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Speed of Apple Intel dev systems impress developers

post #1 of 134
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The speed of Mac OS X running on Intel hardware is impressing some developers who've been privy to one of Apple's first Intel-based developer transition systems.

The systems started shipping to Mac OS X developers three weeks ago, each equipped with a 3.6 GHz Intel Pentium 4 processor with 2 MB L2 Cache, 800MHz front-side bus, 1GB of 533MHz DDR2 Dual Channel SDRAM, and an Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 900.

Developers are renting the $999 hardware from Apple for a period of 18 months in order to get a head start in porting their applications to run on the Intel version of Mac OS X.

"It's fast," said one developer source of Mac OS X running on Intel's Pentium processors. "Faster than [Mac OS X] on my Dual 2GHz Power Mac G5." In addition to booting Windows XP at blazing speeds, the included version of Mac OS X for Intel takes "as little as 10 seconds" to boot to the Desktop from when the Apple logo first displays on screen.

Included with the Mac OS X for Intel distribution is an Applications folder stocked with a mixture of PowerPC and Intel-native applications. Applications that are compiled only for PowerPC processors are of filetype "Application (PowerPC)" whereas Intel-native binaries are labeled of standard type "Application".

Developers sources say the early version of Rosetta, a dynamic binary translator that is designed to run unaltered PowerPC applications on Intel Macs, is also impressive. "Rosetta is completely 100 percent seamless and nothing like the Classic environment used to run older Mac OS 8 and 9 applications under Mac OS X," one source told AppleInsider.

"With the exception of the "PowerPC" denotation and the presence of "Open in Rosetta" checkbox in the application info boxes, you can't tell which applications are universal and which are PowerPC-only unless you examine package contents," the source explained.

Since the developer version of Mac OS X for Intel offers users the option of running any application under Rosetta, developers have been able to perform rudimentary speed comparisons between native Intel Mac applications and those that must first filter through the Rosetta binary translator.

"Taking a universal binary and timing its startup in Intel native speed versus its startup when opened via Rosetta results in a slowdown, but not as much as one would think," said another source. "The apps run at about 65 to 70 percent of their normal speed."

However, some PowerPC-native applications realize little to no speed reductions while running under Rosetta. A source told AppleInsider the current PowerPC version of the popular Firefox web browser loads just as fast under Mac OS X Intel as it does on a high-end dual processor Power Mac G5.

If reports are accurate, Mac users have a lot to look forward to in regards to web browsing under Mac OS X for Intel. According to sources, web browsing in general is much faster under Mac OS X for Intel than it is under the shipping version of Mac OS X for PowerPC. Web pages snap to the screen, the same way they do in Internet Explorer running on a new Pentium system, they say.

The first Mac systems to sport Intel processors are expected to hit the market around the middle of next year according to statements made by Apple, though recent mumblings indicate that the company may be striving to beat those estimates by several months.
post #2 of 134
All very good news indeed, although trouble is brewing.
post #3 of 134
Quote:
Originally posted by MiMac
All very good news indeed, although trouble is brewing.

That's no trouble as long as you're not using AMD
post #4 of 134
Quote:
Originally posted by Booga
That's no trouble as long as you're not using AMD

Yes...for now, though who can say what might happen if Apple decide they'd like an AMD processor in the future?
post #5 of 134
harumphfff "Megahertz Myth huh"
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post #6 of 134
So I guess the apparent speed of the developer machines is a good sign for those of us waiting to buy a new Intel PowerMac when they finally make it to the scene (as I've read, they'll be the last to be updated to the Intel platform.... <sigh>). \
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post #7 of 134
Quote:
Originally posted by baranovich
So I guess the apparent speed of the developer machines is a good sign for those of us waiting to buy a new Intel PowerMac when they finally make it to the scene (as I've read, they'll be the last to be updated to the Intel platform.... <sigh>). \

Don't worry...buy a Yonah Powerbook instead! For most things, a dualcore Yonah PowerBook should outrun Apple's quad-PPC PowerMacs. It will be the first time in 7 years that PowerBooks are faster than PowerMacs.
post #8 of 134
Quote:
Originally posted by hmurchison
harumphfff "Megahertz Myth huh"

Uh oh, you're turning red again. You better stay away from those enchilada's
post #9 of 134
Well if this is actually truth and not the MacScoobydoo type of hyperbole then that bodes well for OS X Leopard performance on a Conroe chip in 2007.

Count me in ..hopefully.
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post #10 of 134
Quote:
Originally posted by Existence
Don't worry...buy a Yonah Powerbook instead! For most things, a dualcore Yonah PowerBook should outrun Apple's quad-PPC PowerMacs. It will be the first time in 7 years that PowerBooks are faster than PowerMacs.

Thats great and all, but if they have these super Yonah powered PowerBooks wouldn't it make sense for Apple to make some really BEEFY PowerMacs to compete and/or surpass them? For that, I'm willing to bite my lip and wait.
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post #11 of 134
I would rather see a survey of multiple developers with specific descriptions, than a couple of anecdotes from a couple of sources. How many dev Mactels are there and how do they all feel about the speed? How difficult is that to find out? I want real journalistic research....well...we haven't seen that in a few years politically so I guess I shouldn't expect too much.
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post #12 of 134
Very good news indeed... I am looking forward to my laptop upgrade in late '06 early '07 - though I have to say, currently my 1.25Ghz 15" is singing along under 10.4.2 for most things.

Where I would like to see some comparisons between the two architrectures is under loads like video compression/ effects - ie Final Cut/ Shake etc, where the optimisation on Altivec vs optimisation on SSE2/3 will be shown. This is the balance of the platform for me.
post #13 of 134
I wonder how it would compare to the new Firefox 1.0.5 G5 optimized build.

This is one of the biggest problems we've had with the performance over the years. too many developers stick with the lowest common denominator. These days that's the G3. So a G4 or G5 doesn't give impressive speedups on many (most?) programs.

When Apple optimized FCP for the G5 I noticed a hugh improvement in rendering times, as well as improvements in interface speeds.

I can tell you from my own long experience as a Photoshop beta tester that Adobe has several generations of filters etc in the product.
post #14 of 134
That article seems to take a whole lot of words to tell me nothing new. I'm still waiting for some real comparisons.

The Intel system is "Faster than [Mac OS X] on my Dual 2GHz Power Mac G5." says one developer. Stating that Mac OS X boots from Apple screen to desktop in 10 seconds. While that is an impressive number, he's not exactly comparing top-of-the-line systems. A dual 2.7 PowerMac boots pretty damned fast across the same points. The bottleneck here isn't the processor in most cases, but the hard drive's ability to get data to the logic board. MY guess is the devel systems are using 10,000 RPM high-end drives instead of the large slow drives in the G5 systems.

Rosetta is seamless and causes apps to run slightly slower. We knew that already; Steve told us.

"Web pages snap to the screen..." Did Apple by chance make a popular hack for Safari the default on the Intel system? Safari usually waits for most of a page's elements to be identified and sized before it displays a page. Lower that delay value on a G5 also makes web pages "snap to the screen"

What's missing from this report: anything remotely resembling a benchmark!

WHAT apps are native? Are iMovie and iDVD on the list? Complete a project on both platforms and compare the rendering and encoding/multiplexing steps.
Is Mathmatica one of them? Run the same simulation on both platforms and test the differences.

I keep hearing all this warm fuzzy stuff telling me that Intel seems as fast or faster than a dual 2.7, but no-one has produced any numbers to cement that claim to being fact.

Sorry, I just have a REALLY hard time seeing how a G5 with faster/wider bus, AltiVec and dual processors is not just going to run circles around a single P4 in any type of serious data crunching test.
post #15 of 134
I'm curious if OSX for Intel supports hyperthreading?
post #16 of 134
Quote:
Originally posted by hmurchison
harumphfff "Megahertz Myth huh"

Wasn't Ave Tevanian (spelling?) always the guy kind of driving that ship? How long ago was he moved to a different position with Apple? Did it correspond with this secret life Apple has been living with Intel? Now it is appearing that OS X might have really been held back by everything up to now? Hmmmm.

The speed thing sounds good none the less. Looking forward to it.
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post #17 of 134
Quote:
Originally posted by melgross
I wonder how it would compare to the new Firefox 1.0.5 G5 optimized build.

This is one of the biggest problems we've had with the performance over the years. too many developers stick with the lowest common denominator. These days that's the G3. So a G4 or G5 doesn't give impressive speedups on many (most?) programs.

When Apple optimized FCP for the G5 I noticed a hugh improvement in rendering times, as well as improvements in interface speeds.

I can tell you from my own long experience as a Photoshop beta tester that Adobe has several generations of filters etc in the product.


I totally agree, where are the other "optimized for G5" applications out there?? Apple sure hasn't even made an effort to do it with most of their applications. Tiger should've come in 2 versions. 64-bit and 32-bit along with being optimized for Dual Processors. Apple is going to make the Intel look amazing with over 5 years of R&D into it. I feel like I have been cheated by spending $3,200 on a G5 that was suppose to be the "next big thing" when in reality Apple hasn't put forth effort into making it the beast it could be.
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post #18 of 134
Hey, what about some comparisons of Windows XP and Mac OS X Tiger on the exact same hardware? Will OS X be smoked compared to Windows or not?
post #19 of 134
Quote:
Originally posted by vas
Hey, what about some comparisons of Windows XP and Mac OS X Tiger on the exact same hardware? Will OS X be smoked compared to Windows or not?

Yeah I'm VERY curious too...
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post #20 of 134
Quote:
Originally posted by Gerardj "Web pages snap to the screen..." Did Apple by chance make a popular hack for Safari the default on the Intel system? Safari usually waits for most of a page's elements to be identified and sized before it displays a page. Lower that delay value on a G5 also makes web pages "snap to the screen"

That particular comment makes little sense. It's not like Safari pegs the Mac's CPU(s), so there's absolutely no way that could ever be a valid benchmark of microprocessor performance.
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post #21 of 134
The reason no one is telling you guys the kind of specific info you are looking for is because they really, really can't.

Its not because they don't *know* mind you...its because, well, Apple said so.

What you are reading here however is "fairly accurate". I would not say its "anecdotal" or "a couple of developers".

I don't believe anyone who has or is developing on the x86 version of OS X right now would disagree with the statements made in this piece.

They wouldn't get...specific tho. Publishing benchmarks is strictly and explicitly forbidden.

I think in fact the only folks that don't/won't/can't believe it are those with too vested an interest in "Intel hate".
post #22 of 134
Quote:
Originally posted by vas
Hey, what about some comparisons of Windows XP and Mac OS X Tiger on the exact same hardware? Will OS X be smoked compared to Windows or not?

There would be something seriously wrong with XP if it didn't do better than the developer machine's OS X--OS X still has months of optimization (especially drivers) ahead of it. It'll probably need even more time to create optimizations that compete with Altivec. That's why my guess is that they'll first release Intel for the low end G4s (mini, iBook) because a faster Intel processor might be fast enough to allow an iDVD encode/burn to be slightly faster than the previous g4 system (the ecode process is highly Altivec optimized).
In the end, this switch is likely to spur OS X to be an even faster beast, as direct compariisons CAN be made (like OpenGL performance, disk read/write performance, UBB & Firewire performance).
post #23 of 134
Quote:
Originally posted by Gerardj

Sorry, I just have a REALLY hard time seeing how a G5 with faster/wider bus, AltiVec and dual processors is not just going to run circles around a single P4 in any type of serious data crunching test.

But the G5 doesn't have a "faster/wider bus". The P4's bus is a unidirection 64bit-wide bus running at 800MHz (6.4 GBps up or down). The G5's bus in a 2.0GHz model is a 1.00GHz bi-directional 32-bit bus (3.6 GBps up and/or 3.6 GBps down, 0.8GBps overhead).

Since most computing tasks that are bandwidth limited are unidrectional, the P4's bus is much faster (almost twice as fast).

And don't forget the massive 2MB cache on the P4 running at 3.6GHz.
post #24 of 134
Quote:
Originally posted by mcdawson
There would be something seriously wrong with XP if it didn't do better than the developer machine's OS X--OS X still has months of optimization (especially drivers) ahead of it. It'll probably need even more time to create optimizations that compete with Altivec. That's why my guess is that they'll first release Intel for the low end G4s (mini, iBook) because a faster Intel processor might be fast enough to allow an iDVD encode/burn to be slightly faster than the previous g4 system (the ecode process is highly Altivec optimized).
In the end, this switch is likely to spur OS X to be an even faster beast, as direct compariisons CAN be made (like OpenGL performance, disk read/write performance, UBB & Firewire performance).

Virtually every assumption made here is fundamentally wrong. You would not believe how wrong this is. Wow.

Low end? Unoptimized?

Heh.
post #25 of 134
Quote:
Originally posted by RnSK
The reason no one is telling you guys the kind of specific info you are looking for is because they really, really can't.

Its not because they don't *know* mind you...its because, well, Apple said so.

What you are reading here however is "fairly accurate". I would not say its "anecdotal" or "a couple of developers".

I don't believe anyone who has or is developing on the x86 version of OS X right now would disagree with the statements made in this piece.

They wouldn't get...specific tho. Publishing benchmarks is strictly and explicitly forbidden.

I think in fact the only folks that don't/won't/can't believe it are those with too vested an interest in "Intel hate".

Whoa, take it easy. I personally ain't lookin' for benchmarks and I know they can't be given out. It just seems that with hundreds of dev boxes out there, we would be hearing more than just this 3 weeks into the program. In comparison to 100's we actually are only getting anecdotal accounts from a few developers.

I am not an Intel hater and I look forward to the Mac using the best h/w platform in the business!
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post #26 of 134
All I can say is that assuming that the machines are slower or "unoptimized" is a bad assumption.

Thinking that a Hyperthreaded P4@3.6GHz can't possibly surpass say, a 2x2Ghz G5 Powermac would be...

Inaccurate.
post #27 of 134
I'm glad to see the developers happy with the speed of the development box, but I see very little relationship between these boxes and the ones that will be shipped. It's sort of like the PMs that were sent to developers working on X-Box games - what they have now is not what they will end up with. I therefore think that you'll be seeing some very fast Mactels. I think we'll be rather pleased, except, of course, for the traditional moaning about the GPU.

Timing? Look for both how Intel is going with their 65nm chips AND how the developers are going with their conversions - especially the major players. As soon as there are a lot of apps available I think only Intel can slow things down.

Looks like it is time for AI to have a sticky list of Mactel ready apps. All Apple apps are supposed to be ready, but I think Mathemetica deserves top spot on the list because of their 2 hour conversion for WWDC.
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post #28 of 134
Quote:
Originally posted by Existence
Don't worry...buy a Yonah Powerbook instead! For most things, a dualcore Yonah PowerBook should outrun Apple's quad-PPC PowerMacs. It will be the first time in 7 years that PowerBooks are faster than PowerMacs.

Yonah laptops running faster than quad-PPC Macs? Let's not exaggerate too much. I can see a single 2.3 GHz Sossaman outrunning a single 2.5 GHz 970mp, but a dual-core laptop outrunning a quad-PPC, that's apples vs oranges.
post #29 of 134
Quote:
Originally posted by baranovich
Thats great and all, but if they have these super Yonah powered PowerBooks wouldn't it make sense for Apple to make some really BEEFY PowerMacs to compete and/or surpass them? For that, I'm willing to bite my lip and wait.

Yeah they should! maybe 4GHz??? If people think that the 3.6 GHz PMs are fast just wait till they sport Dual 4GHz processors.
post #30 of 134
For what it's worth, what I've heard (from the horses mouth), it is really too early to tell how performance compares.

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post #31 of 134
Cool. I was looking for info on the dev machines last night and couldn't find much.

Is apple sending out updates often? Is there some kind of automatic Software Update or do you have to get them on your own? Is intel OSX polished enough that a new intel system could ship if the hardware were ready?
post #32 of 134
I'm not very much concerned about browsers and those types of applications. I hope my HP all-in-one printer will be supported on the Intel machines.

This is great news, I'm glad it boots faster. Windows XP has many flaws and it crashes all the time and has lots of spyware, virus, etc., but it boots blazingly fast. I'm glad we're gonna catch up in that area.
post #33 of 134
Quote:
Originally posted by monkeyastronaut
I'm not very much concerned about browsers and those types of applications. I hope my HP all-in-one printer will be supported on the Intel machines.

I think support for non-current hardware should be a concern. Unless these companies port the drivers to OS X on Intel, I imagine support just won't be there, unforunately.
post #34 of 134
Quote:
Originally posted by monkeyastronaut
I'm not very much concerned about browsers and those types of applications. I hope my HP all-in-one printer will be supported on the Intel machines.

This is great news, I'm glad it boots faster. Windows XP has many flaws and it crashes all the time and has lots of spyware, virus, etc., but it boots blazingly fast. I'm glad we're gonna catch up in that area.

My XP box boots very, very fast to the login screen, and gets to the desktop really fast, but at that point its pretty much still worthless until I wait for the virus software to load, for some other services to start up, etc. I try to show a Windows explorer window (opened on login automatically, not by me manually) when it first gets to its 'ready' state and it takes forever for it to appear, then forever for the sub-folders to appear, and then forever for my inputs to actually take affect.

And this is a 3.2GHz box with very little on it.
post #35 of 134
Quote:
Originally posted by Existence
But the G5 doesn't have a "faster/wider bus". The P4's bus is a unidirection 64bit-wide bus running at 800MHz (6.4 GBps up or down). The G5's bus in a 2.0GHz model is a 1.00GHz bi-directional 32-bit bus (3.6 GBps up and/or 3.6 GBps down, 0.8GBps overhead).

Since most computing tasks that are bandwidth limited are unidrectional, the P4's bus is much faster (almost twice as fast).

And don't forget the massive 2MB cache on the P4 running at 3.6GHz.

That's incorrect because each processor in a Powermac has its own bus. This isn't true even for Xenon's at this point. They have to share a single bus.

The 800MHz bus is quad pumped. It's really a 200MHz bus. That doesn't detract from it's performance, but some things are misleading.

for example, the G5 bus is unidirectional on each of its directions, but the 800MHz has to share the bandwidth.
post #36 of 134
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Existence
[B]But the G5 doesn't have a "faster/wider bus". The P4's bus is a unidirection 64bit-wide bus running at 800MHz (6.4 GBps up or down). The G5's bus in a 2.0GHz model is a 1.00GHz bi-directional 32-bit bus (3.6 GBps up and/or 3.6 GBps down, 0.8GBps overhead).


I'm not at all understanding the statement "most computing tasks that are bandwidth limited are unidrectional". I can't imagine bandwidth sensitive applications where you simply suck vast amounts of data IN to a processor and have little to no output. I'd welcome education on that.

Your also ignoring that the G5 system's each have two independent front-side busses. Each bus is capable of 3.6 up AND down simultaneously. That's a total inbound of 7.2GB/s and total outbound of 7.2GB/s or a grand total of 14.4GB/s of data in-flight to and from the G5s. Compared to the grand total of 6.4GB/s on the P4.

The G5s can saturate memory, AGP and storage busses with their bandwidth capacity.
post #37 of 134
Quote:
Originally posted by Big Mac
That particular comment makes little sense. It's not like Safari pegs the Mac's CPU(s), so there's absolutely no way that could ever be a valid benchmark of microprocessor performance.

I never suggested that web browsers would be a valid benchmark or that the hack as anything to do with CPU utilization.
post #38 of 134
Quote:
Originally posted by skatman
I'm curious if OSX for Intel supports hyperthreading?

This is a hardware feature, not a software. OSX sees the processor as one physical processor but two virtual. OSX uses both.

On to something not entirely different..

Mach-O is tailored fot CISC-processors. gcc is better for x86 than it is for PPC.
What will this do for extra performance on x86?
post #39 of 134
Quote:
Originally posted by tink
For what it's worth, what I've heard (from the horses mouth), it is really too early to tell how performance compares.

Heh...sure it is.

If your er, horse, is um, running code on both platforms that they compiled and are running side by side then your horse probably knows better than that
post #40 of 134
Quote:
Originally posted by Gerardj
I never suggested that web browsers would be a valid benchmark or that the hack as anything to do with CPU utilization.

It isn't an indication of how fast the cpu's work. It's an indication as to how more efficient the routines in the OS and program are in an x86 system.
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