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Switcher Hangout The place for switchers to discuss their new machines, and how to work with OS X. General support can be had here for newbie stuff, like "How do I restart my new iMac?" :)

Potential Switcher? Need some info on hardware.


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Xombic
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I've been using an eMac every day now since Jan. 7 2006 for about 50 minutes. At home, I have an aboslutely amazing pc, runs anything and everything with no problem and I love it to death; I would never get rid of it. However, I am thinknig about picking up a Mac because they are starting to grow on me. It wouldn't be a complete switch because like I said I love my PC to death and I play games on it all the time - A Mac just won't get me the same performance for many reasons. (I'm sure you guys can agree on this?)

Anyways, to get to the point, I have looked at all kinds of macs (I was thinknig of getting a mini mac, but if I decide I like macs enough ill just go pick with a G5 or PowerBook or something) and I have noticed that the processor speeds, RAM, and Harddrive space are low. As are the graphics cards unless you buy huge. I remember reading once that Mac processors are different than Intel/AMD Processors for PCs but I'm not sure how they differ. (Do they differ anymore now that Mac uses Intel processors?) The Mini Mac I was looking at was a 1.5ghz Intel Solo Core 512MB RAM. I'm not sure what kind of performance this will get me. (I run computers HARD when I use them.)

What I have now is:

AMD 64 BIT 3500+ VENICE
2 GIGS CORSAIR XMS RAM
GEFORCE 6600 GT 128MB PCI-e
ASUS A8N DELUXE MOBO
550 WAT PSU

Those are the basics, now I'm also curious to know what kind of mac would compare with my PC.

SUMMARY:

Sorry for the long and probably confusing post, to restate my questions here they are:

1. I see Macs with low processor speeds and low RAM. Do they run different than PCs? How do they compare?

2. I have my PC listed above, I'm not sure if anyone understands what I have, but what kind of mac would compare to the PC I have listed and how much would it cost?


Thank you for taking the time to read and respond!

~Xombic
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Jeremy W

 
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Member Since: Dec 22, 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xombic
...to restate my questions here they are:

1. I see Macs with low processor speeds and low RAM. Do they run different than PCs? How do they compare?

2. I have my PC listed above, I'm not sure if anyone understands what I have, but what kind of mac would compare to the PC I have listed and how much would it cost?

~Xombic
1. I am a fairly recent switcher and don't know much about the "guts" of computers, etc. From what I have learned, Intel kind of propagated the myth that the faster the processor speed, the faster the computer. Really, this just created heat and inefficiency. That said, you can't really compare the speeds of the PPC chips to Intel chips. I think you'll find recent Mac processors to be quite speedy compared to the competition.

2. Sounds like you're still skeptical about the switch. I would suggest going to an Apple store and playing around with the different models. No need to dive in to the Mac with the biggest muscles if you're not going to use them. I'd suggest a Mini running beside you're set up above.

Oh, and, aahh, I'm going to have to go ahead and ask you to come in on Sunday, too...yeah
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mac57

 
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Hi Xombic, I agree that the whole issue of switching while finding improved hardware specs is tough. I spent weeks wading through this stuff and ultimatly following Jeremy_W's idea of going to an Apple store and playing with the machines directly to get a subjective feel. To set a baseline, I have a Windows PC, single core 3.0 GHz Pentium IV HT with 1 GB of RAM and 120 GB hard drive. I was looking to upgrade to something quite a bit faster and dual core, and have been interested in getting a Mac for a long time. I think Macs are a great product, far superior in many ways to Windows PCs.

After all my research and playing around, I settled on, purchased and am now running a Power Mac G5, the dual 2.3 GHz model, with 2.5 GB of RAM and the stock 250 GB hard drive. I went with the Power Mac version vs. the Intel version because all the software I used (key apps are Photoshop CS and iTunes) run native on the PPC core vs. being interpreted through Rosetta on the Intel models. So, you get the speed NOW instead of waiting for a year for the software vendors to catch up with Apple. Plus, PPC native software will be coming out for years to come yet, probably far more years than the expected service lifetime of this new machine - I tend to upgrade every 2 to 3 years. The new Universal Binaries that include the Intel executables of course also include PPC executables - so you are "good to go" for years to come with a PPC based Mac.

Now a bit of subjective (and occassionally objective) feedback. The key apps running through Rosetta are slow, slow, slow on the Mac Mini. In my opinion, too slow to be usable. This applies to such things as Microsoft Office (like it or hate it, we are all stuck with using it for now), OpenOffice.org, Photoshop, and a few others). I could actually type faster than Word could echo! It is better on the iMac, but still pretty slow. Compare that to the G5, where everything just "snaps" into being and runs at a screaming speed. That is what *I* want from my computer!

The net result of all my plowing through performanc reports seems to come down to this - a G5 based machine is about 2x faster than the equivalently clocked Pentium. So, for example, I read numerous reports that tried to determine the "equivalent" PC for a given Mac model. My 2.3 GHz model was determined to be equivalent to a mythical (because they don't exist yet) 4.6 GHz Pentium. After I read enough such reports, I realized that the 2x rule I articulated above seemed pretty constant.

EXCEPT for one thing. Photoshop and iTunes have both been extensively optimized for the PPC architecture. Particularly for Photoshop, the 2x rule breakdown and needs to be increased to about 2.7x. This is good news for us Photoshop users.

Finally, some subjective experience. I have made the switch and am typing this on my one day old Power Mac G5. I LOVE it! It is fast, quiet and the software beats the heck out of what you get on a stock PC. I haven't installed Photoshop yet (converting your license from PC to Mac takes about 3 weeks until you receive the new copy) and so I haven't run any objective comparisons, but a really obvious one is just boot speed. My Windows PC, from cold power on (hence run through BIOS as well as boot Windows) takes about 1.5 minutes to reach the desktop. My new Mac accomplishes this in a little under 45 seconds. Now THAT is an improvement I can use!

Just my 2 cents. I would encourage the switch, but decide what applications you are planning on running, and let that guide your choice of machine.

My Macs: iMac 27" 3.4 GHz, Mac Pro 3.2 GHz, PowerMac G5 Quad 2.5 GHz, G4 Cube with 1.2 GHz Upgrade
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claudius753

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xombic
I've been using an eMac every day now since Jan. 7 2006 for about 50 minutes. At home, I have an aboslutely amazing pc, runs anything and everything with no problem and I love it to death; I would never get rid of it. However, I am thinknig about picking up a Mac because they are starting to grow on me. It wouldn't be a complete switch because like I said I love my PC to death and I play games on it all the time - A Mac just won't get me the same performance for many reasons. (I'm sure you guys can agree on this?)

Anyways, to get to the point, I have looked at all kinds of macs (I was thinknig of getting a mini mac, but if I decide I like macs enough ill just go pick with a G5 or PowerBook or something) and I have noticed that the processor speeds, RAM, and Harddrive space are low. As are the graphics cards unless you buy huge. I remember reading once that Mac processors are different than Intel/AMD Processors for PCs but I'm not sure how they differ. (Do they differ anymore now that Mac uses Intel processors?) The Mini Mac I was looking at was a 1.5ghz Intel Solo Core 512MB RAM. I'm not sure what kind of performance this will get me. (I run computers HARD when I use them.)

What I have now is:

AMD 64 BIT 3500+ VENICE
2 GIGS CORSAIR XMS RAM
GEFORCE 6600 GT 128MB PCI-e
ASUS A8N DELUXE MOBO
550 WAT PSU

Those are the basics, now I'm also curious to know what kind of mac would compare with my PC.

SUMMARY:

Sorry for the long and probably confusing post, to restate my questions here they are:

1. I see Macs with low processor speeds and low RAM. Do they run different than PCs? How do they compare?

2. I have my PC listed above, I'm not sure if anyone understands what I have, but what kind of mac would compare to the PC I have listed and how much would it cost?


Thank you for taking the time to read and respond!

~Xombic
That Mini probably won't give you the performance you craze. Neither will a similarly priced Dell, for that matter.

As for processor speeds, you cannot compare the Power architecture to x86 architecture. Not only are they different arch's but also different in that x86 is a CISC arch, while Power is a RISC arch.

CISC (Complex Instruction Set Computing) likes to get a lot done with one command. Ie "walk to the door"
RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computing) likes to do things one step at a time. Ie "Pick up left foot, move 2.5ft ahead, put down..."
In additiond, what the 'Hertz' means is number of cycles a processor can do every second. 1 Gigahertz means 1 billion cycles per second. RISC can get more done every cycle than CISC.

With Apple's switch to Intel, now they also run x86. However, Apple uses Intel's new "Core" processors. Core Solo is single core, and the clock rating is comparable to a normal proc. Core Duo is dual core. This means that there are 2 processing cores on the actual chip, essentially to the system, there are 2 processors instead of one. As long as the program can take advantage of multiple processors, a dual core will be much faster than a single core, even though they are both rated at the same clock speed.

If you were to upgrade the RAM (and maybe even if you didn't), the 17" 1.83 Core Duo would beat your system I am fairly sure, and the 20" 2.0 Core Duo would really finish the job. $1299 and $1699, respectively, and you could upgrade to 256MB ATI X1600 for $75, not to mention you get 3 machines in one. Mac, Windows, and Linux.

PC's can be cheap when built yourself and powerful at the same time, but for me, it is worth it for the superior design and superior OS. And for some reason, even though my G5 may take a while to complete a task (like rendering something), I don't really mind, especially since I can do something else while it works in the background, Mac OS X multitasks EXTREMELY well!

Nathan Sweeney

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Aptmunich

 
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A comparable system to yours would be apple's powermac systems...

What's important to remember nowadays is that processor speed isn't the only important factor regarding speed.

In your specific case, my advice would be to wait until apple releases the powermac with intel processors, then you'd be able to more accurately compare processor speeds with what you have now, though the powermac will probably also feature dual or quad core processors.
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BlindingLights

 
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I'd say you'd have to either max out an iMac or get a PowerMac to match those specs, a Mini won't come REMOTELY close to what you wanna do there...

Edit: sorry, pricing... go to apple.com/store to check out prices and modify HD, RAM, Video Card, etc...

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