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Apple's Dual 2GHz By The Numbers 776

Posted by timothy
from the schmohkin' dept.
mallumax writes "ComputerWorld has an exciting review of Apple's Dual 2GHz machine." An excerpt: "It's clear from two weeks of testing that Apple's new Power Mac G5 dual 2-GHz machine is the fastest thing the company has ever produced. And while you can debate benchmarks until eternity, it certainly appears poised to meet or beat anything now out on the Windows side."
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Apple's Dual 2GHz By The Numbers

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  • by BizidyDizidy (689383) on Sunday October 05, 2003 @04:04PM (#7138539)
    Is pure speed enough? What factors are most important to "real" consumers?

    Stories like this appeal to the geeky "need for speed" undoubtedly ramoant at /., but offer little insight into real consumer thought/need.

    That said, this is pretty cool; not cool enough for me to switch to Apple, but cool.

  • what tests??? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by pe1rxq (141710) on Sunday October 05, 2003 @04:08PM (#7138563) Homepage Journal
    Did this guy actually test anything????

    The entire article is full of startup times.....
    My xt booted faster then his setup which needed almost a minute is surely must beat anything apple has....

    Jeroen
  • by kevin_conaway (585204) on Sunday October 05, 2003 @04:08PM (#7138574) Homepage
    RAM and Video RAM. Cpu cyles arent too important anymore >1GHz (in my opinion at least) for normal computing. Higher end processors are more suitable for servers, research platforms and clusters. Just my two cents though.
  • by Latent IT (121513) on Sunday October 05, 2003 @04:10PM (#7138592)
    And while you can debate benchmarks until eternity, it certainly appears poised to meet or beat anything now out on the Windows side.

    Well, uh... what?

    I mean, maybe I'm just "debating benchmarks" here, but how do you pull the above statement out of the linked article?

    On the G5, Photoshop launched in 8 seconds, and relaunched in 4. Yes, 4. On the Dual G4, it launched in 24 seconds, and relaunched in 12.5. And on the Powerbook, Photoshop was ready to go in 25 seconds the first time around, and in 17 seconds on relaunch.

    Yes, but what of it? This has nothing to do with Windows, Windows Desktops, or even anything non-apple. It compares the G5 to other, older Apple products. Unsurprisingly, the *new* Apple product beats the *old* Apple product. And clicking a stopwatch, and measuring how long launching a program takes, or how long a reboot lasts isn't that much of a "benchmark".

    And, just to give you an idea of the technical competence of the reviewer who wrote the article, check out this snippit:

    One final note: I whined in my first review about the G5's weak Airport wireless signal. Several readers promptly (and pointedly) wrote to ask if I'd installed the Apple-supplied external Airport antenna. I had not.

    I'm sorry. The article is lousy, and the clown who submitted this article to /. clearly has an agenda to push. Why waste our time like this?
  • by jwachter (319790) * <wachter@@@gmail...com> on Sunday October 05, 2003 @04:12PM (#7138605) Homepage
    I like what I see about the G5. It looks like it would make a great workstation, but at $4,198 few people could afford it. Unless you're doing high end video manipulation or DNA sequencing I can't see someone being able to justify spending that much on this, unless they are rolling around in money.

    Try pricing out a comparable machine from Dell (w/ dual 3GHz Xeons). You'll see that the Dell is significantly more expensive than the G5.

  • by 0x0d0a (568518) on Sunday October 05, 2003 @04:12PM (#7138614) Journal
    The review didn't (unfortunately) seem to compare the dual-proc Mac to a PC, so the "meet or beat" claim is simply conjecture on the part of the story submitter.

    However, it's a reasonable bet (given that a 2Ghz G5 isn't competitive with a top-of-the-line P4) that the submitter intended a multi-proc Mac to be compared to a single-proc PC. Comparing a dual-processor system to a single-processor is ridiculous (and I'm not talking about price concerns, either).

    The overwhelming number of times when there's a bottlenecked task, it's a single CPU-bound thread. Having multiple processors will provide only nominal benefits. Apple putting multiple processors on-board won't *hurt*, except in the wallet, but it's not going to give Quake 3 double the framerate. Most raytracers support multiple threads of execution when rendering or can be hacked up to do so (even if, like PovRay, they require multiple processes to do so). Very few pieces of 2d software (video, still, etc) can benefit from multiple processors, however.

    The claim should be "this system is faster than Apple's older systems, and worth a look for Mac users". Comparing one of Apple's systems to x86 boxes on a CPU horsepower or bang/buck metric not only isn't particularly favorable to Apple, but doesn't make much sense.
  • by gilesjuk (604902) <giles,jones&zen,co,uk> on Sunday October 05, 2003 @04:13PM (#7138626)
    Of course it's the fastest ever, CPU speeds are increasing all the time. If I go out and buy a new AMD CPU it'll be the fastest ever....for about 2-3 months.

    Plus there's the "it beats anything on the PC market", erm quad CPU Xenon? it's a PC ain't it? where do you want to draw the line?

    Macs are cool but speed doesn't convice people to buy a computer, the price often does. Mac users were once ridiculed for knowing very little about computers, however I think this isn't true these days. Mac users know enough about computers to be able to choose between a computer running Windows and a Mac.
  • by CountBrass (590228) on Sunday October 05, 2003 @04:28PM (#7138728)

    Let's see:

    1. It's the fastest most powerful desktop computer in the world.

    2. It's certainly the most usable and stable.

    3. It has the beautiful Aqua UI.

    4. It's a superb Unix workstation.

    5. It comes in a gorgeous aluminium case.

    What the hellkind of a Geek are you ? Get back to your pee cee and "Management Weekly" web site.

    Edward

  • by CGP314 (672613) <CGPNO@SPAMColinGregoryPalmer.net> on Sunday October 05, 2003 @04:33PM (#7138767) Homepage
    Why waste our time like this?

    I think it has something to do with the banner ads at the top this page.
  • by thatguywhoiam (524290) on Sunday October 05, 2003 @04:34PM (#7138770)
    Before we all freak out - once again - about the comparisons of G5 vs. whatever, may I offer a suggestion:

    Let's all take a nice deep breath, and remember that this is simply yet another offering, in a huge selection of products; that these products are different in many ways, for many people; that purchasing one or more of these products is not indicative of your mental health, penis size, sexual orientation, or anything else... okey?

    G5 fast, mmm, nice G5. Athlon also fast, mmm, nice Athlon. I want both, for different reasons. They are not mutually exclusive.

    (As for all the 'so fuckin' what' posts; this is Slashdot. No one made you click More.)

  • by The Revolutionary (694752) on Sunday October 05, 2003 @04:45PM (#7138836) Homepage Journal

    Startup and reboot
    Er, yes, great. You do that what, once a day? And so are you telling me that by shaving 20 seconds you will now make the decision to sit and stare at the screen during the remaining 55 seconds of bootup rather than grabbing a beverage, finishing your sandwich, or going across the room to talk to someone?

    Application launch times
    Ok, yes. Again, wonderful. And so with your 512MB to 2GB of RAM you don't suppose you will just leave your email client and productivity app running?

    Photoshop manipulation
    "Rotating the picture took 2 seconds on the G5, 3.5 seconds on the Dual G4 and 5.5 seconds on the Powerbook. Applying the Gaussian blur (which, in essence, turned the photo into a blurry blob), took 4 seconds on the G5, 5 seconds on the Dual G4 and 8 seconds on the Powerbook. And applying the Pointillize filter took 3 seconds on the G5, 4.5 seconds on the Dual G4 and 9 seconds on the Powerbook."

    Ah yes. Wonderful. I'm astounded at the practicality of testing operations which, "turned the photo into a blurry blob". And you shaved on average just over 1 second! Great googly-moogly!

    Oh, and then we rinse and repeat for iMovie manipulation.

    People, this is an absolutely unconvincing, entirely uninsightful article.

    The G5 may be great, but all this article leads me to believe is that Apple users are about as detached from reality as a PC gam3r d00d pissing on about how Quake 3 runs at 178 instead of 172 FPS on their $2000 penis extension.

    Say it isn't so.

  • by CountBrass (590228) on Sunday October 05, 2003 @04:45PM (#7138839)

    Reading some of the comments I've come to the conclusion that they just don't get it.

    Despite the review, the point of a Mac is not the horsepower (and comparing completely different CPUs using gigahertz is just stupid).

    The point is: Macs and OSX just work and they're beautiful! If you don't value quality then you won't value a Mac.

    But please, don't bore the rest of us with your attempts to justify sticking with an inferior product.

    "Yeah my Ford Ka is just as good as any Ferrari - it can do the same speed in town AND does more miles to the gallon! That means my Ka is better than a Ferrari!".

    The difference is at least the Ka owner pays a lot less for his car. The pee cee users PAY THE SAME PRICE and get an inferior product ! Got to love Michael Dell and Bill Gates. And people say Apple is great marketing company.

    Edward

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 05, 2003 @04:48PM (#7138852)
    I mean, maybe I'm just "debating benchmarks" here, but how do you pull the above statement out of the linked article?

    How indeed? By copying the complete first paragraph of the linked article. The quote you criticise is right there in the article. The author promised to publish more test results in the near future. Kind of a sleazy tactic (and a guaranteed second /. frontpage). I don't disagree with your criticism of the article, but the submitter did not pull anything out of thin air and might not have a special agenda.

    Best webcomic [megatokyo.com] ever. Read it and love it.

    You seem to have confused "best" with "worst". Maybe I should re-read your post considering this new information.

  • by ducomputergeek (595742) on Sunday October 05, 2003 @04:58PM (#7138927)
    Apple caters to a Niche market folks. Most mac users could give a flying leap about the frame rate of Quake or other such applications. If they are playing Quake, maybe its for a little fun. Mac caters now to two types of end users. 1) Graphics & Video, 2) Unix developers.

    I know of more people in the last year to 18 months that abandoned Linux as their desktop for OSX. I am one of those because at the end of the day, I like Photoshop much better than GIMP, and the ablity to develop PHP/MySQL apps on my iBook and still have powerpoint is exactly what I need.

    I do come from a video/graphics systems admin background. I worked during college part-time at a friend's father's architecture firm where they had a small 24 unit ALPHA rendering farm.

    Now I do indy technology consulting, mainly to small businesses and video firms. I had a number of clients switch to PC's (Dell's mainly) in the last two years because the hardware costs were so much less, however they quickly found out that programs like Premeire suddenly crashed a lot more and the time in lost work was far greater than what it would have cost for a mac. ALthough this was mainly due to Adobe Premeire 6 generally being a piece of junk, not really windows itself.

    I have one customer that is going to order the dual G5 after 10.3 is shipping. He is semi-retired, but does some commercial and wedding video work. He has a six year old G3 400 with 1GB of ram to run Final Cut Pro and he has upgraded X.2 and some of his rendering output times are 6 hours. No big deal to him, clicks render, goes out the back of his house onto his boat and goes fishing the rest of the day. Well, the local apple store was flying a specialist from apple over FCP and DVD studio pro and we were in the store and had my client's last video, which took about 4.5 hours to render. We imported the file from a DVD onto the new G5 with an enhanced version of FCP and then on a single 1.8Ghz G5 and the difference was about 15% for the same footage in favor of the dual compared to the single G5 and about 1/3d of the time that it took on his G3.

    Granted configured with a new 23" HD and 17" flatpanel, the dual box is about $15,000 with all the software he needs as well. Add in about another $3000 for upgrades over the next 5 years in software and and the new box he will be buying is cheaper that his old G3.

    Now granted, in video production, you can spend $20k on a mac and it will do just about anything you want, or you can jump and spend $250k on an Avid. Even dedicated editing boxes are $3500, so this industry will & must spend the money and for many graphic/video firms, that 15% difference means 15% more money because they can turn around and start the next job that much faster. Couple the increase in turn around with the prices some of these firms charge, that can pay for a couple dual G5's real quick.

    Then finally, there is TCO. Most small wedding video/indy video companies I know of tend to hang on to their equipment for a long time. I know a lot of people that purchased G3's and still are using them because they knew a year ago that the G5's were going to be out, so they decided to wait. Some have already purchased the G5's and have been extremely pleased with their purchase and the dramatic increases in speed. Another video company in town switched from their Casablance/Kron editing tools to FCP on G5's and after about a month, their turn around times for videos has gone from about 14 days to 7 or 8. Many of their editors are full time college students and FCP is what is being taught in the classrooms, so the cost of time in retraining was extremely low. Now they purchased Single 1.8Ghz boxes with 2GB of Ram, but it seems to be more than enough for them.

    So will the average "user" need dual processors...um, no, but there are those out there were it such high end specs can be usefull and profitable.

    I have to admit that I was not a fan of Apple until a year ago and bought this iBook. The main reason why I switched was I wanted something that worked and thus far everything has worked perfectly and I have no complaints.

  • by damiam (409504) on Sunday October 05, 2003 @05:00PM (#7138932)
    Having a fast machine is cool. Having a Hummer just makes you look like a moron. If you can afford a Hummer, you can afford a nice luxury sports car, which would (a) be faster and more fun to drive, (b) be more comfortable, (c) not be horrendously ugly, and (d) not have a fractional MPG rating.
  • uhh... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Transcendent (204992) on Sunday October 05, 2003 @05:01PM (#7138935)
    it certainly appears poised to meet or beat anything now out on the Windows side.

    Uhh, Windows doesn't make computers, nor does Microsoft...

  • by gidds (56397) <slashdot@@@gidds...me...uk> on Sunday October 05, 2003 @05:25PM (#7139093) Homepage
    Macs are cool but speed doesn't convice people to buy a computer

    For a long time, many people have been citing the relative lack of speed as a reason not to get a Mac. In some cases, that may have been a genuine reason, in which case this speed increase would persuade such people to get a Mac.

    In other cases, I suspect that speed is merely an excuse used by people who have other reasons (conscious or not) for avoiding Macs; this excuse is now no longer valid, and those people will need to either find a better excuse, examine their real reasons, or reassess their preferences.

    It's interesting to see how many reasons/excuses have been pretty much crossed off in recent years: 'Apple's dying', 'The OS isn't up to it', 'It's not compatible with Unix &c.', 'There's no software', 'It's not compatible with XYZ piece of hardware', and 'It's not fast enough' are now non-issues for many (most?) people. Of course, there are still some genuine concerns amongst those, but I suspect that more people dismiss Macs through ignorance, crowd-following, or inertia than from genuine need.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 05, 2003 @05:32PM (#7139142)
    >The point is: Macs and OSX just work and they're beautiful! If you don't value quality then you won't value a Mac.

    >But please, don't bore the rest of us with your attempts to justify sticking with an inferior product.

    On the other hand, if you don't value *selection* or *software* then you won't value a PC. But please, don't bore the rest of us with your attempt to justify sticking with an overpriced product.

    >The difference is at least the Ka owner pays a lot less for his car. The pee cee users PAY THE SAME PRICE and get an inferior product ! Got to love Michael Dell and Bill Gates.

    I'm pretty sure that for $4198 I could come up with a PC that is every bit as good as the dual-processor G-5. I think the following sentence in the article was quite telling, BTW:

    "Word to the wise: Get your RAM elsewhere, it's almost always cheaper than what Apple charges."

    >And people say Apple is great marketing company.

    That's funny, I've never heard that said about Apple.
  • by Durandal64 (658649) on Sunday October 05, 2003 @05:34PM (#7139154)
    Translation: "Macs don't have many games." Unfortunately for you, there are entire markets of software that (get ready for this) have no entertainment value whatsoever! What essential commercial software out there is completely unavailable for and has no open-source alternatives for the Mac? Macs have Office and plenty of software that can run under the X11 environment. In reality, there is very little Windows software out there that either isn't available for the Mac or does not have some sort of Mac equivalent.
  • by CrowScape (659629) on Sunday October 05, 2003 @05:39PM (#7139188)
    Well, first you have to take the $187 editing system off the Alienware system. Then you can replace that with the Pioneer DVD +-RW drive. Now you have a problem of the Alienware computer having a far better video card (even than the Radeon 9800), sound card, and DVD burner, which I think makes up for much of the $300 price difference. If you're switching platforms you ALSO have to pay to get a new version of Photoshop plus another video editing solution if you aren't using an Avid software package (say Vegas or Premiere). And while you would be right to have seen FCP as an upgrade over all those packages a year ago, the playing field has vastly leveled. Even Premiere Pro manages to compete at the same level.
  • by bedouin (248624) on Sunday October 05, 2003 @06:10PM (#7139395)
    It doesn't run OS X though, and that's why I bought a PowerMac and an iBook.

    It can run a good game of BF1942, all settings up on highest, while playing a DVD on another monitor, and downloading various things off Kazaa.

    Right, and that's really important to all of us who play 3d games while watching DVDs and searching for mp3s on Kazaa. From the looks of your daily activities, your schedule must be really hectic. If you had a G5 those 2 extra seconds it takes to load Photoshop would seriously hamper your Kazaa-BF1942-DVD viewing workflow.

    Why is it the people most concerned with two second benchmark differences are the those that have the least important things to do?

    For $2599 (even less with an educational discount) a 15" Powerbook comes with Airport extreme (built in mind you, not hanging off the side in a PCMCIA slot), a SuperDrive, and an 80gb HD. The $2500 PC Torque laptop gets me a 40gb HD, no Airport, and no SuperDrive. In addition the Powerbook is significantly lighter, produces less heat, gets longer battery life, probably has a nicer screen, and doesn't look like it's targeted to just-hit-puberty-FPS gamers.

    Hell, if you offered to trade me my 800mhz G3 iBook (which I paid $999 for) for your Frankenstein, Redneck, monster-truck of a machine I'd refuse.

    For some people quality is more than, "I get 150fps in Quake 3!"
  • by zulux (112259) on Sunday October 05, 2003 @06:27PM (#7139495) Homepage Journal
    And don't bother playing the "I can build it cheaper" card-- you cannot fairly compare a manufactured system with one that you cobbled together with the cheapest parts you could find.

    Actually - I did do the compairson:

    The cost of a dual Opteron + the cost of my Time = the cost of a Apple dual G5 + $1500.

    The dual G5 is a bargin.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 05, 2003 @06:30PM (#7139513)
    It's not just you, it's everyone who hasn't done their homework.

    Well, I think the reason why most people claim it costs a lot is because they don't think of the high end G5 as a workstation. Apple doesn't make the distinction between personal hobbyist computers and workstations like most PC makers do (and Apple advertises the G5 as the fastest personal computer, so I can understand the confusion. That's where the two lower end G5's come into play. I'd say if you are looking for a hobbyist Mac computer, then go with either the lower end G5's, or some of their other desktop models. And if you really really want to get the best performance possible with a Mac, then go with the high end model.
  • by reporter (666905) on Sunday October 05, 2003 @06:31PM (#7139522) Homepage
    The article states the following.
    It's clear from two weeks of testing that Apple's new Power Mac G5 dual 2-GHz machine is the fastest thing the company has ever produced.

    The new G5 from Apple is more than merely "fast". It is a workstation in its own right. In "Byte of the Apple [businessweek.com]", "Businessweek [businessweek.com]" notes that the new Macintoshes are, in fact, UNIX workstations. The notebooks based on G5s are, in fact, portable UNIX workstations.

    Steve Jobs, if he had any sense, would be marketing these machines as workstations instead of mere personal computers. With 64-bit processors, these machines are fully capable of handling engineering workloads like Verilog, HSPICE, fluid-dynamics simulation, etc.

    Right now, a tidal wave of Linux-on-x86 machines is drowning Sun Microsystems in the workstation market. It sure would be nice to see a G5 take some market share bled from Sun Microsystems. In fact, it would be ideal to see a Linux-driven G5 take market share.

    ... from the desk of the reporter [geocities.com]

  • by benwaggoner (513209) <ben.waggoner@mic ... m ['sof' in gap]> on Sunday October 05, 2003 @06:34PM (#7139535) Homepage
    I'm always startled to see people getting excited about three-digit price differences between base machines for things meant for the video market.

    I'm building a HD editing/compression system. When you add in storage, displays, audio, etcetera, even a cheap setup makes a $500 difference pretty tiny.

    For my needs, I'm shaving THOUSANDS off by going Mac. Why? Xserve RAID. I can get 2.5 TB for about $12K, that's fast enough for 1920x1080i60 at 10-bit uncompressed capture. I haven't been able to find anything that's close to that price performance on Windows.

    This is an edge case, granted. But for anyone who bills by the hour, a few hundred bucks in a system that's going to be making you money for a couple of years is nothing - like a quarter a day. Downtime for one tech support incident could eat up the entire differential.
  • by blincoln (592401) on Sunday October 05, 2003 @07:25PM (#7139864) Homepage Journal
    6. It doesn't run the software I want.

    7. I don't get to build it myself to my specs.

    All the power in the world is meaningless if it doesn't have the apps and games I'm interested in using.

    I am also not a big fan of buying off-the-shelf systems. I like to piece mine together using exactly the parts I want.

    The austere aluminum look is too sterile for my taste, as well.
  • by RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647) on Sunday October 05, 2003 @07:44PM (#7139973)
    "1. It's the fastest most powerful desktop computer in the world."

    According to whom? The only benchmarks I've seen are from PC Magazine (not that reliable) and Apple. PC Magazine gave it a mediocre evaluation, and, Apple, well, it's their product.

    Apple's SPEC scores don't impress me. When they start showing me numbers in the 1400s, I'll agree. Unfortunately, all that they have released are the GCC numbers which makes comparison with other computers difficult. Am I to trust that Apple's numbers for the Dell system aren't biased at all? What about Athlon 64?

    SPEC works because companies compete to optimize their platform (compilers, operating system, and software) to produce the best results. There are regulations that the company must follow; these are voted upon by SPEC members. Apple has not submitted results to SPEC, nor are they benchmarking their platform with the best compiler. And if GCC is the best compiler for the G5, then they have a bigger problem.

    "2. It's certainly the most usable and stable."

    Also debatable. "Usable" depends on what you're used to. I have not seen usability studies involving XP vs. OS X. Is your "most usable" base on actual data or is it just your personal opinion?

    "Stable" depends on what kind of configuration you're running, as well as a number of other factors. Windows can be surprisingly stable; many Windows systems have been up for years. Of course, if you install every spyware ridden screen saver, Windows will likely be unstable, but that's not Microsoft's fault. Is your "Stable" claim based on actual data, or is it another opinion?

    "3. It has the beautiful Aqua UI."

    I could debate this (beauty is in the eye of the beholder), but I won't. I like Aqua too. However, after a few months, most people stop caring.

    "4. It's a superb Unix workstation."

    So is Linux. Or Windows with Cygwin.

    "5. It comes in a gorgeous aluminium case."

    There are plenty of great looking aluminum ATX cases. The G5 "cheese grater" case is a little gaudy for my tastes, but, again, this is preference.

    So, let's see:

    1: Is it the fastest? We don't know. Show me some impressive SPEC numbers and we'll talk.

    2: Is it the most usable and stable? Show me some studies that say so. Your opinion means little to me.

    3: Aqua does look cool. But that's a preference, not a fact.

    4: PC's with Linux make great UNIX workstations too.

    5: There are plenty of cool looking aluminum PC cases.
  • by norkakn (102380) on Sunday October 05, 2003 @07:51PM (#7140020)
    You can install X11 in 2 minutes and it will be included with jaguar.

    30 years of bloody UNIX applications.. what more do you need?

    Whatever your task, you will find software for it, and guess what: it will actually work instead of requiring some out of date dll that freezes under XP
  • by Sj0 (472011) on Sunday October 05, 2003 @08:22PM (#7140182) Homepage Journal
    Why would a G5-linux machine be ideal?
  • by colatek (525301) <douglasnorton@comc[ ].net ['ast' in gap]> on Sunday October 05, 2003 @09:30PM (#7140497)
    New quieter fans for those? I swear I read that you could exchange the fans for an updated quieter one. I might be mistaken.
  • by rmayes100 (521535) on Sunday October 05, 2003 @09:43PM (#7140572) Homepage
    The problem is from what I understand Mac OS X hasn't been compiled or optimized for 64 bits, it is still running in 32 bit mode. This is why Jobs has the sense to not market these as 64-bit workstations. There's no doubt that these are fast machines and great computers but until the software running on them actually takes advantage of the 64 bit processor these are no different than running Windows or Linux on the new Athlon64 in 32 bit mode (granted you can run Linux in 64-bit mode now and MS has some betas out than run in 64-bit mode as well but you could also run the 32-bit versions of both if you wanted).
  • by swb (14022) on Sunday October 05, 2003 @10:17PM (#7140771)
    Steve Jobs, if he had any sense, would be marketing these machines as workstations instead of mere personal computers.

    There's loads of reasons why it won't happen, but I always thought that Apple should have bought SGI.

    It'd be a huge engineering task, but having a consistant Unix with a good UI from laptop, to desktop, to machine room would be excellent, and SGI would give Apple the entree to research/corporate data centers they lack now, as well as some industrial-strength computing power they don't have now. This would give Apple a huge unified market in visualization.

    The time for this would have been a couple of years ago when OS X was being developed so that it could have been developed for both platforms (and stuff from SGI merged into OS X). It's probably too late for it to be meaningful now.

    The other option would be a merger/takeover by Sun. It's a poorer fit, though, as Sun is more datacenter/DB than visualization, but it would give Sun the ability to market a complete alternative solution to MS, including a really good end-user desktop.

    Whenever I posit this, most people say "Apple's doesn't want to be a business/corporate platform". This may be true, but long-term its easier to see Apple's CPU development being less dependent on the good graces of a third party as well as having more compelling high-end computing driving their CPU development.

    There's also nothing that says Apple should stop their consumer/botique marketing or market niche -- it would be important to a $UNIX+Apple company to keep the consumer/end user desktop viable, and staying in that market makes that happen.

    It'd be good for "big Unix" as well, since Sun and SGI can't offer the lower end of the spectrum to the customers and end up bouncing off of MS-centric operations at a lot of places. With a total package that extended a viable, well-known platform to the desktop, their server offerings would get a better advantage, as well as giving them better lower end server offerings in Xserve variants.
  • by valmont (3573) on Sunday October 05, 2003 @10:18PM (#7140776) Homepage Journal

    heh you wanna know stable? how about X11 + Gnome + Gimp for image authoring, + 6 different web browsers for cross-browser checking of DHTML functionality, + office apps such as word and excel to deal with requirements documents sent by management drones, Multi-IM chat client to stay connected with co-workers over AIM, and Jabber over SSL, iTunes mp3 player in the background to soothe the mind playing music from a firewire-connected iPod, BBEdit code editor and 10 terminal windows, one of which running Tomcat java servlet container, another one running ant build scripts, to work on various components of a J2EE-compliant web application, all this and a few other apps running and being actively used simultanously on a 400mhz Titanium powerbook bought in early 2001, recently upgraded to 1Gig of RAM for $180 including priority shipping courtesy of pricewatch.com.

    How many times have i ever crashed the machine, and have had to reboot due to a crash? well, TWICE, when i got kernel panics when fiddling with some obscure features of CUPS printer sharing over SMB. But never while performing the typical daily load outlined above on this machine.

    I only reboot my laptop once a week as a preventive measure to give the OS a chance to perform a periodic fsck whenever it feels it needs to do so. My daily routine is heavy in network, peripherals, *and* disk I/O. Plenty of room for bad sectors to creep up on me.

    Go ahead, weep. [earthlink.net]

    Again, this is a 400mhz machine from 2001. It's old. and it still kicks ass.

    PC's with Linux do make great UNIX-ish workstations but not nearly anywhere near Mac OS X.

    Windows with Cygwin fucking sucks ass compared to OS X. I should know, prior to 2001 i used windows NT then windows 2000 on a DELL laptop. I used cygwin. I even wrote entire application development environment set-up scripts in bash under cygwin. It becomes a real bitch when you need to access executables that live in the "windows" world and get them to interoperate in the "cygwin world". cygpath. forward slashes vs backward slashes. stupid stupid stupid waste of time. Don't get me wrong, prior to OS X, Cygwin was a God-Send. It made windoz bearable to deal with.

    I have a debian linux server running at home on a cheap 2Ghz PC i inherited from my sister. I love Linux because thanks to Linux, no piece of computing hardware ever becomes truly obsolete. You can always turn any box into a cheap, decent desktop workstation, or a cheap, decent server.

    Windows NT and 2000 have wasted me countless hours of valuable time.

    In the end, to me, the best computing platform is Apple. The turning point was this pure beauty of an operating system that is Mac OS X.

    The revolution is now starting with Apple's new next-generation computing hardware architecture. Read here [slashdot.org] why I place such emphasis on overall system architecture. Hint: until dramatic architecture changes happen, wintel PCs really are stuck in a speed dead-end right now. Clocking your CPU chip upwards can only take you so far without melting your enclosing case or restricting your customer base to Alaska.

  • Re:yesss... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 05, 2003 @10:32PM (#7140870)
    I personally don't care what hardware I use (Apple, Intel, AMD) as long as I can install Linux on it and it's the fastest available for a decent price.

    Of course, being a computer builder, there are some things that a new system must be able to do.

    1. Price/performance ratio (as mentioned above)

    2. Must be upgradable (i'm not talking about adding a PCI card, I'm talking about installing a newer and faster processor in a couple of years. And yes I do realise that some x86 motherboards also do not allow for this...that's why I don't buy them)

    3. Must be able to use a video card equivilent to a GeForce 4 Ti4200 or higher with X11 drivers (yes I do play games on Linux).

    If this new G5 (or any other Mac) can satisfy all of these needs, then I'll buy it tomorrow if possible, otherwise...I'll stick with x86.
  • by curtlewis (662976) on Sunday October 05, 2003 @11:08PM (#7141056)
    Ok, let's dispell the smoke and mirrors:

    Case 120
    Pwr 120
    CPUs 600
    Ram 200
    HD 150
    DVD 200
    Video 400
    OS 200
    Mobo 200
    Kybd/mouse 100

    This puts the total at: $2290.00

    This assumes you buy XP Pro as an OS. You can go Linux and save, but then, you can't do as much with Linux.

    It takes me an average of 3 hours to build the PCs I build, plus and hour for an OS install. This involves careful mounting of the mobo and referencing the manual for any jumper settings, etc. I've built quite a few PCs in the past, although I'm sure someone that builds them every day and do it faster.

    Add $200 for build/install labor, bringing the total to $2490. That's $509.00 less than the Apple System, although you'd need to spring for another hundred to add 512megs more RAM.

    I call that pretty comparable.

    Not only that, it's one stop shopping. If you build a PC, you invariably shop the net for the best price, meaning any problems involve lengthy ship times and multiple vendors, some of whom are more cooperative than others. One stop shopping brings peace of mind in that aspect many people prefer.

    Macs aren't just for people that don't know squat about computers. While I'm certain I know less than many here, I'd lay odds have more knowledge and experience with computers than over 50% of the people that read slashdot. And yet a seasoned computer veteran like me likes Macs. Go figure.

    I run all operating systems. I'm not foolish enough to believe that one tool is the best for every job. And Macs certainly aren't the best for everything. But they are for many things and the new G5 is excpetionally powerful, not to mention, reasonably priced in a bang for the buck manner, despite the typcally uninformed posts saying they can build a less complete, lower performing system for less.

    DUH! I can also buy an iBook for less.
  • by JamieF (16832) on Monday October 06, 2003 @02:15AM (#7141698) Homepage
    >I like to piece mine together using exactly the parts I want.

    I know this is heresy on /., but...

    Don't you ever worry that this might be a colossal waste of your time? Just keeping on top of the nitty gritty details of each CPU that you might buy is a pain, but then you have to match that with a mobo, a fan, RAM, etc. etc.

    Don't you actually have something that you're trying to accomplish with your PC, other than trying to hot rod it and show off to your friends?

    Don't overlook the amount of time you then have to waste getting all the drivers to work, updating firmware, and on and on and on, tweaking it and getting it just perfect. You could spend your whole life just making a PC 100% up to date and patched... to what end?

    I guess if you make $7 an hour and want to squeeze every last bit of performance out of a $500 PC, and you have lots and lots of free time on your hands to figure it all out, it kinda makes sense. But in my opinion if you need a PC you should just order a damn Dell and get on with the part where you actually USE it for something. You might spend a few extra bucks or get a setup that's not quite 100% bleeding edge, costing you 5% in system performance, but it's worth it if your time is worth anything.
  • by ZxCv (6138) * on Monday October 06, 2003 @02:46AM (#7141814) Homepage
    You're comparing an OEM solution (the G5) to your homebrew setup. Of course you can buy more in parts when you're designing, building, and supporting it yourself. As has been shown several times in the past, the dual G5 system compares very closely in price to a dual Xeon system from Dell.
  • by valmont (3573) on Monday October 06, 2003 @03:40PM (#7146409) Homepage Journal
    Well okay, fair enuff. More specifics of things i can do EASILY with MacOSX and which I can't do on Linux:
    • laptops laptops laptops. Sure you can get linux workin quite well on a laptop. But OS X makes it dreamy: Check out OS X'S "network" control panel. It's hard to describe in words but it basically gives you great flexibility in switching between connectivity environments. You can define locations for all of OS X. But forget those for now. Stick to the automatic Location. the default one. No matter which connectivity is available at any given time, OS X will detect and use it: ethernet port, wireless 802.11b, bluetooth, modem, Infrared port. All those network ports are already pre-configured with priorities. You can define your own. In the end, it's beautiful: you're at work, connected via your ethernet port. you're ready to go home. close the laptop's lid. the laptop goes to sleep. you arrive home where you have an encrypted 802.11b network whose SSID is not being broadcast. you open your laptop's lid, OS X finds the wireless signal and associated authentication credentials based on settings, makes a DHCP request to your router, and bickity-bam within 5 seconds your email starts downloading in Mail.app. This all may sound trivial and stupid, but linux doesn't quite give you that on a laptop just yet. You'd need to mess with network configs and/or create some easy shell scripts. Still, not every convenient to your average usage, and still not as sexy as OS X to a power user.
    • iApps. Laugh all you want at Apple's iApps. They are quite fucking cool. OS X works with just about every digital device there is out there without installing A SINGLE PIECE of software. Why? for one Apple wrote drivers. But not just that. Apple has actively worked with digital device vendors to create standards to which their devices should adhere to, to be compatible with OS X. How can they do that? well, Apple has leverage. Examples? In 2001, i bought a Sony DSCP50 digital camera right after iPhoto came out. As a shot in the dark, i took a few pictures, then I plugged it in my laptop's USB port, it automatically launched iPhoto, and offered me an "import" button. After a few minutes arranging pictures into albums, i clicked the "online album" button and it created web pages on my .MAC account. It's silly really, but i love it. It's easy. It also lets me export the album to a website on my hard drive, which i can .tar.gz, upload somewhere and unpack. Another Example? Take any bluetooth mobile phone on the market. Namely my recently acquired Sony Ericsson t610. I plugged a bluetooth antenna dongle into my USB port, turned-on bluetooth on my cell phone, at which point the two devices started right away acknowledging one another, OS X told me the phone could be used over bluetooth to do internet dial-up and Synchronize address book and calendar information over iSync, and/or directly interact with my address book application
    • .
    • Which brings me to the next cool piece of technology: Apple iSync. That shit fucking rocks. In the PC world, whenever you buy a "device" and want to synchronize stuff with your PC, you are only stuck within the realm of that device's desktop software to make any kind of synchronization happen. Sync'ing ecclectic devices from various vendors requires you to purchase 3rd-party software and services such as intellisync. But again, here Apple worked closely with various device vendors to define a Sync'ing standard. Apple updated OS X, vendors updated their devices. As of this writing, my address book and calendar information are being sync'ed via iSync to my online .MAC account, my iPod and my sony ericsson t610. I could get me a few more. [apple.com]
    • Which brings me to put some focus on two interesting seemingly inconsequential little applications: Address Book and iCal. Those are two very simple, functional little applications. But they are more than just that.

If you had better tools, you could more effectively demonstrate your total incompetence.

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