Holy Goodness, the G5 You Don

On July 21, 2003, in Opinion, by Chris Seibold

There’s been some controversy about the G5, some folks aver that this is a computer so powerful you’re grandchildren will be using your hand me down Mac long after you’ve reached thermal equilibrium, while others proclaim that developers will soon find a way to tax the G5 to the point where you’ll be begging for a G6. Who’s right? How would I know,? I’m a pretty bad prognosticator, I picked soap to win the battle against France. Hence I won’t make a bold prediction about the longevity of the G5 but I will opine on another issue: If you’re spending your own money you don’t need a G5, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get one.

Let’s get something else out of the way: if you’re spending someone else’s money you still don’t need the pro level colander Mac, but hey it’s their cash. Well that’s probably not right, I suppose there are a few pros who could really use the power of a G5, if you’re mocking up a full scale Lucas movie the G5 is right up your alley. The easiest way to tell if you really need a G5/spaghetti extruder is to see how long you wait on your computer. If you count the time in minutes, then spend your way to perforated glory, if not then you’re probably wasting your cash.

Take your average computer user: let us imagine him as a 34 year old, roundish, six foot three inch, sleep deprived father of a nine month old (the demographics bear this generalization out, trust me). This paste eater mainly uses his computer for the Internet, word processing, spreadsheet stuff and occasional gaming. Now where are the major timesavings going to be? Well word processing pretty much got as good as it was going to get with the SE 30, the requirements for effective word processing are comparatively minimal despite the bloat of some word processors. Suffice it to say using a Griffo Grill to word process is like killing starlings using a USMC M40A3 sniper rifle. Maybe you use a spreadsheet to balance the checkbook, well unless you’ve got a really big spreadsheet going, say a file counting the number of exclamation marks in John McEnroe’s recent book (a kajillion!) then you’re not going to see much of a time savings by using the mesh Mac. That leaves gaming. With gaming, it’s all about gaming right? I suppose, I guess, and well… probably not. Frame rates seem to be a key gaming component but the human eye has a limitation that renders frame rates beyond a certain level essentially superfluous. If you’re getting more than thirty FPS (actually much less) I suspect the air hockey Mac is not for you. You’ll find better value elsewhere.

To summarize: if you’re not getting paid to use a Mac, then the G5 fan-o-matic is not a necessity, or to put a finer point on it, if you can’t expense it you don’t need it. For example, I certainly don’t require a G5, not by any stretch of the imagination. I make a few small videos and I would like a faster Mac for that labor of love but I suspect a dual 500 MHz G4 would be plenty, aww, who am I trying to kid? A single 400 MHz G4 is plenty. So if you’re like me (six three and named Chris) you don’t need the G5 five any more than Bill Gates needs another billion dollars.

But hey, this is America, when did actually needing something become a prerequisite to buying something? If it were how many Porsches would you see? Logic aside let’s face the emotional truth: We all want that matte finish G5. I want one, my parents want one, and my dog wants one. Well the dog might be happy with a top of the line Nylabone. For most semi sentient beings (Windows users and dogs excepted) the porta heater Mac is lust worthy upgrade, we just need some tangible reasons to part with the dough. I’ll go with this one: some day my grand kids will use it (lifted from the first paragraph, hey I am sudden believer!) Not that I have any grand kids but years from now… No, that’s no good my kid will probably use Windows to spite me (much like I root against Notre Dame and Touchdown Jesus to spite my father). Well the coin sorter Mac is sixty-four bit, which is twice as much as the thirty bit computers we normally use. And who hasn’t felt the pain and ostracization of thirty-two bitness? That doesn’t really solidify the point either, though it does seem like a lot more assembly required (someone said to me: ÒSixty four pieces! It’s going to take all day to set it up!Ó they rely on a Casio for their computing needs). Is there a reason to upgrade to a radiator Mac for most of us? Probably not, but you know it’s too much to resist, so raid the college fund, call it an investment in edutainment, and buy one more thing you don’t need. Of course the Flowbe Mac isn’t a necessity but it will be your favorite personal indulgence. Trust me you’ll use it more than that hot tub you installed.


Chris Seibold

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