2012 – Last week I went to a local Mac store so I could have a look at the latest models. Even though I am pretty much stuck on Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger (and happy with it), I closely watch recent developments in the Mac market. Being a fan of desktop computers, I’m especially interested in the Mac Pro. It does look great and has an incredible speed and graphics capability.
However, my interest in buying one erodes pretty fast every time I see the price tag. First off, those machines aren’t exactly cheap, and second, I would also have to buy a lot of software again, because my older software won’t work on the new machine anymore. Some of my programs date back to the era of Mac OS 9, and I rely on Classic Mode to execute them within Tiger.
And then there is the question: Do I really need a new machine? If so, for what? Just because it’s new? Or is there really a reason?
Reality is, I can still do everything I need or want on my Power Mac G5. Sure, it needs a little tweaking and hacking (such as this Flash hack), but overall it’s a rock solid system, even six years after it’s release. And it’s very economical. Old software is available used for just a few bucks. Classic Mac OS software for even less, as abandonware. If you’re running Tiger instead of the more demanding OS X 10.5 Leopard (which also does very well on the G5), you may even use lots of classic Mac OS software via Classic Mode for free – all the good software that we wrote our letters with, cut our movies, recorded bits of sound, edited photos, set up databases. Not to mention all the great games. It’s all still out there, working. Just like it did in the past.
Sure, it is inevitable that one day Power Mac G5s will be too old and slow to use for everyday tasks. But that day really is still far away, in no small part thanks to the TenFourFox team that keeps our PowerPC machines up-to-date with today’s browsing standards.
Recently lots of Power Mac G5s got kicked out of offices by professionals who replaced them with the latest Intel hardware. If you are a student or someone else who is notoriously low on funds but don’t want to miss out the Mac experience, a used Power Mac G5 may be your best choice.
While close to the level of productivity of the latest Intel models, you may get a used Power Mac G5 for maybe one-tenth the price of a new Mac Pro.* And even if the Power Mac G5 dies abruptly one day, it is not the end of the world. It can be cheaply replaced. (Compare that to the tragedy of a $3,000 Mac Pro dying surprisingly two weeks after the end of the Apple Care support.)
All in all, right now a Power Mac G5 is the best compromise between price and speed – and far from being obsolete.
* You can get the ultimate Power Mac G5, the quad-core 2.5 GHz model, for under $600, top out memory for under $60, and use SATA hard drives and even SSDs.
Short link: http://goo.gl/MbqUb1