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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Desktops > What's the case against the 1.6Ghz G5?

What's the case against the 1.6Ghz G5?
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icruise
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Aug 27, 2003, 03:31 AM
 
In reading the threads on the G5, it seems that many people are more or less dismissing the lowend G5, but can someone tell me just what the differences are between it and the midrange 1.8Ghz model? That is, I can see the differences on the spec sheet of course, but what is it about the 1.6Ghz version that makes it considerably less attractive than the 1.8?

I may be in the market for a G5 in a while, but the dual 2.0Ghz is way too expensive for me (and not necessary for my usage). I do some video editing and encoding of MPEG2, but the only other thing I do that might really tax the machine is games.

So I'm thinking of possibly getting the 1.6Ghz model, possibly with the combo drive instead of the superdrive (I have a superdrive in my powerbook, plus I have a firewire DVD-R drive) and with the Radeon 9600 pro instead of the stock video card. Of course I would want to get some more memory and maybe another hard disk myself (not from Apple).

These options bring the machine to $1849, which isn't too bad, and my usage is really not that demanding. Would I be a fool for not going for the 1.8?
     
Link
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Aug 27, 2003, 04:41 AM
 
you wouldn't be a fool for getting the 1.8.. the 1.6 doesn't have PCI-X and it's max ram is 4gb, but honestly, by the time you need those 2 things the processor will be so outdated it doesn't matter.
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zigzag
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Aug 27, 2003, 12:54 PM
 
Icruise, I wouldn't consider you a fool for getting a 1.6. The main arguments against it seem to be:

(a) a single processor doesn't take full advantage of the G5's architecture. That's certainly true, but if it meets your prospective needs, so what.

(b) the 1.6 doesn't offer the most bang for the buck. Eug Wanker posted a nice analysis somewhere pointing out that by the time you equip a 1.6 with a desirable amount of RAM and hard drive space, it's only $100-200 cheaper than a similarly equipped 1.8.

(c) the 1.6 only comes with 2 extra RAM slots. Since you have to install RAM in pairs (I think), if you want to really beef up the RAM on a 1.6 (which would make sense to take advantage of the new architecture), you'd probably have to throw away the standard RAM (or order more RAM from Apple to begin with, which would not be economical either). With the 1.8 or 2.0, you have 6 extra slots to fill instead of just 2.

(d) you can get a dual G4 for less money that is more powerful and versatile for some purposes. This is a valid argument for some, but not for all. The G5 has its own performance and design advantages. I'd rather have a G5 myself.

(e) no PCI-X. You just have to ask yourself if you'll need PCI-X before your next upgrade - sounds unlikely. You could look at it this way: if having PCI-X will increase the used market value of a 1.8, it might be worth the extra investment now, even if you never use it. But that's pretty speculative.

(f) if you wait 6 months, the 1.6 will be upgraded. But that's always the case.

The 1.6 might not offer the most bang for the buck but I wouldn't blame anyone for getting one if it meets their needs. I'd consider getting one myself.
     
RooneyX
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Aug 27, 2003, 01:04 PM
 
It's slower than an Athlon 2000XP (which runs at 1.6Ghz too) in Cinema rendering tests. And there's little point in exclaiming that it hasn't been optimized. We've been told it runs 32bit code natively and therefore really should be faster than that. After all, we're not going to see true 64 bit apps and an OS for a long while and by the time we do the 1.6Ghz G5 will be like a G3-300 running OS 10.2.

So go for a Dualie or the fastest single CPU you can find.
     
Eug
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Aug 27, 2003, 01:24 PM
 
My biggest beefs with the 1.6 are 4 memory slots only, and the slower RAM. After the stock 2x128, realistically you can only add 2x512 and then you're stuck. Mind you, 1.25 GB RAM is enough for most people. The problem is that adding faster RAM will still get you 667 MHz. It's 800 MHz on the 1.8 and dual 2.0. I don't give a rats @ss about PCI-X on a low-end machine, to be honest though.

As someone else said, the 1.6 only costs $150 less when spec'd the same way as the 1.8 (512 MB RAM and 160 GB drive). The main beef I have with the 1.8 is that you can't downspec the 160 GB drive or the 512 MB RAM. I'd much rather have two 80 GB drives than a single 160 GB drive. Mind you, I'd probably just get two 160 GB drives, if you're going to be doing a lot of video. And because you can't downspec the RAM on the 1.8, you're stuck paying for 256 MB more RAM on the 1.8. It'd be better if we could down-spec it to 256, and then buy additional RAM elsewhere, bring the price down some more, esp. since the 1.8 has lots of RAM slots.

IMO, the low-end sweet spot is the 1.8 (for $2450 with Radeon 9600 Pro), and the high-end sweet spot is the dual 2.0 (for $3000). The 1.6 is a fine machine, but it's purely for the budget concious.

It's slower than an Athlon 2000XP (which runs at 1.6Ghz too) in Cinema rendering tests. And there's little point in exclaiming that it hasn't been optimized.
OTOH, Maxon claims they are already optimizing C4D for the G5, and that it will speed up considerably. Furthermore, the 1.6 performs on par with about an Athlon 2400+ (1.93 GHz) in Photoshop.
     
Link
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Aug 27, 2003, 01:25 PM
 
Good point. I was really dissapointed that with this supercomputer class processor it still lost to cheap x86 toys.

Thing is a 1.6ghz athlon costs $70. a 1.6ghz G5 about $200
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Eug
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Aug 27, 2003, 01:27 PM
 
Originally posted by Link:
a 1.6ghz athlon costs $70. a 1.6ghz G5 about $200
Where did you get pricing info on the G5?
     
KidRed
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Aug 27, 2003, 01:29 PM
 
Originally posted by Link:
you wouldn't be a fool for getting the 1.8.. the 1.6 doesn't have PCI-X and it's max ram is 4gb, but honestly, by the time you need those 2 things the processor will be so outdated it doesn't matter.
Outdated? My 2 year old dual gig isn't outdated from a performance or usability standpoint. Only outdated by means that a newer model is available. Even so, I don't consider that to be a negative thing.

Get the 1.8 G5 at least. It will last a helluva lot longer.
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cowerd
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Aug 27, 2003, 01:34 PM
 
And there's little point in exclaiming that it hasn't been optimized. We've been told it runs 32bit code natively and therefore really should be faster than that. After all, we're not going to see true 64 bit apps and an OS for a long while and by the time we do the 1.6Ghz G5 will be like a G3-300 running OS 10.2.
Optimized != 64-bit code. Optimized != 32-bit code running natively. The architecture for the 970 is so different than the 74XX that code profiled for the 74XX may run very porrly under the 970. This is especially true of VMX instructions.

This from a maxon thread:
"OK, some news directly from the MAXON development lab:
Of course all the following numbers are not final, no promise at all !!!!!!!
This is based on the information we have right, now, there is still a of of work to do and we still have to wait for a new compiler...
With the current CineBench a single G5 1.8GHz scores at about 188, the optimized version will maybe score at about 238...
Thats OVER a 20% gain in benchmark speed with a beta compiler and quick work.
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Eug
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Aug 27, 2003, 01:38 PM
 
By the way, people are saying that their Photoshop benches are faster in X.3 vs. X.2. I wonder if this will apply to Cinebench as well.
     
icruise  (op)
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Aug 27, 2003, 03:36 PM
 
Originally posted by Eug:
The main beef I have with the 1.8 is that you can't downspec the 160 GB drive or the 512 MB RAM.
That's what I was thinking too when I was speccing these machines out. Of course Apple does this on purpose, to make people go up to the next higher machine (the same is basically true of the 10GB iPod, since it doesn't come with the dock or remote).

I hadn't considered the part about the RAM on the low-end model, though. 1.25GB of RAM will probably be enough for me, but I would rather not be limited in that way if possible.

But in the end, I'm really getting this more because I want a nice fast machine that you can hook up more than one monitor to -- raw performance is secondary. I'll be using it for things like iTunes, web surfing and Office the majority of the time, so I have a feeling that the differences between the 1.6 and the 1.8 aren't really going to affect me all that much.
     
mk500
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Aug 27, 2003, 03:54 PM
 
Anyone remember "Yikes"?

I know it's not a perfect analogy :-) The 1.6 certainly isn't as bad of a hack as "Yikes", but it has some similarity in the market Apple is going after.
     
Severed Hand of Skywalker
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Aug 27, 2003, 03:59 PM
 
Originally posted by Link:
you wouldn't be a fool for getting the 1.8.. the 1.6 doesn't have PCI-X and it's max ram is 4gb,
I bet the for 95% of the buyers that will not be an issue.

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blackwind
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Aug 27, 2003, 05:48 PM
 
Originally posted by Eug:
By the way, people are saying that their Photoshop benches are faster in X.3 vs. X.2. I wonder if this will apply to Cinebench as well.
Well, I ran Cinebench 2003 in Mac OS X and Mac OS 9. In Mac OS 9.2.2, I got a score of 225 CB in the raytrace and 150 in the Cinema 4D shading. In Mac OS X v10.2.6, I got 221 CB in the raytrace and 148 in the Cinema 4D shading.

Apparently, Cinebench 2003 is not really affected by the operating system. Hopefully, Panther will prove me wrong.

Otherwise, the best speed gain for the G5 from Cinebench would be Maxon's attempted optimizations.
     
sbla
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Aug 27, 2003, 06:08 PM
 
Hi all, I just made the "switch" from PC to apple by ordering a 1.6 G5. Icruise, I bought the system you pretty much talked about, downgraded from the superdrive to combo, the radeon 9600 and with the educational discount came to 1630. Of note, I have waffled between this, a more loaded G4 power mac and the 17" imac, oh the indecision. After looking at everything and price points, I thought the 1.6 would give me what I need, mostly a more stable system and better integration between all my peripherals i.e. camera, mp3, video. Obvioulsy, the users here have a lot more experience than I do with apple, but in the end I think you get a new generation chip with ability to upgrade before the cycle of this machine looms for a very good price for someone who has always considered price a big obstacle to switching. Of interest, since some of my waffling was with an apple customer service rep, they upgraded me for free to 512 of RAM and "expedited shipping" which is funny because I was complaining of the unit not shipping at all. Try the memory upgrade, It made me a little more comfortable buying a entry level first generation computer.

Wish me luck, no more PC.
     
Eug
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Aug 27, 2003, 06:24 PM
 
Originally posted by sbla:
Hi all, I just made the "switch" from PC to apple by ordering a 1.6 G5. Icruise, I bought the system you pretty much talked about, downgraded from the superdrive to combo, the radeon 9600 and with the educational discount came to 1630. Of note, I have waffled between this, a more loaded G4 power mac and the 17" imac, oh the indecision. After looking at everything and price points, I thought the 1.6 would give me what I need, mostly a more stable system and better integration between all my peripherals i.e. camera, mp3, video. Obvioulsy, the users here have a lot more experience than I do with apple, but in the end I think you get a new generation chip with ability to upgrade before the cycle of this machine looms for a very good price for someone who has always considered price a big obstacle to switching. Of interest, since some of my waffling was with an apple customer service rep, they upgraded me for free to 512 of RAM and "expedited shipping" which is funny because I was complaining of the unit not shipping at all. Try the memory upgrade, It made me a little more comfortable buying a entry level first generation computer.

Wish me luck, no more PC.
Hey congrats on your new machine, and welcome to Mac-land.

Yep, the 1.6's main benefit is being able to be spec'd with less RAM and a smaller drive than is offered on the 1.8, which helps if you're on a budget. And the free RAM clinches the deal. When you get a few more bux, just get 2x512 and you'll be all set with 1.5 GB. That should last you for quite some time.
     
   
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