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View Full Version : Quad g5, or mac intel workstation in dec?



kfinla
01-20-2006, 12:40 PM
ok, after watching the keynote speech and seeing the mac intel workstations aren't 18 months away, perhaps there 11 months off. The million dollar question on my mind is.. is buying a quad G5 like buying a 68k mac on the eve of powerpc.

The concern ofcourse is software support. I love the idea of running WinXP/Vista along with OSX in the future fingers crossed. Ofcourse on a g5 this is never going to be a possibility.

Is an Intel-quad gonna be 2-3x faster than a g5 quad, yet have no software but apple pro apps and iapps to run, oh and quark and modo i guess. I'm thinking of LW, maya, Photoshop, zbrush etc

will it be 2 yrs potentially before LW is supported on the intel mac? and therefore not worth the wait. My MDD dual g4 1.25 is currently about 3 yrs old. Its a solid machine but im looking to replace it this spring. It would be lame to have to keep my g4 around for a year or somthing to run apps that arent mac intel friendly, or run like molases like pS cs2 through rosetta

Captain Obvious
01-20-2006, 06:13 PM
NewTek has been working on the Xcode (and thusly Mac/Intel) version of Lightwave for over two years now (the transition was announced early january 2004). Surely they must have made a little progress in this time.

Anyway, a quad G5 will be a fast enough machine for a long while. Look at Blanos LW rendering benchmarks: they're actually fairly compeditive with Intel/AMD systems. The "Pro Mac" or whatever will naturally be faster than the G5, but there is ALWAYS a faster computer coming in six months. If you need it now, buy it now and don't worry about it. A quad G5 won't be obsolete for many years.

toby
01-22-2006, 09:21 PM
Getting a Quad would be a great way to ride out the transition to IntelMac.

gatz
01-22-2006, 11:57 PM
The way I'm going to approach it is with the assumption that it's always nice to have the fastest legacy machine. Your G4 is one of the fastest machines that can still run sys 9. If you get a Quad it will be the fastest machine that will run your current setup (including Classic).

While most of your apps will make the transition, some won't. Some may take a couple of years. MetaSynth (a really cool audio app) took a couple of years to make it to 10. LW, PhotoShop, AfterEffects will loose dozens of plugins, some of them might be your favorites. Even if they do they may never render exactly the same.

If you don't have any legacy projects, or collections of software. Go ahead and wait for the MacTel desktops. Otherwise go Quad. ****, even if the desktops came out in June (Developers Conf) I'd probably still go with the Quad. I'd keep my eyes open for deals, speedbumps etc that come with hardware intros. The MacTel desktop intro will just be the beginning.

But this is from a person that worked in Sys 9 until 10.3.

One query that might nullify this reasoning is how far Apple will support the PPC. I don't think the Intel move had been announced when Apple last discussed 10.5.

ackees
01-23-2006, 06:33 AM
From past experience unless you are desperate you should wait for the new intel macs, save your money and buy a fully loaded one when it comes, meanwhile struggle along with what you have. The performance leap is likely to be so great that your old macs will become dust gathers, I know I have a couple. What's the point of spending so much money on something that will only have a life of 1 year of so?

toby
01-23-2006, 09:44 PM
You think the IntelMacs will be much faster than the IBM quad? Why?

Lightwave may not run on the IntelMac for over a year anyway, so there's not much point in getting the first one out -

ackees
01-24-2006, 01:49 AM
You think the IntelMacs will be much faster than the IBM quad? Why?

Lightwave may not run on the IntelMac for over a year anyway, so there's not much point in getting the first one out -

But if the IntelMacs are dual boot you can simply use your PC dongle, that way you will have access to more plugins as well as 64bit.
The IntelMacs will be faster and have new functions that will speed things up this is a surety because how else will apple get people to buy the new ones and not just stick to the old ones. Every time apple has made a switch like this there has been a leap in performance (what would be the point if PPC were worse than 64K macs for example).

I think the most interesting thing will be the speed of the OS, will apple OS be faster or Windows? I can't wait to see the results of this one.

The future processor battles will be Intel vers AMD.

toby
01-24-2006, 02:08 AM
Of course it's going to be a little faster, but then the next computer's always going to be faster - you could wait forever thinking that way. It's not going to be a huge speed increase. At most it will be dual-core 3ghz; it will be like the jump from the 1.25ghz to 1.42.

But I forgot about the dual boot thing, that would be cool. But personally I wouldn't want to be locked out of OSX when I want to do LW, not just for a little extra speed, when it means waiting 6 months to get the machine to begin with... but that's just me...

Uh! I just remembered, I've read that you won't be able to install Windows on them anyway. The Mac chips won't have a Bios, they have a different, more current system - I'm sure the hackers will find a way, but I wouldn't try to hack a $3200 machine, until I was read to replace it.

Captain Obvious
01-24-2006, 02:21 AM
Windows will run fine on the Intel Macs. Just not your garden variety Windows XP. As far as I know, only Windows 2k3 Server, XP 64-bit and (sooner or later) Vista can boot on EFI systems (the Intel Macs have EFI instead of BIOS). Regular 32-bit XP Pro or Home can't, I think. No need for hacking.

ackees
01-24-2006, 02:23 AM
I have found from Apple's previous record that they loose interest in old formats very quickly, yes they say they support them but truely they don't like to (even some of Apple's basic software updates are not backward compatable on current machines, you can get quickly stuck with outdated resources). Also small developers (who often come up with the most interesting ideas) cannot afford to develope for the old format as well. Generally, it's not so much the speed but the focus, you quickly find having an old format is like living in the past. There are advantages, everything PPC will become very cheap as people move on.

kfinla
01-24-2006, 02:23 AM
i think the new intel workstations will be faster for sure. I mean A) thats what computers do they get faster, smaller etc as time passes.

b) the intel imac 2 GHz is 2.1-3x faster than the 2.1ghz PPC one.

So by that logic we could see a intel quad thats 2x faster than the current PPC one by the end of the year.

toby
01-24-2006, 02:36 AM
i think the new intel workstations will be faster for sure. I mean A) thats what computers do they get faster, smaller etc as time passes.

b) the intel imac 2 GHz is 2.1-3x faster than the 2.1ghz PPC one.

So by that logic we could see a intel quad thats 2x faster than the current PPC one by the end of the year.

That's what I said, "Of course it's going to be a little faster, but then the next computer's always going to be faster"
But the big jump was because of the move to dual-core. Don't expect another jump like that until the move to quad-core.

kfinla
01-24-2006, 09:33 AM
thats true:) I forgot the it was a move from single to dual core in the imacs.

still with a intel quad, if they got to 3ghz x 4 thats 2 more than current, i imagine the system bus would be 1.5 also. anyways. I'd love a quad right about now when i hear about how fprime etc scales.

Boo!
01-24-2006, 09:57 AM
...well...
i just got sent this...
...
...

http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2006/01/23/intel_macs_25pc_faster/

:confused: :chicken:
...
...as Charle Brown would say......"good grief!"...
im just goin to get the a Dual Core anywayz. i need it.

Captain Obvious
01-24-2006, 12:43 PM
I can't really post my opinions about the "Apple's benchmarks are FLAWWWWEEED!" people, due to the obscenity filter on the forums.

Safe to say, however, is that they don't know CPU benchmarking from their arses, and they shouldn't write tech articles. Maybe knitting is their thing, I don't know. Maybe making apple pies, because those things are awesome, and you don't have to understand CPU benchmarking to bake pies. If you don't take my word for, just ask me and I'll explain why they're idiots. I'd rather not, since it's useless work and, in all honestly, they're not worth it. However, you guys are not idiots, and it would be sad if they managed to fool you. So... yeah.

CPU BENCHMARKING 101:
The CPU is the heart, or rather the brain, of the computer. It does all the generic calculations, and is one of the fastest parts of the machine. The video card, and in some extreme cases even the audio chip, is much faster, but highly specialized. The CPU can calculate more or less anything, and it usually does it VERY fast. CPUs get twice as fast every three years or so (Moore's Law concerns the number of transistors in a limited space, not the actual computational speed). So, why aren't computers faster than they are? Why isn't the new Intel iMac 2-3 times faster than the old one?

Because everything else in a modern computer is pretty darn slow. The hard drive is the primary bad guy here. Hard drives are horrendously slow. If a CPU was to work directly from the hard drive, you might as well use a 20MHz 386. You would barely notice a difference. Because of this, we have RAM. RAM is nice, because it can be read from here and there with no impact on speed. It's awesome for caching data, and often thousands of times faster than a hard drive. But it's still barely a fraction as fast as the CPU.

Obviously, benchmarking just a CPU is very hard, since it depends on so many other things. It depends on the speed of the hard drive, the RAM, the amount of RAM, etc etc etc. An application like iMovie needs to access the RAM a whole lot, since movies take up far too much space to store the whole thing on the CPU's local cache. In fact, they take up so much space you even need to use the hard drive! What's even more obvious now is that iMovie is NOT a CPU benchmark. It's a computer benchmark. Some things, like 3D rendering, is almost exclusively dependant on the raw CPU speed, however. As long as you have enough RAM, the speed doesn't matter all THAT much.

So, how does all this relate to Steve Jobs and the Intel iMac?

Simple. Steve Jobs said, quite literally, that while the CPU in the new iMac is 2-3 times faster, the rest of the machine won't be. This means that things that depend on hard drive, RAM, video card, etc, performance won't be 2-3 times faster. Nobody at Apple ever claimed otherwise. As iMovie and QuickTime and whatnot depend on those things, they won't be that much faster. However, and this is the reason the "Reghardware" people are idiots, CPU-based 3D rendering IS 2-3 times faster. Brad Peebler tested modo 201's renderer and found it as much as 3.2 times faster on the new iMac.

Bah.

Sorry about the rant, but I'm getting fed up with people claiming Apple lies in their benchmarks, when it is in fact they who are clueless.

toby
01-24-2006, 10:37 PM
Don't apologize, that was very informative.

KnuxTE
01-25-2006, 01:38 PM
what about CPU emulation????

Captain Obvious
01-25-2006, 04:43 PM
What about CPU emulation?

In case you're talking about Rosetta, it's not technically emulation. It's dynamic recompilation. There's a difference. ;)

KnuxTE
01-25-2006, 11:55 PM
could you explain alittle on how Rosetta will recompile software, and how it will have an impact on Lightwave when rendering? (thinking of getting a macbook pro later down the road)

Lightwolf
01-26-2006, 04:14 AM
Windows will run fine on the Intel Macs. Just not your garden variety Windows XP. As far as I know, only Windows 2k3 Server, XP 64-bit and (sooner or later) Vista can boot on EFI systems (the Intel Macs have EFI instead of BIOS). Regular 32-bit XP Pro or Home can't, I think. No need for hacking.
Not quite right... only Vista will have EFI support... as well as the 64bit Itanium version (which has EFI support now).
None of the other versions have or will have EFI support. (and XP 64 wouldn't be much use with the current intel Macs anyhow).
However, a VM should be able to run windows at a decent speed since it doesn't need to emulate the CPU anymore.

Cheers,
Mike

Captain Obvious
01-26-2006, 07:57 AM
Really? I heard that XP-64 and Server 2k3 supported it. Oh well, that's hearsay for you! :)

As for a VM, there's still the problem of video acceleration.

Lightwolf
01-26-2006, 12:38 PM
As for a VM, there's still the problem of video acceleration.
True... but a driver might fix that to a limited degree. That would be loads of work though.

Cheers,
Mike

Captain Obvious
01-26-2006, 01:36 PM
One of the main reasons I see for running Windows in a VM is accessing banks that only support MSIE (though I would personally switch bank if that was (or were? I forget) the case), seeing how your web site looks in MSIE, etc. Most people probably won't run Windows in a VM for games or 3D apps, I think.



could you explain alittle on how Rosetta will recompile software, and how it will have an impact on Lightwave when rendering? (thinking of getting a macbook pro later down the road)
I have no idea how well Lightwave runs in Rosetta. It could be anything from great to 1998-level speeds.