The Power Mac G5 is really pretty much over in terms of being powerful enough for someone who is doing professional design work. We have very few clients left still doing professional design work on G5’s. Some of the more recent Power Mac G5’s are “okay” for some use, but at this point, it’s really time to move on. In some cases, even the Mac Mini is a better machine in certain situations. If someone comes to us with a Power Mac G5 that needs, more RAM, a new hard drive, AND wants to also upgrade to Leopard, it’s pretty much not even worth it. Leopard (10.5) is the last OS that will run on the G5 and is no longer available for sale from Apple. With a Mac Mini you get a new OS (10.6) and iLife ’09 for free. A new Mini is only $599. Same holds true for a unit that needs a major repair, in almost all cases a repair is not worth pursuing.
If you “retire” a Power Mac G5 you can reuse your keyboard and mouse, and in most cases your monitor too with the new Mac Mini.
Now that the new iMacs can support up to 8 GBs of RAM, even the low end one is pretty nice for a designer (it now is 21.5″ and has a great display), but the high end iMacs are even better for design work with better video performance and a 27″ display. You can get one with a Quad-Core processor for $2000.
Some of the G5’s are now on Apple’s “Vintage” list and we’ll start having issues finding parts here pretty soon. Also, Apple’s newest OS 10.6 (Snow Leopard) won’t run on the Power PC platform.
If you have a G5 and you’re still using it, the hard drive is really beyond it’s life expectancy, so if you plan on continuing to use it, the hard drive should be replaced at some point. I have a whole website about hard drive retirement. And, as always make sure you have your data backed up as hard drives seem to have way of dying at the worst possible time.
See my web page about why you should consider “retiring” your hard drive before it fails at: http://www.HardDrivesDie.com
For more facts on why retiring a Power Mac G4 or G5 is a good idea, take a look at this previous MacMedics Blog post from earlier this year.
If you’re thinking about a new Macintosh system for Graphic Design (or anything else!), please give your closest MacMedics office a call. We would be delighted to help you pick out a new model.