How were some G5's considered high end back then?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by rondocap, May 2, 2012.

  1. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2011
    #1
    Ok, In 2003 the G5's were tauted as the fastest computers out. The quad g5 and the dual core ones were good - but how the heck did anyone ever work with the single 1.6, 1.8, and even the slower dual processors back then? They seem to struggle and go so slowly with most things that require some power.

    Just seems like such a Long but short time ago!
     
  2. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2009
    Location:
    Michigan, USA
    #2
    Well I suppose it wasn't nearly as noticeable because the internet had much less multimedia back then; not to mention the fact that HD video was much more uncommon. My dual 1.25GHz MDD G4 still gets around just fine for day to day tasks, so I suppose it's not that hard to believe that a 1.6GHz iMac G5 was considered pretty fast in its day.
     
  3. macrumors 65816

    InuNacho

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    In that one place
    #3
    The most complex thing I was doing online in 2003 was watching the Numa Numa and some garbage flash videos on Atomfilms. Even then you didn't need much processing power for that as the PB 1.33 played those and THPS 4 quite well.
     
  4. macrumors 68000

    Hrududu

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2008
    Location:
    Wichita KS
    #4
    You have to consider what the compuer world as a whole was like at that time. Multiple cores didn't exist, and dual processors were impossible for Pentium owners. Processor power wasn't (and still shouldnt be) based on watching YouTube videos and playing online games. The G5 was far faster at floating point computation and real world apps like Photoshop, video, and audio production. The ability to break the 4GB RAM barrier was also a really big deal at the time. Also keep in mind most of the bragging Apple was doing was based around the performance of the dual CPU versions of the G5. The slower single CPU versions were never really bragged about that much. Finally, Mac OS wasn't nearly as resource hungry back then as it is now. Load up Mac OS 10.3 (or 10.2.7 on an original G5) and compare how it runs with an iMac or Powerbook of the same vintage and you'll see why the G5 really did scream.
     
  5. macrumors 601

    ixodes

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  6. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2010
    #6
    I have to agree tayloralmond.
    They 1.6 G5 is just as fast as it ever was. It's the programs that have gotten bloated and the users (myself included) have gotten impatient.

    For a moment, pause and consider what you're suggesting: that a computer capable of performing 1,600,000,000 operations per second is slow.

    Files are getting bigger, the number of pixels is increasing, the number of programs running at the same time is increasing (the original Macintosh could only run 1 program at a time).

    The old computers were very fast at doing the things we asked them to do. We're just asking for more today than we did yesterday.
     
  7. macrumors 68020

    Jethryn Freyman

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2007
    Location:
    Australia
    #7
    My dual 1.8GHz G5 from 2004 can play 1080p just fine. It's got 7 USB 2.0 ports. It's getting an SSD one day soon-ish. It does everything I need it to. Hell, my C2D Macbook may technically be faster... but I still prefer using my G5 for a lot of stuff, a lot of which are reasons that I've added by upgrading it and PCI cards.
     
  8. macrumors 601

    eawmp1

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Location:
    FL
    #8
    OP, how old are you?

    When you've been around a few years you learn not to apply modern benchmarks to old technology. What is the latest and greatest today will be seemingly archaeic in 9-10 years. When I use the software that came with my iMac G4, it performs admirably (yes, it still runs). It is folly to compare it to my more modern machines (heck, my iPad surfs the net better). For perspective:


    1993 - Macintosh Quadra 800 with 33 MHz 68040, 230 MB hard drive (optional 500 MB or 1 GB), 8 MB RAM.

    1983 - one year before Macintosh. Most of us were rocking the Apple ][, but if you had about $10 k you could get a Lisa running at 5 mHz with 1 mb RAM.

    1976 Apple incorporated with the Apple 1.
     
  9. macrumors 68020

    JoeG4

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Bay Area, Ca.
    #9
    There's also a small thing that many people omit. It looks like this:

    [​IMG]

    H.264 decoder, anyone? Most video cards have that feature as part of their system-on-a-chip these days. Those just started to hit the market when the G5s were being retired, so they don't have them. (Hardware decoding of H.264 is not supported by any PPC build of OS X).

    I used to think Adobe Flash was just terribly written for PPC Macs, but if you've ever used HTML5 youtube, you'll notice that's even worse.

    That, and using a single processor G4 or G5 after using a dual processor machine is like going from a Corvette to a Toyota Corolla. PAINFUL!

    Finally, the G5 came out almost 9 years ago (1 month to go). Let's put it this way: 9 years before that Windows 95 still hadn't hit the market. In 1994, very few people had cellphones, and I think you were pretty well off if you had a 14.4 modem...
     
  10. macrumors 6502a

    Starfighter

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2011
    Location:
    Sweden
    #10
    I agree with every answer, so I don't need to comment the main question.

    But I DO agree that it seems not so long ago. It's baffling how fast we get used to new milestones in technology. I think my 2TB of storage is just enough, but when I think about it - I remember when I thought a couple of floppy disks (1.4MB) were more than enough to store my important stuff.
     
  11. macrumors 68020

    JoeG4

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Bay Area, Ca.
    #11
    I remember one day getting annoyed at the idea that it'd take me 26 minutes to transfer 35gb of data between my desktops. That was like 4 years ago :]
     
  12. macrumors 68030

    G51989

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2012
    Location:
    NYC NY/Pittsburgh PA
    #12
    The computer world was a lot different than what it is.

    Until the G5's came out, the only systems that Dual Processors and more than 4gb of Ram, were Super High end work stations and servers. They were typically Intel Itaniums ( Spellcheck that? ), or AMD Optrons. The G5's were the first computers of their performance level that the average person could go out and buy off the shelf. They weren't cheap tho. The Tower alone for a Dual 1.8 would run you 3500 dollars.

    You also gotta remeber, really cheap computers that were useable didn't exist yet, even a super low end Dell at that time period would still run you 600-700 dollars for a full setup. Hell, not long before that my father paid 1,200 dollars for a HP Tower with a 633mzh Celeron Processor, 256mb of ram and Windows ME. Oh how far we've come.

    So at the time, the G5's were by far the fastest computers the average person could go out and buy. Sure there Itanium and Optron workstations that were as fast, but those would run you 6000 to 10000 dollars. And if you wanted windows, you were stuck on windows server edition.

    Typical 2003 Computer:

    Pentium 4 or a Athlon, single cores baby. ( I still have my old Athlon 64 box )
    Gig of ram typically
    Video Card: Something like a Geforce 4 or a Geforce FX, the 6 series was just starting to exist.
    hard drive? 500gb MAX unless you really wanted to start spending a ton of money.
    Compare something like that, that came in a Green or Grey case. to a mid range G5, the G5 looked amazing, and performed amazing.

    G5s were super high end for their day. And what a day it was, I remember those days, hell I'm not that old, but I remember when Windows ME came out....holy **** I'm getting old ( Im only 24 lol )

    ----------

    This.

    It's not that its a " slow " computer. But by modern standards, they are slow. But not slow. If that makes sense lol.

    Doesn't seem like it was that long ago that I was wide eyed at a G5 on the cover of PC Magazine, now you can pick up a decent for 200 bucks, and it gets destoryed by a generic 800 dollar dell box :(
     
  13. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2011
    #13
    Itanium is not workstation material. Xeon is. Opteron is. Both were in the same ballpark with the G5 dollars/performance-wise.
     
  14. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2011
    #14
    The change from PowerPC to intel is a
    Big divider. My 2006 Mac Pro is still very fast - upgraded with ssd and ram to 12gigs so hopefully It will stay like that for the near future.
     
  15. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2009
    Location:
    Michigan, USA
    #15
    That's about the situation I'm in. Unfortunately, Apple's giving us MacPro 1,1 owners the big middle finger with Mountain Lion.
     
  16. macrumors 68030

    G51989

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2012
    Location:
    NYC NY/Pittsburgh PA
    #16
    I'm not talking about now, I'm talking about then, ( when G5s were new ). Hell, theres still a few Itanium2 Work stations where I work, and they used to be more common place, Itanium2 workstations were beastly for back in the day.
     
  17. macrumors 65816

    vohdoun

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2006
    Location:
    Far away from Earth.
    #17
    I remember that. My Athlon XP3200+ can't even play 720p smoothly as the cpu usage is pegged at 100% trying to play it. The Athlon 64 X2 laughs at it. I do miss the NVIDIA nForce 2 Soundstorm.

    When I got my Dual G5 in 05 it only came with a 250GB drive.

    Don't you find todays society is so impatient? no tolerance and very insecure. I always keep ready arguments on forums over such little things even computers. Facebook and Twitter has a lot to answer for this change in culture.

    It must be frustrating, to think how really it's no different to PPC. But worse you're still on Intel.
     
  18. macrumors 68030

    G51989

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2012
    Location:
    NYC NY/Pittsburgh PA
    #18
    Yeah man, I actually have the following, a Sempron 3100+ Palermo Core ( these things were almost as fast as their higher end counter parts ), 2 gigs of ram, a ATi HD 4600 something, on a horrible Maxtor 80gb hard Drive.

    I use it all the time, it cant do 1080p, it manages 720 just fine though, probably because of the video card. I use it, because its ACTUALLY underwater, distilled water, in a sealed plexiglass case, heat pipes out the top, big ole heatsink with a fan to get rid of the heat lol.

    My G5 is pretty nice tho, I remeber when I was a teenager staring Wide Eyed at the 20 page Artical in PC Magazine, so when I had the chance to get one, I didn't care how slow and incompatible it is. I bought it.

    Well its not impatient, For my job I need a VERY fast computer to get things done in a short manner.

    And yeah, impatient is a bit of it. But the fact is, today you can buy a 700 dollar dell box with a Moniter, Keyboard, tons of ram and a video card that will blow the hell out of a top end G5, so theres just no point anymore lol
     
  19. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2010
    #19
    Agreed, the only point is to say "I have one".

    I got my first G5 a few weeks ago. I don't need it, I just wanted one to play with. I paid $100 and I'm having fun. That's the point.
     
  20. macrumors 68030

    G51989

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2012
    Location:
    NYC NY/Pittsburgh PA
    #20
    Mines a little more than a " toy ", I don't use it as a Main Machine, but I do use it pretty often. Its still a highly useful computer.
     
  21. macrumors G3

    eyoungren

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ USA
    #21
    My work G5 also is not a toy, or slow. There's no way in heck my boss is going to be buying me a new Mac any time soon so my G5 continues to output everyweek. We put out two weekly community newspapers, merge editorial and advertising content to do that, build ads and "fix" customer submitted files. The increased performance of machines/software has resulted in an increased complexity level of the average PDF.

    Acrobat 6 Pro and Enfocus PitStop Pro are still working for me even though I have Acrobat 9 Pro as well. At any given time I'm juggling 8 or more open apps all calling for massive amounts of ram. No issues handling that and my G5 isn't even a dual. It's 1.8Ghz.

    Sorry if I am repeating myself, but this issue seems to keep coming up.
     
  22. macrumors 6502a

    sysiphus

    Joined:
    May 7, 2006
    #22
    It really is just all relative to what was being done on personal computers at the time. When I bought my dual 1.8GHz G5 in 2004, it was a $2000 computer, before the $500 graphics card or ~$300 of RAM was thrown in. And for the time, it screamed--it blew through Flash MX development, Photoshop CS2 renders, and could play the original WoW really smoothly (keep in mind this is when the game was new). Heck, a dual G5 with a Geforce 6800 or ATI X800 was the only Mac that could run Halo smoothly on high settings for quite some time. Keep in mind this machine shipped with Panther, and was best suited for Tiger--both of which were much less demanding than anything out there today.

    The G5s were never great home computers in the sense of being so hot/power hungry, but for sheer performance, they were a very solid value for the first couple years ('03,'04). By 2005 they'd hit a roadblock for speed/value/heat vs what Intel could do, but if you took a dual G5 from 2004 and put it up against any Intel home computer of the same age, it'd do just fine. As for your concerns about speed of video playback...consider that Youtube didn't even exist back when the G5 was the hot new thing. Kind of a funny thought, no?
     
  23. macrumors 68040

    Giuly

    #23
    An Athlon64 3400+ (1st gen) plays 720p along with a GeForce 2 MX perfectly fine. If you wanted 1080p, you had to throw in something that is capable of hardware decoding (aka GeForce 7). The same goes for 720p on a PowerMac G4 and probably even on a G5.
     
  24. macrumors 68020

    JoeG4

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Bay Area, Ca.
    #24
    The problem is as I stated, even with a Geforce 7 card you wouldn't get hardware decoding on the Mac because it was never supported on PPC builds of OS X.
     
  25. macrumors 65816

    Fiveos22

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2003
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #25
    Truth, I still remember my single 1.8 G5 fondly. To start with, it was a thing of beauty design-wise with that monstrous aluminum case and plastic wind baffle that displayed the meticulously well-designed innards. Secondly (and more importantly) the interconnection speeds of the G5 series were off the charts. Can anyone dig up the leaked specs of the G5 (I think in December of the year prior) where people looked at the FSB and balked.

    That still is the case today: I am in the mood to purchase a new iMac (hopefully waiting until the next revision is released) for the apparent speed increase almost solely due to solid state drive technology (admittedly 2 years old now). So many facets go into "speed" of the computer beyond raw processor speed, and the G5 was where it appeared as though this was first truly being recognized by Apple. Or perhaps it was just when they finally stopped playing the megahertz-gigahertz game that dominated the late 1990s.

    Hmm, now I wish I still had my G5.

    ----------

    Wow, I had to fact check that one myself... first appears in 2005 at the Internet Archive.
     

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