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macfan
Jan 13, 2003, 07:03 PM
A couple of years ago, Macs were quite a bit faster than Windows based PCs. Today, they have fallen behind. Do they have any chance of catching up in the future?

I have heard about the megahertz myth, but the difference is so great now that it's no longer a myth. Mac OS X is a quantum leap ahead of OS 9, can Apple get hardware that is also that far ahead? What about switching to another type of processor?

Shrek
Jan 13, 2003, 07:12 PM
macfan, within a year or two the speed issue should no longer be an issue. There is still hope. Look here (http://www.macrumors.com/searcharticles.php3?searchterm=IBM) for information on IBM's Power 970.

And as always, welcome to Macrumors! ;)

Fender2112
Jan 14, 2003, 02:02 PM
I had a sales person tell me today that Apple is working with AMD to develope chips that will run OS X. No new news. The interesting part was that the AMD chip was to replace the Motorola chip. I asked about the new IBM chip and the sales person didn't seem to think much about it.

It will be very interesting to see what lies ahead: Motorola vs IBM vs AMD.

law guy
Jan 17, 2003, 03:16 PM
Although the numbers look bad, I found the following from Troy Dreier in the Feb. 4 issue of PC MAGAZINE heartening. In reviewing the dual 1.25 GHz Power Mac, he stated:

"We also ran cross-platform tests (using Adobe Photoshop) to see how the top Mac compares to a new 3.06-GHz Pentium 4 PC with Hyper-Threading. When applying a Gaussian Blur filter, the machines ran neck-and-neck. But on all other tests (Sharpen, Edges, Unsharp Mask, Despeckle, Convert to RGB Color, and Resize Image), the 1.25-GHz Power Mac G4 (with its large cache) outpaced the P4".

That said, bring on the faster, smaller, cooler running processors... please.

primalman
Jan 17, 2003, 04:40 PM
Originally posted by Fender2112
I had a sales person tell me today that Apple is working with AMD to develope chips that will run OS X. No new news. The interesting part was that the AMD chip was to replace the Motorola chip. I asked about the new IBM chip and the sales person didn't seem to think much about it.

It will be very interesting to see what lies ahead: Motorola vs IBM vs AMD.

I'm sorry, sales people generally do not know crap about what is really going on. On several occasions I have even gone into a Apple Premier Provider and known more about the hardware then they could even get close too.

Anyway, the only way that AMD would be in bed with Apple for processors would be if that AMD saw some $ potential and is making the PPC under license from the AIM alliance, Apple no doubt paying the fee.

People need to get off this OSX on x86 ************. Too many technical issues, too close on the heals of the OSX switch, which is still going on and is hard enough for massive lines of code. Besides, you think that the hardware would get cheaper? Please! No white box for you! Think "proprietory everything to make it work."

neonart
Jan 17, 2003, 10:48 PM
Originally posted by law guy
Although the numbers look bad, I found the following from Troy Dreier in the Feb. 4 issue of PC MAGAZINE heartening. In reviewing the dual 1.25 GHz Power Mac, he stated:

"We also ran cross-platform tests (using Adobe Photoshop) to see how the top Mac compares to a new 3.06-GHz Pentium 4 PC with Hyper-Threading. When applying a Gaussian Blur filter, the machines ran neck-and-neck. But on all other tests (Sharpen, Edges, Unsharp Mask, Despeckle, Convert to RGB Color, and Resize Image), the 1.25-GHz Power Mac G4 (with its large cache) outpaced the P4".

That said, bring on the faster, smaller, cooler running processors... please.

Do you have a web link for this? I'd love to read more about it...

law guy
Jan 18, 2003, 09:48 AM
The url for the "first looks" review of the Power Mac G4 1.25 is:

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,4149,810846,00.asp

There is another article in this month's PC MAGAZINE that you and others might find interesting as well. The article is a roadmap of CPU development. Designs for - and the future plans of - Intel, AMD, the PowerPC (Moto and IBM), Transmeta, and VIA are discussed.

What makes the article so interesting is that it breaks down how the different processors work so that we finally understand why exactly it is that clock speed is not the single biggest factor in processor performance. For example, it explains that creating a longer pipeline allows for the clock speed to be ramped up, giving us the P4 at 3.06 GHz. But it also explains that while a longer pipeline means higher clock speeds, it also means more errors in the anticipation process that goes on inside the chip. That means that a processor with a long pipeline (20 stages) like the P4 needs all that speed to try to get it right. A short pipeline - the Athlon XP has a 10-stage pipeline - will make fewer errors in many types of applications - therefore, each clock tick is more efficient. The current PowerPC G4 has a seven-stage pipeline and is even more efficient. It comes down to: while a shorter pipline limits possible clockspeed, a shorter pipeline needs a lower clockspeed to match the performance of a higher speed, longer pipeline chip.

This is all very interesting when you consider that in Intel's high-end chips (ITANIUM 2), the speed falls from 3.06 GHz down to 900MHz or 1 GHz! Of course Intel is not putting less powerful processors into its scientific workstation offerings, but is using more efficient designs (which also incorporate either a 1.5 or 3 mb Level 3 cache). Back at the consumer level, there is a note that the next generation of Pentium notebook chips - Banias - "won't achieve the higher clock speeds of the P4 because it lacks a 20-stage-pipeline. Intel says, however, that Banias will outperform the P4. Sound familiar? Intel has stated that it will not use a part-numbering scheme like AMD's and will market Banias in terms of its performance without hiding clock speed."

The in-print version of this article appears in PC MAGAZINE at pages 117-128 of the Feb. 4, 2003 issue now on the stand. The electronic version can be found at:

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,4149,806465,00.asp

Although I don't know if the web version includes all of the explanatory sidebars and insets that make the CPU Roadmap article so helpful.

(small update - the web article does have a little box to the upper-right that has the extra inset features found in the print version)

law guy
Jan 18, 2003, 07:47 PM
In the same vein as my post above, here is another benchmark comparing the various dual G4s with a Intel 2.53 MHz P4 system in Photoshop. My post above is a bit more current with a comparison against a 3.06 MHz P4.

http://www.apple.com/powermac/specs.html

This time the comparison is from Apple's site. As I look more at the new dual 1.25 G4 machines, I find more and more improvements over older systems. And the improvements are significant. I hadn't noticed until recently that each processor in the 1.25 GHz line now has a 2 MB level 2 cache running at 500 MHz. Note that there has also been some bottleneck relief in the new dual G4s by some component path rerouting (this is an improvement since the last Power Mac release). see:
http://www.apple.com/powermac/architecture.html
These sorts of improvements seem to compensate for the still limited but slightly improved system bus speed.

There appears to be a good deal of longing for the next generation of PowerPC (the second article above in my last post has some information on both the Motorola chip development and the IBM 970). I suppose because the speed increases haven't seemed as dramatic as in the consumer Intel chips. The numbers from the photoshop comparison, however, seem to indicate that the current dual 1.25 GHz systems are as good or better than the just released Intel systems P4 systems and that an upgrade to keep competitive is not overdue (of course, that's little comfort against the Intel marketing machine, which can even wear down Mac fans and make them nervous, nevermind the general public).

Again, that said - it would be great, of course, for Apple to pull ahead of the pack with a fresh offering.