Speed difference between G4 and Core 2 Duo iMacs?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Bengt77, Sep 23, 2006.

  1. Bengt77 macrumors 68000

    Bengt77

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    #1
    Can anybody tell me (from experience, preferably) what the differences in speed (both CPU and GPU) will be between my trusty old iMac G4 (original 15" 800MHz model) and the new iMac 24" (with the stock 2,16GHz Merom, but with the BTO GeForce 7600GT) would be? My machine is really beginning to show it's age. I think that's perfectly fine though, since I've had it for way over 4 years now, so it's okay to buy a new machine soon.

    Everywhere you read comparisons between the G5 and Intel iMacs, but nowhere a comparison between the old G4's and the new Core 2 Duos. How much faster would a machine with a 2,16GHz Merom, a GeForce 7600GT (256MB) and 2GB RAM be, than a machine with a mere 800MHz G4, a GeForce 2MX (32MB) and 1GB RAM?

    The Xbench database shows a rough 4-5x difference between the machines. Is that really true? That's gonna be quite the jump, then. I've never gone up so much in performance between two successively owned machines. Nice! :D

    I have also still not decided if I should wait for January (MWSF) or just go ahead and buy the current 24" iMac. Something tells me the current models are 'just' transition machines, and in spring 2007 we'll get the 'real' Core 2 Duo iMacs. With Conroe, that is, or else maybe with Merom/Santa Rosa. Any thoughts about that?
     
  2. orangezorki macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 30, 2006
    #2
    The new iMac will be a jump in every way.

    CPU wise, it's similar to the quad G5 in many applications. Compared with your G4, the C2D does more per clock cycle, has a frequency of almost three times the G4 and then there are two of them!

    Also remember that the HD, superdrive, GPU (especially the 7600), and networking is much faster, along with a much better display.

    David
     
  3. risc macrumors 68030

    risc

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    #3
    There is no way that the Core 2 Duo single CPU is comparable to a dual core dual CPU quad G5. Having said that though the jump from a G4 to Core 2 Duo would be amazing.

    I have a MacBook Pro Core Duo 2.0 GHz here and it is comparable to a dual G5 2.0 GHz, somethings are a lot faster some things a little slower. At the same clock speed the Core 2 Duo is around 10% faster than the Core Duo. So I'd go out on a limb and say a 2.16 GHz Core 2 Duo iMac would be comparable to a dual G5 2.3 GHz machine. So in other words your G4 is slow (5x faster maybe about right - sometimes no where that, and somethings faster).

    The current machines are definitely transition machines. The Santa Rosa/Merom will be the real 64 bit machine, but unless you need access to massive amounts of memory (etc) you wont notice much of a difference. IMHO not enough reason to hold off. If you need the features of Santa Rosa over what we have now you wouldn't even be considering buying now.
     
  4. Bengt77 thread starter macrumors 68000

    Bengt77

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    #4
    Sounds good to me! Problem is, I seem to be stuck in the waiting game. I find myself waiting for better machines everytime new ones come out. I said with the first Intel iMacs "No, I'll wait for the 64-bit iMacs". And now, now that they've come out, and my wished 24" machine has actually been released, I find myself trying to look for excuses to wait for the next generation.

    Then why is it that, when any machine I can buy today (even the lowest of low Mac minis) will be way faster than my old iMac, I still won't settle for today's machines? Of course, when I bought it, my iMac G4 was the top-of-the-line model of it's time. But so is the current 24" iMac, and yet I won't settle for that machine. I want true 64-bit (4GB RAM or more), a GeForce 7800GT or 7900GT, 500GB HD standard, etcetera. Why is that?!...
     
  5. risc macrumors 68030

    risc

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    #5
    I spent months waiting for the Merom MBP myself. In the end I gave up and purchased a Yonah MBP a couple of months back. It's an amazing machine. IMHO there is no point waiting at the moment unless you need something that isn't offered in the current machines. All of the current Macs are AS FAST AS HELL.

    Feel free to keep waiting if you want, but don't fool yourself that the machines today suck they are amazing. Sure they'll get faster and with the switch to Intel faster a lot quicker, but how much speed do you actually need?
     
  6. risc macrumors 68030

    risc

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    #6
    I think Apple may have already released the machine you want. Correct me if I'm wrong but it's called a "Mac Pro"? ;)
     
  7. Dagless macrumors Core

    Dagless

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    #7
    This is good. My 1.5ghz G4 is about to be replaced by a 2ghz Merom (with double the RAM and a video card leagues ahead). Really can't wait for the speed boost in iPhoto and FCE.
     
  8. Bengt77 thread starter macrumors 68000

    Bengt77

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    #8
    True, I guess. But maybe it's just the idea of these machines not being truly 64-bit capable. Sure, I may not really need it, but I don't want to settle for a machine that will feel outdated next year either.

    Also, besides the un-64-bitness of them, I find today's iMacs still somewhat lacking in the graphics departments. And the CPUs are a dead-end, really. The Merom is the last of it's line, if I remember correctly, that will use it's pin-layout. That means that the 2,33GHz Merom (the fastest there ever will be, as it's been said) will be the endpoint of today's iMacs. No upgrading beyond them. With any Conroe machine, the upgrade options down the path are way more open. Of course, Apple doesn't (yet) offer any such machine. But, I can wait (I've gotten pretty good at that). So I guess that's exactly what I will do.
     
  9. Bengt77 thread starter macrumors 68000

    Bengt77

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    #9
    Feature- and performance-wise, yes. Form factor-wise, no.

    I love the fact that the Mac Pros are the best, most easily expandable and fastest machines available today, and not just within Apple's lineup. But I don't want a tower, I want a compact computer. A Mac Pro mini would be nice, but not today's ginormous towers. I'm an iMac guy, really. Not so much for the expandability and performance (or lack thereof, until now), but for it's compactness.
     
  10. NJuul macrumors 6502

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    #10
    I don't really understand what you are waiting for...
    There will as you know always be newer, more groundbreaking and much more powerful machines just around the next corner, yet as you also know, you'll be waiting forever.
    As you said, last month you were waiting for a 24" iMac C2D, now it's here. But it sounds like you're now using the fact that it's not a Conroe and thus cannot be upgraded beyond the 2.33 merom as an excuse to return to the waiting game. Seriously, only extreme geeks pop open their iMacs to upgrade anything beyond RAM anyway...

    That said, I have a 400 mhz sawtooth, and a 1.83 MBP, and I'm telling you, the speed difference is like going from a bicycle to a car.
     
  11. Chundles macrumors G4

    Chundles

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    Jul 4, 2005
    #11
    My 1.2GHz G4 encodes video with H.264 at around 4 frames per second. I've seen Handbrake benchmarks of the new Core 2 Duo iMacs doing the same thing at close to 30 frames per second. That's 7.5 times faster than my iBook which is already 1.5 times faster than your G4 on clock speed.

    So in terms of video encoding (very processor intense operations) the jump from G4 to C2D is going to be simply breathtaking.

    Everything else is going to be much snappier too...

    Man I wish I could afford to upgrade.
     
  12. Bengt77 thread starter macrumors 68000

    Bengt77

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    #12
    Thanks for the heads up. I know exactly what you're saying. I even think you're right. Maybe it's just because I've been indoctrinated with all the talk from my PC-using friends, who saw my iMac's lack of upgradability as a definite no-go (for them). But really, waiting a few months for a truely 64-bit capable iMac with a GPU that will be roughly twice as fast as the ones you can choose from now, is not that bad in my opinion. Or is it?

    If I can afford to wait one more upgrade-cycle, then why is that a bad thing? Sure, I asked the question of why I'm doing it, but I've grown quite comfortable to this waiting game. And yeah, I know: I'm sick. :p
     
  13. Bengt77 thread starter macrumors 68000

    Bengt77

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    #13
    In the populated area where I live, a bike can actually be a lot faster than a car somtimes... :p :D ;)
     
  14. spicyapple macrumors 68000

    spicyapple

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    Jul 20, 2006
    #14
    I'm guessing anywhere between 5-8 times faster than your current machine. You'll notice a definite speed-up when running 2 and more intensive apps at the same time, while browsing on Safari for instance. It'll scroll like butter. :)
     
  15. Bengt77 thread starter macrumors 68000

    Bengt77

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    #15
    Ooh, I'm really liking the sound of that! :D

    [​IMG]
     
  16. NJuul macrumors 6502

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    #16
    You are of course in the "if you can wait, wait" part. But you really don't know if they are going to release an iMac with a faster GPU any time soon. Or upgrade to Conroe.
    Anyway, you know your needs better, and if your current mac suits you, by all means, wait. It also has the coolest design they've ever made! ;)
    Wish I could get one with an Intel C2D in it :D .

    By the way, isn't merom 64-bit?
     
  17. sigamy macrumors 65816

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    #17

    You haven't mentioned this but I wonder if form-factor of the current iMac is playing into your decision at all? I know it is for me...I have a 17" G4 iMac and I love the design of this machine. The ability to move the screen to *any* angle is really great. And it really does feel that the iMac G4's screen floats in mid air, for me, more so than the new iMacs.

    I've been holding out too...I want to upgrade for better performance in FCE, iMovie and iDVD. I'm tired of 6+ hours to encode a 1 hour DVD. But, I'm just not crazy about the current iMac design and I'm hoping that the next iMac is that much cooler.

    As for upgradeability...you said yourself that you have had your G4 iMac for 4 years and it is going strong. That should answer that question right there. iMacs are built well and while the components may not be bleeding edge, they are good quality components with good specs that will last well for years. (Except for the latest games, of course.)
     
  18. Bengt77 thread starter macrumors 68000

    Bengt77

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    #18
    Yeah, the design is indeed, as sigamy also says, one of the coolest computer designs ever. And yes, I too love being able to swivel the screen to any angle I like. I have mine standing on a small table next to the couch. When I'm working on it, I use it at the table (functioning as a desk), and when watching some movies, I swivel the screen and lay down on the couch. Works really great.

    And no, I don't know for sure they are going to do anything I would like them to do. But if they do, I'll be ready, as will my wallet.

    Yes, it is. But the Napa chipset Apple uses right now isn't. That doesn't mean that Leopard won't be able to leverage Merom's 64-bitness, it just means that the current iMacs can't be upgraded past the 32-bit RAM limit of 3GB. A machine based on both the next-generation mobile chipset (Santa Rosa) and either the Merom or it's successor (Gilo) is going to be truly 64-bit, and will thus be able to take a whopping theoretical maximum of 64GB of RAM.

    Maybe the next iMacs will be based on Merom/Santa Rosa, or maybe Apple will go with Allendale/Bridge Creek (Allendale is the low-cache version of the Conroe), but hopefully it'll be based on Conroe/Averill. (Oh man, the names!)
     
  19. x704 macrumors regular

    x704

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    Apr 15, 2006
    #19
    When I buy a new computer I get something that I think will last me a long time and then upgrade it with something like more RAM right away. Then when I simply can't handle the slowness of it I buy a new one several years later...
    So I guess it's a personal thing but I don't really have a reason to upgrade when by the time I am ready to upgrade the new computers are probably going to be much better.

    Now for the speed differance... I own an iMac "Core 2 duo" 2.0Gz 17" and a 12" G4 iBook @ 1.2Gz. I wrote a java app that with brute force calculates ptime numbers. Running it on both computers I get about a 3.5X speed increase on the iMac. However I don't think java is a very good benchmarking language... and neither is a prime number program...

    So I installed Halo (PPC version, not a UB) on my iMac and with everything turned up ran as smooth as silk (even when suffering from 1/2 or less speed)

    On my iBook it runs fairly slowly/choppy I would not dare play agenst somebody or the campain on legendary.

    I would also not dare encode viedo on it as I don't want to tie it up for that long, lol I have tried.
     
  20. Flyinace2000 macrumors 6502a

    Flyinace2000

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    Sep 28, 2004
    #20
    I havew a PowerBook and an iMac (spec in sig) and the iMac pounces the PB in everything it does. I have not tried any rosetta app[lications yet. I do do a little AfterAffects and Flash work, but have not tried it on the iMac yet. That owuld be interesting to see the difference in rendering times.
     

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