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New computer for recording. Older G5? Audio Interfaces
Old 29th December 2010
Here for the gear

New computer for recording. Older G5?

Hi guys,

(Not to beat the dead horse... I know this subject has been tackled numerous times on here but I've found that other people's situations are different than mine leaving me with unanswered questions...)

So I'm looking to buy a new computer to use as a daw. Right now I'm using a Presonus Firepod FP10 and running Cubase 5 on an hp PC with an Intel Core 2 Duo @1.50 GHz with 2 GB of RAM. This setup works fine if I'm just recording some guitar scratch tracks but once I start using Plug-Ins, VST or midi instruments, and what not, then the program crashes.

Right now I also use this computer for going online and other general computer tasks (word processor, watching movies) but I have stripped the computer of needless programs and turned off the vista's eye candy in order to get back some of my RAM.

Alot of people say that my rig should be decent for recording, especially since an interface like the Presonus FP10 is supposed to handle some of the processing for my cpu, so maybe its just that I'm using too much plugins or midi instruments or that I just need a dedicated daw. So my questions are...

Would a G5 that is a couple years old be able to handle all the processing that my obsession with plug ins and midi instruments would incur? (Sorry for the redirect but) Would this one on ebay (or another like it) do the job? I'm hoping to keep my new daw in the $500 - $750 (or less) range if thats possible...

Apple Power Mac G5 Desktop Dual 2x 1.8GHz 2GB 160GB OSX - eBay (item 150538381704 end time Dec-30-10 15:43:05 PST)

Any help or advice would be much appreciated!
Old 29th December 2010
Gear Addict
pearldrum944's Avatar
G5s are more than just a "couple years old". Try 5 years or more...

I would stay away from a G5, as they are quickly becoming dinosaurs these days, there are a lot of software companies that are no longer supporting them...I'm about to dump my old G5 on craigslist.

I guess if you only intend on using it temporarily it could be worthwhile, but at least try to get a dual 2.5ghz version if you want to run a lot of plug-ins.

Make sure that you research what software you use as well to make sure it will still work on Leopard.
Old 29th December 2010
I would highly recommend that you save a bit more and get a newer Mac with Intel processors - The Power PC Macs are essentially obsolete and support for them is diminishing fast; in my opinion it'd be a waste of time and money to convert your setup to something that is already a couple years behind the curve. You could also consider an iMac if you don't need the Mac Pro's expansion options.
Old 29th December 2010
Gear Addict
Bruno B's Avatar

I agree with the posts above.

So much of the latest software is Intel-only and won't work on PPC G5s. If you're running older software and don't need the latest OS, then a G5 at the right price would be ok.

Even then, my wife's old 2.13GHz intel macbook is more powerful than the fastest G5.

Old 29th December 2010
Here for the gear

Thanks guys! I hadn't considered the issue of my software being incompatible on a Mac OS.
Old 29th December 2010
Lives for gear
G5's are complicated machines to troubleshoot and maintain. In the hands of an experienced mac user, a tremendous amount of work can get done on a dual 2.0, 2.3, or 2.5ghz with relative ease.

You have to stay on 10.4.11 for best performance (ie no Leopard) and be OK with using older software. Fast hard drives and plenty of RAM are a must.

Try and get a last generation dual-core (as in one processor, two cores per as opposed to the two processor, one core per) model if possible.


that said, if it's your first mac - i would just save and get a new one. It will last you 5+ years, you'll have great support, and x86 processors. G5's are older generation Power-PC processors, and at this point even some fresh faced apple "geniuses" don't even know what "PPC" stands for...

so in a nutshell-DONT DO IT
Old 29th December 2010
Gear Maniac
nuemes's Avatar

Ditto what OldTimey1 said.

The PPC G5's are already becoming useless for music because they don't have the Intel processor which is the only one being supported now. New plugins are already coming out that you wouldn't be able to use.

Get a new Mac. Keep in mind the same thing will likely happen with your new Mac in 5+yrs
Old 29th December 2010
Lives for gear
gsilbers's Avatar

damn. no man, a new mac mini will be better, and have more power than most g5.

a lot of g5 have the liquid coolant failed and leak and brake or disable the motherboard and or power supply.
and the fans it used to have where soooo big it almost is half of all the computer. huge fans. so its heavy and doesn't have a lot of power.
Old 30th December 2010
Here for the gear

Originally Posted by gsilbers View Post
damn. no man, a new mac mini will be better, and have more power than most g5.
Do you guys think I'd be alright using this puppy?

Apple Mac mini MC239LL/A 2.53GHz/4GB/320G/DVDRW - eBay (item 320636708015 end time Jan-29-11 09:55:54 PST)

It seems to have a good processor and a good amount RAM at a fair price. It wouldn't be compatible with my cubase (or any steinberg product) but I might update the operating system and just start using pro tools. Or perhaps I could find a version of protools that would run on the older Mac OS X 10.5 that this Mac Mini comes with...
Old 31st December 2010
Lives for gear
Funny Cat's Avatar
It can be sad to be a slut

Boy, after reading this thread, I feel so inadequate now . I've got an older G5 (1.8GHz PPC x2) with 2.5 gigs of RAM and I'm running REAPER with Leopard 10.5.1 and getting 30+ tracks with multiple plugins on every channel with no hiccups .

Let me just say that I don't think the Mac Mini is good for music. I have one that I use from time to time but it's just too dang slow for any serious processing IMO. It's good for burning CD's and DVD's though. But I'm really satisfied with the G5....and I have to add that I don't plan on updating for a while because I'm really happy with the results I'm getting and generally don't update my plugs too often either.

So I guess it just depends on your mentality. Getting an Intel G5 will allow you to run the current slew of plugs but if your on a really tight budget and just want to make music then just go for it. The other posters have given some great insight though, so you've got a lot to think about now. Good luck thumbsup
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