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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Desktops > Played with a Quad G5, Thoroughly UNIMPRESSED

Played with a Quad G5, Thoroughly UNIMPRESSED
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mlowe969
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Dec 18, 2005, 11:47 PM
 
So this weekend I finally got down to the local Apple store and fired up the Quad G5 for a round of tests. I'm in the market for a new PowerMac, have the money, have the will, but wanted to make sure that something was going to happen before my eyes that would beat my Dual 2.0 G5. I do a lot of high-end graphic design and 3D work, and was really excited to be blown away.

This didn't happen. I wasn't even marginally impressed with anything. Here is a recap of my experience:

I immediately restarted the computer. I wanted to see how long it took to reboot, and how long it would take applications to launch for the very first time. The reboot took a long time. It stayed on a black screen for more than 10 full seconds. Then the grey screen, the apple logo, the spinner icon, and then another good 30 secs, like I had restarted by not properly shutting down, but I did.

Then I got to the desktop. I immediately launched Photoshop CS 2.0. It took the same amount of time as my computer at home. It paused several times in the middle of loading the plug-ins, and essentially, wasn't a noticeable improvement in speed.

I started a 10 inch by 10 inch PS document at 300 dpi. I created a text layer. I double-clicked the effects panel. Took about 3 seconds to bring that up...and THAT is something I "hate" waiting for. If I spend $3200 on a computer, there shouldn't be a 3 second waiting period in an option that is done nearly 1,000 times for any project. I continued to add gradient fills, shadows, inner glows, gradient strokes, all with nominal performance.

I think dragged the layer in circles watching the horrible blitting updates. It looked like a paint application from the mid-80s. Horrible frame refreshes, and just didn't resemble anything remotely linked to the "fastest personal computer in the market today."

Now, after this experience I launched MS Office Word. It took the same amount of time to load the first time as my machine at home. Font formatting was sluggish just like my home system. It would appear that having the supped up Tiger OS, and the 4 processors have had no measurable effect to the compositing systems of Quartz Extreme.

I was shocked by this experience. I've read all the reports of faster rendering times, and even with that amazing benchmark, Apple still hasn't provided any 3D software on their floor machines to demonstrate it. Sad marketing.

The other sad sad fact about the floor model is that it's running the 6600 video card. This card has been reamed on the internet for being a slow video card, and yet Apple has it running a 30" monitor. I have no idea of my tests would run better with a better video card, because Apple isn't able to provide me with that system prior to buying.

For now, I will hold off indefinitely on the Quad G5. With the XBOX 360 shipping with more horse power than the Quad G5, and costing less than 1/4 the price, I think we all need to wait for the smoke to clear from our buttocks before buying.
     
G5man
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Dec 19, 2005, 12:00 AM
 
How much RAM was in the machine? That makes a big difference.
Mac mini 1.42 Ghz 1GB RAM 80 GB HD + 160 GB External HD
     
the_glassman
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Dec 19, 2005, 12:10 AM
 
Originally Posted by mlowe969
With the XBOX 360 shipping with more horse power than the Quad G5, and costing less than 1/4 the price, I think we all need to wait for the smoke to clear from our buttocks before buying.
     
mlowe969  (op)
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Dec 19, 2005, 12:28 AM
 
I forgot to check, but the bottom-line is, don't put a slow configuration on the floor, and blame the consumer for not seeing what they wanted to see. I don't test drive a bottom of the line car to determine whether or not I want the Turbo. You know what I mean?
     
mlowe969  (op)
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Dec 19, 2005, 12:32 AM
 
The other funny thing was the saleperson trying to tout error correcting RAM as 1) Necessary and 2) Faster! HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!
     
jamil5454
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Dec 19, 2005, 12:44 AM
 
The salespeople really don't know the difference between SATA and EIDE.

But the macs in the Apple Store have a ton of stuff loaded on them, and people go in and mess around with them all day. Even though they're reset every night, someone could have tampered with the machine before you. Things that don't clear on a restart.

For example, someone could have easily set a startup script that disabled 3 of the 4 processing cores and set the processor Energy Savings to "Reduced". That would be fun.

Also, when a computer runs out of available RAM, it doesn't matter how many processors the machine has. It will only be as fast as the internal SATA drive it's accessing. This is my guess as to why you noticing slow load times and laggy/choppy performance. The weak video card (driving a 30" no less) doesn't help either.

Yes, apparently Apple should have better equipped their floor model professional machine. But you can't really blame the Quad for this.
     
CatOne
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Dec 19, 2005, 01:33 AM
 
Go ahead and look at the Photoshop filter tests in the thread in the software forum. A blur filter that took 41 seconds on my dual 2.5, takes 18 seconds on my "quad." It is very fast. TWICE as fast as a dual 2.5... in fact a bit more.

It depends on the amount of RAM (typically, the configs on the floor are the stock configs), so it's a bit low on RAM in the store.

Oh, and "benchmarking" by subjectively measuring boot times is awfully silly. You're measuring the time it takes to POST (which has almost nothing to do with CPU) and to load the OS off disk, which depends totally on disk speed, and not CPU speed.
     
Lateralus
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Dec 19, 2005, 02:20 AM
 
Originally Posted by mlowe969
For now, I will hold off indefinitely on the Quad G5. With the XBOX 360 shipping with more horse power than the Quad G5, and costing less than 1/4 the price, I think we all need to wait for the smoke to clear from our buttocks before buying.
I'm not sure which is worse, your math skills or your comprehension of the differences between processor architectures.

The Xbox costs 1/11th what the Quad does, not simply 'less than 1/4'. And how does 3x 3.2GHz > 4x 2.5GHz...?

That said, do you have any idea the number of things differentiating the specialized PowerPC chip in the 360 and the 970MP in the Quad? The three 3.2GHz cores in the 360 are not much more powerful than one of the four cores in the Quad.
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trevorM
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Dec 19, 2005, 02:53 AM
 
Lets be realistic. Whilst you may have been less than surprised with your comprehensive test of the quad, I am not too sure if you tested it in the best environment. Look at the benchmarks and the stats, and save hesitation and purchase one. Its going to be better and more efficient than your dual 2.0Gb at rendering and alike.

Shop models are never lightning fast. They have tons installed on them, and tend to be stock with minimal ram, and lots running in the background. Your restart test would have been a surprise but keep in mind that software or alike could have been installed prior to you restarting it.

I haven't tried one but then again my dual 1.8Ghz and 30" does me fine, but there is no doubt that the quad core will be a performance improvement over your computer.

A better test would have been to try out a quad system mirroring yours. Same ram, and same applications and same sort of tasks. Not some shop computer with demos and alike that is probably bare stock (Ram wise).
Apple Powermac G5: Dual 1.85GHz | 80Gb System | 3Gb Ram | GeForce 6800 Ultra DDL | BT | Airport | Apple 30" Cinema HD Display Apple Powerbook AL G4: 12" | 1.5Ghz | 60b System | 1.25Gb Ram | Airport | BT Other: Airport Express | Airport Extreme | TiG4 PB 800Mhz | 20" iMac G5 w/ built in iSight | Swivel Screen iMac G4 800Mhz | iPod Mini | iPod Nano | Maxtor One Touch 250GB | Sony Ericsson T630
     
Thinine
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Dec 19, 2005, 09:32 AM
 
This thread is idiotic. He's basing his conclusion on a restart with an unknown configuration, ****ing around with Photoshop for a minute, and Word, an app renowned for its slowness? Nice. It apparently never occurred to him that for a quad to make a real difference apps need to multithreaded.

For the record, my quad's /private/var/db/loginwindow.boottime is 1.01 seconds. I've seen it as low as .8. And the amount of time the gray screen stays up isn't very dependent on the processor speed.

In conclusion, STFU. No one cares about your inane ramblings.
     
BLAZE_MkIV
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Dec 19, 2005, 09:39 AM
 
He should also take int acount that have of the tests he performed were disk bound.
     
eddiecatflap
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Dec 19, 2005, 12:26 PM
 
i went into the apple store oxford st and it was full of backpackers getting their emails

not a single serious potential buyer...
     
Todd Madson
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Dec 19, 2005, 03:20 PM
 
I visited the Apple Store today over my lunch hour and tried the Quad
they had set-up there. The unit was equipped with two 256 meg sticks
of ram for a total of 512, the stock hard drive unit and the GeForce 6600
video card. Not what I'd call an optimal set-up in terms of ram or video
card.

For what it's worth, I tried doing things that would ordinarily tax my
own system or at least exercise it a bit (reference: 2.5 ghz DP G5,
with 2.5 GB ram). First of all I brought up Logic and ran the demo
song and watched the performance meter. I expected very little taxing
of the system but there was barely a blip on disk i/o and performance
meters throughout the entire track. The most activity I saw was at the
point where it ran eight or ten stereo tracks at once from a section with
just a little audio going. No problems. Mind you, on a dual you would
see similar performance but it was very obvious the quad had more of
what I like to call "breathing room".

While playing this track I brought up a web browser, brought up my
website and downloaded a 36 megabyte file at a rate of about 60k
per second constant.

While this was happening I brought up another browser window and
viewed some news websites all while watching for obvious slow behavior
but it handled it all with pretty decent results despite the anemic memory.

I also tried Garageband with the demo track "Glide" and tried playing
around loading other apps and such (loading multiple pro apps simultaneously).

It did pretty respectably even though I could see that it was dipping into
virtual during this process.

The performance "felt" very similar to my own G5 except in certain
instances where the performance was hyper-accelerated.

Two extra processors makes a big difference if the app or OS is
geared for it.

I was impressed with the machine - it would be nice to have something like
this although to really get the most about it Apple should be shipping every
new pro machine with at least a gigabyte of ram these days.

I think with the right video card and the right amount of ram this machine
would work much more to the original posters' liking. Unfortunately, the
CPUs in the stores are shipped in a base configuration and not likely very
optimized to scream.
     
Dark Helmet
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Dec 19, 2005, 03:23 PM
 
You know most of these speed problems is because of the hard drive. CPU doesn't make that much dif for booting or app load times.

"She's gone from suck to blow!"
     
jamil5454
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Dec 19, 2005, 03:43 PM
 
Contrary to what most people claim, Apple normally loads the G5s on the floor with at least 2GB of RAM. I think the situation here is the limited supply of BTO Quads (or DDR2 memory suited for Apple) has pushed them to put a stock model on the floor.

Now before you say "oh this gives a bad impression on the potential buyers!", remember that the Quad is a high end professional machine. This means that 99.9% of the potential buyers of the Quad already know what a beast it is, already know it will suit their needs, and are already set on buying it. Probably with loads of RAM and other goodies. In other words, the Quad on the floor isn't going to heavily sway their decision.
     
Jason Bourne
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Dec 19, 2005, 04:07 PM
 
Originally Posted by jamil5454
Contrary to what most people claim, Apple normally loads the G5s on the floor with at least 2GB of RAM. I think the situation here is the limited supply of BTO Quads (or DDR2 memory suited for Apple) has pushed them to put a stock model on the floor.

Now before you say "oh this gives a bad impression on the potential buyers!", remember that the Quad is a high end professional machine. This means that 99.9% of the potential buyers of the Quad already know what a beast it is, already know it will suit their needs, and are already set on buying it. Probably with loads of RAM and other goodies. In other words, the Quad on the floor isn't going to heavily sway their decision.
True, the first Quad I played with was my own. With 5GB of RAM and the 7800GT it's plenty fast.
     
mlowe969  (op)
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Dec 19, 2005, 04:41 PM
 
I love it...I could have started a prophecy thread on a different site and been 100% correct. Apple fans never EVER look at the buying experience, but their own religious dogma of Adolph Hitler like worship regardless of how ridiculous the experience is.

The bottom line is the Quad G5 on the floor of the Apple store, a place where Steve Jobs has made it clear is the place where a person is supposed to be able to "test-drive" their buying choose, is poorly equipped to make the sale. The salespeople are nearly, if not completely ignorant on anything that is relevant to the system itself.

Slam the XBOX 360 all you want, it will be handing the PowerMac its ass in video game performance and sheer frame beauty for the next two years EASY. Sorry, it costs 1/11th, well, that makes it even worse if you ask me. You could buy the $1500 video card and have your machine look pathetic next to your cousin's 360. Was anyone at E3 this year? All G5 360 demos, and that was less than 1/3 the actual shipping quality.

Quad G5 users come in two sizes at a minimum, educated folks who know that to "really" buy a Quad, you're looking at a price tag of around $4500 to really bring it to the basic level of acceptability, and two the customer who just wants to see performance. If restarting and launching wasn't a big deal, then why does every benchmark site start with these two tests? I guess they're all idiots right? If you have to wait for it, then don't make excuses for it; it's a fact of life that consumers have to experience.

The idea that someone "hacked" into the floor model is utterly ludicrous. The floor account doesn't permit administration abilities. Therefore one cannot edit system level files, OR create an account that does.

This was an exercise in testing whether or not Apple "gurus" know anything about why the competitors have kicked Apple's ass since day one. The responses to this thread have been nearly 95% in the red.
     
SpaceMonkey
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Dec 19, 2005, 05:16 PM
 
Originally Posted by mlowe969
Slam the XBOX 360 all you want, it will be handing the PowerMac its ass in video game performance and sheer frame beauty for the next two years EASY. Sorry, it costs 1/11th, well, that makes it even worse if you ask me. You could buy the $1500 video card and have your machine look pathetic next to your cousin's 360. Was anyone at E3 this year? All G5 360 demos, and that was less than 1/3 the actual shipping quality.
A machine that is engineered to only play games will always be faster at playing games than the systems that have to run everything else. Let us know when you're able to install some video editing software on your XBOX 360, which, FWIW, does not use a "G5" processor.

If restarting and launching wasn't a big deal, then why does every benchmark site start with these two tests? I guess they're all idiots right?
Yup. I don't know why you expect adding two extra CPU cores to have any effect on boot time. If this is the dealbreaker for you, then obviously the extra horsepower isn't worth your money.

"One ticket to Washington, please. I have a date with destiny."
     
chme6583
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Dec 19, 2005, 05:27 PM
 
I too tested the Quad at the local Apple store and was not impressed. It was basically a stock machine, but it had 4gb of ram. Simply said, it was not as fast as I expected. I would like to try one in another situation where the machine has not been touched and played with by hundreds of people. I am also waiting for more reviews. Until then, I too am unimpressed.
     
Anand
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Dec 19, 2005, 05:29 PM
 
What is the point of this thread? I mean some kids with less than 10 posts complains that the top of the line G5 is not fast enough for him? Please, lets not waste our time.
Yes, I know I could buy a PC, but why?
     
Todd Madson
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Dec 19, 2005, 05:55 PM
 
I've also noted that most people, whether PC, Mac or Linux users are impatient and
would be dissappointed with an 4 processor, 8-core Intel box.

There is always going to be someone who isn't happy with anything.
     
Stecchino
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Dec 19, 2005, 06:19 PM
 
Nothing important to add here except...

Holy crap! Everyone just calm down and no one will get hurt! No one needs to take anything so PERSONALLY on these forums, even if someone wants you to.
     
Lateralus
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Dec 19, 2005, 07:39 PM
 
Originally Posted by mlowe969
I love it...I could have started a prophecy thread on a different site and been 100% correct. Apple fans never EVER look at the buying experience, but their own religious dogma of Adolph Hitler like worship regardless of how ridiculous the experience is.

The bottom line is the Quad G5 on the floor of the Apple store, a place where Steve Jobs has made it clear is the place where a person is supposed to be able to "test-drive" their buying choose, is poorly equipped to make the sale. The salespeople are nearly, if not completely ignorant on anything that is relevant to the system itself.

Slam the XBOX 360 all you want, it will be handing the PowerMac its ass in video game performance and sheer frame beauty for the next two years EASY. Sorry, it costs 1/11th, well, that makes it even worse if you ask me. You could buy the $1500 video card and have your machine look pathetic next to your cousin's 360. Was anyone at E3 this year? All G5 360 demos, and that was less than 1/3 the actual shipping quality.

Quad G5 users come in two sizes at a minimum, educated folks who know that to "really" buy a Quad, you're looking at a price tag of around $4500 to really bring it to the basic level of acceptability, and two the customer who just wants to see performance. If restarting and launching wasn't a big deal, then why does every benchmark site start with these two tests? I guess they're all idiots right? If you have to wait for it, then don't make excuses for it; it's a fact of life that consumers have to experience.

The idea that someone "hacked" into the floor model is utterly ludicrous. The floor account doesn't permit administration abilities. Therefore one cannot edit system level files, OR create an account that does.

This was an exercise in testing whether or not Apple "gurus" know anything about why the competitors have kicked Apple's ass since day one. The responses to this thread have been nearly 95% in the red.
...you're an idiot.
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