The One Where my G5 iMac Finally Arrives | December 7, 2004

So after what seemed like an eternity, I finally took delivery of my G5 iMac. Sliding it out of the box my first thoughts were very positive. It looked really nice sitting there all shiny and new. Still a bit ungainly but I could see myself warming to it. My second thoughts were “bloody hell, this thing weighs a tonne”. I don’t have a kg to kg comparison but it felt about twice as heavy as my G4 iMac. I guess a lot of the weight comes from the metal stand, which I imagine needs to be heavy to counterbalance the weight of the machine and stop it from toppling over.

Getting the machine home the very first thing I did was take the back off. No, this wasn’t some geek desire to see the guts of my new G5 before I’d even booted it up, although I have to admit it was pretty interesting. Like most new Mac owners my first job, nay duty, was to add more RAM. Rather than pay through the nose for Apple branded RAM, at the suggestions of a few of my visitors I bought a 1GB DIMM from Crucial for about half the price. Apparently there is an issue with the RAM configuration in the G5 iMacs which mean you only get a 128-bit memory bus if you use two DIMMs of the same composition. I did consider buying 2×512MB DIMMs but that would have stopped me from upgrading my RAM as easily, as well as leaving me with an unused 256MB DIMM. This ways I’ve now got a machine with 1.25GB RAM, albeit with a 64-bit memory bus.

Making a space for the new G5 on my desktop, I plugged the machine in, turned it on and started the set-up process. The first task was to pair my bluetooth mouse and keyboard with the machine which went pretty smoothly. One of the great things with the current set-up assistant is it’s ability to use your old mac as a firewire drive and copy over all your users, files, applications and preferences. I’ve never done this before, but the whole process was a doodle. Just link the two Macs via a firewire cable, restart the old Mac in “Target Disk” by holding down the T key while it’s booting, and then use a simple dialogue to decide what users and files to copy over. About an hour and a half later My G5 was basically a mirror of my G4, but with a shed load more power.

My first impressions of the machine was pretty good. The boot-up process was about 10 times faster than my old machine, helped in no small part I’m sure by all that extra RAM. The extra screen real-estate was great and I’m now able to properly work on an 800×600 Photoshop comp without all the pallets getting in the way. To really test out the speed though my first port of call was Halo. On my old Mac I played Halo on the lowest settings possible and the performance was still pretty ropey. On my G5 I was able to turn all the settings up to their max, allowing me to play Halo for the first time in all it’s graphic glory. I’d convinced myself that one of the reasons I was rubbish at playing Halo online was due to the performance of my machine. Sadly 2 hours of game playing later I can attest that I’m actually just shockingly bad at the game and my gamesplay has absolutely nothing to do with my hardware.

I quite like the bluetooth mouse and keyboard, however there is a noticeable lag between the computer waking up from sleep and the mouse working. Also on a couple of occasions the mouse has just not been recognised at all and I’ve had to re-boot manually, which isn’t a great advert. As I’ve never had a wireless mouse and keyboard before, how much do they chew through batteries. Should I be turning them off over night and when I’m out of the house, or do they use very little power when not in use?

My other main gripe is that the speakers really do suck. When I got my old iMac I thought the Apple pro speakers were amazing. I’d honestly never heard computer speakers sound that good and they are one of the reasons why most of my music listening is now done on my Mac. The speakers on the new G5 iMac are fine for everyday computer use but absolutely no good for listening to music. As such I think one of the first thing I’m going to have to do is buy new speakers.

So despite the new iMac not looking half as good as the old one, it wins hands down in terms of performance, and I’m looking forward to getting a lot more use out of it in the weeks to come. Now all I need to do it think of a way to convince my boss to buy me one for work.

Posted at December 7, 2004 12:42 AM


Mark said on December 7, 2004 1:26 AM

I use a Kensington PocketMouse Pro Wireless and I get about 5 weeks lifetime out of two AAA batteries. A typical day see a good 8+ hours of use. I also notice a lag when the mouse has “gone to sleep.” Sometimes I think smacking a key on the keypad speeds up the wake up process. I can live with the lag tho, as I don’t have to deal with a wire all the time.

Cleay said on December 7, 2004 3:24 AM

At least you were able to get hold of one!
The shipping date for a 20” here in New Zealand is late Jan! (although a few 17’s a trickling in now) - I figure by then they’ll have anounced rev b at the macworld expo - then I’ll have to wait another few months for the new model!

Nathan said on December 7, 2004 6:41 AM

You should definitly get some 5.1 surround sound speakers ot take advantage of the advanced audio output of the iMac. I am faily certain they have a new optical/stero jack on the back for either 6 or 2 channel sound. Go with 6 channels.

Wolfgang Bartelme said on December 7, 2004 6:43 AM

Congratulations - it’s always a great experience setting up a new Mac. I just had a kind dejavu - remember setting up my recently bought Dual 2.5 G5 :)

Jonathan Fenocchi said on December 7, 2004 7:25 AM

Just to make you guys feel better about the wireless mouse thing, the same issue occurs on Windows XP (although with a Targus wireless mouse). A recently purchased Sharp laptop (with an AMD 64-bit processor) even does it. There is a noticable lag before the mouse reactivates. This usually happens after the screensaver comes on. However, it may be the wireless mouse rather than the operating system. Although very, very old, I have a wireless MicroInnovations mouse which connects through the old mouse port (instead of USB) and it activates the computer instantly. This could be, though, that there is no “on” or “off” mode.

Matthew said on December 7, 2004 8:55 AM

Bad at Halo eh? sound of a shotgun being loaded I’m waiting online to shoot one of my favourite designers. What’s your normal Halo name?

Ben said on December 7, 2004 10:13 AM

Is the Crucial RAM any good? Being a believer in “there is no such thing as a good deal” I bought that it may conflict somehow, and I need some more RAM for my shiny new 12” PB. Things running smoothly?

Tim said on December 7, 2004 10:31 AM

I don’t suppose you’re selling the G4, Andy?? :)

Small Paul said on December 7, 2004 10:48 AM

Well, it all sounds lovely. Though I don’t see what’s wrong with a nice, pink G3 iMac.

Drew said on December 7, 2004 11:26 AM

I have the bluetooth keyboard with my Powerbook, Andy, and the batteries seem to last about 4-5 months. I never switch it off.

Sometimes my Mac doesn’t find the keyboard when I return to my desk. The best solution I’ve found is to turn bluetooth off and back on, and then flick the keyboard off and back on and press some keys. It usually gets picked up in a couple of seconds.

I’m not sure how you’d turn bluetooth on and off without the mouse working, but it may be possible to assign a keyboard shortcut to it.

chrisp said on December 7, 2004 12:36 PM

My 20” arrived last Thursday c/w Bluetooth mouse and keyboard + 1GB (paid Apple’s prices though!).

I haven’t noticed much lag until mouse is recognized, although I had to have a couple of tries at pairing the keyboard when setting up, but no problems since.

Performance is great for everything I want to do - Fireworks now really flies - way faster than my 867MHz Powerbook - which I now leave on my desk at work. Can’t wait for my son to get back from Uni so I can steal his Saitek joystick for X-Plane.

For music, try Airport Express feeding your hifi via a Musical Fidelity X-DAC and rip your CDs into iTunes using Apple Lossless. Anyone know of a way of getting GarageBand to work with AP Express?

Rob McMichael said on December 7, 2004 1:58 PM

I agree with Chris Andy, you should look into getting an Airport to link up to your home hifi saving you on getting new speakers (not much help if they are in a room far away though)

That or try and promote your amazon wish list a bit more ;)

Andy Budd said on December 7, 2004 3:03 PM

I’ve got an Airport Express and have my stereo in the livingroom plugged into it. However my Mac is in my bedroom so I need some speakers for there.

I guess I could by another Airport Express, but that seems a little extravagant. A better option may be just to get a long-ish audio lead and plug my stereo in the bedroom into the Mac.

Stephane said on December 7, 2004 4:20 PM

Just got my new iMac last Friday, same config as yours.

Been playing Nanosaur2 all weekend with 3D glasses. I also have had to reboot manually because the Keyboard/mouse didn’t answer anymore, I only thought after to plug my old keyboard -DOH !

I also got an Airport express and I had a couple of problems but I don’t know anything about wireless network so… Looking now for a small system or powered speaker for it.

I’m also a little bit afraid that my cat could toppled my Mac or scratch the screen :-(

p.s. Did you get the 17’ ? How do you find the screen, I’m less than impress with the viewable angle.

Rob McMichael said on December 7, 2004 6:01 PM

Thats what I have at the moment andy, just an amp and speakers and then a computer rather than CD player, radio etc.
Looks like a nice clean set up you have there Stephane :)

Andrew Stewart said on December 7, 2004 7:29 PM

Ben, go with RAM from crucial. I upgraded my 12” PB to 768Mb and it makes such a difference.

I’ve bought from them before and never had problems. They’ll have it to you in 24hrs aswell.

Krissy said on December 9, 2004 1:18 PM

I pick up my iMac tomorrow. I’m so excited! I can’t wait to just open the box - how geektastic!

Joshua Heyer said on December 11, 2004 4:15 AM


Could you explain what the problem is with the 2 GB of RAM and G5 iMac? I’m looking to get the 20” model in the first half of 2005 and I’d like to know what’s going on with the memory. Thanks.

parasme said on December 13, 2004 11:04 PM


Andy Budd said on December 14, 2004 1:06 AM

Krissy: Congrats on the new iMac.

Joshua: From what I understand, you only get a 128-bit memory bus if you have two DIMMs of the same composition. So if you’ve got 2×512MB your computer is likely to be a bit faster than if you’ve got 1×1GB. However in reality I doubt it makes that much difference.

Ian: Loverly Christmas card mate, but I think it belongs on another post.