Switcher Q: PowerMac or 20" iMac for Virtual PC?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by anthonymoody, Dec 8, 2004.

  1. anthonymoody macrumors 68020

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    Aug 8, 2002
    #1
    I'm a soon-to-be switcher who is trying to decide b/t a 20" iMac and a Dual 1.8 PM. For the most part the 20" iMac will suffice for my usage needs. There are however two reasons I'm thinking about the dual 1.8:

    1) I already have two DVI flat panel monitors so getting one of the sweet video cards with Dual DVI out would be great

    and perhaps more importantly

    2) There is one application - Microsoft MapPoint 2004 - that I use extensively in my consulting work and is not available for the Mac. So VirtualPC it is for me.

    So my question is this: does the dual processor configuration help speed up VPC? If so, how much? Can anyone with direct experience describe the speed of VPC on a 20" iMac and/or dual 1.8 PM in terms of PC speed? e.g. it feels like a 1Ghz PIII or something like that.

    I would be willing to spend the extra $ on the dual 1.8 if there will be a noticeable improvement in the speed of vpc.

    Thanks in advance,
    TM
     
  2. edesignuk Moderator emeritus

    edesignuk

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    Mar 25, 2002
    Location:
    London, England
    #2
    VPC is a dog no matter what you put it on, I can't imagine there being any performance gap between a single or dual G5.
     
  3. brap macrumors 68000

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    May 10, 2004
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    Nottingham
    #3
    VPC will run like crap on most machines; you're better off getting a real PC for any application which taxes system resources. Maybe get the 20" iMac, and a cheap PC? That way you can have your games fix, and use the MS application without letting the DVI panels go to waste.
     
  4. anthonymoody thread starter macrumors 68020

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    Aug 8, 2002
    #4
    I hear you guys, but two machines are not something I want to worry about, particularly when it really is only this one (must have) application.

    edesignuk - is the reason the dual processor wouldn't be faster that vpc is software emulation only? Either way, would (lots) more RAM help?

    Thanks,
    TM
     
  5. Scottyk9 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2004
    Location:
    Canada
    #5
    Just to be clear I am not promoting VPC. However, for my purposes I find it a much more elegant solution to use VPC for 2, non-graphic intensive programs which are not available for Mac.

    I have also found that VPC 7 runs applications (using windows 2000) noticably faster than VPC 6, and for the programs the slower speed does not affect my productivity (wasting time here on these forums does however!). I tried running these programs on a PC on a local network with RDC, and did not find that this was noticably faster. Note that this may be application specific.

    With respect to dual vs. single, I can't directly answer that question, but I have noticed that if VPC is sucking up a lot of processor cycles, OS X applications will use the other CPU. If you run processor intensive applications in OS X at the same time as running VPC, this may have implications for you. If not, then I would agree that dual processors are unlikely to affect the performance of VPC.
     
  6. timnosenzo macrumors 6502a

    timnosenzo

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    Jun 21, 2004
    Location:
    ct, us
    #6
    I keep a old headless PC in the back that I can run PC apps on. Much faster than VPC and doesn't take up as much HD space. :D

    [​IMG]
     
  7. anthonymoody thread starter macrumors 68020

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    Aug 8, 2002
    #7
    nosen,

    I'm confused. That screen shot looks an awful lot like VPC running windows (2000?) and MapPoint. Or is that some other method of jacking into the headless PC?

    Thanks,
    TM
     
  8. blackfox macrumors 65816

    blackfox

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2003
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    PDX
    #8
    I Believe Nosen is using Remote Desktop to run MapPoint off of his PC onto his monitor.

    Hope that allays some confusion.
     
  9. anthonymoody thread starter macrumors 68020

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    Aug 8, 2002
    #9
    Interesting thanks. Sorry for this Mac noob question but I would assume then that the only speed limitation of doing this is the speed of your (wireless) network?

    Thanks,
    TM
     
  10. brap macrumors 68000

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    May 10, 2004
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    Nottingham
    #10
    That's actually not true; the speed limitation is based around the protocol RDC uses. You won't see any improvement going from Base10T to a Firewire 400 connection (or, at least, I didn't) - there is some quite noticeable UI lag. Nothing compared to VPC, though ;)
     
  11. timnosenzo macrumors 6502a

    timnosenzo

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    ct, us
    #11
    Sorry, should have made that clearer... It's a Windows XP machine that has Remote Desktop access enabled, and its just plugged into the network (there's no keyboard, monitor, or mouse connected to it). I use Microsoft's free Remote Desktop software to access it.

    http://www.microsoft.com/mac/otherproducts/otherproducts.aspx?pid=remotedesktopclient

    Once its set up it works really well--I can even use it over a cable Internet connection using a VPN.
     
  12. bigandy macrumors G3

    bigandy

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    Murka
    #12
    it be remote desktop connection found here. it's a microsoft app, and lets you connect and view the desktop of the pc.

    that machine is running xp - look at the windows logo on the start button...

    i find that what doesn't run on the mac not worth it - i have a powerbook 1.5ghz, with 2gb ram, and VPC is still slow for most stuff (although 7 is better than ever). i'd do this if it was possible - just keep your existing pc and set up a little LAN.
     
  13. anthonymoody thread starter macrumors 68020

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    Aug 8, 2002
    #13
    Thanks for the additional info guys. I see from the link that XP Home is not supported for this method. Damn. Looks like VPC or bust for me :(

    TM

    PS - anyone know of any benchmarks exploring the speed of vpc with various amounts of RAM, etc?
     
  14. jackieonasses macrumors 6502a

    jackieonasses

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    Mar 3, 2004
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    #14
    just telling you. If those screens are not a 30" you don't have to have the new 6800 Ultra at all. Just use adapters with the Dual G5.

    kyle
     
  15. anthonymoody thread starter macrumors 68020

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    Aug 8, 2002
    #15
    kyle,

    Interesting. Do the adapters keep the 2nd signal path all digital? The reason I ask is b/c on my PC the video card has 1 DVI and 1 VGA output. The quality of images, text and graphics on whichever monitor is connected via VGA is noticeably lesser than the quality via DVI. And I've switched to make sure.

    TM
     
  16. jeremy.king macrumors 603

    jeremy.king

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    Jul 23, 2002
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    Fuquay Varina, NC
    #16
    You can use VNC as well on a PC.

    Does MapPoint run on 98? I find performance of VPC 5 acceptable on my DP 867 with 512MB dedicated to VPC.
     
  17. anthonymoody thread starter macrumors 68020

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    Aug 8, 2002
    #17
    I'll have to find the Mappoint box to see if it'd work on 98 (though I deplore 98).

    Here's another question (and I'll start a new thread I guess if no one answers here): what exactly do dual processor systems do faster than single processor systems, and what do they have no effect on?

    Reason I ask is b/c I went into a store yesterday and player with both a dual 1.8 and a 20" iMac (as an aside the dual was connected to the 30" display - holy smokes :eek: is that thing crazy!). Anyway I found the dual 1.8 quicker on things that I didn't think it'd be quicker on like starting up programs (word, itunes, iphoto all appeared noticeably faster). Both machines had only stock 256 ram, though the dual 1.8 obviously had a kickin graphics card to power the 30" - but I wouldn't think that would impact application load times.

    ?

    Thanks,
    TM

    PS - btw I didn't find the iMac "too slow" by any stretch, but I did notice a difference
     
  18. brap macrumors 68000

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    #18
    It's quite logical really; either multi-threaded applications (written to take advantage of DP systems), or multitasking (in which the second CPU can take the background tasks, while the first is devoted to opening the application).

    Bascally, 2 > 1. :D
     
  19. anthonymoody thread starter macrumors 68020

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    Aug 8, 2002
    #19
    Understood brap. If I understand what you're saying though, the thing I primarily noticed - opening up apps more quickly - should not have been affected by the 2 v 1 argument. Is that right? If so, what else might lead to that difference?

    Thanks,
    TM
     
  20. brap macrumors 68000

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    May 10, 2004
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    Nottingham
    #20
    No, opening apps is actually one of the things which will benefit most; the iMac will be opening the app and doing all the background processing. The Dualie will distribute the work.
     
  21. jdurston macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2004
    Location:
    Waterloo, Canada
    #21
    My dual g5 experience with VPC

    I have run virtual pc 6.x on g4 500 and 667 and more recently vpc7 on a dual 2ghz G5 (2gB of RAM).

    The dual g5 run great, I wouldn't call it a "dog" at all other than the xp boot times. I did have the ram allocation maxed out for VPC. By saving and restoring the PC you save on the boot time.

    The g4 performance was hardly acceptable but would work in a pinch, pull down menus and such took forever to open on the older g4's.

    I would say for general use VPC 7 on a fast dual g5 is entirely acceptable. I have no experience on a single g5 however.
     
  22. anthonymoody thread starter macrumors 68020

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    Aug 8, 2002
    #22
    Thanks to both of you. Much appreciated. I'm leaning more than ever toward the dualie :)

    TM
     
  23. kainjow Moderator emeritus

    kainjow

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2000
    #23
    Definitely get the Dual 1.8GHz Power Mac. I've got one (with 1.25GB ram) and it runs beautifully. I don't see myself purchasing a new computer until who knows when. This baby will last forever at this speed (and I run tons of apps all the time and lots of heavy stuff too).

    If you want power, get the dual processor. Boot time for my computer is ~12 secs, apps open instantly (but start to slow down since I right now I have 22 apps open and usually have 15-20 open all the time). You'll see ok performance from that iMac G5, but nothing compared to the dual processor PM.
     
  24. jefhatfield Retired

    jefhatfield

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    Jul 9, 2000
    #24
    wow, kainjow...i can't believe you are still here...i guess it's just you and me from the first month of macrumors' inception
     
  25. Mechcozmo macrumors 603

    Mechcozmo

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2004
    #25
    VPC sucks. Plain and simple. Now, using a dual 1.8 G5 will lessen the suckiness. VPC won't run if you have more than 2 GB of RAM and also will not allow you to allocate more than 512MB of RAM to a single Virtual computer. Windows 98 on my 1.33Ghz G4 768MB of RAM PowerBook runs almost at native speeds (450Mhz PIII is what I would compare it to). It may suck but just apply the security updates, and then ONLY use it for the program you want.

    Also, disable all the features of Win98 possible if it runs any thing in the background. Like any update features, any anti-virus stuff... Also make sure NOT to connect to the internet with it, use your Mac to connect to the internet and then copy files across. That way you don't have issues with viruses trashing a virtual computer. (Which I don't know if it has ever happened, but you don't want to switch only to have viruses still haunt you..)
     

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