Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Hardware

PPC G5 On The Way -- And Fast 526

Posted by timothy
from the technodiversity dept.
Sulka writes: "The Register has a report claiming the PPC G5 CPU is ready for production and will be launched by Apple in January. Initial batch would include a 1.6GHz version with 2GHz to follow. 64 bit architecture, 10 stage pipeline, Silicon-On-Insulator and other buzzwords are mentioned." Maybe this will mean cheaper G4s for those of us who buy computers somewhat lower on the food chain, too.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

PPC G5 On The Way -- And Fast

Comments Filter:
  • OS X (Score:3, Troll)

    by ekrout (139379) on Monday September 17, 2001 @10:34AM (#2309022) Journal
    Hmmm, maybe these new b0xen will actually be able to run OS X and all its interface dandies without feeling like you're on a an old 386. The windows transparency, although sexy, is really rough on the machines; I have yet to see an Apple machine that can run OS X smoothly.
    • by Noer (85363)
      My dual 533MHz G4 runs OS X 10.0.4 as smooth as silk, even window resizing for the most part. 10.1 is what'll really help that on slower machines.

      Yes, I think a G5 would make OS X really kick some wintel ass.
      • Re:OS X (Score:2, Funny)

        by Optic (6803)
        Yeah, all it needs is some native apps. :)
        • by Noer (85363)
          Do you mean the ones that are available already, like Omniweb, Stone Studio, Appleworks, BBEdit, Filemaker Pro, and tons of Unix apps?

          Or the ones that'll be available this fall, like MS Office?
    • Re:OS X (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jeffy124 (453342)
      OS X 10.1 will be released sometime this month. I've seen beta versions, and it's kickin'. Look for that smoothness you're so desparately in need of. Look for a faster GUI, faster application boot time, more organized dock (some things have been moved), and other improvements.
    • But _why_ should window transparency be an issue? That's all taken care of by the video card. Sure, it makes a blit slower, but we're still talking "insanely fast" here. Bits of interface fluff should not be hogging up significant portions of the CPU.
      • Re:OS X (Score:4, Informative)

        by barryblack (31922) on Monday September 17, 2001 @10:46AM (#2309073)
        The problem is that mac os x uses display technology that is not easily accelerated by current graphics cards. A lot of screen drawing is done with vectors and bezier curves that are closer to the type of acceleration that a 3d card provides and not a 2d card. However, until recently, 3d cards weren't easily made to run custom routines. You had to rely on a set of standard calls. The geforce 3 changed this. I'm sure once those drivers mature, os x will really shine. On a side note, I run os x every day on a powerbook G4. While I wouldn't call the us fast, it is very usalbe. 10.1 will only improve on this.
        • Re:OS X (Score:2, Informative)

          by melatonin (443194)
          The problem is that mac os x uses display technology that is not easily accelerated by current graphics cards. A lot of screen drawing is done with vectors and bezier curves that are closer to the type of acceleration that a 3d card provides and not a 2d card.

          A few common misconceptions here. First of all, most of the drawing in OS X (which I'm using right now :) is done by blitting and compositing graphics. Quartz main claim to fame is its ability to composite graphics (which is how you get translucency). It's also capable of scaling and warping stuff, but those effects are used sparingly, and takes a CPU hit when you do. There's nothing there that a 3D card can't handle.

          Quartz 2D does support creating vector graphics, but pretty much nothing you see on an average OS X screen is using vector graphics. The GUI is made up of a bunch of TIFF files.

          So why is OS X slow? Because it's just ass slow. 10.1 addresses this. There were a LOT of changes in the last few months before release, and I'm sure making things fast was no where near as important as making things work (and complete!). Honestly, there are things that are just outright broken in 10.0 release (and still in 10.0.4).

          10.1 is wickedly fast. But then, look at what you're comparing it too :) For example, top takes up 12% of this CPU (G3/400).

        • The problem is that mac os x uses display technology that is not easily accelerated by current graphics cards. A lot of screen drawing is done with vectors and bezier curves that are closer to the type of acceleration that a 3d card provides and not a 2d card.

          The above comment may have been modded up to 4 ("Insightful"), but it is wrong.

          Bezier curves and vectors are just lines. The former breaks down into discrete line segments. Both of these can make use of 2D line drawing acceleration.

          Second of all, we're not talking about a 66 MHz 486 here. We're talking about a 300+ MHz superscalar processor. Breaking down some curves and such is not a huge load on such a CPU. I am routinely astounded at how slow people think processors are ("Oh, that package has context sensitive help? It must need a 1.2 GHz Athlon!").

          Bottom line: This is bad coding, plain and simple.
    • by stripes (3681)
      Hmmm, maybe these new b0xen will actually be able to run OS X and all its interface dandies without feeling like you're on a an old 386.

      Actually you can do that right now. I have a laptop, and OSX was pretty slugish on it. I bought another 512M of RAM (bringing it to 640M) and it runs much much much faster.

      Granted that is pretty pigish, but at least you can fix it now. Apparently OS X 10.1 will be a lot faster as well (according to Apple at least), but we will know that later this month one way or another.

    • My 25mhz 68040-based NeXTstation Color does alpha channel transparency just fine, thank you. There is something else about Mac OSX that makes it so slow. fwiw, the current release is very much still beta quality and X.1 is supposed to be quite a bit more optimized.

      burris
    • by jcr (53032)
      >I have yet to see an Apple machine that can run OS X smoothly.

      It runs just fine on my 450Mhz cube with 704Mb RAM.

      The transparency isn't really what hurts OSX performance, it's paging. Toss another 256Mb in most macs, and OSX smoothes right out.

      -jcr
  • Imagine a Beowulf... ah never mind.
    ;)

    I'd like to get my hands on a (hopefully cheaper) G4, and put Yellow Dog on it. I love YD on my G3, it flies...

    • I'll bet it'll run Quake at 100fps!!1
  • Mmmm... (Score:2, Funny)

    by krugdm (322700)
    2 Ghz of PPC goodness. Ahhh. Now, to start figuring out how to convince my wife why I need one...
  • by imac.usr (58845) on Monday September 17, 2001 @10:41AM (#2309052) Homepage
    Hmmmm. This might actually represent a problem for Apple. Consider:
    1. Their fastest processor is an 867 MHz G4.
    2. Their fastest machine is a dual-800 MHz G4.
    3. When the G5 is available, the slowest speed going to the desktop market according to the article is 1.2 GHz.
    4. The rumor (unlikely as it sounds) is that there'll be an announcement at MacWorld Expo San Francisco of a G5-powered Mac.

    Now, if you knew a machine that was 50% faster in clockspeed than the current model was just a month or two away, wouldn't you want to wait? I would. And that's pretty much the last thing Apple really needs at the mement.

    Perhaps they should start with the slower speed models? Even an 800 MHz G5 should be faster than the current G4s, if coupled with a better-performing chipset/bus.

    • That's why Steve Jobs is so secretive, and doesn't like to spill the beans until they're ready. When Apple has been ready in the past, they had the store open and taking pre-orders on the new merchandise within hours of the public announcement.



      Perhaps that's what they were going to announce at Apple Expo 2001 in Paris on Sept. 26, though had to cancel due to the attacks. yahoo.com [yahoo.com]


    • When the G5 is available, the slowest speed going to the desktop market according to the article is 1.2 GHz.

      MHz != performance. Nothing else matters but the time you spend waiting for an operation to complete.

      Apple advertises the PowerPC G4 as being 100% faster than P6-core (Celeron/PIII) processors at a given clock rate, which is about right for digital signal processing applications such as Photoshop filters. In actual use, this figure is closer to 50% faster, making Apple's fastest processor (867 MHz G4) equivalent to a 1.3 GHz PIII. Yes, Apple's offerings are a bit slow right now, but it's not as bad as is commonly thought, and the G5 will easily beat P4.

      • Did you read his post? He's not comparing a G4 to a PIII/P4! He's comparing it to future G5s and how people might wait a couple of months for their release rather than buying G4s now when Apple needs the revenue most.
      • Mhz == Performance in the mind of consumers. Just try to explain clock cycles to a customer at CompUSA who barely knows about computers and who was told by an equally unsaavy friend "look at Mhz". Good luck. I used to sell computers in the retail world, so I know what I'm talking about. I'm happy that apple finally stuck Motorola's feet in the fire and got them to put out a chip whose specs look better to the average consumer.
    • What you're referring to even has a name: The Osborne effect. After the computer maker Osborne that went bankrupt in the early 80's because people stopped buying their tremendously successful "portable" Osborne 1 machine because the Osborne 2 was supposed to be so incredibly much better... The Osborne 2 never got to market.

      There is even find a paper about the problem [folk.uio.no] on the web.

      I think you'll find that Steve Jobs knows how to market things to avoid that problem...

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Read the article

      So claim sources said to be close to Apple, at any rate. The new CPU will be offered at 800MHz, 1GHz, 1.2GHz, 1.4GHz and 1.6GHz, and while the first two are nominally aimed at the embedded space - the others are aimed straight at the desktop, we hear - we can see Apple using them as to transition over from the top end G4, the PowerPC 7450.

    • Or maybe not... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      The Osborne Effect cuts both ways. If you like Macs but were thinking of buying an Intel-based machine in the near future, you might now be tempted to wait a few months for a G5-based Mac.
    • I wouldn't worry too much, though; Apple has an incredibly strong cash position that can push it forward until this announcement.

      And don't forget this kind of quantum leap means that they'll really clean up in January. If they had a cash crunch, I'd worry, but the reality is very far from that.

      I would guess now that Steve Jobs is now going to speak at Seybold?

      D
  • Wow, with 1.6 Ghz ready in a few months and a possible version at 2.0 Ghz Apple might be able to drop the PPC Mhz is not a Intel Mhz campaign that they were doing a while ago. They could drop Mhz numbers left and right and even compete with AMD's numbers. This might be what the PPC and Apple Marketing needed to increase Apple market share and ensure that Apple survives. I'm drooling over the possibility that prices of the G4 will fall to "affordable" levels. These OSX boxes seem to make a nice unix web development box where you can do your flash and movie stuff too.

    Also, if the RISC architecture lives up to itself, the 2 Ghz should be a LOT faster than the Intel 2Ghz. Hopefully the FPU is a lot better too.
    • by jeffy124 (453342) on Monday September 17, 2001 @10:57AM (#2309140) Homepage Journal
      it's been discussed MANY times on /. that there's more to a chip than MHz or GHz. Intel's fastest chip may indeed run at 2GHz, but it also has (IIRC) a 20 stage pipeline. Meanwhile, the G4 chips have a 7-stage pipeline. The new G5 has a 10 stage but is also 64 bit, so I dont know how it will compare to the current G4s in performance. I think it will probably be similar at the start, but G5 will eventually pull away and smoke the G4 over time.

      I think Apple has already determined that they arent gonna use clock speed in advertising. They're simply using the numbers G3, G4, and now G5. That's pretty much similar to AMD's new campaign of AMD 7000 chips or something like that.
      • Read the parent post again - he said that it is a marketting thing. He's not saying that all Mhz are equal...he's basically saying that Apple has had trouble convincing the average consumer that 400PPC is just as good as 900Intel.

        The consumer doesn't know about pipelines and all that, nor care. No matter how much you explain the virtues of a RISC to them, they are still gonna be thinking "But the intel chips are 900Mhz".

        Regardless of how Apple markets it, this could help out when the average joe goes into CompUSA and the salesman can tell him that the G5 runs at 2GHz, just like the new PIV machine.
        • Apple should just start marketing the chips based on a performance number, instead of a clock speed. Instad of a 400MHz G4, how about a G4-PR900?

          This seems like such a good idea!

          (come on, you know you're all closet cyrix fans. really, they were wonderful. they were just, uh, underappreciated!)
    • Wow, with 1.6 Ghz ready in a few months and a possible version at 2.0 Ghz Apple might be able to drop the PPC Mhz is not a Intel Mhz campaign that they were doing a while ago.

      Why? You think Intel is going to stand still as Motorola catches up?

      Besides it is still likely to be true. You can pretty much never compare Mhz to Mhz between two different CPU designs and come out with the right idea. You really do need to benchmark what you will do with it. Of corse it could be that the P-IIII or K7 is faster, clock for clock, or only given it's higher clock rate depending on what you are running...

  • I love the PowerPC, I really do. Very, very nice from a programmer's point of view, and very low power consumption--a major win--compared to anything from Intel (and AMD, of course, as AMD is higher power than Intel). But G4-based machines are still outrageously priced. The cheapest G4, with the lowest clock speed, is $1700. Bump up the clock speed a bit and we're at $2500. That's _crazy_, considering that you can get a roughly equivalent Pentium III or Athlon system for under $800. (The G4 is a better CPU than the Pentium III or Athlon, but not _that_ much better, and the better memory systems on the PC balance out the difference in most cases.)

    The question is _Why_? Apple's machines require much less cooling hardware, plus the PowerPC chips have fewer transistors and should be easier to produce in quantity. Most likely this is where Apple is making most of its money.
    • by stripes (3681) on Monday September 17, 2001 @11:03AM (#2309168) Homepage Journal
      Apple's machines require much less cooling hardware, plus the PowerPC chips have fewer transistors and should be easier to produce in quantity. Most likely this is where Apple is making most of its money.

      There are a lot of per product costs (aka non recurring expenses, or NREs). It costs roughly as much to develop a new version of MacOS as Windows. It costs roughly as much to design a new PowerPC as it does a new P-IIII or K7. Apple has about 5% of the market.

      If you pretend it costs $100,000 to design a new OS and CPU, and that there are 100 people that buy computers, you can see that the 95 people who buy a Wintel box will have to pay about $1000 each for their share of the NRE. The 5 people that buy Apples have to pay about $20,000 each.

      In the real world it isn't quite that bad since there are more uses for the PowerPC then just Apple's products. There are also more NREs that are similar in scale for PC makers. For example the video card in a Mac is pretty much just a PC video card. Apple ships about as many PCs as a big PC maker, so their cost to design a case and motherboard is about the same.

      Still if Apple had 50% of the market rather then 5% they could manage to sell the machines for much closer to Wintel prices (maybe even under it).

      I'm sure there are some other reasons, but I have a feeling that this is the biggest one...

      • The problem is that Apple never lowered prices even back when they had much larger than 5% market share. They seem to have long ago decided on a pricing structure that has settled them into a 5% market of loyal users, and they must figure this maximizes profits for them. Increasing market share by lowering prices doesn't seem to be (and never has been) an attractive strategy for Apple, and, as you mention, the more they let their market share slide, the harder it is to do.

        They may have been on the right track with the i-Mac, but they didn't keep up the push by upgrading rapidly and continuing to reduce prices, and that one too has languished. It's really a shame--at one point i-Macs were flying off the shelves nearly as fast as Wintel hardware. I had a lot of hope for Apple at that moment.

        As someone else mentioned, G4/G5 PPC machines may be a bit better than Intel PCs, but will most people perceive them as being worth nearly _twice_ as much? Whenever I've been in the market for a new PC, I've always checked out the current crop of Mac hardware. Each time, I have liked what I've seen, but simply could not justify paying almost twice as much for similar or at most slightly better performance.
        • The problem is that Apple never lowered prices even back when they had much larger than 5% market share. They seem to have long ago decided on a pricing structure that has settled them into a 5% market of loyal users, and they must figure this maximizes profits for them. Increasing market share by lowering prices doesn't seem to be (and never has been) an attractive strategy for Apple, and, as you mention, the more they let their market share slide, the harder it is to do.

          It is hard to disagree. However i think last time around they were more costly because they were doing things like using SCSI across the line. Maybe next time around (if there is one!) they will try harder. Or maybe not.

          They may have been on the right track with the i-Mac, but they didn't keep up the push by upgrading rapidly and continuing to reduce prices, and that one too has languished. It's really a shame--at one point i-Macs were flying off the shelves nearly as fast as Wintel hardware. I had a lot of hope for Apple at that moment.

          You are right about the iMac, but I think it is less that they have failed to follow through, as Intel and the mobo makers have rushed to fill in the new niche Apple "discovered", and Apple has a hard time fighting that. I mean today's iMac really is nicer then the original by a fair margin, but the prices haven't fallen (they have gone up a little even), so now they are way behind the $500 Wintel box, the box that didn't really exist when iMac first came out (not $500 with a monitor at least).

          As someone else mentioned, G4/G5 PPC machines may be a bit better than Intel PCs, but will most people perceive them as being worth nearly _twice_ as much? Whenever I've been in the market for a new PC, I've always checked out the current crop of Mac hardware. Each time, I have liked what I've seen, but simply could not justify paying almost twice as much for similar or at most slightly better performance.

          Yep. The only machines I see that are price competitive are their laptops, which are selling very well at the moment. It may not be long until PC laptops pull ahead again though.

      • While your example works well in theory, the costs of a computer is more than the non-recoverable expenses of development. The cost also includes hard costs, or rather, the actual hardware costs of building the machine, which can in general be a lot more than the hardware development costs. Further, as Apple completely controls the hardware in the box, it is possible for Apple to reduce the total cost of the computer significantly by getting rid of legacy hardware. This is how Apple has been able to quite effectively compete in the low end of the market with the iBook and iMac models and yet make a fair profit instead of dying a slow death a'la Gateway or Compaq.
    • Because unlike Dell or Gateway, Apple has to recoup all their R&D costs, and they don't sell as many machines, so that cost is divided among fewer machines.
  • affordability (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Ender Ryan (79406) on Monday September 17, 2001 @11:13AM (#2309215) Journal
    I would love to get my hands on a PPC based box, I'd love to have MacOSX, Linux and MacOS9, but, it's too expensive.

    On the PC side, I've had the same machine for over 3 years, and I just keep upgrading 1 or 2 parts at a time. It used to be a 300 celery, now it's a AMD T-bird 900 w/Geforce2. The initial cost was about $1,200-, well under $2,000. Upgrades have run about $1,000, and from the leftover parts I put together another computer that I have connected to my T.V.

    With PPC, however, the initial cost would be $1,800+, and I know nothing about upgrades for PPC hardware. Would I be able to continually upgrade parts cheaply with a PPC based machine.

    I am interested because I would like to start developing for Linux/MacOSX/Win within the next couple years, with the main focus on Linux/MacOSX, and only on Win if it is profitable for me.

    Anyone care to explain how the PPC world works? ; )

    • Generally speaking - and your mileage will vary - the PPC world is quite simple:

      Buy a box. Use it. When it doesn't work anymore, buy a new one. Give the old one to your kids. Repeat.

      This is, of course, my experience. Since everything on PPC is so tightly "bonded", there's little need to get a new [video|sound|SCSI|etc] card every year. Although many people would disagree, what each model ships with is already somewhere around the "high end". Most often, every other year or so, they release a new, higher-end component (like, from ATI Rage to Radeon). But mostly, people just add things like zip drives, external hard drive space, or random components (new mouse, USB hub, etc etc).

    • Re:affordability (Score:3, Informative)

      by dhamsaic (410174)
      I'm in the same boat as you. I'm a Linux guy, but I really wanted to play with MacOS X without dropping $2000. So... I bought one of the new iBooks.


      I got the basic CD-ROM model - $1300 at the Apple Store in Tyson's Corner, VA. I ordered a 256MB SODIMM from Crucial. That was $150 at the time, but they're down to $49 now (Yeah, I feel like an idiot, but 64MB doesn't cut it these days). So for $1350 + shipping on the notebook, you could have a 500MHz G3 with 320 megs of RAM, 10 gig hard drive (small-ish, but definitely enough to play around on) and built in network, etc. It should come with MacOS X installed. Mine didn't, so I bugged the Apple Store until they gave me a copy. I installed it in a car ride up to Maryland - the install got done in the hour it took me to get up there (I forget exactly how long it took, I wasn't paying great attention).


      MacOS X is *awesome*. I use that little laptop as much as I can. It's small, light, seems pretty tough (although I ripped off one of the feet on the bottom when it got caught on the edge of the desk and I pulled - I could have put it back in but I didn't realize it until later, after I had picked up the piece, thought "what the hell's this?" and then thrown it away). I love it. Funny thing is, I used to hate macs. *Hated* them. Now I'm about to get a Dual 800MHz G4 with a GeForce3 for graphics/audio.


      I'd say that it's really worth it to drop the money on the iBook if you can afford it. If not, get the low end iMac - $300 cheaper, bigger hard drive, more stuff... It's not as portable, obviously, but it's still a Mac that you can play with. And it's running on a 100MHz bus instead of 66, like the iBook (my only complaint...)

      • Check out accelerateyourmac.com to find out how to overclock the iBook to 600 MHz at a 100MHz system bus. It appears to be very successful as Apple can't ship over 500MHz units for political reasons - they can't outdo their TiBook. As it stands, the iBook already comes with 100MHz memory - just ripe for some overclocking. Combine this with the fact that G3s can run at much higher speeds then the G4s used in the TiBook (just look at the 700MHz iMacs) and overclocking isn't as bad as it first sounds.

        The guy that overclocked his iBook noted higher temperatures (of course) but they were well within CPU specs. However, because he also lowered the power-saving speed to 300MHz he found that battery life actually increased. Sounds very cool..

        Willy

    • Several companies make processor upgrades for current (and past) macs. Sonnet and Powerlogix are two of them. There are even processor upgrades for powerbooks; I upgraded my 233MHz powerbook G3 to a 466MHz CPU with a bigger cache, and it actually runs cooler.

      RAM upgrades are obviously trivial; PC66, PC100, or PC133 depending on the model.

      video cards in G4s are just AGP cards; there are currently NVidia and ATI drivers.

      the only things that would be difficult to upgrade would be the motherboard (it's hard to get a new mobo by itself, and not cheap) and the power supply (not hard to replace it, but I don't know if there are any available that would fit that are UPGRADES (i.e. more powerful than the stock unit)).
      • Yes, the G3 and G4 towers use AGP video cards- but one thing I've noticed is that the AGP slots on Macs are in a different position than PC AGP slots. Same number of pins, but you need either some wackass piggyback rig or a completely different card. The hardware is effectively the same, but the implementation is incompatible.
        • Hmm... I have heard of people getting retail PC GeForce2 and 3 cards working fine in a G4. The only difference I'm aware of is that the G4's AGP slot has an extra extension to it for providing power and USB signal to the Apple Desktop Connector bus. However, that connector doesn't need to be filled; while it means you can't use an Apple-OEM'ed card in a PC, you can still use a PC card in a Mac; it just doesn't use the extra ADC slot, which doesn't matter since the PC card won't have an ADC connector anyways.
    • The Macs use a PCI bus, so for controller cards etc. it's very similar to the PC. On the CPU side the upgrade path has actually been smoother, as upgrade modules continually come out for PPC hardware to switch to the latest CPU WITHOUT A MOTHERBOARD UPGRADE.

      I haven't really looked at the cost of upgrades, as I don't use Macs personally, but I know the above from friends who are Mac users.

      .technomancer

      • I've been milking my Tsunami mobo [9500] for a damned good long time. The thing will take any PCI card with Mac drivers, has two SCSI busses built in, serial, adb, audio i/o [still need to snag an RCA and s-board from ebay], and with a few upgrades, it easily has all of the functionality of my iMac and then some.

        The only downside is that the mobo has a 40 mhz bus, which sucks an amazing amount of ass for a lot of applications. If you're not using a Mac as a game platform, there's no reason at all to ditch the old hardware- hell, this thing can hold up to a gig of RAM (two, in theory- though I'm not about to spend the money on a 256 meg stick of EDO ram just to see if it'll work or not), I could theoretically slot a G4 processor into it... and my little beast of niftinees is the only hybrid system on my lan- SCSI with and IDE card for drives.
    • This might not be the best clue-in, but it does come from personal experience.

      First, I've been a Mac user for the last four years, and own nothing but Apple hardware (unless you count the Sparc that's serving as a shelf for my video game systems). I am personally of the opinion that cost is really irrelvant here- Quality is what matters, and one of the major things I've found lacking in the PC world. Yeah- Apple gear isn't cheap. But if, for exampel, Dell were the ONLY PC maker, do you think prices would be as cut-rate? No.

      Upgrading a Mac, if it's even possible, is usually an expensive undertaking- fortunately, depending on the model series, the parts you're replacing can easily hop over to the next machine down the food chain. I'll give a couple of examples here, from my personal collection.

      The iMac- the only thing you can upgrade on these beasties is the RAM and the hard drive, though there are options available for the older models with mezzanine slots (SCSI cards, ADB/Serial cards, Firewire, etc.). Since the components in question are standard, upgrades are reasonably cheap. Anyone that fires off a bitch about the monitor had better try one first, and pull up the same graphics file on bothe the iMac and the PC. Trust me, the monitor does NOT need to be upped!

      Powerbooks- again, RAM and hard drive are pretty much it. Likewise, standard options (in fact, my Pismo and bondi iMac use the same RAM :). Add-on expansion devices for pre-Tibooks are pricey (averaging 200-800 $) - CDRW, Floppy, Zip, expansion module hard drives, etc.

      Where it really gets interesting is if you happen to have, like I do, a couple of x500 or x600 towers sitting around. My 9500 is the most expandable system apple ever produced- the only one ever put on the market with SIX PCI slots. You could count the 9600, but it's the same mobo in a different case.

      RAM for any pre-G3 powermac is insanely expensive. As in, you are LUCKY if you can get 128 meg chips for less than 140$ apiece. Compare this to the 40$ I paid for 128 stick for my Pismo. If you want to actually USE one of these machines for anything, you want at least 48 megs of RAM (just for OS 9 and iTunes)- more to do anything serious. My 9500 has 320- a hoard of 16s, some 32s, and a 128.

      You could buy a new PC for the price of a decent capacity SCSI HD. Since the 604s are SCSI-only, the best workaround is a Sonnet Tempo ATA/66 IDE Host adapter. 100$, though the older systems puke when you try to play MP3s. Do some price shopping and you can jam a 40 gig IDE drive into an older system and boot off of it for 200$- whereas a 36 gig SCSI drive would cost you at LEAST 250$ + In either case, don't swallow the bullshit about "Mac formatted!" - if a drive is Open Firmware Compliant (like IBM drives, for example), it doesn't matter WHAT was on it. In fact, the IDE drives I put in my 9500 still had data on them from their prior owners- and the MacOS read them.

      USB cards are cheap, and do the job. Video cards are slightly more expensive for the Mac- most of what you're paying for is the flashed ROM and the extra I/O interface (both video cards in my 9500 support PC or Mac monitors). Add maybe 5% to the cost of an equivalent PC video card.

      You're going to eat it on the processor upgrade, unfortunately. The big thing I've noticed about these is that they unilaterally decrease system stability. And cost you out the ass- typically running between 170 and 500 $ for a G3 upgrade in the 400-500 mhz range. The newer systems are cheaper to upgrade, but you won't see nearly as much of a boost.

      My 9500 has an Xlr8 G3/300 board in it and hard hangs every time I try to mount a disk image, no matter the cache settings. Aside from that, it runs well in Photoshop, and more or less everything else. Mileage WILL vary with processor upgrades... I'll be using nex years tax refund to test out some Sonnet products.

      Base system [including g3 board, 4 gig Barracuda, ATI video and 216 RAM] - free. I built a web site and was paid with the system.

      128 megs of RAM - 60 $ on ebay (by sheer luck)
      IDE card - 75$ on ebay
      Video card - 40$ (cheapo model) on ebay
      Two IDE drives - pull from work and loaner from roommate
      10/100 ethernet card (mobo has 10 only) - 15$ (ebay again)
      Pioneer SCSI CD drive [external] - 15$ from local goodwill computer store
      Monitors: Already had 'em.
      ===
      total cost: 205 $
      cost for average user [stock 9500 would come w/ 32 ram, 604 120mhz, 1 gig HD, shitty or no video] : around 600-800$.

      The big thing is that while you can walk into Wal * Mart and walk out with everything you need to upgrade your PC, you're shit out of luck on upgrading a Mac unless you use Ebay, buy direct, or happen to be lucky enough to live near an Apple Store. And if you're upgrading and older system, Ebay is almost your ONLY bet for reasonably priced hardware (discounting hard drives- I wouldn't buy them used under any conditions).
  • Database Servers (Score:2, Interesting)

    by chuckw (15728)
    Can anyone contrast their experiences running a database server (Linux/Oracle/10-20 TPS) based on intel and PPC chips?
    • AS far as I know, Oracle doesn't compile for LinuxPPC. I have a StarMax that I have not been able to get anything running on as of yet. The best you would probably be able to do is use some AIX 32bit Oracle items (IBM RS6000's use PPC chips, sorta) and hope they work under Linux...

      If anyone has even had success here, please let me know

      I can tell you Oracle runs fairly well under Linux-Intel. I have a dev copy of 8.1.7.0.1 that ran smoothly as long as I used the distro & version Oracle said the product was compiled under. Otherwise there were issues during install or runtime.
  • Food? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Futurepower(tm) (228467) <M_Jennings @ not ... futurepower.org> on Monday September 17, 2001 @11:51AM (#2309390) Homepage

    "Maybe this will mean cheaper G4s for those of us who buy computers somewhat lower on the food chain, too."

    You know you are heavily involved with computers when you call them "food".


    What Should be the Response to Violence? [hevanet.com]
  • I seem to recall that Intel was having trouble getting the Itanium up much past 800 MhZ, and Microsoft performance with 64 bit Windows ports has traditionally been less than stellar. So in trundles Apple with a 2GhZ 64 bit processor and an OS that I and my PHB might even have a chance of agreeing upon. Hmm...
  • With all the talk about the "Mhz Myth" lately, I was wondering if there has been any effort to standardize an industry benchmark for CPUs, the result of which would be publicly visible as part of the model #. Instead of "Pentium IV 2.0Ghz", we could have Pentium IV ISR100, where ISR could mean industry standard rating, and 100 a normalized score.
    • "Standardized" benchmarks have been around for ages. However, if you standardize something, it means everyone has to buy into it. Who in their right mind would back a standard that clearly shows them as inferior?! I think their stocklholders would behead the CEOs if that happened.

      As a side effect of marketing, there MUST be a huge grey area where ever CPU is a winner and every CPU is a loser. Confusing? Absolutely! That's the point.

      CPUs are so complicated that there is no one-size-fits all solution. So what you need are benchmarks to show what a particular processor is suited for. And that's what we have with all the Specs and Bapco's and Winmarks...

      There really is no way to point to one processor and say: "this is the best processor on earth."

      PPC/Intel/AMD, each CPU has equivalent plusses and minuses. PPC bolted on the vector processor for image processing. Intel bolted on the SSE2 pipeline for generic computing. AMD has the fastest x87 FPU ever made. Intel has the most cache bandwidth ever seen. PPC has the highest IPC ever seen. See how nonsensical it all sounds?

      It all comes down to who has the biggest installed base, and Apple should follow the PC model if they ever want more than 1% of the market. But I honestly don't think they do. They are very profitable with their niche, and they have enough loyal fans to continue being profitable for a long long time.

      Where the heck am I going with this???

      ... need ... coffee...
    • There is, of course, the SPEC benchmarks (spec.org). They require more knowledge to interpret properly than most consumers would care to learn, however. Also, unlikely that the industry would ever standardize on them (or any common reference standard). They have nothing to gain from cooperation.
    • That's a nice idea, but as much as we'd like to do it, it's basically impossible to compare perforance of two distinct processors with one catch-all number. Microprocessors accomplish many different tasks, and each task has its own optimal set of requirements. Some operations can be well-tailored to take full advantage of a vector processing engine like Altivec on the G4, whereas others require brute-forcing integer arithmetic at high clock speeds that the P4 does best. All of this means that categorizing a processor's "speed" with one number is next to impossible for the wide range of tasks that computers are expected to accomplish.

      Additionally the processor speed is only one factor in the overall speed of the computer. Other componets in the system are just as important, as is the quality of the software that's being used. If the software isn't optimized to take full advantage of the hardware then all hardware benchmarks are useless to the end user.

      Because of these problems of using standardized benchmark numbers to compare processors and computer systems, bechmarks should only be used at an application level. It has been said for years that one should buy a computer based on the software they need to use, and I believe that this logic is applicable in comparing processors as well. To benchmark two computers, take an particularly power-hungry application that you will often use, and compare the application speed on the two systems. If one computer runs the applications you require at a faster speed than another computer then your decision is made, and all other numerical benchmarks are useless.

      The fact of the matter is that computers are very complex. It's easy to "benchmark" the performance of a car because it only has to perform one task: drive. Computers on the other hand don't have the luxury of single-task devices, and as a result any attempt to compare dissimilar computers with a single becnhmark are doomed to failure.

      While many people criticize Apple for their Photoshop (and more recently, MPEG-encoding) benchmarks, this is ultimately the right way to approach the problem. If I am a professional graphic artists who's job it is to deal with high-resolution digital video and compression CODECs on a regular basis, I should choose the computer system that best completes these tasks. And while the G4 is inferior to a Pentium-4 at nearly three times the clock speed at some tasks, it does not mean that the G4 is inferior at all tasks. Apple's recent benchmarks are completely applicable to their target market of graphics and video professionals, and the chips they are using are ideally designed for that very market. If you believe that a G4 is not comparable to a Pentium-4, this is most likely because the Pentium-4 is superior in performing the tasks that you need. This does not mean however, that the G4 is an inferior chip.

      I completed a degree in Electrical Engineering a few years ago and my emphasis in fourth-year was on microprocessor design. During my time at Univeristly I met people who are considerably smarter and more educated in microprocessor design than anybody I have ever read on slashdot or anywhere else online, and yet even these people have a difficult time comparing dissimilar processors. If you believe that you can compare processors with one single catch-all benchmark, you are sadly mistaken.

      - j

  • Maybe this will mean cheaper G4s for those of us who buy computers somewhat lower on the food chain, too.

    Right... just like all those $699 G3 towers Apple has marketed. Sorry - not going to happen. Apple has proven time and time again that they don't care about competing on price. (No, the iMac, with dinky integrated monitor and no slots does not count).

    A $700 expandable tower computer is exactly the kind of machine I would buy from Apple. They could easily hit this price point. However, they refuse to sell it to me.

  • ...when what would really be nice is a commodity, non-Apple PPC motherboard? By the Gods, I'd like to have have a dual G5 MB in my next workstation.

    Is it just market forces that keep Asus, Tyan, and ABit from producing a PPC MB? I suppose a standard BIOS is lacking (other than Apples)... surely someone could come up with a non-Apple hardware solution, though.

  • Apple has cancelled Paris Expo 2001 [apple.com] in light of last week's terrorism.

    So when will they release the revised PBG4? Will there be an Apple Event lauding the completing of OS X 10.1? Perhaps an internet 'be-in' broadcast presentation?

    As for a January G5 release: Does this mean the much-anticipated flat-screen iMacs will be launched in January with G4 processors?
  • The article says in part:

    Apple will launch Mac OS X 10.2 around the same time, we're told, and offer it as a 64-bit version. To do so would surely limit users of older hardware to 10.1 and its updates, but that hasn't stopped the company making such moves in the past. The G5's 32-bit support will allow apps to be carried forward, and developers have been told they will be able to make '64-bit clean' apps with a simple recompile.

    What does this mean? Are they suggesting that people who own G4's are going to be stuck with 10.1.x?

The most delightful day after the one on which you buy a cottage in the country is the one on which you resell it. -- J. Brecheux

Working...