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Apple Desktops Discussion of Apple's desktop machines including Mac Pro, iMac, Power Mac, and mini

mini - comparison please: PPC vs. INTEL


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Bilobrkster

 
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which is better? PPC 1.42 GHz or INTEL core solo 1.5GHz?
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I don't know for sure. But I'd vote for the intel. Only because it's more future proof. Everyone has to move to developing/optimize for intel. But at that MHz, single chip, same slow HDD, I don't know if you'd feel a difference.
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Definitely the Intel. The first round of Intel chips were faster than the G5s by a not-so-insignificant margin. Plus, with software coming out as Universal binaries, you'll want the chip that can run them faster (i.e. the newer one)


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They'd be about the same. The PowerPC mini will run older apps faster than the Intel mini, since it doesn't need Rosetta. The Intel model will run a handful of Intel-only apps that the PPC won't, but there aren't many of them yet.

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Definitely the Intel. The first round of Intel chips were faster than the G5s by a not-so-insignificant margin.
A Core Solo is a pretty feeble Intel chip. The Core Duos were faster than the G5s, because they were dual core chips. The same cannot be said of the 1.5GHz Core Solo, the slowest Intel chip Apple ever put in a Mac.
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The 1.5GHz Core Solo, while incapable of keeping up with a dual G5, is a significantly faster processor than the G4. It is a much newer, much more advanced architecture.

The G4 is, in my experience, give-or-take comparable to a Pentium III clocked at about the same speed or slightly higher. A 1.42GHz G4 is going to be a bit (but not much) faster than a 1.4GHz PIII-S.

The Core processors, on the other hand, are faster than an Athlon 64 at the same clock speed... that 1.5GHz Core Solo should easily be a match for a 2.4 or 2.5GHz Pentium 4, if not faster than that. It is a much faster CPU.

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Agreed with technologist on both points.

I have spent time with a Core Solo Mini, it will not play a 1080p HD trailer without dropping frames. Now of course the G4 even 1.5 in the mini does the same thing. It's amazing just how much better a computer the Core Duo Mini is compared to both of them. You can get a used 1.66Ghz Core Duo Mini on Ebay for not that much now a days. I would do whatever I could to be sure and get the Core Duo Mini for todays computer usage.
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Originally Posted by technologist View Post
They'd be about the same. The PowerPC mini will run older apps faster than the Intel mini, since it doesn't need Rosetta. The Intel model will run a handful of Intel-only apps that the PPC won't, but there aren't many of them yet.


A Core Solo is a pretty feeble Intel chip. The Core Duos were faster than the G5s, because they were dual core chips. The same cannot be said of the 1.5GHz Core Solo, the slowest Intel chip Apple ever put in a Mac.
I think I have a total of 4 PPC apps left on my Mac now, the rest are all intel, so I wouldn't worry about Rosetta speeds too much.

The intel Mac is not only faster than the G4, it also has 4 USB 2.0 ports (vs. 2 on the PPC), supports up to 2GB of RAM (vs. 1 in the PPC - 2 GB might seem like a lot, but 1GB is barely enough for a lot of users & RAM will boost your performance more than most other components), has an audio-in jack as well as digital audio in and outputs, Gigabit ethernet and comes with wifi and bluetooth standard (it was optional on the PPC).

No brainer IMO, although a dual-core Mini would be even better.
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Originally Posted by Geeky1 View Post
The 1.5GHz Core Solo, while incapable of keeping up with a dual G5, is a significantly faster processor than the G4. It is a much newer, much more advanced architecture.

The G4 is, in my experience, give-or-take comparable to a Pentium III clocked at about the same speed or slightly higher. A 1.42GHz G4 is going to be a bit (but not much) faster than a 1.4GHz PIII-S.
Yes, exactly. The Core Solo shares its core design with the Pentium-M...which in turn was derived from the Pentium-III/Pentium-II/Pentium Pro/P6 core. Putting aside the advancements in MMX/SSE/SSE2 (etc.) and the faster bus speeds, a Core Solo is going to be the same, clock-for-clock, as a Pentium III. The Core Solo is really a throwback, despite being branded similarly to the newer Core 2 chips.

But the evolutionary theory of processors is just watercooler fodder.

In Macworld magazine tests, the Core Solo mini (the lowest-end of the Intel mini line) scored a whopping 9% better than the 1.42GHz G4 mini (the highest-end PowerPC mini.) (Those tests are a mix of Rosetta and Universal apps, but mostly Universal.)

The Ars Technica benchmarks compare the Core Solo with two G4 models (a 1.25GHz mini and a 1.67GHz PowerBook.) Again, they line up pretty much in clock-speed order.
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To call the Core processors throwbacks is a severe oversimplification, and one that is not entirely correct. The Core architecture is a derivative of the P6 architecture, yes. You are absolutely correct on this point. However to take that point and then presume that the Core processors are on par, clock-for-clock, with the Pentium III-or even close to it-is, in my opinion, a fallacious argument.

Compare, for example, the number of IPS and FLOPS the architectures are capable of (data from SiSoft Sandra XII):
-1.26GHz PIII-S, Tualatin Core: 3429 MIPS, 1612 MFLOPS (or about 2.72 MIPS and 1.28 MFLOPS per MHz)
-1.4GHz Pentium M 715 (closest thing to a Core Solo in SiSoft Sandra): 4544 MIPS, 3392 MFLOPS (or about 3.25 MIPS and 2.42 MFLOPS per MHz)

Based on those numbers (numbers that are probably somewhat conservative because the Core Solo should be faster than the Pentium M that it is VERY closely related to-much more closely than it is to a Pentium III), the Core Solo is capable of executing at least 1.2x more MIPS per MHz and 1.89x more MFLOPS per MHz than the Tualatin Core Pentium III is.

Yes, you can argue that IPS and FLOPS are not the be-all, end-all benchmarks of CPU performance, and I would not dispute that at all. However, combine those with the Core Solo's larger cache and (effectively) faster bus speed... You have a CPU that is quite a bit faster than its ancient, long-dead predecessor. In short, the Core Solo is not "going to be the same, clock-for clock, as a Pentium III." It's just not. It is a heavily revised, updated version of the same architecture, and it is much faster than its older brother, even without accounting for newer SSE optimizations and things of that nature.

Of course, that's not really what the discussion is about. The discussion is whether the Intel mini is significantly faster than the G4 mini. And, unless I made a MASSIVE mathematical error (which is possible, but I think doubtful, particularly considering that I had the calculations checked multiple times by multiple people), it is. In fact, one need look no farther than the data that you presented to prove this quite adequately. Problem is, the reviews you linked to don't present the data in a format that is conducive to the creation of a real appreciation for the size of the performance disparities between the two machines.

All the reviews do is throw numbers around... this machine is faster than that machine by 150 seconds, or this one scores 200 points more than that one in benchmark x or whatever. Throwing numbers around like that doesn't necessarily illustrate how large the performance delta between the two machines really is. A better way to analyze it (in my opinion) would be using percentages.

And, with that in mind, I've put together a little chart and a graph of all the benchmark data in the reviews you linked to so you can see just what I'm talking about:



As you can see, there are a few areas (graphics, emulated applications) where the G4 is faster than the Intel. Significantly faster, in the case of Photoshop.

But in most areas, the Intel machine comes out with a respectable lead, and if you average out all of the results, without weighing any one benchmark more heavily than any other, the Intel machine works out to being very nearly to 40% faster on average, than the G4.

Now, I don't know about you, but I consider a 38% increase in performance to be pretty significant. Unless you're stuck using CS2 or other non-Intel-optimized apps, the Intel machine will, in almost all cases, flat out smoke the G4.

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I'd rep you Geeky for that brilliant post, but unfortunately, I can't. Virtual rep to you sir!!


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A very insightful analysis that somehow missed one thing:

The mini used in the Ars review was a 1.25GHz machine
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technologist:
You are absolutely correct. I did miss that; for some reason I thought it was a 1.42 as well.

I'll take another look at the data and correct it to reflect that fact when I get home.

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Here's another graph that goes a long way toward presenting the information in a reasonable manner. (Geeky1, you might want to re-read your Tufte.)

What I've done here is taken the timed tests from the reviews and compared the G4 machines (Mini 1.25, Mini 1.42, and PowerBook 1.67) with the Core Solo mini. (The PowerBook scores are from another article on the Macworld site.)

I'll do another one with the synthetic benchmarks later, but this is illustrative enough for now.

Putting aside the Rosetta test, the G4 and Core Solo machines generally line up in clock speed order. The 1.5GHz core solo is a notch faster than the 1.25 and 1.42GHz Minis, and a notch slower than the 1.67GHz PowerBook.

(I appologize if I got one or two of the data points wrong; I did this in a hurry.)

[EDIT: the SpeedMark test is not a timed test, but I included it as if it were. Blame my haste.]
[I should also note that Open Firmware vs. EFI is the dominating factor int the boot-up tests]
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[I should also note that Open Firmware vs. EFI is the dominating factor int the boot-up tests]
That is so true. The Macs with Open Firmware take quite a while just to do their POST testing before the OS even loads making it loose any Boot up to Desktop test. My Core Duo Mini goes from startup chime to first gray Apple screen in literally 2 seconds or less where even my iMac G5 takes 15 seconds or more. Once you get past the Firmware they are quite close all things being equal. I really don't care about boot up times all that much as long as it's not like a messed up Windows system and take 2-3 minutes!

I am more concerned with application performance once at the desktop.
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