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