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AMD Businesses Apple Hardware

PC World: Apple G5 Gets Trounced By Athlon 64 1063

StewedSquirrel writes "PC World magazine has published an article comparing the AMD Athlon 64 and Opteron versus Apple's G5 processor, both 64-bit contenders for the title of 'fastest desktop processor.' Apple has made many claims to be the first, fastest and only 64-bit processor for the desktop and workstation market, but (not mentioning the fact that Opteron beat the G5 to market by over 4 months) the benchmarks should speak for themselves. Of note is the 3.2GHz Pentium 4, coming in competitive with the G5, but significantly behind the Opteron and Athlon 64 systems."
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PC World: Apple G5 Gets Trounced By Athlon 64

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  • uhm... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kennedy ( 18142 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2003 @09:07AM (#7218337) Homepage
    last time i checked the operon was to be the server class amd64 cpu, where as the athlon64 was to be the desktop version.

    if you're going to compare workstation class chips, compare the freaking workstation class chips...
  • by thoolie ( 442789 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2003 @09:08AM (#7218354)
    Someone should point out, that the CPU that is kind is the AthlonFX not the Athlong 64 3200+ (not to say the 3200+ ins't fast..). It looks like the G5 holds its own over the opteron and the 3200+ as well as against the P4.

    It also states that different CPUS did better at different things, not making one worse off than the other. All of these CPUS are fast, very fast. It is just a matter of what you are doing with them. THEY ARE ALL GREAT CPUS. If you compare the prices for the AthlonFX to the dual G5, you will see a similar price/ performance ration as well, don't forget that either!

    Just thought for food

    Don't hate people because they are morons, hate people because they are jerks.
  • by Spodie! ( 675056 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2003 @09:09AM (#7218360)
    It might still get owned, but redoing the tests with the OS that the G5 was meant to run on will be a better comparison. What can it hurt, it's only 9 days away from release.
  • by weez75 ( 34298 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2003 @09:10AM (#7218375) Homepage
    G5, Athlon64...any way you go it's an alternative to Intel. I think the importance isn't which is quicker but that they both offer serious alternative solutions to Intel which forces everyone to innovate. Both companies deserve credit for working toward better solutions for customers.
  • sort of true (Score:2, Insightful)

    by archen ( 447353 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2003 @09:10AM (#7218378)
    It's still the fastest desktop processor, because there is no desktop OS that runs on the Opteron until Microsoft releases the XP version in 2004. And no, Linux is not a desktop OS - ie something regular people can use (yet).

    I don't know why Apple shoots them selves in the foot with this speed BS anyway. Seriously I like my iBook for many reasons, but speed isn't one of them (because it's slow - although seems as fast as many PC laptops for some reason), but I'm willing to put up with a little drag to have a cool computer. They just aren't going to win the speed race and they need to realize that. They need to focus on the value of the overall computer where Apple is indeed ahead in many respects.
  • by gunnk ( 463227 ) <gunnk@NoSpaM.mail.fpg.unc.edu> on Wednesday October 15, 2003 @09:11AM (#7218388) Homepage
    So they compare 32-bit apps running on a 64-bit AMD chip to 32-bit apps running on a 64-bit G5 and conclude that the AMD chip is much faster than the G5.

    This does nothing to benchmark the capabilities of the chips -- just the capability of the chips to run non-native apps.

    Go back to your lives, citizens, nothing to see here...
  • by djupedal ( 584558 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2003 @09:13AM (#7218422)
    "Our test suite, PC WorldBench 4, cannot run on Macs. The new Macs aren't great values either, as the top-of-the-line G5 ($3549 as configured) costs about $200 more than the similarly configured Alienware Aurora.

    The dual-G5 sparkled in one main area: our Photoshop test, which it completed in 18 seconds, or about 17 percent faster than the Aurora's 21 seconds. The 1.8-GHz single-chip G5 ($2999) trailed at 27 seconds.

    Elsewhere, the Alienware earned top marks, performing particularly well in the Premiere QuickTime test."


    >>$200.00 is nothing and no direct testing comparision is funny.... This is pure marketing hype.
  • Re:uhm... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Alizarin Erythrosin ( 457981 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2003 @09:14AM (#7218428)
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't they have dual processor workstations? IIRC, the Athlon 64 doesn't do SMP (excluding the FX51, which is just a rebranded Opteron).

    So therefore, to have a dual processor AMD64 workstation, you'd need an Opteron. Case closed.
  • Re:Windows? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Caradoc ( 15903 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2003 @09:15AM (#7218443) Homepage
    You mean like the different flavors of Solaris, Linux, and BSD I have running on the machines here in my lab?

    Unfortunately, convincing "management" to let me run anything but Windows on a "company" machine is an exercise in futility.
  • by weez75 ( 34298 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2003 @09:21AM (#7218495) Homepage
    It sounds simple, but in reality moving to an x86 platform doesn't make sense from a technical nor business stance.

    First, it's not as simple as recompiling a few things at the "higher layers." All of Apple's partners would have to port their applications as well. Porting apps is not as simple as you'd like to think--see the OpenOffice port to OSX.

    Second, moving to commodity hardware of x86 would turn Apple into just another software company. Apple very much is a hardware company and its the marriage of that hardware with exceptional software that makes their advocates voracious in their support.

    AMD has nice stuff but if Apple were to use their processors they would be proprietary and for use by Apple only. The processor would be designed and built from the ground up for Apple--sharing next to nothing with AMD's other offerings.

    So for now, let's just be happy that AMD and Apple both have cool stuff.
  • by RalphBNumbers ( 655475 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2003 @09:21AM (#7218510)
    Did you look at the apps they compared the G5s and the Athlon64s with?

    Word- It's Microsoft, no shit it's going to be faster on windows, who would have guessed that?
    Premiere - The video app that sucks so hard on mac that Adobe stoped making it. Try the same functions on FCP and watch it come out a few times faster.
    Quake 3 - A game, 'cause you know macs are what everyone uses for gaming, and developers spend just as much time optimising their mac versions.

    Photoshop - The only relavant and fair app they bothered to test, and the G5 is noticablly faster than any of the Athlon 64 systems, beaten only by the Opteron.

    And /. calls this a trouncing?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 15, 2003 @09:22AM (#7218515)
    I cannot believe this is taken seriously on Slashdot.

    Let's look into this more closely: the PCWorld team tested only four applications, one being Microsoft Word, FFS, and another being Premiere, which is no more supported on the Mac, runs in Classic and is leagues behind Final Cut Pro in terms of performance, as anyone with a clue in Mac video processing will tell you. This alone qualifies this comparison as biased in my book.

    Where is the After Effects test ? And where is the Mathematica test ? Did you only know that any G5 will trounce an Athlon 64 in these apps ?

    Also, looking at the results, I can hardly call it "trouncing the Mac". Only one in the four apps make use of the 2GHz' second CPU (Photoshop), and dutifully the G5 beats the PC in this test, and the scores in the other tests (not counting the Premiere's joke of an application) are not even that far apart.

    Lies, damn lies, statistics, advertisements and benchmarks.
  • What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kirby-meister ( 574952 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2003 @09:22AM (#7218523)

    Aside from benchmarking Word for Mac against Word for Windows of all things, what does this actually prove? That Macs don't run software as well as Windows does when it comes to software that has been available for Windows longer? I'd be more interested in a price comparison between the systems.

    No software-RAID setup on the Mac? Why RAID on the other machines?

    Seems kind of one-sided.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 15, 2003 @09:26AM (#7218573)
    You also are not running in 64-bit mode. The Macs do not take advantage of their 64-bit nature like XP64.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 15, 2003 @09:27AM (#7218593)
    Compare the single G5's results with the dual G5's: only Photoshop makes use of the second CPU.

    So they're basically pitting ONE G5 against ONE Athlon64 in the other tests.

    But this is not the only incoherence with this test. Using a Classic, unsupported application like Premiere instead of the native After Effects ? Testing a Mac's performance in Microsoft Office ? This is a joke.
  • Re:Exactly (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Frothy Walrus ( 534163 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2003 @09:30AM (#7218631)
    rock-solid, sure... Linux has been stone stable since before 1997. i'm talking about look and feel.

    every year it's, "Linux on the desktop has made huge improvements in the last year," but it never quite gets there.

    use OS X for a week or two and you'll see what i mean.
  • Point being? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Marc2k ( 221814 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2003 @09:59AM (#7218951) Homepage Journal
    What's your point? That just means the G5 is a versatile chip. The person who submitted the article stated that the Opteron beat the G5 to market by 4 months..well, so what? There have been servers running 64-bit processors for a long, long time. Opteron is nothing new in that respect (its hybrid design is admirable, but a necessity, now that most 64-bit CPUs carry them). The G5 however, was marketed as a desktop solution, and was sold as one. The Opteron just was not. Thus, the time scale is completely negligible.

    Also, the 970 may be a server chip now, but again you're missing the point: Opteron was never meant for the desktop.
  • by lederhosen ( 612610 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2003 @10:01AM (#7218966)
    sizeof(void*) == 4
  • Re:Charbroiled (Score:2, Insightful)

    by spikev ( 698637 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2003 @10:06AM (#7219032)
    Those jokes are so freakin old they don't even touch funny.

    But anyway, is this really a fair comparison? A lot of the performance that they measured has to do with how the software is written and compiled.
  • by hype7 ( 239530 ) <{ua.ude.una} {ta} {0115923u}> on Wednesday October 15, 2003 @10:23AM (#7219203) Journal
    I just sent this letter in to PC World. I think it pretty much covers all the mistakes they made in the cross-platform benchmarks.


    I have been a long time reader of PC World, and have much respect for your magazine. However, I am yet to see a more abject review than the "64-Bit Takes Off" what was presented in your November 2003 Edition.

    Let's start with the choice of Microsoft Word. Undoubtedly a widely used piece of software, and Microsoft incredibly allowed Office v.X for the Mac to receive a number of features that the Windows version is yet to receive. There is, however, one thing that Microsoft will not allow Office for the Mac to achieve; and that is performance parity. To add to this, much of the codebase of Office v.X is left over from the good ol' days of MacOS 9 - reflected in the fact that Office is still a Carbon app. So, although Office on the Mac is extremely widely used, it's of dubious use as a means of comparing performance between processors. Unless, of course, all you do is Office and it's not presently running fast enough for you.

    Next. Premiere. This is what stunned me. There is a reason that Premiere doesn't work very well on the Mac. This is because absolutely nobody who does video editing on a Mac uses it. Period. Final Cut Pro wipes to floor with it; not only in functionality, but performance also. Of all the ways you chose to benchmark the G5s, this surprised me the most.

    In the Quake test, the Mac was hamstrung by the fact that it only had a 128MB video card in it. I also may be wrong in making the assertion, but doesn't the 256MB ATI 9800 Pro run at a faster clock rate than its 128MB cousin? This would account for quite a performance differential. Despite the fact that Macs aren't really known for games, no other computer with a 128MB graphics card beat it.

    The next test was Photoshop. This is the one app you benchmarked in which some 64-bit optimisations have taken place for the Mac, and is also an app that many people use on the Apple platform. In this test, the G5 beat everything on offer from the x86 world by quite a handy margin.

    What makes this even more impressive is that the G5 system you benchmarked is running on a stop-gap operating system release from Apple. OS X 10.3, codename Panther, has been specifically designed to take advantage of the G5's 64-bit CPU structure; it's out in barely a week.

    I would certainly be interested to see a re-run of the tests, if you think that this feedback is valid. Cross-platform benchmarks are notorious for being difficult to standardise; I do, however, believe that if done properly they can be both useful and interesting.

    -- james
  • by Arker ( 91948 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2003 @10:33AM (#7219284) Homepage

    Yes, they always claim the Macs are expensive, and it always turns out to be exageration at best, straight out nonsense at worst.

    They also like to print a bunch of marginally meaningful numbers to woo the masses, while leaving out the most important ones - like MTBF for instance. Can't have anyone getting the idea that they could keep a working computer in place instead of buying a new one every year, can we? Who cares if the G5 will still be working after the AMD chip has burned itself to a crisp? You're supposed to buy a new computer every year and send the old one to a dump, to keep the economy strong, right? But a fraction of a second difference in loading a program, now that is important.

    I'm really starting to tune out on this type of article, it's rare for them to have even a couple of sentences worth reading these days.

  • Re:Unscientific (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Zathrus ( 232140 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2003 @10:34AM (#7219301) Homepage
    Oh, and I didn't mention that most of th PC's had double the graphics memory

    Which affected what, exactly?

    and had RAID as their primary storage.

    The Opteron didn't. Many of the other systems did, but excepting the incredibly inane Word benchmark it doesn't appear to have affected anything (as to be expected). It's not like they were playing with any really huge files -- the 150 MB Photoshop test can be held entirely in memory after all.

    As best I can tell they bought these systems with the criteria of having them all priced similarly -- right about $3500 (excepting the single CPU Apple system). Even the dual Opteron system is priced at that (check Polywell's site -- it's not listed in the article, showing just how top notch the journalism is a PC World). Your complaints about the other systems having more video memory, RAID, et. al. are just further proof of how insanely overpriced Apples are.

    Were most of the benchmarks bullshit? Yeah. Most certainly. Is Apple's G5 vastly faster than the competiton? Nope. No way. In fact, it's probably slower than the AMD64 chips at most tasks. The SpecInt and SpecFP benchmarks that are currently available certainly don't make the G5 look like a speed demon. And when you factor in the price point, the G5 is looking lousier and lousier.
  • by xtal ( 49134 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2003 @10:43AM (#7219429)
    I am seriously considering getting a G5 just to run Matlab simulations. Where's the tests of something that may stress the hardware a bit, like Mathematica or Matlab?

    These benchmarks are a bad joke. My pentium II or Athlon box runs Word pretty fast.
  • by beakburke ( 550627 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2003 @11:46AM (#7220196) Homepage
    Comparing the performance of Office is a non-dubious means of comparing the end-u"ser experience."

    I'd agree with you, accept the Office isn't exactly what I'd call a high performance app, no one that buying any of these machines is buying them cause they need better performance out of MS office. Now a comparison of the most commonly used programs on each machine is fine, but keep in mind the target audience of these machines.

  • by beej ( 82035 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2003 @12:28PM (#7220746) Homepage Journal
    This could be made more clear in the Slashdot header...I'm sure it's possible to build a system out of old 486s that could put both of these to shame for load times.

    Their tests are largely I/O-bound and video card related, too. It's a system comparison, not a processor comparison. If you have different I/O or video card, you'll get different results.

    So who has the faster processor? Who knows. I suggest you buy the system you like the most.

  • by Steve Cowan ( 525271 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2003 @12:36PM (#7220810) Journal
    I had a chance to try a 3.2 GHz P4, an Opteron, a dual G5, a 3.06 GHz dual Xeon, and an Athlon 64, using a suite of productivity and multimedia apps. Here's the verdict:

    The P4: Very very fast.
    Opteron: Super fast.
    Dual G5: Really really fast.
    Athlon 64: Totally fast.
    Dual Xeon: Nice 'n fast.

    Telling results! Unfortunately since I have put so much effort into accurate, impartial analysis of the test results, and participating in all the arguments with disbelievers and naysayers, I have not had a chance to get any work done for months. But who wants to use CPUs for productive tasks anyway, when it is so much fun to sit back and watch them "trounce" each other!

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