View Full Version : Are Apple users beginning to buy into the "MHZ Myth"?

Jan 19, 2002, 08:25 PM
I am fairly new to the macrumors.com forums, but it seems like just maybe, Apple users are beginning to buy into the "MHZ Myth.

All those talking about the 1GHZ PowerMac seem to forgotten this, and I quote:

".....the clock speed of a computer isn’t an accurate way to compare system performance. Overall system design and processor-architecture differences affect real-world application performance, otherwise you might be fooled by........ “The Megahertz Myth.” "

I have an iMac 333 MHZ that is as fast if not faster running application than my Compaq E500 PIII 700MHZ Laptop.
I suppose if I ran Photoshop, I might see a difference, but I don't, and neither does the majority of computer users.

Most users run a Web Browser, an e-mail client, word processor, and maybe some financial software.

Bottom line is "MHZ is Hype" it is a way to sell new computers to people that really don't need them.....it doesn't take a 2 GHZ computer to accomplish the tasks of an average user. Word won't run any faster on a 1 GHZ processor than on a 2 GHZ processor.

So what's the point?

Apple has far and away the better product, not just in style but is ease of use.

So please don;t be sucked into the "MHZ Myth" :)

OK fire away....but please be kind :D

Jan 19, 2002, 08:47 PM
There's a difference between being close to the competition and being so far behind it's embarrassing. Whether it matters or not. Sure, it's all just numbers, but if we ever expect to woo the PC users over to our side we can't just keep flashing them cool-looking stuff (although that's half the battle); we have to make them notice the POWER, and the only way they're gonna do that is by showing them numbers they recognize.

Jan 19, 2002, 08:48 PM
you made a blanket statement saying that all mac users are buying the myth.
some are, some may, some are not.

i for one am not. i understand the difference in numbers between the macs and the pcs....im sure others do too.

but i agree with everything else you said. thanks for warning the rest of us.

Jan 19, 2002, 08:52 PM
I dont know if its true BS or not, but the way i usually treat a G3/G4 processor speed is take the speed its running at right now,, double it,, and compare that speed to a Wintel machine.. hehe, works for me and it pisses the hell out of all my Windoz loving friends too ;)

Jan 19, 2002, 08:53 PM
Mhz DO matter. It is true that some tasks are faster on a G4 (867) when compared to a P4 (2200) (but few and hard to find now). With more mhz, more instructions can be processed. So mhz DO matter.

When the G4 first came out, it truely could beat P4 systems... but those days are gone. The P4 was really bad at speeds under ~1700 mhz... but now it is much faster in almost everything. In order to match (I doubt exceed on the current G4 layout) the performance, the G4 processor would have to have a significant boost in speed.

Now, Atlon systems are ~1600 mhz (faster than current G4) but beat most P4 systems. How is that possible? Well, it is a better chip:) BUT it still needs to get more mhz if it wants to be any faster (and as you may have realized, people want faster, faster, faster computers even if they don't necesarily need them). There is a constant battle between computer makers about providing the fastest computer. Atlon and P4 systems are extremely fast and one reason is that they do have higher clock speeds. If a G4 was at ~1600 mhz, it probably would take charge once again (maybe.... bus speed, graphic cards, memory, etc may need improvement as well).

So, the mhz myth... well it is partly true. Higher mhz numbers on a G4 definatly mean faster cpu. How to compare other types of processors (with different mhz) is a different story.... which is full of ifs and buts.


PS- if I was going in circles or making no sense, i am sorry (i have been losing sleep while preparing for finals and tests.... but needed a break and came to macrumors for some entertainment:)

Jan 19, 2002, 08:54 PM
I guess one good thing is, if the 1GHZ PowerMac is released the 867 will drop in price.


Jan 19, 2002, 08:57 PM

the key is in the piping!

no?! yes?!

Jan 19, 2002, 09:00 PM

Good article about pipes and MHZ

Jan 19, 2002, 09:01 PM
Define myth! There's no myth about releasing a 1GHZ PPC chip. Unless they equipped it with inferior cache or something screwey, a dual 1GHZ is going to be faster than a dual 800 MHz.. about 25% faster. That's not a myth.. The MYTH only comes in when you're comparing Apples to well.. Windows. Across the same family processor line.. 2GHz Pentium is faster than 1.5 GHz.. etc.. it's only comparing processors of different types where MHz is not the best indicator. So no, I don't think Apple users are buying into MHz "myth".. they simply want faster G4s, and they're getting them every 6 months. Unless Motorola did something really sinister like increasing the number of pipeline stages in order to obtain a faster clock, there's not a chance of a higher clock rate not being faster.

Jan 19, 2002, 09:02 PM
Exactly.... piping was slowing the P4 down when it was at the "low" mhz speeds of ~1700. But as the mhz went up... piping slow-downs were not as bad.


Jan 19, 2002, 09:04 PM
From: http://www.geek.com/procspec/newsletter/nlproc01162002.htm

Motorola felt Intel's Pentium III pain when the four-stage pipeline G4 couldn't go any faster than 500MHz. Their choices were to either keep optimizing the current chip or pump up the pipelines and the MHz. They decided to up the G4e to 7 stages. It was able to get up to 867MHz, and then ran out of gas again! The next chip, the G5, will only go up to 10-stage pipelines, and it's been delayed. Many expected it at Macworld SF 2002, but it wasn't there. How much do you want to bet that the yields at high MHz are stuck again due to making the pipeline too small and the chip too complex? The G5+ is already on the roadmap for 2003, and I assume it will have a couple more pipeline stages. Clearly, Motorola seems to be making it hard on themselves, constantly
hanging near the bottom of the pipeline counts and always running out of steam. AMD took the median approach with a 10/15-stage pipeline in the Athlon (10 for integer, 15 for floating point) that won't last as long as the P4. However, the Athlon will buy them enough time to develop their next core, Hammer. Hammer goes to 17-stage pipelines for
floating point and 12 for integer.

Jan 19, 2002, 09:07 PM
Just a note (not being rude or anything... but): comparing apples to non-apple computers would be better wording.

Windows is an operating system... like OSX and linux....

Ohh and I just realized of a great example besides AMD on the PC side that produces slower clock speeds for computers but are extremely fast. Computers with SPARC processors are extremely fast.... my friend has one with dual 500 chips and extreme memory and it burns P4s:)

But it does cost a fortune (way more than the apple computers which people call "expensive" :D


Jan 19, 2002, 09:14 PM
Define myth!

The myth is that a processor with a faster clock speed will perform better than a chip with a slower clock speed.

In order for G4's to have a higher clock speed you have to have longer pipelines. Longer pipelines also mean, if a pipeline has to be flushed due to a misprediction of the next instruction or data dependency, then the chip is not as efficient.

Jan 19, 2002, 09:34 PM
is that the myth?

i gues theres different definitions of the mhz myth...

am i wrong?

Jan 19, 2002, 09:58 PM
The myth is:
ANY processor with a higher clock speed will be faster than ANY processor with a lower clock speed.


Jan 19, 2002, 11:07 PM
I'm very new to this whole forum thing. I'm just starting to learn about computers and am waiting to drop money on a new Power Mac. I have an old Compaq presario cds 972 with a friggin' 75 mhz processor, and have been researching for 5 months now: PC or Mac?...and my decision is definitely Macintosh. It really is a bummer not knowing enough about system operation to make a decision regarding mHz. I can see how many people buy into the "myth" , when, in reality, fast, RELIABLE system performance seems to be due to the marriage of compatible parts.

It seems logical, then, that at SOME point processor speed is of great importance when processing huge amounts of data and keeping up with the "Joneses", whether one is a professional or gamer, or whatever.

Apparently, the screw up is more Motorola's problem. The technology used in photolithography is hyper-expensive, and I would imagine achieving a balance between pushing the envelope of speed and paying your bills is a touchy one, especially with Intel towering over the market, and Apple not holding enough stock to justify a huge increase in mHz on Motorola's part. I'm probably just rambling, but it makes me frustrated realizing that, for me personally, the Mac is a far superior product, but they can't get a company with the clout to make a faster processor in realtime conjunction with the PC processor company's output.

I thought the AltiVec engine was a great thing, but now I'm catching whispers of the g5 processor not containing the AltiVec.
Longer pipelines, shorter pipelines, bus speed, it's enough to make me pull a hunter s. thompson and go dynamite the damned thing.

Bottom line is, today's lightspeed machine will be tomorrow's trainwreck, and I have to find a balance between my needs, my monetary means, and future usefulness of the tools I choose. I still have an italian road bicycle from 1982 that is very raceable. It's not a pro machine, but then again, I'm not Lance Armstrong.
Neither am I a pro graphics designer, but I want a computer that will allow me to explore graphics and gobble huge amounts of data without freezing. It HAS to be expandable. Hopefully, the g5 will be fast enough to warrant paying it off for four years.

Okay, I'm SO sorry this was so long. It's my first time, and I have too much to say and not enough info to say it all correctly. Thanks for reading.


Jan 19, 2002, 11:21 PM
Ouch! 75 Mhz.....you are hurtin'
What OS are you running?

Jan 20, 2002, 12:08 AM
windows 98. i find myself having to re boot more often. but i can truthfully say that, for what i've got, this little bugger gets around fast enough on the internet, but that's about it. probably because of my cable connection.


Jan 20, 2002, 02:03 AM
K... Mhz do mater. they arenot a meins of comparing chips to one another. there are ways to increase the speed of a chip other thah increasing the pipline stages. ultimately the chip stops working when it get's too hot so what you need to do is make the chip run coller so you can speed it up you can do that by increasing the pipe line bu making a better designed chip by manufacturing the chip in different ways etc. that makes it so that you can speed up the chip mhz wise. You can also speed up a chip by keeping it aty the same hz but increasing the chips efficency. there is a balance. the first 500 Mhz G4 was compairable to the first 733 Mhz G4 when testing the speed of the machines up aganst eachother. the reason is that the 500Mhz had 4 stages (an extreemly eficent design making it small and cool) wheras the 733 had a 7 stage pipeline (a less eficient design but still not bad) what the pipeline did was make it so that it could run cooler and thus at a faster mhz level. The longer pipeline makes it work lesseficiently so it had to run at a higher mhz level to keep up with the old peoseser. Imagine a very light car going up a hill. That car doesn't need a lot of horse power to go quickly up the hill because it's light. now imagine a similar car this time with a very heavy engine. Again going up the same hill with the first car. The second more bulky car needs more horsepower to go up the hill at the same speed as the first car because it's heavier. The idea is that the more bulky engine might have so much more potential, than the light more efficient engine, that it could eventualy with work go faster than the first car.

There are a lot of trade-offs it's hard to find balance.

now then the intel P4 has a very heavy engine in it's car also, continuing the anology, they have done some things to the chip that could be like making the chasy more heavy and bulky to suport the beast of an engine. if you were to compare the cars it would be like compairing a sports car to a 18 wheeler/semi both racing up a hill... humm. I've never seen a porche that couldn't beat a semi up ... or down.. a hill

end of story

Jan 20, 2002, 02:54 AM
i heard of some people overclocking thier mac with liquid nitrogen.
someone got a 500mhz G4 up to 1GHZ ....but it only lasted for only a while.

Is this common amongst some people..you know to do this? this is wild to me. anyone heard of this?

Jan 20, 2002, 04:41 AM
It's not only about MHz or GHz. The actual hardware inside the pro towers is old and not anymore "PC standard" for high end machines.

Apple MUST update their pro towers to the market high end standard, means at least:

- 266MHz bus and 266MHz DDR-RAM
- GeForce3 as standard grafic card
- and (to meet customers thoughts of a fast pc) GHz G4 processors

and the prices need to be much lower than before ...

Jan 20, 2002, 09:32 AM
GHz envy :D

Jan 20, 2002, 10:10 AM
talk all you want about piping and buses but mhz and ghz is all you can realistically hope to have the average user remember right now

ram and hard disk space still confuse a lot of people

the 1 ghz benchmark is needed more for selling apple machines to new users

Jan 20, 2002, 10:58 AM
Krossfyter, overclocking is really a good way of getting more out of your system. Although.... it can also break it. On PCs it is very common (they are cheap and well.... if it breaks you don't have to work forever to get a new part).

On macs... its a different story. Overclocking can be done, and is pretty easy. But every processor is different (even if they both are 500, they may not both be stable at 600). So if you do want to overclock, go easy on your computer and get a better heatsink, fan, or water cooler (this is for those computer guys that want to impress those computer gals:)


is a nice place to see what can be potentially done to improve your system, although it is at your own risk. As soon as I get a new mac (G5 hopefully) my computer is being clocked up so my brother can have some fun with it.


Jan 20, 2002, 11:11 AM
this is an interesting thread....

it says a lot of the things I've brought up such as:
- people bitching too much about the things Apple isn't doing
- complaining about the "lack of power" on G4's (even though they outperform PC's with nearly twice as much clock speed rating)
- trying to figure out, way too early in present, how much faster the new generation of PowerPC processors is going to be...

interesting to see what else is going get said here ;)

Jan 20, 2002, 01:20 PM
the mhz dont matter but the problem is that intel is releasing processors that are faster than the g4 now mainly that the g4 is updated really slowly, if apple released them like intel does, g4 would be so far ahead, but hte dual 800 has been around for a long time, they need to make large leaps and bounds in processor speads really badly or the g4 wont hold up to the pentium 4 top speed since it gets updated so fast. Apples hardware will be the lower end of computers if they dont keep up and update teh processors better...

Jan 20, 2002, 02:00 PM
I agree... but you have to remember that the processor is just part of the machine. We need an increase in the performance of all the parts. The bus speed (really badly), memory type, graphic cards... etc. are just as important. If apple released a new tower with the same processors but improved bus and other things mentioned... it would be a huge improvement. I know that all none knowledgable people just look at mhz (ghz) but those that know about computers know that other parts are part of the solution.

So hopefully we will see processor jumps Tuesday.... as well as other improvements.