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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Desktops > Living with a Quad: First impressions

Living with a Quad: First impressions
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nayr x
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Dec 3, 2005, 12:17 AM
 
So, i have had my quad for about 3 weeks now, and have finally gotten around to posting some comments on it. Overall the thing is wonderful, a huge step up from my powerbook.
Here are some random notes:

-Great performance in the finder. Lightning quick opening, copying, moving files. This is the way tiger was ment to be experienced.

-Apple apps like itunes and iphoto run very well also, hardly any slowdown no matter what you do. I can load my 3000+ photo library in seconds and clicking on an image requires a miniscule load time. (This is a big jump from my power book, where iphoto was like running backwards through quicksand.) Geforce in itunes is outrageous. can run at 1680x1050 @30fps no problem, and i can finally sync my video ipod with usb2.0, hooray!

-The apple cinema display is great too. I think the 20" is about the right size for me, not that I would turn down a bigger one. The only problem I have with it is that it is too damn bright! I have it at it's lowest brigntess 90% of the time, and it is still about twice as bright as my laptop's display. My eyes get blood shot quickly with this thing. At the highest brightness it could double as a landing light for a DC10...

-I got the geforce 6600 so it would ship faster, but will probably upgrade it here shortly. It performs admerably in most instances. It does well in cinema4D with the realtime previews, but some other 3D apps like Vue5 it gets bogged down too easily. Its alright for gaming too. It can run the halo demo at 1680x1050 res with only minimal 'tearing', although it is much smooter if i knock the res down a level or two.

-Mighty mouse is, THE GREATEST input device i have ever used. It replaced my trusty kinsigton 5button mouse that i have had since my b&W G3. This thing rocks. I have read a bunch of stuff here on macNN with mixed comments, but I can't imagine why anyone wouldn't love this thing! I do miss haveing a 5th button, but other than that the little scroll ball is freakin' sweet, i love feeling those tiny little clicks as it rolls, and the size does not bother me at all... fits my hand comfortably. It makes the most satisfying "click" sound also. Yeah, i love it. You'll have to pry it out of my cold dead hands to get it back from me.

-Half a terrabyte? Rock on!

-Now the gripes: quite a few stability issues with apple pro apps and others that I use the most. FCP drops frames a lot durring playback (HDV), which is really starting to get on my nerves, even with RT set to safe and quality set to medium. I only have 2gigs of ram, maybe upgrading will alleviate some of the problem. FCP has also quit unexpectedly several times. I just expect rock solid performance, but maybe the hardware is just too new, and all the bugs haven't ben fixed yet. Also, Vue5 crashes a lot. Again probably a software problem or an incompatibility with the new hardware. Still really freakin' annoying. Even with four processing cores, it still takes a lot of time to render sceens in vue, like ~30-40 min for still frames at 1080x1440, and animations take a loooooong time. It is about like running bryce on my old system. The hardware has scalled up, but so has the demandingness of the software.

-The computer is pretty noisy when thinkin'. It is still quiter than my powerbook, though.
-The thing IS a space heater. The constant flow of hot air out the back Keeps my feet warm, and actually keeps my office the warmest room in the house. Which is great right now in the winter, but come spring and summer.... I dont have air conditioning... could get brutal.

Well, that all for now. Nothing earth shattering, just thought id share. The thing that strikes me the most is that whenever I am waiting for a new system, my immagination gets the best of me... I immagined this thing would opperate flawlessly at all times, and churn through 3D renders like it was nothing, and allow me to crush all who oppose me... but, in the end, it is still just a computer. The quads are pretty hyped up right now...but they are pretty sweet...

(Perpetuating detached, existentialist ennui since 2001)
     
trevorM
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Dec 3, 2005, 04:41 AM
 
How can it be nosy yet not as loud as a powerbook?
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
     
dr. zoidberg
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Dec 3, 2005, 05:53 AM
 
i kinda second that question. from what i have read, most people think that it is even quieter than any G5 from the previous series ...
"And Zapp Brannigan, your score qualifies you as assistant delivery boy, second class."
"Hmm. I guess I'll have to sleep my way to the top. Kif, wake me when I'm there."
     
nayr x  (op)
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Dec 3, 2005, 03:25 PM
 
well, MY power book is almost 5 years old and makes a constant, high-pitched 'whir'. The G5 makes quite a bit of noise when the fans are running, and the CD/dvd drive is louder than most i have heard. There is no confusion about when the machine is on. It could very well be quieter than the previous G5's, having not owned one I wouldn't know.

(Perpetuating detached, existentialist ennui since 2001)
     
OreoCookie
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Dec 3, 2005, 06:53 PM
 
You should clean you PowerBook's fan. Then the whir should be considerably quieter. The problem with this kind of fan is that they can be very loud once they collect dust.
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idyll
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Dec 3, 2005, 08:27 PM
 
I know your answer is going to be biased, obviously, but do you think the performance is worth it for the money? Is it better to save a $1000 and go with a dual, unless you absolutely must have a quad? I've been hearing from a lot of people that the quad is quite fast, but not as fast as they expected. Thus, I'm suspecting it may be better to use that $1000 I'd save by going with a dual on memory, a better video card, and a bigger heard drive. I suspect they will be the same for daily use, except a few multi-processor filters in photoshop that will make good use of the quad? I'll mainly be running Photoshop, iChat, Mail, Firefox, and the like..
     
Mac_Developer
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Dec 3, 2005, 10:21 PM
 
Originally Posted by idyll
I know your answer is going to be biased, obviously, but do you think the performance is worth it for the money? Is it better to save a $1000 and go with a dual, unless you absolutely must have a quad? I've been hearing from a lot of people that the quad is quite fast, but not as fast as they expected. Thus, I'm suspecting it may be better to use that $1000 I'd save by going with a dual on memory, a better video card, and a bigger heard drive. I suspect they will be the same for daily use, except a few multi-processor filters in photoshop that will make good use of the quad? I'll mainly be running Photoshop, iChat, Mail, Firefox, and the like..
To me it is worth the extra $1000, and I don't even have mine yet. I can see not buying the fastest video card for an additional $1300 when the middle level card is almost as fast and I won't be using dual 30" monitors or stereo video connections. The quad may not run every app faster than on a dual, but it will run multiple apps at the same time faster. I can always add another 4 gigs of RAM a few months from now, but I wouldn't be able to add a couple processors/cores down the road.

I do understand what you are saying though. Spend $1000 less now and buy more RAM or buy a new machine more often. I can't buy a new machine very often (married), so when I do get one I get the fastest available so it lasts a while. My current machines are a G4 800MP and a 1.5GHz 15" Powerbook. The desktop machine is certainly useable, but is beginning to show it's age at 4.5 years old. To be honest though, more screen realestate is more valuable to me right now than pure speed. Picked up a 23" Cinema display to go with the quad, up from a 17" Cinema. Will probably pickup another 23" Cinema by the end of the year. Yes, having more screen and faster computer does allow me to do my work better. If it was for games I'd have three Cinema displays for a nice flight simulator.
     
Geobunny
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Dec 4, 2005, 01:22 PM
 
My quad G5 arrived last week and I"m loving it - it's a monumental step up from a single processor 733MHz G4 One thing that bugs me though, is sound output. It's fine in most circumstances but non existent in Virtual PC (it complains about not being able to load sound hardware when you start the app before even getting the client PC running) and shockwave flash files don't play any sound either.

One gripe I have about the hard drive is the noise of the thing. I know it's just the arm flying back and forth but it seems incredibly loud. Maybe it's just a side-effect of the machine itself now being quiet enough for me to hear it! FWIW, I've got a Dual 2.7GHz from the last range in my office at work and the new models definitely seem quieter to me.
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turk.o
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Dec 4, 2005, 02:54 PM
 
Hi, just for flow purposes, here is a link to my first impressions of my quad: http://forums.macnn.com/showthread.php?t=275036&page=4

As far as pro app stability, In a couple weeks of use, i seriously haven't had one freeze or crash from ANY of the pro apps I use, which includes all of the adobe creative suite 2 and the whole final cut studio—they have all been rock solid (safari on the other hand . . . ). of course, i don't do HD video in FCP, so perhaps that is what FCP is crashing with on your quad. it may also be worth noting that on this machine i did a clean install of everything and did not carry over old preferences or anything.

As far as if it is worth the extra $1,000, it all depends on what you are using your computer for. if you are what i consider a power user who does serious processor intensive multi-tasking, then the quad is worth $3k more, imho . in my review i linked to above, i compare the performance of my quad to my old dual 2GHz, you can check that out for more info.

and i agree with others, the quad is the quietest G5PM yet, as far as my personal experience goes.
     
MDD867
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Dec 4, 2005, 02:55 PM
 
Idyll: the performance is worth the money if you use Photoshop with large images to make a living. If it's just a hobby, then I'd suggest a cheaper machine. (or if you're crazy rich then it doesn't really matter)

It also depends of what you think is really important: I drive a cheap 1.6L Skoda but have a Quad loaded full of RAM with a 30" and 20" displays, but I know many guys who drive a 40000€ Audi but don't want to spend 1000€ for an iBook even if it's their primary work machine...
     
idyll
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Dec 4, 2005, 09:31 PM
 
Yeah, I see what you're saying. Yes, I will be using the computer with Photoshop to make a living, so I suppose it's better to get the fastest now. Thanks for the input.
     
nayr x  (op)
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Dec 4, 2005, 11:49 PM
 
Originally Posted by idyll
I know your answer is going to be biased, obviously, but do you think the performance is worth it for the money? ...
It's hard to answer that question... I have only breifly used the previous G5 models so I can't really make a comparison... I played with photoshop CS on a dual 2.7 at the apple store for a few hours while my quad was still being shipped, and it does seem that the quad runs most filters, opens/saves large files *noticibly* faster.

My stance while getting a new machine has always been to get the best system available (because I only have the money too splurge every so often). the question I ask myself isn't "how does the quad compare to the duals", its "How will the quad compare to the intells...."

And as a clarification: final cut is the only Final cut studio app that has quit on me a couple of times and it still loves dropping frames during playback... the rest of FCS runs wonderfully... Havent had any more problems lately. Photoshop, Studio8, cinema 4d all run excellently. Vue5 Infinite, which I have been using extensively lately, either hates the quad or hates the 6600, because that bastard quits on me all the freakin time. (cool app though!)

(Perpetuating detached, existentialist ennui since 2001)
     
ReindeerFlotilla
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Dec 5, 2005, 11:09 AM
 
Any unexplained kernel panics yet?
     
MDD867
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Dec 5, 2005, 02:51 PM
 
Creative Suite 2 has been very stable on My Quad with 4.5GB. All the apps and users were transferred from my old G4 without any problems.
     
jmzorko
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Dec 5, 2005, 05:11 PM
 
Hello ...

I have a dual 2ghz Power Mac G5 (first generation) and it is very quiet -- much quieter than the dual 1.25ghz MDD G4 it replaced. How loud are is the quad when compared to the original dual 2ghz G5? I use Macs for audio, so noise is a __huge__ thing for me. It has to be at least as quiet as my current machine before I will consider purchasing it ...

Can someone post db levels of the original 2ghz dual G5, and the quad?

Regards,

John
     
turk.o
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Dec 6, 2005, 03:11 AM
 
Originally Posted by jmzorko
Hello ...

I have a dual 2ghz Power Mac G5 (first generation) and it is very quiet -- much quieter than the dual 1.25ghz MDD G4 it replaced. How loud are is the quad when compared to the original dual 2ghz G5? I use Macs for audio, so noise is a __huge__ thing for me. It has to be at least as quiet as my current machine before I will consider purchasing it ...

Can someone post db levels of the original 2ghz dual G5, and the quad?

Regards,

John

hey john, as i stated in my review linked to above, i too had a dual 2 rev. a machine and the quad is much quieter. for more details read my first impression: http://forums.macnn.com/showthread.php?t=275036&page=4
     
   
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