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need help with purchasing a G4

Discussion in 'Recording' started by strobelightaddiction, Jan 1, 2005.

  1. hey I'm currently a PC user but hope to soon make some major upgrades to my current setup. First of all I'm trying to get a mac, which I've wanted since I got into digital audio. I recentley found a used G4 for $1000 on dvwarehouse.com.

    Here's the specs: The Apple Power Macintosh G4/800MHz Dual Processor QS, dubbed 'Quicksilver' for its revised case design, features dual 800 MHz PowerPC 7450 (G4) processors (each with the AltiVec "Velocity Engine" vector processing unit), a 256k level 2 on-chip cache and one 2 MB level 3 backside cache. In addition, this model ships with 256 MB of PC133 SDRAM, an 80 GB (7200 RPM) Ultra ATA/66 hard drive, a CD-RW/DVD-R SuperDrive, an NVIDIA GeForce2 MX TwinView (AGP 4X) video card with 64 MB of SDRAM. A digital audio sound system with Tripath 'Class T' amplifier rounds this unit out, all encased in a translucent silver and white tower case with a fold-down side door that makes upgrading effortless

    I have a few questions: what's a QS processor and is it any different from processors in other macs? Also is this a good buy or could I get something better for the money? How many firewire and USB 2.0 ports does it have? If this PC comes with an older OS like OS 9 can I upgrade it to OSX for a small price? And lastly but most important is this a good computer for running protools LE with either an mbox or digi 002r?
  2. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    For 1k you can probably get a dual 867 or dual 1GH G4 if you look around- bear in mind that 1 GB ram is a must nowdays. If you won't be using a lotta Virtual Instruments the dual 800 should give you at least 24+ tracks w/ plugins with no sweat. I have a dual 867 with 1.5 GB ram and I get in the neighborhood of 40 tracks with no effort- after that is pushing it- I plan to remain with my current set up another year or so unless I get a movie project that I am pursuing- then a G5 will be a must as I will need to run a lotta VI's
  3. Is 1 GB ram absolutley necessary because dvwarehouse.com only has G4's with 512 MB and they cost about $1800. I'm not exacty sure which computer is best; I'm basically trying to run PT LE, reason 2.5, midiquest, and I may get Reaktor 4 in the future. I don't plan on running many other applications on it other than the ones the come with the OS. I know that I want OSX, at least 2 firewire and 3 usb 2.0 ports, and probably plan on installing an m-audio audiophile 192 PCI card. It's really kinda difficult trying to find out what I need (especially since I don't know too much about PCs and unfortunatley even less about macs) or where to buy it so if you have any other good advice or better sites than dvwarehouse.com I'd appreciate it.
  4. Big_D

    Big_D Well-Known Member

    Yes, 1 GB is pretty much standard for DAW's of any kind. You can get away with 512 MB for your tracking but unless your using mostly outboard gear for effects and dynamics processing you will want 1 GB. I have found that 16 tracks of audio (on a P4-2.4 GHz PC w/ Cubase) using plugins is about the limit with 512 MB before performance starts to drop off, it's still useable up to 24 tracks but after that it gets ugly. These are not concrete numbers as there are so many variables, (MIDI, VI's # of plugs etc) but I think it's in the ballpark. As far as the MAC's, Xavier knows better than I as he is a long time MAC user and I trust his advice is very accurate.

    If the G4 doesn't come with enough RAM for your needs you can always add some as long as there are available DIMM slots on the MOBO or you can replace the DIMM's if there are no available slots. At @ $100 for 512 MB it's a cheap performance upgrade. I'm sure Xavier and others can point you to cheaper sources for used MAC's.

    Good Luck!
  5. looks like my $1000 G4 is turning into a $1700 G5

    Well turns out that a used G4 from dvwarehouse with 512 is actually more than 2 new G5s from mac's website that I'm now looking at. Both are standard G5/1.8 GHz except the first has 1 GB of ram and an 80GB harddrive, the other has 512 MB of ram and a 160GB harddrive. So basically I'm asking is it better to have a powerful harddrive and less ram or will a system with an 80GB harddrive and 1 GB of ram run better?
  6. Big_D

    Big_D Well-Known Member

    You really should have (2) hard drives, one for apps and one for audio files. The 80 GB drives are fine for apps and you can just add a second drive (120 GB or larger) for your audio. I would suggest the machine with more RAM and add a larger second drive.

    FYI, computer manufactuers (including Apple) charge out the wahzoo (2 to 3x more) for things like extra RAM and secondary drives. You can save alot of money by buying the parts and putting them in yourself. It's usually more cost effective to get the fastest processor you can afford and add the big drives and more memory yourself.
  7. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    Ram for a G4 is about $109 for 512 MB- Ata hard drives I've seen as cheap as $135 for a 250 GB drive (maxtor 7800 RPM)- These two items will make a big difference in performance.

    Hey big D, congratulations on your modhood and welcome to the brotherhood!
  8. Big_D

    Big_D Well-Known Member

    Thanks Xavier, I'm glad to be part of RO and such a great group of guys.

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