Processor Speed Please Explain like a 4yr old

GRuizMD

macrumors regular
Original poster
Aug 30, 2007
152
0
Ok this is the deal:

I am planning on buying me a 20" 2.4 :apple: Imac in October.. (will be my 1st mac) :eek: , however I do not understand this processor speed configurations. Currently I have a almost 3yr old PC that has a processor with a "speed" of 3.4 gHtz and a FSB of 800.

How would my New IMac will compare with those numbers?? :confused:

Thanks... I dont get it. Tried to google it and look in the forums and have not found a clear 4yr old type of explanation to this...:( All I get is more confused... .:eek:
 

Sean Dempsey

macrumors 68000
Aug 7, 2006
1,617
3
Ok this is the deal:

I am planning on buying me a 20" 2.4 :apple: Imac in October.. (will be my 1st mac) :eek: , however I do not understand this processor speed configurations. Currently I have a almost 3yr old PC that has a processor with a "speed" of 3.4 gHtz and a FSB of 800.

How would my New IMac will compare with those numbers?? :confused:

Thanks... I dont get it. Tried to google it and look in the forums and have not found a clear 4yr old type of explanation to this...:( All I get is more confused... .:eek:
It will destroy it like a 4th grader vs. a pitbull.

Your 2.4GHz imac is a dual core processor, ala 2.4 + 2.4 = 4.8, to be SUPER simple and innacurate. But the spirit is the same.

Plus, the architecture of CPU's changed a few years back. Before, it was just a climb to raw megahurtz. Well, they figured out better ways to do it, so now a 3 year old 3ghz processor isn't nearly as powerful as a new Intel Core2Duo 1.8ghz.

I had a pentium4 2.8ghz cpu with 2 gigs of ram. The same photoshop test took like 5 minutes on it, and like 52 seconds on my imac 2.4ghz.

Trust me, new CPU's are ++++++++++++++ old ones.
 

flopticalcube

macrumors G4
Raw clock speed is only one part of how fast a processor is. Think of it like a highway, the traffic might not be moving quite as fast as before but it has 12X the number of lanes so a lot more can be done with less. If your processor is a Pentium 4 (and it probably is) look at this chart:http://www.cpubenchmark.net/common_cpus.html

The 3.4GHz P4 scores 528 points on the CPU Mark test.
The 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo (similar to the one in the iMac) scores 1402. Nearly 3 times the performance.
 

Eric5h5

macrumors 68020
Dec 9, 2004
2,411
417
The really basic answer is just to ignore the GHz numbers, as they are fairly meaningless unless you're comparing processors of the exact same type. Intel was infamous for cranking up the GHz numbers at the expense of everything else for marketing purposes ("oooh look, a bigger number, it must be faster!"), but even they've given up on that.

What you want to care about is not the numbers, but the kind of processor you're getting. The Core 2 Duos in the iMacs are much better than the old Pentium IVs, regardless of GHz numbers. So don't worry about it. :)

--Eric
 

GRuizMD

macrumors regular
Original poster
Aug 30, 2007
152
0
"Look Daddy, it shiny! An' fast!"
"How fast is it, son?"
"It fast fast daddy. Fast fast coz it has core core. An' it shiny. Can we keep it, Daddy? Huh? We take it home, please?"
MMM Got it now....

Thanks guys. I am a happy camper now.
 

GRuizMD

macrumors regular
Original poster
Aug 30, 2007
152
0
Raw clock speed is only one part of how fast a processor is. Think of it like a highway, the traffic might not be moving quite as fast as before but it has 12X the number of lanes so a lot more can be done with less. If your processor is a Pentium 4 (and it probably is) look at this chart:http://www.cpubenchmark.net/common_cpus.html

The 3.4GHz P4 scores 528 points on the CPU Mark test.
The 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo (similar to the one in the iMac) scores 1402. Nearly 3 times the performance.
That is exactly was I was looking for.. Thanks
 

Gymnut

macrumors 68000
Apr 18, 2003
1,849
3
"Look Daddy, it shiny! An' fast!"
"How fast is it, son?"
"It fast fast daddy. Fast fast coz it has core core. An' it shiny. Can we keep it, Daddy? Huh? We take it home, please?"
No better way to explain it as if one was a small stupid child. :p

Well done. :D
 

jmufellow

macrumors regular
Jun 17, 2005
215
0
Read this wikipedia article about the so-called "megahertz myth." I'm no computer whiz either, so maybe you'll be able to understand my non-technical way of describing it.

It's a problem of words: when someone asks, "What's the speed of that processor?", does he mean how many times does it cycle in a second (aka clock speed), OR does he mean how fast will it run programs on my computer (aka overall speed)? The gigahertz number on the processor only indicates how fast it can cycle in a second, which is one of many factors you need to take into account when assessing the overall speed of a processor.

Remember the difference
Clock speed is the measure of how fast a processor cycles.
Overall speed is the clock speed + other factors

What are these "other factors" you ask? Beats me. Stuff like how it processes chunks of data per each of those cycles, and stuff like that. As I said, I'm no computer whiz.
 

siurpeeman

macrumors 603
Dec 2, 2006
6,313
18
the OC
all you have to know is that it's fast. it's faster than your computer and faster than anything apple was offering two or three years ago. enjoy your machine.
 

sananda

macrumors 68020
May 24, 2007
2,365
59
Raw clock speed is only one part of how fast a processor is. Think of it like a highway, the traffic might not be moving quite as fast as before but it has 12X the number of lanes so a lot more can be done with less. If your processor is a Pentium 4 (and it probably is) look at this chart:http://www.cpubenchmark.net/common_cpus.html

The 3.4GHz P4 scores 528 points on the CPU Mark test.
The 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo (similar to the one in the iMac) scores 1402. Nearly 3 times the performance.
is there a nice graph like that including ppc processors? i've been trying to find out the speed difference between the present apple processors and the ppc computers we have (without success since i also need it explained to me as though i'm 4).
 

zap2

macrumors 604
Mar 8, 2005
7,243
1
Washington D.C
My Core Duo 1.66Ghz eats my 2.4Ghz P4....a 2.4Ghz Core 2 Duo will beat a 3Ghz P4, the Core 2 Duo has 2 Core, which is basically 2 chips in one.


Now, one Core of your new iMac running at 2.4Ghz, would be much faster then your 3.0Ghz P4, Intel has made a chip run at a lower Ghz, but is more efficient. Now you have 2, 2.4Ghz, you'll be in a whole new world.
 

yg17

macrumors Pentium
Aug 1, 2004
15,000
2,480
St. Louis, MO
Your 2.4GHz imac is a dual core processor, ala 2.4 + 2.4 = 4.8, to be SUPER simple and innacurate. But the spirit is the same.

Yep, super inaccurate since you can't add proc speeds like that when more than one is involved, but that's irrelevant. A single core Core2 chip would beat the crap out of the P4
 

NtotheIzoo

macrumors regular
Jan 24, 2005
191
0
Raw clock speed is only one part of how fast a processor is. Think of it like a highway, the traffic might not be moving quite as fast as before but it has 12X the number of lanes so a lot more can be done with less.
That might be one of the best explanations/analogies that I've come across. It's easy to understand and put in simple terms that everyone can relate to.
 

Luis

macrumors 65816
Jul 19, 2006
1,229
0
Costa Rica
As someone already said, the Pentium 4 is like having a 1 lane highway going really fast, but the new Core 2 Duos are like having a highway with 12 lanes going a little bit slower. Per cycle they are slower, but overall, they are much more efficient.
 

MK2007

macrumors regular
Aug 31, 2007
121
0
Ok this is the deal:

I am planning on buying me a 20" 2.4 :apple: Imac in October.. (will be my 1st mac) :eek: , however I do not understand this processor speed configurations. Currently I have a almost 3yr old PC that has a processor with a "speed" of 3.4 gHtz and a FSB of 800.

How would my New IMac will compare with those numbers?? :confused:
I have two machines similar to yours. Without any hestitation I can tell you that you won't see much difference at all. Some applications and operations are very speedy on one of my machines while they are acceptable (but not impressive) on the other. For all practical purposes they are equivalent.

Leopard will add new functionality with potentially some slowdown. This will bring OS X even closer to what you experience now on your PC. A bigger, more advanced oeprating sytem doesn't offer the same speed as its predecessor, so don't let anyone fool you into thinking there will be no change. If software never made more demands on processors we would have no reason to upgrade hardware.
 

rds

macrumors regular
Aug 9, 2007
148
0
I have two machines similar to yours. Without any hestitation I can tell you that you won't see much difference at all. Some applications and operations are very speedy on one of my machines while they are acceptable (but not impressive) on the other. For all practical purposes they are equivalent.
What?!

Leopard will add new functionality with potentially some slowdown. This will bring OS X even closer to what you experience now on your PC. A bigger, more advanced oeprating sytem doesn't offer the same speed as its predecessor, so don't let anyone fool you into thinking there will be no change.
Absolute hogwash. Unless you have proof, don't bother spreading nonsense.

If history is anything to go by, Leopard should see more improvements in performance than otherwise. Also consider the possibilities in various software areas with the introduction of CoreAnimation, multicore support and 64-bit.

What is technically possible for developers with Leopard on current hardware is pretty darn impressive if you look back at the "issues" Microsoft had with Vista (Aeroglass?, etc.) When Leopard arrives, if you were to look at it from a developers perspective, you might wonder how it is able to do some of the clever stuff.

Take it from me, if areas of Leopard are slower, you won't notice it, nor care.
 

Eric5h5

macrumors 68020
Dec 9, 2004
2,411
417
Leopard will add new functionality with potentially some slowdown. This will bring OS X even closer to what you experience now on your PC. A bigger, more advanced oeprating sytem doesn't offer the same speed as its predecessor, so don't let anyone fool you into thinking there will be no change. If software never made more demands on processors we would have no reason to upgrade hardware.
Dude, this ain't Windows. ;) Every MacOS version from 10.0 through 10.4 has gotten faster. There are plenty of technical reasons why this is so, should you care to investigate them. (One good reason is that 10.0 was, shall we say, somewhat inefficient....) All reports indicate Leopard is faster yet. The only thing adding more features has done is to require more memory, although not anywhere on the same scale as Vista.

--Eric
 

Cheffy Dave

macrumors 68030
Raw clock speed is only one part of how fast a processor is. Think of it like a highway, the traffic might not be moving quite as fast as before but it has 12X the number of lanes so a lot more can be done with less. If your processor is a Pentium 4 (and it probably is) look at this chart:http://www.cpubenchmark.net/common_cpus.html

The 3.4GHz P4 scores 528 points on the CPU Mark test.
The 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo (similar to the one in the iMac) scores 1402. Nearly 3 times the performance.
THANKS SO MUCH! That chart was invaluable to me. I have a second question.
All my PC's One a P-4 3.2, and the other an Athlon 3700, both use 10,000 RPM H.D.D.'s Even though Apples processor's are faster, what hit is there for use with an Apple 5400 RPM H.D.D. What's up with 5400 speed anyway?:D