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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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  • G5 Rules (Score:3, Interesting)

    by thedillybar (677116) on Sunday October 05, 2003 @04:07PM (#7138560)
    After seeing benchmarks for the G5, I'm actually considering switching to Mac, which I once thought to be a mortal sin (or is it still?).

    I certainly can't think of a better desktop machine that the majority of people are familiar with and yet kicks out that kind of performance. Then again, why should I care if anyone else can figure out how to use my machine?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 05, 2003 @04:10PM (#7138594)
    Why hasn't someone benchmarked this? Or at least why would apple not publicize this one? I would think apple could use a benchmark with very large datasets that would show the G5 with 8GB Ram and a Dual Xeon with 8GB Ram(using PAE). The G5 would clearly kick the $#!t out of the Xeon in this case.

    The fact that the G5 can handle more ram without resorting to the PAE b.s., is a clear advantage and I think Apple should market that a little better.
  • by charnov (183495) on Sunday October 05, 2003 @04:13PM (#7138619) Homepage Journal
    I got the chance to play with the mid-model (single 1.8 GHz) G5 and it is VERY fast compared to the older models (roughly about the same if not faster than the previous top model). The owner of said machine (a video editor) uses it as a front end for some of his editing work mainly because he wanted a Mac to use for the interface. The back end is comprised of two large SGI's and dozens of linux boxes (all AMDs).

    The best tool for the job. My hats off to Apple for a great machine.
  • So far (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Paradise Pete (33184) on Sunday October 05, 2003 @04:15PM (#7138643) Journal
    I've had one for a few days now. Extraordinarily responsive. I used a firewire cable to connect my powerbook to it via "target disk mode." I started a huge copy, like 30 GB or so. While this was going on I was able to continue use the computer as if nothing were happening. In fact I had to stop a few times and check the progress of the copy, because it seemed like it must have stopped or something. But there it was, chugging along.

    It's just fast fast fast.

  • by jo_ham (604554) <joham999&gmail,com> on Sunday October 05, 2003 @04:24PM (#7138701)
    The first benchmarks released comparing the G5 to an Intel box had notes on this.

    The PC folks wailed and moaned because Hyperthreading was turned off on the Intel boxes when the benchmarks were performed but they neglected the footnote that mentioned that the PC actually performed worse on the benchmarks when HT was on, so to be fair they took the best score.
  • by htmlboy (31265) on Sunday October 05, 2003 @04:27PM (#7138721)
    When comparing against a hyperthreading (HT) processor, do you count a HT CPU as one or two.

    it's one processor. it represents itself as two logical processors with no instruction cache to trick the operating system into letting the hardware take care of optimizing instruction scheduling. even though linux identifies two full speed processors, there's only one chip doing the work, so it would be silly to expect it to perform twice as well.
  • by phillymjs (234426) <slashdot&stango,org> on Sunday October 05, 2003 @04:31PM (#7138750) Homepage Journal
    ...but real-world app tests have shown that the dual 2GHz G5 beats Dell's cheapest dual 3.06GHz Xeon sytem, both in performance and (when configured identically as possible to Apple's base 2GHz dualie) in price.

    In fact, Dell's current price ($4372) on the comparison machine has gone up by $600 since late June, the first time I configured one-- but even back then, Apple beat them by hundreds of dollars. [slashdot.org]

    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.

    ~Philly
  • what I like... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 05, 2003 @04:34PM (#7138772)
    ...is all the Mac haters who used to say "yeah, the Mac is cool, but I need something a little faster than 1GHz, like my IntelAMDAthlonXP 5500MHz box. You should see how FAST Explorer pops up on that puppy!!!1111"

    Now that Apple has a arguably *fast* machine, they've switched back to complaining about the price.

    I guess those folks just go between price, speed, and the number of mouse buttons, in circles.

    I think the Macs are great machines and reasonably priced. My 500MHz iMac is perfectly usable and sits aside my 1.8GHz P4 Linux box with pride. The iMac cost me $1300 and the P4 cost around $1400 (I bought all quality components like Intel mobo, Antec case, 1GB Crucial RAM, etc), and it was purchased about 2 years after I got the iMac, and didn't even come with a monitor, so I think the iMac was a good deal. *shrug*

    I don't know or care precisely how fast the G5s are. I just know they are fast, well-designed machines with a beautiful operating system and tools (have any of you ever written a program using the apple devel tools? I had a harder time taking a shit this morning!!) and they are worth the few hunder dollar premium.
  • by silverhalide (584408) on Sunday October 05, 2003 @04:38PM (#7138802)
    Food for thought:
    Back in the 386 and 486 days, I was in the 18-month upgrade cycle, simply cause my comp couldn't run the latest and greatest apps. Now, I am currently using a computer from 1999 - a p3-500. And, I have no immediate plans on upgrading. I consider myself among the power users -- graphic design, MSOffice, many programming suites, even an occasional game. And ya know what? It all works like a champ. Tell me, what's the reason for upgrading? So Photoshop loads in 4 seconds and not 20? Obviously, a new system would be NICE, but I don't really NEED it like we used to (new version of windows wouldn't run, office would crash, etc).

    Before you answer with "To play games!" Please note that you can buy a brand spanky new Gamecube for $99 now. I will never play games on my PC again at that price!

    Obviously this also doesn't apply to video editting as that needs every drop of power you can get it.
  • by tulare (244053) on Sunday October 05, 2003 @04:48PM (#7138858) Journal
    Hmm. I think you are missing just about every possible point here. I'll try to hit some of them without trolling.

    First of all, you've got the people who do media editing... sound/video/still... They are going to continue to shell out the big bucks for the best Apple hardware because it will continue to put them in a competitive advantage over their collegues who need to spend more time every day waiting for numbers to crunch. In the case of this market, the dual G5 will pay for itself quickly, on speed alone.
    Then there's the sciences, which if you'd read the article is one of the very things being tested on this monster. I've got a friend who works in bioinformatics, and I can't wait to tell him that BLAST is being compiled for the dual G5. He will curse me as he picks up the phone to call Apple =]
    Finally, there's this myth of incompatibility... for your average desktop luser, what applications are important to run? Well, hello, we have the Suite of the Beast, which runs natively, and rather well, on OS X... Exchange connectivity included, thank you very much. What else? Oh, you mean something that doesn't already exist on the unix side and has been ported by the Fink project? Hello? Are you still there?

    I was helping a frind of mine to try to save his win98 box from an inevitable wipe-and-reinstall, and I asked him how he liked OS X on his dual-G4. This guy used to flip front-panel switches on PDP-8s for a living (but only when the tape reader was shredding paper), and hasn't left the industry since... I regularly pick his brain on "bigger-picture" type issues, and his ignorance of how to keep his teenaged children from b0rking win98 configs notwithstanding, he really knows his s**t. His reply about OS X:
    ...what I've always thought a computer ought to be like.
    So true. I use and enjoy Linux on my peecee, and have no intention of leaving it behind as an OS - it's still much too useful for me for lots of things - but I have to say, Apple has done a fantastic job with OS X. It is fantastically easy to teach n00bs on, and I have found it to be superb for administering a very heterogenous network consisting of various windoze clients and servers, Apple machines from ][e to current models, and various *nix servers and a few clients... best of all, I can do all this with tools native to OS X - I've got the windoze Remote Desktop Connection, Apple Remote Desktop, and X11 or even Terminal.app for the real work =]

    I don't want to sound like a cheerleader, although I admit I've probably done just that. It's just that when you find a really useful tool to get your job done, it's hard not to wax enthusiastic.
  • by jo_ham (604554) <joham999&gmail,com> on Sunday October 05, 2003 @04:52PM (#7138878)
    I looked at the AMD Opteron Alienware box for digital video editing and set all the settings as close as I could to a mid range G5 (the AMD doesn't come in dual cpu config, so I selected the 1.8Ghz AMD and compared it to the 1.8Ghz Apple):

    Apple Box:
    18.Ghz G5
    1Gb DDR ram
    160Gb S-ATA drive
    Superdrive (DVD-RW. CD-RW, CDR etc)
    GeForce FX 5200 64Mb
    Gigbait ethernet
    3x Firewire (1x 800, 2x 400)
    USB 2.0
    SP-DIF optical inputs and outputs

    Alienware box:
    AMD Opteron 64bit 1.8Ghz
    1Gb DDR ram
    160Gb S-ATA drive
    DVD, CD-RW combo (note, no DVD burning capability)
    Nvidia Quadro FX 128Mb
    Sound Blaster Audigy 2

    Prices:
    Apple 1.8Ghz: $2,649
    AMD Opteron 1.8Ghz: $3,101

    This was as close as I could get the specs without digging around too much and I think it's pretty fair. I could add the ATI Radeon 9800 Pro to try and get closer to the Quadro in the AMD box to add an extra $350 to the price - still comes in slightly less than the AMD.
  • Re:Beats Anything? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Zelet (515452) on Sunday October 05, 2003 @05:03PM (#7138958) Journal
    Why is this "Insightful"? He didn't give a single price comparison nor did he point to a link that does.

    I priced out a top-of-the-line Dell (which is slower than the mac) and a top-of-the-line Mac. Here are the results.
    Mac: $3395 [apple.com]
    Dell: $2917 [dell.com]

    Of course this doesn't include the fact that you get better case design (aluminum/super quiet) with the mac. Nor does it reflect the Unix based OS that you get with the Mac.
  • Re:Big deal. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by xenoandroid (696729) on Sunday October 05, 2003 @05:08PM (#7138990) Homepage
    That's what game consoles and Windows is for. Doing actual work involves a better machine. Can your PC run the various mac-only software out there? nope. What's your point? That's why I own both platforms.
  • by davesag (140186) on Sunday October 05, 2003 @06:07PM (#7139369) Homepage
    Reading all this just made me think for a sec. what is it about my macs that I reallly like. Well today's winning answer is this. It's not startup times (< 1 second on my laptops), it's not ram (1Gb on my tibook) it's not the overall speed etc etc it's this:

    In our house we have 3 laptops, I have a tibook, my girlfriend a 12"G4 and sometime ago I retired the g3 laptop to inhouse server status. It is connected to the stereo and since it is pre-firewire is connected to a great big external drive via USB. we both have itunes running. my gf likes music i'd never allow on my laptop and i have music she will never want. she's in the back room writing an essay but using rendesvous has access to all the music on my mac, all the music on the stereo and her own music. she's no nerd, and the music sharing abilities of itunes are simply transparent. right now, just taking a look, she's playing music off my laptop but is out my my earshot. I am listening to music off the home stereo that is also coming off my laptop. there is nothing to configure, nothing to confuse a non-techy person, it all just works.

    meanwhile every night at around 3am some shell scripts run thanks to cron that use ssh and rsync to backup mine and my gf's work to the g3, into our own account spaces on the stereo. when our local backups are done the stereo in turn backs up changes to a mate's server in holland. his server? an even older g3 laptop than mine. i have admin rights and the osx server admin tools are simply awesome. he's running a cvs server which i use with a bunch of our mates to share code. ican admin that from here with a lovely gui. yeah i know you can so all that nerdy stuff on *nix or windows, or at least I assume you can on windows, but the convenience of having it all look and feel consistant is just gold to me.

    later this year i'll buy a new 15" powerbook and the tibook will hit the hi-fi rack. it's running mysql and tomcat and so forth so will become both a music server, dvd burning station and staging server for my clients.

    and what's more it all synchs with my new cell phone and my ipod. lordy lordy i love my macs.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 05, 2003 @06:36PM (#7139557)
    I've never had a pentium 4, speed never mattered to me. If it did, I probably wouldn't be typing this on a 350 MHz Pentium 2.

    It isn't that I don't like macs. I just don't use macs. I hate mac zealots. They annoy the crap out of me. I like to read about what apple is doing, but the same redundent nonsense is posted, and modded up, every time a mac story is posted. It isn't interesting, or insightful, it is mostly opinion, with some questionable "facts" thrown in.

    Go away.

    If you only want to see Apple cheerleading posts, in sure there are other forums that are more suited to this.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 05, 2003 @06:40PM (#7139592)
    Yes, you're right. Dell does not manufacture their computers, in any meaningful sense of the word. That's one of the reasons why Dell's quality and customer satisfaction are below acceptable norms.

    Let's look at this two ways. If you don't buy a Mac, you buy a Dell or something comparable. You pay the same price or a bit more.

    If you don't buy a Dell, you build it yourself from parts. You end up paying not just a little more, but CONSIDERABLY more, once you add up the dollar value of your time. Of course, if you have more time than money, then by all means, spend the weekend putting parts into a Fry's case. Most people do not have more time than money. For most people, it's just the opposite: money is precious, but time is much more precious.

    Dells are FAR better values than computers built from parts, and Macs are FAR better values than Dells.
  • by Hoser McMoose (202552) on Sunday October 05, 2003 @07:21PM (#7139840)
    They haven't benchmarked that probably because no one seems to have bothered anything on Macs that would make 8GB of memory worthwhile. Almost all of the tests I've seen have just been Photoshop and iMovie. If you're lucky they throw in some other media encoding tests, but that's it.

    If you want to show off 8GB of memory, you need either some high-end workstation applications or some server applications. The G5 should be able to run some of this stuff, though I don't know how widely available the software is. Once Linux is somewhat more functional on the G5, we might see some more comparisons.

    Also, regardless of how much of a performance hit PAE casues on the Xeon, it's just plain old UGLY and should have never been born in the first place. It's a nasty kludge that exists solely because of missing capabilities (ie the lack of true 64-bit capabilities for server tasks). Fortunately the real solution for x86 was released 5+ months ago by AMD, with their Opteron and now Athlon64 processors. Any comparison of dual G5s vs. dual Xeons should throw a dual Opteron system into the mix as well. Install Linux on all three and go to town.
  • by oingoboingo (179159) on Sunday October 05, 2003 @08:57PM (#7140322)
    2. It's certainly the most usable and stable.

    I'd love to agree with you there, but my new 1.6GHz G5 has been incredibly unstable since the day it arrived. It will freeze up hard doing just about anything. I went through about 2 hours of troubleshooting over the phone with Apple Australia, and in the end the only thing they could recommend was that I box it up and send it back to them.

    If you check the user discussion forums on Apple's support site, there are lots of people having problems with their new G5s freezing and kernel panicking. Some of this is due to a firmware bug that causes 3rd party RAM to wreak havoc, but a lot of it also appears to be related to USB hubs and various USB devices causing kernel panics.

    Don't get me wrong...I love the idea of the G5 (which is why I bought one), but for me at least, it's been the least stable piece of computing equipment I've ever owned or used (and this is going back to Apple IIs and Microbees (for the Aussies out there)).

    I think Apple may still have a lot of production difficulties to sort out...I think a lot of us have been stung by the infamous 'Don't buy a Revision A Apple product' syndrome.

    Of course, even with the G5 sitting there completely frozen on my desk at work, waiting to get off hold with Apple tech support, there was a non-stop stream by passers-by coming into my office to admire the system case and have the requisite demonstration of the side panel coming off, revealing the shiny (crashed) goodness inside.

    Hopefully one day I'll get a 1.6GHz G5 that works!
  • by noewun (591275) on Monday October 06, 2003 @12:38AM (#7141436) Journal
    because of memory bandwidth, and the thing was about half the speed of our dual 2.4GHz Dell machines.

    This makes no sense: the dual G5 has PC3200 with two dedicated 1GHz buses, faster than anything you're likely to find from Dell. So how does a machine with better throughput have worse performance?

    Methinks PEBCAK.

  • by StarFace (13336) on Monday October 06, 2003 @12:53AM (#7141484) Homepage
    Eh, I have the same laptop. Here is a benchmark: I can close the lid, slip it in a backpack, and walk out the door in under twenty seconds and edit 35 megabyte 16bbp images with just as much grace as 90% of the desktops and workstations, while riding the bus. Let us see you do that with that G5 desktop (literally). Yes, this thing is a beast of a laptop, I knew that when I purchased it, but that's the point of it. It's for people that need massive power on the go, and little else, certainly not "stylish cases." Oh, and as for battery time, I get roughly what I get with my 896mhz Titanium laptop -- around two hours. The main difference is that I can get much more done in those two hours on the Sager.

    You missed the fundamental point of the parent's post -- this laptop (as beastly as it is) is running neck to neck with Apple's latest and greatest workstation. You cannot even get close to that with your six pound Powerbook -- I know because I use them too.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 06, 2003 @05:23AM (#7142173)
    Nope, if you are going to talk about heterogenious corporate networks then either you are not going to talk about Windows 98 or you are also going to include Mac OS 8.1 and 9, yep, both nightmares with netware and windows boxes. They often have a hard time talking to like platforms! Where's your Exchange support in 8.1? How do you push patches to all your clients via policy (occurs in all platforms)?

    OS X is a vast improvement, do not compare it to a now 5 year old operating system which has been completely abandoned by Microsoft because they admitted they couldn't fix it. You could almost get away with comparing it to Windows 2000 but even then that is three years old. Compare it to XP which has absolutely amazing policy level controls that can totally convert the OS into a very specific box capable of performing one task, or of course, follow the Microsoft path and all it to do all the tasks you've come to expect.
  • by TheNetAvenger (624455) on Monday October 06, 2003 @07:14AM (#7142439)
    Why hasn't someone benchmarked this? Or at least why would apple not publicize this one? I would think apple could use a benchmark with very large datasets that would show the G5 with 8GB Ram and a Dual Xeon with 8GB Ram(using PAE). The G5 would clearly kick the $#!t out of the Xeon in this case.

    The fact that the G5 can handle more ram without resorting to the PAE b.s., is a clear advantage and I think Apple should market that a little better.


    Or even better, how about an AMD64 or Intel Itanium with 12GB or more of RAM compared to the 8GB limited G5.

    This would be really fun; especially considering the G5 can ONLY access the full 8GB of RAM by swapping out RAM to 4GB per process using a method MUCH LIKE THE PAE you are making fun of in the Xeon/Intel Multi-CPU specification. And even the Intel specification can use 64GB of RAM, not a mere 8GB of RAM.

    The AMD64 and Itanium don't have to use PAE or OSX tricks to access RAM above the 32bit addressing level. Even the 64bit of Windows XP that has been shipping since 2001 for the Itanium natively supports 64GB of RAM, and this was for the DESKTOP version of Windows XP64. Additionally, the new Service Pack for Windows XP 64 supports up to 512gb of RAM for both the Intel and AMD64 CPUS - and the Server version of Windows 2003 also supports 512GB of RAM on both 64bit CPUS. (The Itanium version shipping since early this year, the AMD64 version in beta now, to be released at the end of the year.)

    And next we should really do the test with real 64bit operations, especially considering the OSX is NOT a 64bit OS, or will be a 64bit OS in the near future. So half of the features of being able to push twice the bits as a 32bit CPU is lost on the G5 because OSX is a 32bit OS.

    And this doesn't even take into account 64bit versions of Linux and other OSes that are available for the AMD64 and Itanium systems.

    I will say it once again, the G5s are impressive machines, but they are not the end all be all of desktop computing, nor are they FIRST 64bit desktop computers or the FASTEST desktop computers, or even the BEST PRICE for the performance.

    Give the G5s credit for what they are and what they are good at, and stop trying to trump everything else out there just because the marketing guys at Apple went a little over the top.
  • by Hawthorne01 (575586) on Monday October 06, 2003 @10:53AM (#7143745)
    Apple's "system architecture" isn't revolutionary. Heck, it's not even evolutionary. It's the same thing that PC chipsets have been doing for years. And those drastic changes? They're coming from AMD , not Apple.

    10 seconds worth of Google time would have told you that the HyperTransport Architecture that both AMD and Apple use was developed jointly by them and many other companies. Neither can claim all the credit for it, Apple was just the first to bring it market.

  • by TheNetAvenger (624455) on Monday October 06, 2003 @03:26PM (#7146262)
    do keep in mind that there is a 64 bit version of OS X that will be released to the public soon. Not released but right now it still more stable than any Windows product...

    Kidding right?

    Basically all modern OSes, like WindowsXP (any NT), Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris, and OSX can all be considered to be respectively JUST AS RELIABLE and STABLE.

    OSX is NOT the world's crowning achievement of stability, sorry.

    In our test labs, of hundreds of test machines, we have only 11 logs of Windows2000 or WindowsXP systems crashing to a BSD. Three are listed as Hard Drive failure, one is listed as RAM failure, three are marked as unknown, and the other four are listed as specific driver bugs that were found during a beta process of either the driver or Windows2k/XP itself.

    Out of our OSX Machines, we have 30 reports of failure, and we have 1/20th the number of OSX test machines to Windows machines.

    The OSX errors range from driver problems, to kernel panic, bad Apple Updates, and general unknown system crashes caused by applications taxing the systems.

    There is a BIG difference between Win9x and the NT line of OSes. If you would have said Windows95, 98, or ME instead of 'Windows' in general - I would have agreed with you fully. But the NT line of Windows has been very stable since 1992 when we first pulled in alpha copies for testing. And WindowsXP especially, is a step beyond the early NT.

    I understand that not everyone has test labs at their place of work to compare issues like this, but please don't buy into the myths.

    WindowsXP is very solid - even our techs that hate Microsoft, grudgingly admit this.

    Even with the amount of stress and beta testing we do, OSX, Windows, Linux, OpenBSD, etc, etc are ALL very stable OSes. Using modern memory protection and dozens of other fairly 'standard' features in modern OSes, the stability we see today can be very much expected in ALL of them.
  • I own a 2ghz G5 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by daviddennis (10926) <david@amazing.com> on Tuesday October 07, 2003 @01:13PM (#7154507) Homepage
    I blew $3,000.

    Why?

    Because I really love the Apple operating system, and it's the best in the world, especially if you're a Unix geek who also likes doing arty stuff like video editing and compositing.

    Because I'm working on some projects requiring heavy compositing and special effects, and I really wanted to have the most powerful Mac I could find.

    Because the aesthetics of the Mac make me happy and make me enjoy work, and life, more. This is more important than one might think; considering all the time I spend in front of the screen, and the value of that time, it's well worth the bucks to get a computer I really like instead of one I don't.

    Hope that helps.

    D

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