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Apple even slower than SGI with new technologies!

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 
SGI has become known lately with their snail-like pace in updating their workstations.

The O2 line received its firts update in years, this summer at Siggraph and it was merely a bump.

The Octane 2 hadn't been updated for more than 18 months.

But even they beat Apple to a 200 Mhz FSB and DDR RAM with their new workstation. Congrats Apple! You are the only remaining graphical workstation vendor to use SDRAM! Yay!

Here are the specs for the interested:

[quote]Processor Single MIPSĀ® 64-bit R14000A processor, 500 MHz with 2MB L2 cache or 600 MHz with 4MB L2 cache; 200 MHz front-side bus

Graphics Integrated vertex processing engine

Integrated image and texture engine

12-bit per component color and alpha (V10, V12), double-buffered (V12) 16-bit 2 buffer ( V12 only)

24-bit eye space Z buffer and 8-bit stencil

10-bit digital to analog (DAC) display interface

Multiple concurrent visuals (8-bit window ID)

V10: 32MB graphics memory, including up to 8MB texture memory

V12: 128MB graphics memory, including up to 104MB texture memory

Resolution up to 1920x1200 pixels @ 60 Hz and 72 Hz

Support for dual channel and stereo viewing mode

Memory 512MB-4GB synchronous double-data rate RAM (DDR SDRAM)
<hr></blockquote>

Well at least at least we beat them to the Ghz.

Having said that a 500 Mhz R14000 scores higher than an Athlon 1400 on specfp. MIPS chips have really great IPC. I'm afraid I can't say the same for the 1Ghz PowerPC.

[ 01-29-2002: Message edited by: timortis ]</p>
post #2 of 37
Is this future hardware?

Anyway, how much does it cost?
post #3 of 37
SGI are the only ones for whom the Mhz myth is really true. With apple its a question of how you cook the books.

Dump MOTO, buy SGi and put their workstation innards (especially their graphics syubsystems) into a quicksilver case
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post #4 of 37
Thread Starter 
[quote]Originally posted by kikaida:
<strong>Is this future hardware?

Anyway, how much does it cost?</strong><hr></blockquote>

It is Futurre Hardware, it's questioning when Apple will finally get back with the rest of the industry and adopt a faster memory technology.
post #5 of 37
You never asked that question in your original post, just berated apple for not having said technology.
post #6 of 37
[quote]Originally posted by kikaida:
<strong>Anyway, how much does it cost?</strong><hr></blockquote>
Entry level machine is $11,495 without monitor.
[quote]Originally posted by spooky:
<strong>Dump MOTO, buy SGi and put their workstation innards (especially their graphics syubsystems) into a quicksilver case</strong><hr></blockquote>
And charge the price of a small family car?

The Power Mac is a general purpose workstation, not a specialized high-end graphics workstation. If you need the power of an SGI machine, buy an SGI machine, help keep them in business.
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post #7 of 37
Thread Starter 
[quote]Originally posted by kikaida:
<strong>You never asked that question in your original post, just berated apple for not having said technology.</strong><hr></blockquote>

Well yeah, I happen to think they have been deserving of a well-placed kick in the groin with the situation of the PowerMacs lately, if that's what you mean.

What is an expressed disappointment with Apple's current hardware choices, if it's not hoping for better future hardware?
post #8 of 37
Thread Starter 
[quote]Originally posted by Belle:
<strong>
And charge the price of a small family car?

The Power Mac is a general purpose workstation, not a specialized high-end graphics workstation. If you need the power of an SGI machine, buy an SGI machine, help keep them in business.</strong><hr></blockquote>

Price is not the issue though you see. Faster RAM can also be had with a $1500 or cheaper computer.
post #9 of 37
[quote]Originally posted by timortis:
<strong>Price is not the issue though you see. Faster RAM can also be had with a $1500 or cheaper computer.</strong><hr></blockquote>
Any idea what difference faster RAM would make to performance of the current Power Macs? None.

Any idea what difference adding all the other stuff you need alongside faster RAM to noticably improve performance would make to Apple's bottom line costs? And what difference that would make to retail price?
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post #10 of 37
I would recomend picking up an SGI if you ever get the chance.
post #11 of 37
Thread Starter 
[quote]Originally posted by Belle:
<strong>
Any idea what difference faster RAM would make to performance of the current Power Macs? None.

Any idea what difference adding all the other stuff you need alongside faster RAM to noticably improve performance would make to Apple's bottom line costs? And what difference that would make to retail price?</strong><hr></blockquote>

Are you getting testy?


No, I don't have precise first-hand information on how much a performance improvement it would bring, if any. But you seem to, so please share...

If I were to guess though, I would reason two 1 Ghz processors processing vector data in 128 bit chunks could use RAM that's twice as fast. Apple seems to think that way too, since they are hyping their DDR L3 cache like there's no other.

[ 01-29-2002: Message edited by: timortis ]</p>
post #12 of 37
[quote]Originally posted by Scott H.:
<strong>I would recomend picking up an SGI if you ever get the chance.</strong><hr></blockquote>
I couldn't agree more. If you're serious about modeling and animation, you can pick up older models for not much more than a high-end Pentium or Athlon machine. You can also pick up used copies of software pretty cheap, and you get to play with the lovely IRIX, and have access to a lot of custom graphics software that's currently not available on other platforms. It does help if you're comfortable with compiling, though.
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post #13 of 37
Well, SGI is in a predicament...they really lost their identity when they switched logos. It was pretty ironic. They hastily purchased the remnants of Cray. They largely failed in their Linux/Intel experiment (an overpriced, underpowered Itanium is all that remains.) Their supercomputers are being overshadowed by IBM and Sun's competition...or cheaper clusters.

I don't MIPS can carry them into the future, since they are increasingly focused on embedded apps...even more so than Motorola.

Hmm, Belle, "lovely IRIX?" ... HAH.

[ 01-29-2002: Message edited by: Eugene ]</p>
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post #14 of 37
They're definitely in a bind, but all the recent MIPS processors that SGI uses have been designed by SGI. Like you say, MIPS is concentrating on the embedded and console markets. Therefor SGI has had to design there own chips, I think since the R10k's, or maybe R12k's.

Their problem is that they're fighting for survival, and designing CPUs take a hugh amount of resources. There have been rumors of them moving to G5's.

dave
post #15 of 37
Thread Starter 
[quote]Originally posted by Belle:
<strong>
I couldn't agree more. If you're serious about modeling and animation, you can pick up older models for not much more than a high-end Pentium or Athlon machine.</strong><hr></blockquote>

I used to use an Octane 2 at my previous job. My new workplace uses P4 Xeons. I have been thinking of getting my own SGI since I switched jobs, but the Octane line had been stale for too long to actually tempt me.

This Fuel thingie does sound like a really nice toy though, but I'd want the high-end, which is usally at the $40,000 "sweet spot" with SGI.

Maybe I'll give myself a birthday present this fall . I have to look into how much of it is deductible.
post #16 of 37
[quote]Originally posted by timortis:
<strong>Are you getting testy?
</strong><hr></blockquote>
No. Sorry.

I've been posting in a new, more... uh... economical style of late, and I do seem to come across as a little bitchy. I think some of my posts elsewhere have accidently angered some people. It's actually quite good fun.
[quote]<strong>No, I don't have precise first-hand information on how much a performance improvement it would bring, if any. But you seem to, so please share...<hr></blockquote></strong>
I don't have any nice charts or Quake3 frame rate thingies...
[quote]<strong>If I were to guess though, I would reason two 1 Ghz processors processing vector data in 128 bit chunks could use RAM that's twice as fast. Apple seems to think that way too, since they are hyping their DDR L3 cache like there's no other.</strong><hr></blockquote>
Quite probably, but honestly it would produce no noticable improvements in performance - either by use or by those nice colorful charts and Quake3 frame rates.

If you had faster RAM, buses, etc. you might get some chartable performance improvements, but I'm not certain that even two 1GHz G4s would crunch numbers fast enough to saturate it all.

[ 01-29-2002: Message edited by: Belle ]</p>
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post #17 of 37
[quote]Originally posted by Belle:
<strong>
Quite probably, but honestly it would produce no noticable improvements in performance - either by use or by those nice colorful charts and Quake3 frame rates.

If you had faster RAM, buses, etc. you might get some chartable performance improvements, but I'm not certain that even two 1GHz G4s would crunch numbers fast enough to saturate it all.

[ 01-29-2002: Message edited by: Belle ]</strong><hr></blockquote>

but the mot FAQ that I posted last week said otherwise and at the time of the mot faq posting G4s were well below 1ghz nevermind 2 of them
post #18 of 37
[quote]Originally posted by applenut:
<strong>

but the mot FAQ that I posted last week said otherwise and at the time of the mot faq posting G4s were well below 1ghz nevermind 2 of them</strong><hr></blockquote>

I'd also refer you to this thread
<a href="http://arstechnica.infopop.net/OpenTopic/page?q=Y&a=tpc&s=50009562&f=8300945231&m=336095374 3&p=3" target="_blank">http://arstechnica.infopop.net/OpenTopic/page?q=Y&a=tpc&s=50009562&f=8300945231&m=336095374 3&p=3</a>

which states that even a dual 533 is starved of bandwidth and that a single G4/1Ghz is also.
post #19 of 37
[quote]Any idea what difference faster RAM would make to performance of the current Power Macs? None.<hr></blockquote>

This is just flat out wrong. Make sure you read the thread applenut referenced.
post #20 of 37
there was a rumor (i think on the register) recently about SGI's interest in the G5 as a MIPS replacement. according to the article, development costs for MIPS was killing SGI...and i suppose that makes sense.

wouldn't it be interesting to see a new AIS alliance of apple, IBM and SGI. IBM could provide the fabrication technologies, SGI could provide some technology from MIPS and their own mobos and apple would provide the market (and marketing). lots of interesting possibilities there....
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post #21 of 37
My boss should replace his Indigo2 that he's using. I think he's too smart thought. Moving to a new UNIX box can take a week or more.
post #22 of 37
IRIX is probably the slowest UNIX I've ever used...it's even more sluggish than "Slowaris."

What does your boss do?
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post #23 of 37
[quote]Originally posted by spooky:
<strong>SGI are the only ones for whom the Mhz myth is really true. With apple its a question of how you cook the books.</strong><hr></blockquote>

Apple's MHz myth works when the difference is &lt;500MHz...but the MHz Myth has turned into the GHz Gap!
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post #24 of 37
this topic is BS.
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post #25 of 37
I hate to say it (well not really, I like agreeing with Belle ), but Belle is right. Go check some DDR charts in comparison to normal SDRAM and youll find that we dont have the compnents to use DDR yet. Even on high end PCs the difference is at max 5 fps in a game that normally runs several hundred fps (Q3), and little else on everything else.
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post #26 of 37
[quote]Originally posted by Belle:
<strong>
If you had faster RAM, buses, etc. you might get some chartable performance improvements, but I'm not certain that even two 1GHz G4s would crunch numbers fast enough to saturate it all.</strong><hr></blockquote>

Do the math... if you're crunching floating point on the AltiVec unit then the current bus can read and write about 46 million vectors per second (16 bytes each, ~740 MB/sec). At 1 GHz that means a single G4 can do about 86 operations on each vector (2 instructions per clock, each vector must be read and then written). A dual processor just means the two have to share bandwidth, so that means each processor can spend twice as long on each piece of data. There are always some inefficiences, but that means the processor can spend over a hundred instructions on each vector! To give you some idea, a vector multiplied by a 4x4 matrix (very typical 3D graphics operation) takes about 20 clock cycles. That means that the bus would have to be at least five times faster before it wasn't the bottleneck!

Quake doesn't seen an improvement due to AltiVec optimization because they are only doing a small amount of work per vector, and the floating point unit is fast enough to saturate the bus on this amount of work nevermind the AltiVec unit.

For compute intensive applications, a faster memory bus (and memory) would make an enourmous difference. The 5-10% figures everybody quotes is all from benchmarks where streaming data is not being performed. In media applications, which Apple is fond of, it makes a really big difference.
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post #27 of 37
[quote]Originally posted by timortis:
<strong>SGI has become known lately with their snail-like pace in updating their workstations.
(...)
But even they beat Apple to a 200 Mhz FSB and DDR RAM with their new workstation. Congrats Apple! You are the only remaining graphical workstation vendor to use SDRAM! Yay!
</strong><hr></blockquote>

Um, well, Apple certainly isn't cheap, but putting them into the same class as som $10k+ SGI box seems kinda unfair to me, don't you think?

"even slower than SGI" - I don't know, but that's kinda funny

Bye,
RazzFazz
post #28 of 37
[quote]Originally posted by applenut:
<strong>I'd also refer you to this thread
<a href="http://arstechnica.infopop.net/OpenTopic/page?q=Y&a=tpc&s=50009562&f=8300945231&m=336095374 3&p=3" target="_blank">http://arstechnica.infopop.net/OpenTop ic/page?q=Y&a=tpc&s=50009562&f=8300945231&m=336095374 3&p=3</a>

which states that even a dual 533 is starved of bandwidth and that a single G4/1Ghz is also.</strong><hr></blockquote>

And they will still be bandwidth-limited even with DDR RAM unless they get a faster FSB first (i.e. it's the FSB that's the bottleneck, not the memory bus).

Bye,
RazzFazz
post #29 of 37
[quote]Originally posted by Programmer:
<strong>
For compute intensive applications, a faster memory bus (and memory) would make an enourmous difference. The 5-10% figures everybody quotes is all from benchmarks where streaming data is not being performed. In media applications, which Apple is fond of, it makes a really big difference.</strong><hr></blockquote>

What really makes me wonder is the fact that, even with the current, limited memory bandwidth, saturating the FSB / memory bus would mean tearing through the G4's whole physical address space (64GB) in little more than one minute.

So unless an algorithm performs a LOT of operations on each and every vector in a data stream, I can't see how it possibly could max out the memory bus (and thus be bandwidth-starved) for any longer period of time.

What am I missing?

Bye,
RazzFazz
post #30 of 37
Thread Starter 
[quote]Originally posted by RazzFazz:
<strong>

Um, well, Apple certainly isn't cheap, but putting them into the same class as som $10k+ SGI box seems kinda unfair to me, don't you think?

"even slower than SGI" - I don't know, but that's kinda funny

Bye,
RazzFazz</strong><hr></blockquote>

AAArrrgh! Why am I even trying? Is this really so hard to get?

I've said it before and I'll say it once more. Price is not the issue here. You can also get a cheap-ass Compaq with an Athlon in it for $1200 and it'll have DDR in it.

SGI was relevant however because they're an ailing company that once was great. Part of this is because they haven't been quick to adapt to the changes in the industry. They have been especially slow with developing new graphics hardware lately, and even the graphics subsystem in the new fuel is almost two years old for example. It took them 18 months to give their high end chip a speed bump. All this, and even they were faster than Apple at ditching PC 133.

There are 3 architectures that can run Maya now. One is MIPS, comes with DDR. The other is X86, comes with DDR, RDRAM & even dual channel DDR. You guessed it, the 3rd is PPC/Apple, comes with PC 133. What has this got to do with price?
post #31 of 37
[quote]Originally posted by timortis:
<strong>
There are 3 architectures that can run Maya now. One is MIPS, comes with DDR. The other is X86, comes with DDR, RDRAM & even dual channel DDR. You guessed it, the 3rd is PPC/Apple, comes with PC 133. What has this got to do with price?</strong><hr></blockquote>

The point I was making is that I consider it kinda funny to say "Oh look, even this workstation-class, three times as expensive machine outperforms that desktop computer. How dare they."
Fact is, IMO, that SGI's machines have all right to, and *should* probably outperform Apple's offerings, and I find it hardly surprising they do so.
Oh, and I wasn't talking about the fact that PC hardware is fast and a steal compared to both the Mac and the SGI, but *only* about Apple and SGI.

Bye,
RazzFazz
post #32 of 37
[quote]Originally posted by koffedrnkr:
<strong>there was a rumor (i think on the register) recently about SGI's interest in the G5 as a MIPS replacement. according to the article, development costs for MIPS was killing SGI...and i suppose that makes sense.

wouldn't it be interesting to see a new AIS alliance of apple, IBM and SGI. IBM could provide the fabrication technologies, SGI could provide some technology from MIPS and their own mobos and apple would provide the market (and marketing). lots of interesting possibilities there....</strong><hr></blockquote>

I saw the same thing. As I recall. Supposedly the R&D cost is taking a huge toll on the company. That and the fact that the proposed specs. (the current White Pater) of the upcoming G5 are extremely impressive. The only problem is from white paper to final implementation, specifications can be added and subtracted like crazy. That's what happened to the G4. They made changes and compromises to get to market sooner and ended up being faced with all sorts of unresearched consequences.

While there may or may not be any true technological reason for Apple to revise it's busses, press wise there are a ton. Perception is everything in our little sound bite society. Steve seems to understand this with his approach to marketing products. If he wants world+dog to buy Macs he has got to address their misgivings in the product to keep his message from being impeded.

We can scream to the mountain top about the MHz myth, but if the average Joe isn't astute enough to understand that for himself I doubt he has the capacity to give more than a cursory glance at the Apple vs. Wintel spec. sheet and say Mac $3000+ sans monitor and no DDR or Rambus(God forbid)vs. Wintel machine $3000 (top o line processor, monitor, and DDR) "Wew hoo...Apple my...). If Apple wants to grow market share, they need that guy to buy a computer.

Apple needs a Wintel comparable base spec. sheet(FSB, memory, subsystems...)in addition to gigaflops, Velocity Engine, iMovie, iDVD & Kitchen sink. Steve's arrogance or stubbornness in this area is a throw back to IBM's stance originally on the GUI; 'If the command line is so difficult for them, they don't need to be buying our computers.'

It's that kind of thinking that got us Microsoft in the first place.

[ 01-31-2002: Message edited by: ArkAngel ]</p>
post #33 of 37
aim beat them to soi
post #34 of 37
Thread Starter 
[quote]Originally posted by RazzFazz:
<strong>

The point I was making is that I consider it kinda funny to say "Oh look, even this workstation-class, three times as expensive machine outperforms that desktop computer. How dare they."
</strong><hr></blockquote>


No, that's not what I said at all.

I said something more like:

"Hey look! Even this bleeding company that recently sold all their 3D patents to Microsoft and hasn't been able to update their hardware for more than 18 months is quicker than Apple at adapting this new technology"

It doesn't matter how great SGI used to be, or how expensive their workstations still are. The fact is that they're not developing anything new, and everybody expects them to wither and die soon. They just lost two of their biggest customers, Pixar got snatched by IBM and DreamWorks/PDI got picked up by HP.

SGI used to be the only game in town for DCC. Just like Apple has been the computer of choice for creative professionals. There's a lesson to be learned here. Shows you what can happen if you sit on your ass doing nothing and expect people to buy your outdated hardware just 'cause they always have.
post #35 of 37
[quote]Originally posted by timortis:
<strong>SGI used to be the only game in town for DCC. Just like Apple has been the computer of choice for creative professionals. There's a lesson to be learned here. Shows you what can happen if you sit on your ass doing nothing and expect people to buy your outdated hardware just 'cause they always have.</strong><hr></blockquote>

Good point.
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post #36 of 37
" Faster RAM can be had for $1500.00 ",

Ok, a couple of things. I've seen those $1500.00 jobs and if you look closely something is always missing when you compare it with a complete package. It might be something you would say was unimportant to you but, we are talking about the general public.

It might be a cheap video card or ethernet card. It might be expandability or ease of use with the case. It's always something and you usually have to look closely because naturally a company wouldn't want to advertise it. Sure you can replace these things ( as my PC friend did ) but, that costs more money.

The other thing is much of the other part of what you say is true, the Dual Gig G4 isn't enough to catch up. Across the board 2, 1 Ghz processors don't equal a clock speed ( or performance ) of 2 Ghz.

The other things also about the speed of the RAM are probably true ( even though they do try to compensate for it ).

It's quite simple, to catch up we need a completely new Powermac. New mother board, new processor, new RAM, etc. We need the G5. I've stated before that the Mhz gap has become so big now that the Mhz myth doesn't matter. That's why this G4 announcement was so quiet. Apple knows this also. I have a feeling this summer things will start to turn around in a big way.

Even though these dual gig G4's are much faster than my now aging G4 450 ( isn't that awful, it's not even 2 years old yet ) I don't think I would spend the money to buy one. But, if someone waived a G5 under my nose I might suddenly be in the market. I don't think I'm alone in that feeling.
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post #37 of 37
[quote]Originally posted by timortis:
<strong>
No, that's not what I said at all.
</strong><hr></blockquote>

Well, it's just how it sounded to me.
Obviously, though, I was misinterpreting you there, so sorry 'bout that.

Bye,
RazzFazz
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