If you could only use one PowerPC chip

Which one?

  • 601

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 603

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 604

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • G3

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • G4

    Votes: 19 52.8%
  • G5

    Votes: 17 47.2%

  • Total voters
    36

timidpimpin

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Mine would be the G4. The G3's were great, but are too under-powered for the modern world. And the G5's simply weren't available in enough variety of systems.
 
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z970mp

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Admittedly, the G4 appears more "PowerPC" than the G5, which only appeared in two machines, and really gives off more of a "POWER" feel, anyway.

Besides, living with a specced-out MDD + DLSD would probably be pretty smooth going.

Also, if it's G5 only, that means no portables. And that's not very good.

EDIT: Just remembered the G5 appeared in three machines, not two. Forgot the Xserve.
 
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B S Magnet

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Dec 5, 2018
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I can’t put my finger on it, but the G4/G4e line has always felt like an oddball for me.

My very first Mac was a then-new Yikes! G4 (ordering it the exact same day Jobs back-graded the 400 to 350 and getting stuck with the 350). Years later, a Titanium G4/400 PowerBook was a file server which did fine for maybe 7 or 8 years. And I also used an iBook G4/1.42 as a daily user for a bit over two years. And now, I have that 17" DLSD G4/1.67 and am once more remembering my old machines.

It’s a je ne sais quoi I can’t adequately describe. The G4’s stability and/or quirks have always felt slightly odd, almost as if it was pasted together in haste and is kept together by the chip design equivalent of epoxy resin. In this sense, it doesn't feel as solid, as stable, or as certain as the G3s I’ve owned (which, admittedly, have all been iBook Rev. C clamshells) or used (which has included multiple iMacs, an early G3 Server, pre-B&W, and a PowerBook G3 Pismo for a hot minute in 2000).

And yes, the G5 has its own set of quirks (energy hunger notwithstanding), but the G5 feels more certain when dealing with imaging and audio work than the G4/G4e do. I don’t know to what extent this has to do with chip designs by Motorola/Freescale (G4/G4e), versus IBM (G5), versus total AIM (G3), but of these three, the G3 feels the most solid. Even so, I voted above for G5, which had a lot of potential long after Apple walked away from it. My second choice would be a late G3, ca. PPC750CXe/FX.

* * *

As for the earlier gens, I can’t remark freshly on the 601, 603, and 604/e, because it’s been over 20 years since I’ve touched any of them. I can remember how vexing the 601 in its early iteration was, especially being so accustomed to the 68040s in the Quadra 840AV we used at work. The Power Mac 8100/80 felt like a step backward at the time in areas of stability. Some of that probably had to do with the translation layer from 68K to PPC. Another 601, the Power Mac 6100/60, felt like a nightmare to use, especially when using heckin’ PageMaker. The few 604s I used around 1997 (like the Power Mac 9600) seemed pretty solid, but again, it was a long time ago, and of these three, I used the 601s far more frequently.
 

Project Alice

macrumors 6502a
Jul 13, 2008
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I can’t put my finger on it, but the G4/G4e line has always felt like an oddball for me.

My very first Mac was a then-new Yikes! G4 (ordering it the exact same day Jobs back-graded the 400 to 350 and getting stuck with the 350). Years later, a Titanium G4/400 PowerBook was a file server which did fine for maybe 7 or 8 years. And I also used an iBook G4/1.42 as a daily user for a bit over two years. And now, I have that 17" DLSD G4/1.67 and am once more remembering my old machines.

It’s a je ne sais quoi I can’t adequately describe. The G4’s stability and/or quirks have always felt slightly odd, almost as if it was pasted together in haste and is kept together by the chip design equivalent of epoxy resin. In this sense, it doesn't feel as solid, as stable, or as certain as the G3s I’ve owned (which, admittedly, have all been iBook Rev. C clamshells) or used (which has included multiple iMacs, an early G3 Server, pre-B&W, and a PowerBook G3 Pismo for a hot minute in 2000).

And yes, the G5 has its own set of quirks (energy hunger notwithstanding), but the G5 feels more certain when dealing with imaging and audio work than the G4/G4e do. I don’t know to what extent this has to do with chip designs by Motorola/Freescale (G4/G4e), versus IBM (G5), versus total AIM (G3), but of these three, the G3 feels the most solid. Even so, I voted above for G5, which had a lot of potential long after Apple walked away from it. My second choice would be a late G3, ca. PPC750CXe/FX.

* * *

As for the earlier gens, I can’t remark freshly on the 601, 603, and 604/e, because it’s been over 20 years since I’ve touched any of them. I can remember how vexing the 601 in its early iteration was, especially being so accustomed to the 68040s in the Quadra 840AV we used at work. The Power Mac 8100/80 felt like a step backward at the time in areas of stability. Some of that probably had to do with the translation layer from 68K to PPC. Another 601, the Power Mac 6100/60, felt like a nightmare to use, especially when using heckin’ PageMaker. The few 604s I used around 1997 (like the Power Mac 9600) seemed pretty solid, but again, it was a long time ago, and of these three, I used the 601s far more frequently.
I'd have to disagree. In my personal experience I've always had G4s seem way more reliable, and have way less quirks than every G3 system I've owned perhaps with the exception of my PowerBook G3 Pismo.
I use a sawtooth G4 almost daily. It's never done anything weird. I had a PSU go bad on a QS 2001 machine, other than that It was a very solid computer; It was daily driver along with my iBook G4 back in high school (graduated in 2013 so these were considered "obsolete" back then as well).
I have owned an iBook G3 dual USB (white) since I was about 14, so I've had it over 10 years. It's been through hell and back, and is still functional, though it has more quirks than any device I own now. It only likes its aftermarket macally power cable. It doesn't seem to like the official apple ones. The trackpad is super glitchy, only about 7 of the keys work on its keyboard right now.
Another G3 I have right now that comes in second place for quirks is my B&W (which actually has a G4 in it now but I think it still counts). Though I don't have issues using it, I had a hell of a time setting it up when I first bought it. Apparently theses are known to be just as picky as G5s in the RAM department.
I also have 4 iMac G3s, one of which I've had about as long as the aforementioned iBook. Its a 500Mhz indigo. I haven't had any problems with it aside from having to adjust the CRT positioning every time I turn it on.
I guess it really depends on which G3 and which G4 in question. MDDs are rather quirky for sure, as are G4 cubes. But I would just say that as a whole G4s are better (in my opinion). I currently use a 1.5Ghz 15" PowerBook G4 as my daily portable and I have not one single complaint or quirk with it, other than the keyboard backlight is basically useless.
 

B S Magnet

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I'd have to disagree. In my personal experience I've always had G4s seem way more reliable, and have way less quirks than every G3 system I've owned perhaps with the exception of my PowerBook G3 Pismo.
Disagreement is good. I reflected on my own perceptual take, and I doubted there was going to be a lot of folks nodding their head. Sort of like… a take describing a 13" MacBook Pro as a MacBook and not, you know, a MacBook Pro. :)

The PPC OS X era was dominated by the G4/G4e. Within that range, between 1999 and 2006, there was a mess of latitude for brilliant chip/logic board/case match-ups with others being total lemons. To lesser extent, at 1997 through 2003, the G3 also has a lot of chip/board/case pairings which either worked or didn’t. I reckon the same conjecture can be made for any chip line, though there were a significant range of PPC7400/7450s used for Apple’s stuff.

The G4s I've owned and used all share the feel (again, my perceptual take, not gospel) that they were an enhancement of the PPC750 architecture, but with additional stuff proverbially bolted or "epoxyed" on, rather than being a wholly unique chip (for instance, AltiVec, or how Yikes! was matched with a logic board built for a G3 predecessor). Consequently, there are times when I feel like I'm working with a much faster PPC750, only to be reminded by something minor that there’s something else afoot underneath the user experience which may be complicating a task I’m working on.

Then I come back to a question of why radiation-hardened PPC7400/7450s never really became a thing, whilst radiation-hardened PPC750s are still being used for new and continuing space-related missions. I fathom it has to do with the immanent stability and reliability of its core design.

The G5, meanwhile, although confined to a handful of Apple products between 2003 and 2006, was picky about things being just right — case design, cooling method, a logic board with good capacitors, RAM meeting a minimum quality criteria and, alas, power requirements. They were a reflection of the designer (IBM), which had less experience making chips in high consumer quantities. Once those nitpicks were ironed out, however, the G5s feel rock-solid.

I find it a shame Apple chose to forgo further development in that area for niche professional/enterprise applications (not unlike how Nikon maintains the sale of one 35mm film camera, their flagship F6), as some of IBM’s later PPC970 revisions (e.g., the designed, but never built PPC970GX or even a multi-core extension of the GX) might have worked out really well for circumstances where proprietary enterprise/cluster code had been engineered for PPC/POWER architectures, in places where Xserves operated. I do concur, however, that the G5 was never purpose-designed for portability, as that was generally not IBM’s home realm.

In the end (and probably the point of this entire thread): run with what works best for your needs!
 

RhianB

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Sep 3, 2016
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I mostly agree. I would go with dual 1.42 MDD and an Intel MacBook. In fact... I may buy myself a couple MDD's.

I figure as I am handy with computers, any maintenance to the LCS would be no big deal so why not go for the ppc gusto w/ a 2.5ghz quadcore :)

Considering intel runs so much cooler & for me has been so much more rock solid (ie every ppc portable I own is dead right now), that seems the logical choice for me.

I have a dual 800 something MDD which is cool but recently I’ve gotten more use out of my quicksilvers despite the superior MDD spec hardware. I guess Im biased as it was my first ppc.
 

eyoungren

macrumors Core
Aug 31, 2011
21,253
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Back in design school 1992-1994 there was a specific Mac at school designated for scanning. Generally it was an older Mac, but maxed out in ram and disk size. We were always told, use it only for scanning.

There was a line to use it and you set up your scan and then walked away for about 30 minutes. The instructors were very specific about following the scanning instructions. If you failed to get it right you have to redo it. Another 30 minutes or so.

I can recall taking breaks while Photoshop rendered effect filters. Saving gave you a progress bar.

When the iMac G3 came along things got a lot better because believe it or not these dinky little CRTs with ambition were more powerful than the series of Macs then being used.

I do not and never shall wish to return to the days where I had to wait for the computer to catch up to me. So, nothing short of a G3 will do. That said, my choice is a G5. I want the max power, speed and abillity I can get.
 

cmaier

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Jul 25, 2007
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It was never used in any Mac though, and it's essentially a G3 isn't it?
Oh god no! So so wrong!

I actually have a mac with an x704 in it. It’s not exactly “stock” though :)

And it certainly isn’t a G3. See: Maier, Cliff A. et al. (1997). "A 533-MHz BiCMOS Superscalar RISC Microprocessor". IEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits, Volume 32, Number 11, pp. 1625–1634.
 

timidpimpin

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Oh god no! So so wrong!

I actually have a mac with an x704 in it. It’s not exactly “stock” though :)

And it certainly isn’t a G3. See: Maier, Cliff A. et al. (1997). "A 533-MHz BiCMOS Superscalar RISC Microprocessor". IEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits, Volume 32, Number 11, pp. 1625–1634.
But it was a PowerPC processor that was meant to surpass 604 tech, right? So in the realm of PowerPC that makes it a 3rd generation chip right?

I'm not saying it is an actual G3, but rather a very similar architecture that was meant to compete at the same or greater level as the G3 at the time.
 

cmaier

macrumors G5
Jul 25, 2007
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But it was a PowerPC processor that was meant to surpass 604 tech, right? So in the realm of PowerPC that makes it a 3rd generation chip right?

I'm not saying it is an actual G3, but rather a very similar architecture that was meant to compete at the same or greater level as the G3 at the time.
It was actually a competitor to the 603. It was manufactured over a year before the G3. It was not at all a similar architecture, though. Not even close. It was designed for maximum simplicity and maximum clock speed. It ran macOS faster than anything in the world, at the time. And ran windows NT even faster. (macOS was not very efficient back then).
 
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z970mp

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Jun 2, 2017
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Keep in mind that OS X is obviously more optimized for the G4 than the G5, so what the G4 lacks in raw power, it will generally make up for in tweak and optimization. Running Leopard on an MDD and Power Mac G5 shouldn't be that different.

The Quicksilvers also have L3 caches, which the G5 does not. The MDD also has twice the HD bays, among less power consumption, which makes them superior candidates for general server work as well.
 
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mryingster

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G5s were really hot and power hungry. The G4s were very fast (for the time) and reasonable wattage-wise. I loved all my G4 machines over the years. Admittedly, I've never owned a G5. Went from a PowerMac G4 to Intel iMac.
 
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timidpimpin

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It was actually a competitor to the 603. It was manufactured over a year before the G3. It was not at all a similar architecture, though. Not even close. It was designed for maximum simplicity and maximum clock speed. It ran macOS faster than anything in the world, at the time. And ran windows NT even faster. (macOS was not very efficient back then).
Thanks for the info. I'm guessing they were used in the clone market? Like UMAX and Power Computing.
 

timidpimpin

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Then there is the very rare 602 chip that was a scaled back 603, and I think it was only ever used in the Panasonic 3DO M2 console.

 
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Anonymous Freak

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The trio of Cube, iMac G4, and TiBook make the G4 the winner for me.

But I do have an extreme soft spot for the first generation of 601 machines.

And if we're going to put all G3s in one bucket, all G4s in one bucket, and all G5s in one bucket, then the 603 and 604 should be in a single bucket, too. They are less different than the 7400 is from the 7457.

If they were combined, I may pick that, as the PowerBook 1400 and 3400 used the 603, while the "good" desktop Macs of that era used the 604.
 
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RhianB

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Keep in mind that OS X is obviously more optimized for the G4 than the G5, so what the G4 lacks in raw power, it will generally make up for in tweak and optimization. Running Leopard on an MDD and Power Mac G5 shouldn't be that different.

The Quicksilvers also have L3 caches, which the G5 does not. The MDD also has twice the HD bays, among less power consumption, which makes them superior candidates for general server work as well.
Maybe so but the real questions is can they grate cheese?

I THINK NOT.

G5 for the win with superior cheesy goodness.
 

timidpimpin

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Maybe so but the real questions is can they grate cheese?

I THINK NOT.

G5 for the win with superior cheesy goodness.
HAHA! Exactly!

Even if a G5 tower dies you still have a quality cheese grater.
[doublepost=1554431057][/doublepost]Now that I think about it... the back of an MDD has lots of holes, and could easily grate cheese.
 
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RhianB

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You know I did think about the back of a MDD. Could it grate cheese? Yeah I guess so, but could it grate cheese at the quality and quantity of a 2.5QC PMG5?

Hmmmm.

Which would YOU want on team pizza?

:D