Quad G5; under and overrated

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by Anasebi, Jan 29, 2012.

  1. Anasebi, Jan 29, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2012

    Anasebi macrumors newbie

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    Jan 29, 2012
    #1
    Hello,

    I just recently acquired this mighty powermac as a final replacement for my long obsolete but still loved dual 1.42ghz MDD G4. Like many here I grew up on macs at school, my original was a smurftower G3 that I had maxed out cpu/gpu/storage.ram and used as a file server for many years.

    I have to say that there are many surprises with the Quad G5 that I was not expecting.

    Heat
    My main computers for the past five years had been self built PC workstations machines, and I am not sure if is due to a long history with monolithic top of the line GPUs but; the Quad G5 is not the power hog nor heat maker people made it out to be.

    Even back when it was made there already were Dual socket SLI setups that could shame it by kill-o-watt and as an electrical furnace. It hardly kicks out any more head under load than a single core pentium 4 or K8 with a 7800GTX from way back did. I think this is due to having a very advanced digital power phase.

    Either way an early FB-DIMM(!)quad, Octo or Hexa Core Mac Pro with low end graphics should have no issue whipping the meter in ways the Quad Core G5 could only dream of.

    It could be that dual core G5 processors from stepping improvements or whatnot were a lot better than Apple rightfully assumed after the AGP G5 debacle, certainly not where Apple wanted, but not the thermal nightmares they were before. Liquid Cooling was likely kept due to keep noise down and because Heat Pipe coolers had not yet reached the high efficiency of the last five years.

    My Quad Core G5 with a 7800GTX is simply no match for my Nehelem based i7 with a 580GTX when it comes to heating this room, both are hungry big ol workstations, but the Quad G5 under load can't match an i7 and Nvidia Fermi.
    But this brings me to my second surprise

    Performance

    I saw the writing on the wall for PPC during that Keynote long ago; when Tiger was loaded onto an Pentium 4. The Mac Pro was too much of a financial pill when I was a student. All these years later this Quad G5 was bought entirely to use my old pile of PPC disk, some are not so old, UB infact, and were gifted to my from colleges who are now on the next literation on Lion. I have to say even with its limitations on many older applications, but G5 is a much more pleasant to use at times than my Nehelem PC.

    Both computers are blazing fast in general use due to their 240GB SSD (Sanforce naturally on the G5) and 16 and 18GB of ram; but when something is poorly done in an application, the Quad G5 seems to process its way out quicker.

    Not saying anything as mad as the Core i7 is slower, it is likely Windows 7 fault; but for whatever reason the Quad G5 is still a powerful system half a decade later and can easily hold its head high among the Quad Core systems of today in intensive task.

    Many speak of PPC in terms that do not outline their obsoleteness by software cut off, but by more that they are uselessly slow next to modern processors.

    I'm just saying no, it only became so due to corporate maneuvering, not architectural limpness. Had Apple continued to use PPC, IBM could have easily ramped up the performance to go head to head with the best Core 2 did and beyond; but like many things there was allot more to the decision than what makes the best guts for workstations. Cost, Mobility and Standardization is how you run a company and so the G5 died.

    I was surprised by all this, am surprised that for the past month I have almost completely transfered my workload to this machine. I have always loved OSX, just didn't expect it to have the speed for me to be happy doing heavy work upon it.

    I acquired it more for limited and nostalgic stuff, but thanks to its power and endearment of not being saddled with Windows 7; for a few years this will likely be my main center of operation. Plenty of time for Apple to jump architecture to ARM or who knows what.
     
  2. Hrududu macrumors 68020

    Hrududu

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    #2
    I would agree that the quad G5 is still a great system. Mine is my primary setup and its well faster than anything else I need at this point. I don't doubt I would continue to use this thing until it gives up the ghost, but with more and more application developers giving PowerPC the finger these days, I would guess it'll have to find a secondary job eventually. Presently, CS4 and FCS 3 are fantastic but its more the area of web browsers and the eventual loss of software like iTunes that will probably end everyday use for this beast.
     
  3. California macrumors 68040

    California

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2004
    #3
    Interesting. The Applebois at the time of the Intel switch were trying to explain what you just explained about the Quad G5 -- that PPC architecture is substantive -- and substantially different in its strengths from PC architecture.

    Owned a few Quads but my usage just never required the horsepower it is capable of. I did like the Quadro card with it but heard the 7800 is better tho noisier.

     
  4. minifridge1138 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2010
    #4
    I agree.

    The PowerPC architecture has several advantages over the Intel x86. It just wasn't as popular and more expensive (sound familiar?).

    It is still alive and well in embedded systems and gaming consoles (PS3 and XBox 360 use variations on PowerPC).
     
  5. JazzyGB1, Jan 29, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2012

    JazzyGB1 macrumors regular

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    UK
    #5
    I disagree with some of that post.
    I owned a Quad G5 for 2 years from new and absolutely loved it! :)
    It was a successor to my previous Dual 2GHZ G5 (which I also loved) and I agree it was a cracking muscle Power Mac at the time and is still a useful Mac even today.
    However, it generated LOADS of heat - and I mean loads. Especially under heavy load (I used my Quad G5 for music and video). So much so, that it actually used to heat the room up like a dedicated fan heater would!!
    Great in the winter, almost unbearable in the summer.

    Maybe this wasn't an issue if you were lucky enough to work with your G5 in a nice air conditioned office, but in a small office/studio like mine, with no Air Con and only one window for ventilation, it really was a nightmare.

    IBM couldn't 'easily ramp up performance' that was the whole problem!!!
    On launch of the original G5 in 2003, Steve Jobs stood up stage and promised '3Ghz in a year'.
    Well the G5 line ran for over 3 years and they never achieved it!
    The G5's generated so much heat, that they required huge heats sinks and controlled internal airflow just to keep it cool enough to work - this despite being housed in an efficient heat dissipating aluminium chassis too!
    The Quad core model in particular produced so much heat, that even all those measures weren't enough and they had to install a bespoke liquid cooling system instead.
    So it was anything but easy to 'ramp up performance' of a G5.

    All these obstacles meant it was never going to pe possible to put it in a laptop (like they could with the previous G4), so Apple had no choice but to abandon the G5 and move to Intel - a very wise move it has turned out to be too! :)

    I sold my Quad G5 to buy the original Mac Pro (a quad core 2.66ghz model) and it beat the G5 hands down. It was quicker, quieter and ran MUCH cooler too.
    This meant Apple could now use the space in the case for things that people wanted in a workstation and allowed them to add 4 HD bays, 8 RAM slots and two optical drive bays - double that found in the G5.

    The difference between a Quad G5 and a Quad 2.66 Mac Pro is night and day in almost every respect.

    There are a couple of exceptions (like scientific calculations) were the PPC G5 is better, but in the main it was not a contest and the Mac Pro from inception was (and still is) a far better computer.

    And if you think the G5 can hold its own against a Core 2 Duo, give it a go - it really wont.
    Even a Core 2 Duo 2.16Ghz iMac from 2006 would probably beat it in most tasks.

    I'm not bashing the G5 - I loved it at the time and I'm glad you are enjoying using it, but i'd put that down to the OS rather than the processor and I'm sure you'd enjoy using a Mac Pro even more!
     
  6. California macrumors 68040

    California

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2004
    #6
    So that means you never ran your Quad on Leopard? My Quads never ran totally hot but I only owned them with Leopard and maxed ram and top of the line video card.

     
  7. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #7
    Those machines had some massive design flaws that were never fully addressed. I don't know that Apple ever put out a computer line with a higher failure rate, and I wouldn't blame all of it on IBM. Obviously the liquid cooling system could have been designed better. Logic board design was flawed. They didn't necessarily run immensely hot, but they did (in my experience) start to hiccup at higher temps, especially during summer months if you didn't crank the AC. Also on Apple's end, the drivers sucked. I'm not saying the architecture is terrible, but that implementation was really just awful.
     
  8. JazzyGB1 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2002
    Location:
    UK
    #8
    Actually I did run it with Leopard for a month or two before I sold it and it had a pretty good graphics card added to it too (Nvidia Quadro FX something or other - I think it was the 4500 model with 512MB), which was quite a beast back then (bloody expensive too!).
    I only had 8GB RAM fitted, but (again) that was quite a lot back in 2006, so I don't think my experience can be blamed on my RAM or graphics card.
    Convert a movie on that Core 2 Duo iMac I mentioned earlier against the same on the Quad G5 and it'll perform it quicker, quieter and cooler than the G5 will.
    I really did love my Quad G5. It looked amazing, was impeccably behaved, never crashed and was solid under hours of constant load (encoding video footage and running sometimes complex music arrangements & lots of soft synths), but it wasn't a match speed wise for any of the Intel chips that replaced it and boy did it throw out some heat! :D
     
  9. Anasebi, Jan 30, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2012

    Anasebi thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2012
    #9
    Design flaws were certainly there with earlier G5s, but Liquid Cooling itself is a crapshoot and is not the motherboards fault if it leaks. Then there's the old mantra that if you let something dust up it will burn out and die, just a matter of time.

    I actually keep this machine in a small room with three 24" IPS monitors switched in with the hookups on my other workstation, I can get it really hot if I want to in short order.

    I will be keeping a very close eye on the core temps, and I will be watching the inside of the case closely. Still with the final version of leopard Apple seems to have cpu throttling down to a fine art, doesn't let idling applications eat up the cpu like Windows 7 does, I have to actually be flogging the system to get it to heat up. :)

    I had a Core 2 Duo Q6600 with 8GB of ram on a P35 based motherboard before upgrading to Nehelem, that thing was a toaster too, but also the videocard was in the mix too. I'm sure OSX is faster on X86, for the last six years everything has been coded to increase speed on x86 and un optimized to PPC for the specific purpose of increasing the migration rate. But on that same light that is why I got a Quad G5 for next to nothing and I kinda got it for more as a museum piece than machine I rely on. Its a dead done architecture as far as we are concerned, just not painful to use like any old Pentium D or even some A64 based ram full workstations from the same time. With those Core 2 really was a night and day deliverance.
     
  10. raysfan81 macrumors 6502a

    raysfan81

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    Location:
    North Carolina
    #10
    Sounds a bit like the current Mac Pro to me. It seems like Apple has all but given up on the professionals who need a workstation since they haven't updated it at all in years. Its really a shame, because they could make one hell of a computer with the current Sandy Bridge/Ivy Bridge offerings. :confused:

    But on a related note, a G5 quad and a hi-res Powerbook are the only 2 PPC macs that I REALLY want to get some day.
     
  11. reddrag0n macrumors 6502

    reddrag0n

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    Canada
    #11
    Odd, since my DP 2.5 GHz was water cooled and i swapped mine out for regular G5 heatsinks. And i have no issues with heat. idle, my cpu's sit at 38 to 42 degrees celcius. Ramped up or under full load, they never go over 84. Then they drop back down.

    Also for the controlled internal airflow, i took out those deltas in the front, put in regular run of the mill PC case fans and i don't hear them at all. The rear fans were put on a constant voltage of 7 volts with no variable and i don't hear them either. And a regular fan was put in front of the hard drives and that delta taken out. Now there are 5 fans the G5 doesn't know what to do with. But it doesn't care, it doesn't freak, hell it's been purring along like a kitten ever since and it's quiet than any other G5 on the market.

    As for the heatsinks, compared to what's out today, i would say those heatsinks are small. Compared to ones like the CM V10, or the Sythe Mugen Rev 2. Those are huge heatsinks and become even more bigger when you attach a fan to them, or 2.
     
  12. Hrududu macrumors 68020

    Hrududu

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    #12
    I'm going to have to disagree big time there. There is a reason my quad G5 is my workhorse and not my MacBook Pro or Intel Mini. Everyday tasks like iPhoto, internet, iTunes, and iWork are just as fast and heavy loading is far faster than on those older Core 2 and Core based systems.
     
  13. Cox Orange macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2010
    #13
    These discussions come up every now and then.
    Power Consumption wise, I would be very interested/curious in seeing someone measuring the power consumption doing the same task (maybe converting 1hour of video or something like that) on a Quad G5 and another Mac. Comparing power consumption and time to finish the task.
    Maybe in a far future, when I have to much time, (and if I will get a Quad then) I will do that just for fun.:D
     
  14. 666sheep macrumors 68040

    666sheep

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    #14
    Apple provides such info:

    G5 Late 2005

    iMac 2009/2010

    Notice that iMac = CPU + GPU + LCD ;)
     
  15. CoolmaxMini macrumors member

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    Jan 22, 2012
    #15
    The only advantage PowerMac Quad G5 has is its ability to take desktop hard drives and the abiliy to run native PPC applications.

    What you are comparing here are against laptop Mac computers. Mac Mini uses laptop components so it is no surprise that I/O apps like iTunes and iPhoto benefit from fast hard drives. But that itself no longer holds any truth when it comes to the Macbook Air Core i5 and Mac Mini Core i5 when they both have Thunderbolt ports. When you upgrade the Mini Core i5 with desktop grade 2.5 inch drives, it beats the Quad 5 easily in all Universal apps I have including Photoshop, DXO Optics Pro Elite, and the rest. Some of them do not even run on a PPC machine. I know, I had a Quad G5 and was happy it got sold to someone who needs it for music PPC software.

    The best bang for the buck would be the Mac Pro 1,1 (2.66Ghz Quad Core). It's reliable and it's getting cheaper. It's Intel, so it will run the latest apps plus it has 4 drive slots and double optical drives.

    So unless you have specific PPC apps you need to run, it is becoming harder to justify buying a G5 Quad. Most people I've talked to are selling the Quad G5 for a Mac Mini Core i5 or i7 and then waiting for more affordable Thunderbolt drives coming soon this year. I've seen Thunderbolt drives in action on the Mini and it is FAST. No comparison against the slow G5.
     
  16. Hrududu macrumors 68020

    Hrududu

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    #16
    You misread. I was disagreeing that a quad G5 would not outperform an older 2.16GHz Core 2 Duo. Yes the Mac Pro is a better buy for 99% of users in 2012, but compared to many consumer level Intel Macs from 2006 and 2007 the quad G5 will run them over. I'm comparing the G5 I use everyday to Intel Macs which I also own and use regularly. In my own experience, I prefer running CS4 and my "everyday" software on the G5. The extra cores are also very nice if I do some video compression.
     
  17. CoolmaxMini macrumors member

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    Jan 22, 2012
    #17
    Laptop SATA interface just isn't as fast as desktop SATA interface. My Mac Mini Core i5 2.3Ghz SATA transfer rate with the fastest and latest SandForce Sata 6G (I have 2 of them in my Mini) is maxed at 140MB/s in read speed and about 75MB/s in write speed. In contrast to my older PC running Vista 64 of 2008 vintage with Core 2 Quad Q8300 at 2.5Ghz and with Nvidia RAID controller with the same SSD running
    at max 200MB/s read speed and 125MB/s write speed in single mode (Not RAID mode) without breaking a sweat. RAID mode is even more impressive. There's no doubt the Quad G5, even though it's a slightly older SATA implementation still runs faster than an Intel laptop of the 2006 and 2007 era in mixed applications. However, when it comes to some applications that do not utilize multi-core, the Intel does work a bit better with Universal apps. Moving forward today's laptops, iMacs and the Mini Core i5 however, the Quad G5 will be no match and is a legacy machine which is no longer supported with Lion.

    Again, nothing wrong with owning a G5 Quad and if someone picks it up cheap and has use for it especially for PPC apps. But most people will benefit more with a used Mac Pro 1,1 if you want a tower or a refurb Mac Mini Core i5 and be able to keep using it for a bit while.
     
  18. Jethryn Freyman macrumors 68020

    Jethryn Freyman

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    #18
    That's surprisingly slow... my SATA I Power Mac G5 has a read speed of 90MB/sec with a 7,200rpm Seagate normal hard disk...
     
  19. CoolmaxMini macrumors member

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    #19
    Yes it is, but I kind of expected it which is why I am waiting for an affordable 4 bay external Thunderbolt to SATA enclosure that I can put in 4 drives and xfer at much higher speeds! :D
     
  20. Cox Orange macrumors 68000

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    #20
    I knew that ;), but I thought it was not sufficient enough compared to a real world test, but as I read from the side note at the site linked, they did use comparable scenarios.
    But, it would be nice to know of the load a certain task causes. I think it could be that though idle power is higher one Mac could "consume" less power, than the other Mac with actual lower idle, but maybe a higher consumption when doing the real world task, like video conversion.
     
  21. GermanyChris macrumors 601

    GermanyChris

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    #21
    I'm getting almost 3 times that in read speed and double that in write with a 13" MBP with an Agility 3..what HD bench are you using? My wife gets better than that with a Vertex 2 in a MB
     
  22. CoolmaxMini macrumors member

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    #22
    Yeap, I was a bit dismayed when I found that out it was slow. Even my Macbook 2008 did close to 100MB/s read and 80 write with the Seagate Momentus XT hybrid. Thought might be cabling issues when installing internal drives, but found out at the Apple Mini forum that others had similar issues. Software raiding it will boost it double, but I made a compromise installing a second SSD as the Photoshop, DXO and Final Cut scratch disk. There was no way I am downgrading from desktop Drive speed. This is my compromise until Thunderbolt drives become available at consumer level prices.

    I used my stop watch and Xbench and Disk Speed Test and they all confirm the rather anemic disk performance of my Mini Core i5.
     
  23. GermanyChris macrumors 601

    GermanyChris

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    #23
    I'd be inclined to have apple explain that one to me..I got 90ish and 20ish with a 1TB spinpoint M8..If your content then I'm content.
     
  24. minifridge1138 macrumors 6502a

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    #24
    Something else to consider is price.
    A G5 powermac can be found for around $100 dollars.
    A 1.1 macpro can not.
     
  25. JaguarGod macrumors 6502

    JaguarGod

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    Mar 27, 2010
    #25
    Just my experiences....

    I have a lot of Macs... Don't want to think about how much money I have in them for me, my Wife and Children and my work. But I only have 3 PPC Macs, my upgraded G4 Sawtooth (because I really think it is a piece of art with the matching lcd) and my G5 Quads. All of the others are intel and they are great also for everything new and to keep up with the new software and and OS's.

    But back to my G5 Quad... I run Leopard and it runs it very nicely (until recently I was still running the phenomenal 10.4). But my G5 (and this is not an exaggeration) heats my entire office if I have it on for a while. I am running it with a flashed 7800 GTX and 16GB RAM. I do a lot of 3D work with Cheetah 3D for my Mac game development on my Quad. I even created most of the content for my first Mac App Store racing game on that G5! But it really does create quite a bit of heat if used heavily.

    My Mac Pros that are set up with my racing setups do not create nearly as much heat even when running games for long periods of time. But boy oh boy, when I run them together with the PS3, I can heat the entire office and more in the middle of winter!

    Just a sad point (maybe, maybe not?), I just cannot let my PPC Macs go. There is something psychological about them being non-intel that keeps me using them. I have nothing against the intel Macs, but I really enjoy working with PPC. It is definitely some sort of mental hangup for me and the G5 Quad, even with all of its problems, is the absolute pinnacle of PPC for me.
     

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