For those who still need Classic Mode or have apps that don’t play well on Intel Macs (especially since the introduction of OS X 10.7 Lion, which no longer supports PowerPC apps), a G5 iMac with Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger can be a better choice than an Intel iMac. Intel Macs and Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard don’t support Classic Mode at all; performance-robbing emulation is your only option.
Further, up through OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, Intel Macs could run PowerPC apps using Rosetta, which increases memory requirements and is less efficient than using software written for Intel CPUs.
Early G5 iMacs can run Mac OS X 10.3 Panther; later ones require version 10.4 or later. Mac OS X 10.5 is supported on all G5 Macs with at least 512 MB of RAM and is your best choice if you have at least 1 GB or RAM and don’t need Classic Mode.
17″ models have 1440 x 900 displays; 20″ iMacs have 1680 x 1050 screens. The 1.6 GHz model and the 2005 17″ 1.8 GHz model shipped with a Combo drive; all other G5 iMacs shipped with a SuperDrive. The 1.9 GHz and 2.1 GHz iMacs have built-in iSight.
Apple introduced the final iMac G5 models in October 2005. These iMacs have built-in iSight, Radeon X600 graphics, and dual-layer SuperDrives. The October 2005 iMac G5 is slightly thinner and lighter than its predecessors and uses less costly memory. For our take on the value of the upgraded models, see The October 2005 iMac G5 Value Equation.
According to Apple, the Intel Core 2 Duo is 2-3x as powerful as the single-core G5 at the same GHz rating. For our comparison of the iMac G5 to the Intel Core Duo models, see The iMac 2006 Value Equation: Intel Changes Everything. At the time (2006) we saw the iMac G5 as overpriced in comparison to the Core Duo models, which were selling at the same price.
For those who don’t need G5 power, a used iMac G4 is a viable option, as is the heavier CRT-based eMac.
Pay attention to configurations, as iMacs with more memory may only cost a bit more. We try to factor in shipping costs in choosing the best values, but these vary by model/weight and distance. Rates we use are for a 20″ iMac being shipped ground rate to Low End Mac headquarters in Michigan.
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Best iMac G5 Prices
- 17″ 1.6 GHz Combo, $199, DV Warehouse
- 17″ 2.0 GHz SD, $249, DV Warehouse
- 20″ 1.8 GHz SD, $299, DV Warehouse, Doug Deals
- 20″ 2.0 GHz SD, $349, DV Warehouse
- 20″ 2.1 GHz iSight SD*, $379, DV Warehouse
* Memory upgrades for iSight iMacs cost less than RAM for earlier G5 iMacs.
Recent Memory Prices (per module)
- PC3200 (pre-iSight): 512 MB, $11.79; 1 GB, $20.88; 1 GB kit, $21.79; 2 GB kit, $39.99
- PC4200 (iSight – 1 slot, 512 MB on system board): 1 GB, $16.99; 2 GB, $30.79
Best Mac OS X Prices
Used Macs usually have a 90 day warranty. 802.11g AirPort Extreme WiFi is standard on all configurations except for the 1.6 GHz model, so we only note models where it is not included.
Unless otherwise noted, there is no surcharge for credit card purchases, and ground shipping typically adds from $35 to $60. Vendors are listed in alphabetical order.
Store refurbished items may vary. Prices may be limited to quantity on hand. Not responsible for typos. Please email any corrections or additional sources with competitive prices to .
Buying through some of these links benefits Low End Mac. Buying at these prices benefits you.
- 2004: 17″ 1.6 GHz, 1.8 GHz, 20″ 1.8 GHz. Bluetooth and AirPort Extreme optional. Nvidia GeForce FX 5200 Ultra graphics with 64 MB. 4x SuperDrive on 1.8 GHz models.
- May 2005: 17″ 1.8 GHz, 2.0 GHz, 20″ 2.0 GHz. Bluetooth and AirPort Extreme standard. ATI Radeon 9600 with 128 MB. 8x SuperDrive on 2.0 GHz models.
- Oct. 2005 (iSight): 17″ 1.9 GHz, 20″ 2.1 GHz. Built-in iSight. ATI Radeon X600 graphics with 128 MB. 8x dual-layer SuperDrive on both models. PCI Express architecture. No modem.
DougDeals is located in Leander, TX. No OS installed.
- 20″ 1.8 GHz SD, 2 GB/250, $299.99 shipped
Ground shipping may add $42 or more.
- 17″ 1.6 GHz Combo, 512/80, $199
- 17″ 2.0 GHz SD, 512/160, $249
- 20″ 1.8 GHz SD, 1 GB/80, $299
- 20″ 2.0 GHz SD, 512/250, $349
- 20″ 2.1 GHz iSight SD, 1 GB/250, $379
Ground shipping may add $36 or more.
- 17″ 1.6 GHz SD, 1/160, $249.99
We also track iMac G4 deals, eMac deals, and Mac mini deals for those who don’t need G5 power. For more power, see the Best Intel iMac Deals.
Keywords: #lemdeals #imacdeals #ppcdeals
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