apple's lineup, has already been updated about 18 times in 2005 :p , I'd feel very good about it being one of the last Macs - along with the towers - to go Intel.

If you decide to wait for an Intel-based model, you might be in for a wait...I'd put money on it.

http://img299.imageshack.us/img299/2691/picture1rz7.jpg

Chinney
2008-09-19, 19:23
Well, as it turns out, part of Apple's motivation for switching was not just the roadmap issue, but the their own realization that he G5 did not work all that much better in a thin all-in-one than it would in a laptop. Maybe it would have been a good desktop chip in a different form factor, but not in the new iMac.

(Spoken by someone with a G5 iMac, recently repaired (out-of-warranty, but at Apple's expense) and also an Intel Mini.

Good catch on the quotes though. :p