Were PowerPC Macs really as slow as they are now? (No Flame!)

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by LOLZpersonok, Feb 2, 2013.

  1. LOLZpersonok, Feb 2, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2013

    macrumors 6502a

    LOLZpersonok

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2012
    Location:
    Calgary, Canada
    #1
    My PowerPC Mac's don't seem as fast as they should. It's my understanding that now that Macs are made with Intel processors they're much faster now, but were they actually as slow back then as they are now? I don't have a G5 Mac so I can't say for that, but it seems that my 500MHz Compaq Deskpro performs the same on Gmail as my Dual Processor 1.25GHz PowerMac G4...Idk, it could be just me.

    Mine are generally slow now, but were they fast back in their time???
     
  2. macrumors G5

    jav6454

    Joined:
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    #2
    Its relative. Your current CPU might not be fast enough for today's bigger tasks. However, back in the day... there weren't tasks as the ones we have today; hence, the CPU finished them quicker which made it look fast.
     
  3. macrumors 604

    thejadedmonkey

    Joined:
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    Pa
    #3
    Back in the day, a PPC Mac would be faster than a current gen intel computer.

    But programs used less RAM, had smaller sizes, they weren't as resource intensive.
     
  4. macrumors 68000

    Hrududu

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    Jul 25, 2008
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    Wichita KS
    #4
    Not at all. With the exception of Jaguar, install the original OS that came with the machine and use the software from that era and they run great. Also important to remember how much less CPU power the internet used back in the day.
     
  5. macrumors 68020

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    Southern California
    #5
    Benchmarks aside, speed is all based on user perception compared to past experience & their usage model.

    My PowerPC Macs of the past were very fast. Each was fully optioned in all areas of the configuration.

    Today's Intel Macs I own are much faster. Moores law & max configurations do the trick. :D
     
  6. macrumors 6502a

    rjcalifornia

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    #6
    They were fast, pretty fast. Any intel of that day was slower than the ppc. However, moore's law was in intel's favor... man why ppc didn't have that?
     
  7. macrumors 604

    mrsir2009

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    Sep 17, 2009
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #7
    Well, the internet is MUCH more “rich” today than it was in the early 2000s, so computers made then won’t be able to handle it as well.
     
  8. macrumors 6502

    skateny

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    Jul 19, 2012
    Location:
    New York, NY
    #8
    If they were, you wouldn't see so many people still using them today.

    My Wall Street PowerBook G3 blew the wheels off anything comparable at the time.
     
  9. macrumors 604

    Jessica Lares

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2009
    Location:
    Near Dallas, Texas, USA
    #9
    I remember making websites in 2000 (I've been doing them since 97 though). There wasn't even WordPress yet and Movable Type was just about to be announced (just to give you an example), most of us were using Angelfire, Lycos, Geocities, and similar.

    Most websites were mostly still text with images, and a small amount of dynamic javascript. We had no social networking, we had no GMail, and everything online was still pretty basic. We didn't even have Skype yet - And I remember when that launched too. I have had my account since then actually.

    So for the most part, yes, G3s in particular, and some G4s were not designed for the tech that we have been accustomed to for the last five years.

    You might notice a difference and think the PC is better, but then try running Photoshop on both machines, you'll notice a HUGE difference in performance - In this case, a clamshell could handle it better than your PC.
     
  10. macrumors regular

    rezwits

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2007
    Location:
    Las Vegas
    #10
    Back in the Day

    I remember back in the day when I made DVDs, I had a Dual chip 533 GHz G4, to encode MPEG2 video and I had an Intel 486 2.0 GHz single chip, and the Mac would crush the encoding, about twice as fast.

    The thing about the old PPC days is that the heat got out of control, heat and noise...

    Laters...
     
  11. LOLZpersonok, Feb 2, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2013

    thread starter macrumors 6502a

    LOLZpersonok

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Calgary, Canada
    #11
    Okay, new question:

    Photoshop CS5 is fast on my HP Envy, but that's not the question. The question is, were Macs always designed for graphics applications and movie production? When I see Macs out in public they're usually doing Internet/Business applications or Photoshop or something like that. When I see PCs in public, they're doing everything but Photoshop.

    It could also be that I try to run modern software on old computers, I always do that.
     
  12. macrumors 604

    Jessica Lares

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2009
    Location:
    Near Dallas, Texas, USA
    #12
    Well, you don't buy a Mac for Microsoft Office now do you? ;)

    Digital video didn't take off until after 2000 (I'm reading this in Wikipedia), otherwise everything was still being shot with film (animated films are another story though). The tools needed to make them on the computer just wasn't there yet. Look at these release notes of Adobe Premiere from 1991:

    Any computer is really good enough for Photoshop, It's the massive amounts of plugins that it has now that makes older machines choke.
     
  13. macrumors 6502a

    ybz90

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2009
    #13
    Bing bing, we have a winner.

    All I can say is my PowerBook G4 is totally usable and enjoyable for the most part. I mainly use it to run older games and surf the web now and then. Every PC in my household older than a Core 2 Duo (including some P4s and Core Duos) are unusably slow, even with just Windows XP. As in two-three minute boots and forever just to launch Firefox. Part of it may be expectations though, I'm not sure what you would consider "slow" or "unusable", and I am used to a 48-core Opteron at work, but I don't think this is that much of a factor considering I find the G4 perfectly satisfactory.
     
  14. Giuly, Feb 3, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2013

    macrumors 68040

    Giuly

    #14
    First, max out the RAM. It's a bit hard to find but worth it.
    Second, install two 120GB last-gen Maxtor hard drives (or 2TB ones if you want to buy a Sonnet Tempo SATA card). Put them in RAID0.

    My 1.33GHz single G4 became pretty usable with that configuration (until the ATA controller stopped working due to some snapped off capacitor while transporting it), and booted quite fast. I'm still tempted to try two SSDs in RAID0 on the PowerMac though, it should make it usable even by today's standards.
     
  15. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2013
    #15

    I have the exact opposite experience. My first gen Pentium 4, 400MHz FSB, is noticeably faster than my Powerbook G4 1.67 GHz especially in web browsing. Your computer is slow probably because of malware so the comparison is unfair. My P4 boots XP in 20-30 seconds and Windows 7 in under a minute.

    The G4 has a very slow bus running at only 167 MHz while memory was running at twice that speed, 333 MHz. Also, the G4 was not very good with integer code though Altivec made it great for multimedia apps like photoshop.

    I get a lot of beachballing and the Powerbook is even slower than my new iPad. That's how slow it is.
     
  16. macrumors 6502a

    rjcalifornia

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2012
    Location:
    El Salvador
    #16
    Well, how many applications are you running at the same time?

    Anyways, my main Desktop PC computer is slow (AMD Sempron 3400+ / 1.8 GHz) but because I run Windows 7 with all the Visual Studio apps. My ibook G4 boots faster, because my computer start like 7 services on boot (for app developing purposes)

    Beachballing? I get beachballing when I try to watch 9 youtube flash videos at the same time :)
     
  17. macrumors 68040

    Giuly

    #17
    According to Geekbench, yes. But even an iPad 3rd-gen feels slow the second you pick up an iPhone 5.
     
  18. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2013
    #18
    I get beachballing only running Firefox and when loading certain web pages, but that makes no difference since I have 2 GB of RAM. I know it's slow because I check activity monitor.

    I don't bother watching flash videos because it's unoptimized for the powerpc. Too painful to use. I can't imagine loading 9 youtube videos, much less 2.
     
  19. macrumors 6502a

    ybz90

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2009
    #19
    I guarantee you my P4 computer is not slow because of malware, I'm talking about a fresh install of XP; kind of a ridiculous assumption on your part when you have no idea about what kind of computer qualifications I have, don't you think? I could go into why you focusing on the numbers/specs game is a specious argument in this particular comparison, but I'll save that for another time.

    I actually just took apart the P4 Wintel today, to donate the components as it has no further use to anyone in my family now that my grandma has moved out of the country. It's really just brutally slow, with a fresh install.

    Speaking of which, maybe you should try that on your PowerBook as well. Junk software, files, and settings can accumulate on Macs too. And to my original point in the post you quoted, it all has to do with what you try to run on it. The P4 is nasty slow in my opinion just to use, but is really unusable because Firefox on XP and modern sites is a nightmare, whereas I can use PPC/Leopard optimized apps like Aurorafox on my PB (typing on my PowerBook right now in fact, running like a champ). If I were to use Firefox or any other recent build of modern software on the PB, it'd probably be just as bad of an experience as I have on XP with the P4, but the difference is, I can use optimized software for it. With the P4, it's a crap shoot.

    EDIT: Of course, it's slower than an iPad. Even ignoring the fact that iOS is a very simplified and highly optimized operating system, the AX chips in Apple's iDevices are anywhere up to two times faster than the fastest laptop G4. They're faster than Pentiums too. They're just pretty darn fast period.
     
  20. macrumors 6502a

    rjcalifornia

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2012
    Location:
    El Salvador
    #20
    What? really? I don't really see that... So a laptop using an AX chip could run Leopard better than any PowerPC laptop?

    ----------

    I like to test things out. I use Youview/ClickTo Plugin

    Flash seems to struggle with Windows 8, so we are not alone ;)
     
  21. macrumors 6502a

    ybz90

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2009
    #21
    Assuming Leopard were ever compiled and optimized for ARM, absolutely. The latest ARM chips out there are well above PPC G4 chips in terms of raw computational capability (mostly due to faster memory and 2+ cores), but are comparable or more powerful in many single threaded tasks as well. It's kind of silly to think about it that way, but the iPhone in your pocket is a more powerful computer than the PowerBook you type on.

    Server grade ARM chips could theoretically give Intel a serious run for its money, but when you scale up, you lose the main advantage, which is amazing power efficiency, and right now, with PC growth stagnating, mobile devices is where the money is at.
     
  22. macrumors 65816

    rabidz7

    #22
    Besides graphics my quad 2.5 power mac is MUCH faster than my 8 core 4.6 Ghz amd customac.
     
  23. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2013
    #23
    Any processor sold after the release of Windows XP is plenty fast for booting and general web browsing. It should not be booting in 2-3 minutes. I just did a boot on my slow P4 and it's 20 seconds. 50 seconds for Firefox to load Google. As for cleaning up Mac OS X? I don't know of any Mac user doing that. It's unnecessary. The activity monitor shows the CPU being pegged at 100% for several seconds when loading certain sites so the bottleneck is the G4. At idle only the activity monitor is loading the CPU so I know I don't need to clean up.

    I don't use Firefox. I've been running Tenfourfox with Adblock since August and the performance is still bad.

    If you think the P4 is generally slower than the G4, well I have nothing else to say.
     
  24. ybz90, Feb 3, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2013

    macrumors 6502a

    ybz90

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2009
    #24
    I'll say this one last time, it all depends on what kind of software you are running. Additionally, we likely have different P4s at different clock speeds and different feature sets like HT (as well as possibly different G4s), but at equivalent release dates, the G4 was a better processor for the most part. If you're sporting a 2.8 HT computer, well, yeah, obviously that's going to be faster than a 1.33 G4.

    Like I said, I'd encourage you to reinstall OS X. It should not be taking 100% CPU to load websites. Also, I am skeptical on your P4 being able to boot in 20 seconds if it's a stock install, or if it really is, I want to know how to do this black magic for myself because that's just awesome.
     
  25. macrumors 6502a

    rjcalifornia

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2012
    Location:
    El Salvador
    #25
    Interesting. Apple is now making its own ARM chips. There was a thread a while ago about 'Macbook Air' with an ARM and some sort of Mac OS optimized for ARM. If ARM is getting so powerful with less power consumption, I could see Apple making the switch. The thing about mobile is that mobile devices are cheap and pretty fast, perfect for emerging economies where laptops are way too expensive just for you know, checking email and facebook. HP knew that, so they tried with their own tablet, which failed. However they had already switched to develop Software and Servers for big corporation, 'cause they knew laptops/desktops growth was slowing down.

    I hope they make the switch to ARM... A 10 hours battery life on a laptop? :)
     

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