Things I learned from my Mom's 1.6GHz P4

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
1a. Microsoft's latest and greatest (XP) is still a major fu*king kludge compared to OS X, no matter how many MHz they throw at it.



Even for an experienced Windows user, just setting up a printer and an existing dial-up account and getting them to work properly can take 8 hours instead of 8 minutes - literally. Everything you do is still a crap-shoot with Winblows. It might work right off like a Mac, it might take 30 minutes, it might take 3 hours. It's fu*king ridiculous.



1b. It seems [that many of the major] system-level control settings can be accesssed from two or three different panels, menus or dialogs, so screwing things up is as easy as ever with MS' finest. Especially for people unfamiliar with the system like uh, new users. Thought it certainly looks "prettier" than previous variants, it's still a POC. Sure, Windows geeks love it, but if you ate oatmeal every morning of your life, you'd have no idea how good eggs and bacon tasted would you?



2. At 1.6GHz I fully expected that *everything* I did on that system while setting it up and trying out programs would be *noticeably* (not dramatically, noticeably) faster and more efficient than my puny 500MHz G4 running a big, resource-hungry OS like X.



Wrong. Totally wrong....



>XP takes at LEAST twice as long, maybe three times as long to boot up to the desktop.



>Simple navigation from the desktop to various control panel dialogs or customizing the start menu takes noticeably more time and effort than similar operations in X.



>Launch times for Word and Excel were slower, Outlook about the same (as Entourage) and IE was the only application of note I could find that launched more quickly on this "blazing" P4 at 1.6 GHz. It was really sad, actually. People are such sheep / suckers, it is not to be believed. Hell even I had gotten suckered into believeing how far "behind" we are as Mac users.





Admittedly these were unscientific observations, but how scientific does one need them to be when there's supposedly such a HUGE performance gap between the latest P4's and G4's? It should be blatantly obvious how far behind we are, shouldn't it? To my way of thinking, for the average user (Office, Web, digital photos and music) there is no contest. The Time ad pages are right: an 800MHz G4 iMac really *does* crush Pentiums for most ordinairy tasks IMO. You'd think at this point there would be no way, but...I'm sorry this 1.6GHz P4 Dell was NOT very responsive.



Maybe the P4 machine would trounce mine on gaming tasks and such, but for most everyday tasks the Wintel beast is as clumsy and clunky as ever. I'm glad MS didn't shit-can their GUI designers. As long as they continue to work their "magic" there will be a viable Mac OS out there, even if our clock speeds are an order of magnitude "slower."



NOT being an apoligst here: I think Apple absolutely needs to get its shit together with the PM line and all lines in general as far as hardware performance goes. But as bad as things have gotten to our way of thinking with all these stop-gap updates and ho-hum revs (latest iMac not withstanding, design *does* count for something it seems)...we're nowhere near as behind as we seem to think.



After reading the tech papers at Ars and experiencing first hand the differences between a slower-than-average G4 and an average P4 clocked over three times as fast, I am convinced the G4 - for all its limitations - is an inherently better design than the P4 (and probably the Athlon too in at least some respects).



Just thought I'd throw that out there and see your reactions.



[ 01-28-2002: Message edited by: Moogs ? ]



[ 01-28-2002: Message edited by: Moogs ? ]</p>
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 43
    I've been using an older PeeCee notebook. I was gald to find that it had USB. Dumb me I plugged a USB mounse into it and expeted it work.
  • Reply 2 of 43
    rraburrabu Posts: 239member
    One guy at work here got a new 1.8GHz P4 system. With XP professional on it, we times it. From hitting the power key to getting to the login screen was 30 seconds. That is about twice as fast as any Mac I have ever seen. Then after he logged into the network there was about a 15-20 second wait before he was at the desktop and everything was loaded.



    One of my friends has a dual 500 G4 and it takes over a minute to boot the machine. From reading around, it seems that all Macs take generally 60 to 90 seconds to boot no matter what speed they are. My old 266 G3 booted OSX in 75 secons plus another 15-20 after logging in. My new 600MHz iBook takes a little bit less time but not anything dramatic (about what I expected).



    I don't know. Maybe it's a design thing. But I feel boot times of OSX should be able to be a bit faster. Then again, I always just put my computer to sleep and rarely shutdown anymore.



    On the other hand, I must say that even my old 266 G3 went to power off after selecting shutdown a heck of a lot faster than any windows machine I have seen, including this new 1.8GHz P4. I poked a bit of fun at him saying that his machine still look longer to shutdown than mine.
  • Reply 3 of 43
    sebseb Posts: 676member
    ooh, ooh, a 1.6ghz? Wow, how many fps does it get?



    A quake 3 benchmark will tell us how fast it really is!



    just kidding. I really don't care.



    I've had similar experiences.



    Good to be back on a Mac eh?
  • Reply 4 of 43
    moogsmoogs Posts: 4,296member
    Scott: No kidding, right? Plug-n-play in MS' wet dreams maybe.



    Operation for operation and device for device I just couldn't find anything about the P4 that made me think "gee, we really are lagging behind Wintel technology nowadays." Just the opposite. On nearly a dozen occasions I caught myself thinking or saying "God I am glad I didn't switch!"



    And to think my Mom opted for the P4 over the new iMac because her techno-illiterate friends convinced her the Mac was "limiting her."







    At this point I believe more than ever that all we have to do to stay viable as a platform, is keeping adding a [critical mass of] new users every year, say half a million to a million (not that hard, even at 1GHz - all you have to do is advertise effectively). We don't need 20 or even 10% of the overall PC market to thrive and have kick-ass products offered to us from 3rd party vendors. We're already there.



    As long as MS keeps making decent office suites for Mac (and there's no reason to think they'll stop) I can't think of a single reason to switch...not one. Even then I wouldn't dump my Mac, but rather buy a cheap PC laptop that has MS Office on it so I can use that for business stuff, while conitnuing to use my Mac for everything else. Using 500-1000 MHz G4's sure as hell won't slow you down vs. a P4 on most tasks, that much I'm sure of.



    And so it goes, I guess. I think the reason people should demand better for our hardware is simply because we deserve it, not because "we need to keep up". That implies there's a marketshare war and there simply isn't one. It was lost long ago....





    RRabu: I dunno, I'm sure my Mom's system was not the best 1.6GHz variant available, but its specs were decent enough that if you believe the hype there was no reason to think it wouldn't kick the shit out of my G4/500. It was just weak, period.



    Good news, if you ask me.



    [ 01-28-2002: Message edited by: Moogs ? ]</p>
  • Reply 5 of 43
    I went to my boss's house after work a couple weeks ago to help him set up the new Sony P4 1.5-ish machine with XP he bought for his son.



    I came away from the experience thinking XP was less horrible than I would have anticipated, but I agree with Moogs that there are some things you'd like to do that SHOULD be simple, that end up being impossible to figure out.



    We had an issue with 2 of the 4 users we set up to use the machine, where we couldn't get the dial-up preferences to do what we wanted. The system insisted on dialing up, retrieving mail, and then disconnecting as soon as mail was retrieved. It worked OK with the other two users, even though we had set them up the same way. Screwy.



    There were also issues with setting up the USB printer to work. If you didn't follow this sequence EXACTLY, you'd have problems:



    1. turn on printer

    2. boot up computer

    3. print

    4. shut down computer

    5. turn off printer



    If you forgot to turn the printer on until the PC had booted, then XP went through some kind of "hardware install wizard" even though the printer had already been installed previously. Then, XP would intermittently announce that the printer was not available (a little yellow yield sign in the corner with an exclamation point), even though the printer WOULD print OK.



    And if you took the printer off-line (say, to change the cartridge) while the PC was on, XP would announce that it was not acceptable to "disconnect" a USB device without asking permission first. Of course, the printer hadn't been disconnected, we'd just opened the lid, but XP kept twitching out every time something unexpected things happened to the printer.



    Same kinds of problems hooking up a USB Palm cradle and a USB digital camera.



    We downloaded updated drivers where available (the HP web site had some hilariously convoluted "special" instructions for installing their printer, which was a brand new model, on XP) and this didn't help at all.



    My feeling is that XP is better than 95/98/Me, and actually a step back from 2000, but it's not as bad as I had feared from some of the things I read.



    I feel that all the "driverless" stuff is a bunch of BS. Drivers are still required, and their implementation seems to be made even more complicated by the fact that they're now hidden.



    Oh, and the UI was slower on this expensive P4, than Win2k's UI is on my P3-733, roughly similar to the difference between OS9 and OSX. You don't hear Windows people bitching (at least I don't) that it's not as snappy as the old OS, like Mac people are doing with OSX.
  • Reply 6 of 43
    rraburrabu Posts: 239member
    Yeah. I should probably add a disclaimer to my post. Despite booting up nice and fast, I still chose to spend my money on a new iBook rather than any PC variant. After all, a nice fast boot up time just gets you to a point where you go "wow, I'm glad I own a Mac instead of having to deal with this..." just that much faster.
  • Reply 7 of 43
    What's the obsession with boot times, anyway? My G4/450 under X has now been up for over 16 DAYS.



    The real-world speed comparisons are very interesting, though. I'm a very experienced Mac user, but my only recent experience with Windows has been 98 under VirtualPC, so I really don't have any recent hands-on experience with the dark side. (I like to keep up on all the specs and such, but I don't do Windows any more than necessary.) It's good to hear that they really aren't all that fast.



    Makes me feel a bit better about my dual GHz purchase today.



    Alex
  • Reply 8 of 43
    eskimoeskimo Posts: 474member
    P4 1.6GHz does not necessarily equate a fast PC. I would think that a Mac user more than anyone would recognize that a computer is the sum of it's parts and not soley it's processor. I don't care much for P4's, a P4 1.6GHz is about equal to a 1-1.2GHz PIII for most tasks. But let me make a few guesses about your P4 system you were using Moogs. First I bet it uses SDRAM, probally PC-133. The P4 is extremely bandwidth dependent and doesn't perform nearly as well with SDRAM as it does with DDR or better yet Rambus memory technology. Secondly I bet that your mother's computer is using either an old ATI Rage 128 or Nvidia Vanta graphics chip (most PCs even "fast" ones sold by OEMs are crippled by 3-4 year old graphics cards). Thirdly I'm guessing your Mom's PC cost about $999 or less am I correct? How much did your G4 cost you?



    As for Windows I'm sorry you had the experience you did. I've had nothing but good luck with my Windows "eXPerience", printer installed as soon as I plugged it in, everything else was automatically recognized except my webcam which XP prompted me to download the correct drivers for, required 2 clicks. Compared to previous Windows version it does boot quite quickly and all my apps launch instantaneously. But it's not Mac OS and it never will be.
  • Reply 9 of 43
    zozo Posts: 3,115member
    the only reason I would want a faster PeeCee is to play games better.



    I use Macs to work with... and do some light gaming. (iBook 600 can only do so much)
  • Reply 10 of 43
    My only real objections to XP are that any system digging always seems to bring up pages and pages of very small text, and that the new Start menu takes up most of the screen and is wierdly arranged.



    I have to say, we're not really in any position to criticize Windows users about a new, graphically slower OS (albeit one that still speeds up my computing experience)
  • Reply 11 of 43
    majormattmajormatt Posts: 1,077member
    Your mom didnt take your word over friends? <img src="graemlins/bugeye.gif" border="0" alt="[Skeptical]" />
  • Reply 12 of 43
    dhagan4755dhagan4755 Posts: 2,148member
    I have to throw in my 2¢ here...



    First of all, this jazz about boot times means nothing now we have OS X and the PowerPC. You should never have to turn off your Mac, just put it to sleep. Sleeping uses very little energy, and is on instantaneously with a click. Don't worry about booting again. Additionally, the reason boot times on a PC mean a whole lot because PCs occasionally spend a lot of time crashing and required to reboot to get back to stable.



    My Dell 1.5 P4 loves to crash when I go to turn it off, telling me that Explorer.exe is not responding and the "task" needs to be ended. My Dell feels snappier on a lot of things than my PowerBook G4 at 400 MHz. But consider the fact that the drive in the Dell is 7200 rpm vs the PowerBook's 4200 rpm drive; the 8MB mobile card vs. the 16 MB ATi card on the Dell, etc.



    Windows XP is shit, compared to OS X 10.1.2. I like plugging peripherals into my Mac and having them just work. Windows XP has the occasional freak out when I plug in anything new on the fly. Why should a computer experience be this way? People are getting duped, and if they only realized which side the grass was greener on, the Mac would really flourish.



    Until we get the media bias, and the "myths" straightened out so that people are cognizant of factual differences, the status quo will remain...
  • Reply 13 of 43
    [quote]Originally posted by sizzle chest:

    <strong>



    We had an issue with 2 of the 4 users we set up to use the machine, where we couldn't get the dial-up preferences to do what we wanted. The system insisted on dialing up, retrieving mail, and then disconnecting as soon as mail was retrieved. It worked OK with the other two users, even though we had set them up the same way. Screwy.

    </strong><hr></blockquote>



    Just a suggestion, in the bad old days when I did PC support, the cause for this problem was a setting in Outlook Express. I haven't seen XP, but in older versions of Outllok Express, you went to the Tools menu, then to Options, chose the connections tab, nd unchecked "hang up when finished sending and receiveing email". As to why that option might be set differently in different user logins, ask the smart folks in Redmond...
  • Reply 14 of 43
    [quote]Originally posted by Moogs ?:

    <strong>1a. Microsoft's latest and greatest (XP) is still a major fu*king kludge compared to OS X, no matter how many MHz they throw at it.

    </strong><hr></blockquote>



    Everything is super fast and responds instanty for my p3 800 running xp home.

    [quote]<strong>



    Even for an experienced Windows user, just setting up a printer and an existing dial-up account and getting them to work properly can take 8 hours instead of 8 minutes - literally. Everything you do is still a crap-shoot with Winblows. It might work right off like a Mac, it might take 30 minutes, it might take 3 hours. It's fu*king ridiculous.

    </strong><hr></blockquote>



    XP ships with mounds and mounds of hardware drivers on the cd. I plugged in my epson 600 and it worked, no setup whatsoever. It doesn't even work under os x



    [quote]<strong>

    1b. It seems [that many of the major] system-level control settings can be accesssed from two or three different panels, menus or dialogs, so screwing things up is as easy as ever with MS' finest. Especially for people unfamiliar with the system like uh, new users. Thought it certainly looks "prettier" than previous variants, it's still a POC. Sure, Windows geeks love it, but if you ate oatmeal every morning of your life, you'd have no idea how good eggs and bacon tasted would you?

    </strong><hr></blockquote>



    That's why it comes with different user levels. There is the administrator who has access to system wide settings, and regular users who aren't able to change things that could seriously fark their systems.

    Just like os x.



    [quote]<strong>

    2. At 1.6GHz I fully expected that *everything* I did on that system while setting it up and trying out programs would be *noticeably* (not dramatically, noticeably) faster and more efficient than my puny 500MHz G4 running a big, resource-hungry OS like X.



    Wrong. Totally wrong....



    &gt;XP takes at LEAST twice as long, maybe three times as long to boot up to the desktop.

    </strong><hr></blockquote>



    Have you run some tests on your hard-drive and/or defragged recently. I had the same performance issues after the drive that came with the computer started dying. It would take 10 minutes to boot into XP.

    After having the disk replaced, now I boot into XP in 3 seconds. The little moving bar doesn't even get the chance to get to the other side of the 2 inch wide box.



    [quote]<strong>

    &gt;Simple navigation from the desktop to various control panel dialogs or customizing the start menu takes noticeably more time and effort than similar operations in X.

    </strong><hr></blockquote>



    Granted, the system tools do take longer to access to due the dock in os x. For os x I just hit system prefs in the dock. XP you have to go start--&gt;settings--&gt;control panels and choose each seperately.



    [quote]<strong>

    &gt;Launch times for Word and Excel were slower, Outlook about the same (as Entourage) and IE was the only application of note I could find that launched more quickly on this "blazing" P4 at 1.6 GHz. It was really sad, actually. People are such sheep / suckers, it is not to be believed. Hell even I had gotten suckered into believeing how far "behind" we are as Mac users.

    </strong><hr></blockquote>



    Word and outlook both launch instantaneous for me. I don't even see the loading box. Double click and it's up.



    If that system is a 1.6ghz p4 I'd look into having it checked out. The performance your describing is extremely poor unless you have 64megs of ram and a 5400rpm drive.



    [quote]<strong>

    Admittedly these were unscientific observations, but how scientific does one need them to be when there's supposedly such a HUGE performance gap between the latest P4's and G4's? It should be blatantly obvious how far behind we are, shouldn't it? To my way of thinking, for the average user (Office, Web, digital photos and music) there is no contest. The Time ad pages are right: an 800MHz G4 iMac really *does* crush Pentiums for most ordinairy tasks IMO. You'd think at this point there would be no way, but...I'm sorry this 1.6GHz P4 Dell was NOT very responsive.

    </strong><hr></blockquote>



    I believe you've been mislead about the performance by a computer in serious need a of a tune-up, but your point about Apple's software is valid. In comparison to the windows software provided with xp, apple's software smacks xp's around the park. The provided software is one of the reasons why Apple is still attracting many customers. The stuff that Apple gives away free is better than some $300 windows solutions.



    [quote]<strong>

    Maybe the P4 machine would trounce mine on gaming tasks and such, but for most everyday tasks the Wintel beast is as clumsy and clunky as ever. I'm glad MS didn't shit-can their GUI designers. As long as they continue to work their "magic" there will be a viable Mac OS out there, even if our clock speeds are an order of magnitude "slower."

    </strong><hr></blockquote>



    I personally don't like the windows GUI either. The Macintosh GUI is far superior, both os 9 and X, but when playing games I don't have to look at it, that's why I have a wintel. And you're right about the games part, a pc is a much better deal for games and if all you do is play games than a pc is great for you. But if you spend a lot of time working and not much time playing then a mac is a much better decision.



    [quote]<strong>

    NOT being an apoligst here: I think Apple absolutely needs to get its shit together with the PM line and all lines in general as far as hardware performance goes. But as bad as things have gotten to our way of thinking with all these stop-gap updates and ho-hum revs (latest iMac not withstanding, design *does* count for something it seems)...we're nowhere near as behind as we seem to think.

    </strong><hr></blockquote>



    Yes, Apple really needs to embrace better technology for their pro machines. But macs are not that far behind. Marketing just makes us think that way.



    [quote]<strong>

    After reading the tech papers at Ars and experiencing first hand the differences between a slower-than-average G4 and an average P4 clocked over three times as fast, I am convinced the G4 - for all its limitations - is an inherently better design than the P4 (and probably the Athlon too in at least some respects).



    Just thought I'd throw that out there and see your reactions.

    </strong><hr></blockquote>



    Although the ppc processor is a better technology, better technology is not always faster. Maybe one day the x86 architecture will reach its limits and then the ppc can surpass it but for the time being Intel is milking their technology.
  • Reply 15 of 43
    g4dudeg4dude Posts: 1,016member
    My friend who has a 1.6ghz P4 called me up the other day and told me to install Brood War (i just got it) so I could play him online. So I clicked "install" and less than 30 seconds later it was done and I told him, "done." He's all, "Damn, how fast is your computer, that was hella quick!" I said "400mhz." He went from all amazed to all "ha ha what a piece of shit." Some people are idiots.
  • Reply 16 of 43
    moogsmoogs Posts: 4,296member
    [quote]Originally posted by Eskimo:

    <strong>P4 1.6GHz does not necessarily equate a fast PC... I'm guessing your Mom's PC cost about $999 or less am I correct? How much did your G4 cost you?

    </strong><hr></blockquote>





    Uh, I believe it was around $1500. It was the middle-of-the-road Dell tower (4300 I think) not the el-cheapo one or the super-"fast" one.





    As far as old graphics chips and such, I don't remember exactly which model but it was a relatively new 64MB card, and it wasn't one of the old models (I wouldn't recognized that much). Either way though, we're talking Word and Excel and Control panels, not Studio Max or Q3A, ya know? As far as RAM I honestly don't know what speed it was. Certainly no slower than existing Macs and neither was the mobo I'm guessing.



    But my feeling was that A: Dell is the most popular brand of PC for consumers and prosumers out there, and B: this was a middle-of-the-road configuration so presumably a good reference point performance-wise for a lot of PC geeks. And I dunno - I was just amazed at how drag-ass slow it seemed for such a "modern PC."





    Matt:

    "Your mom didnt take your word over friends?"



    Unfortunately not. I tried for about two weeks to let her know there was a new iMac coming that would really serve her well and that there is nothing short of studip .avi files and home-made .exe animations that she can't use effectively, but she sees her friends more than me and they ended up winning.



    Partly I don't mind because I was sick of taking her tech support calls. You can only explain the same concept over and over so many times before it begins to piss you off.



    Generational thing I guess. She was much better with type-writers. And now that she has this cluster-fook of an OS to run and get confused by, that responsibility of tech help falls to my sister and to Dell. Can I get an Amen, brother?!



  • Reply 17 of 43
    macaddictmacaddict Posts: 1,055member
    PC Troll! Winblowz zealot! Go back to your hole, you PeeCee weenie!



    <img src="graemlins/lol.gif" border="0" alt="[Laughing]" />
  • Reply 18 of 43
    [quote]Originally posted by G4Dude:

    <strong>My friend who has a 1.6ghz P4 called me up the other day and told me to install Brood War (i just got it) so I could play him online. So I clicked "install" and less than 30 seconds later it was done and I told him, "done." He's all, "Damn, how fast is your computer, that was hella quick!" I said "400mhz." He went from all amazed to all "ha ha what a piece of shit." Some people are idiots.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    Installation depends on the speed of what you're copying from and what you're copying to. Not processor. My old 5200cd @ 75mhz with a 7200rpm hard drive would copy faster than a P4 overclocked to 3ghz running a 5400rpm drive.



    [ 01-28-2002: Message edited by: cowofwar ]</p>
  • Reply 19 of 43
    [quote]Originally posted by cowofwar:

    <strong>



    Installation depends on the speed of what you're copying from and what you're copying to. Not processor. My old 5200cd @ 75mhz with a 7200rpm hard drive would copy faster than a P4 overclocked to 3ghz running a 5400rpm drive.

    </strong><hr></blockquote>



    It's not just about how fast the HD is spinning, either. The data has to move from disk to disk too, and the P4 probably has much faster data pathways unless your POS 5200 had an ultra-wide SCSI card!
  • Reply 20 of 43
    g4dudeg4dude Posts: 1,016member
    [quote]Originally posted by cowofwar:

    <strong>



    Installation depends on the speed of what you're copying from and what you're copying to. Not processor. My old 5200cd @ 75mhz with a 7200rpm hard drive would copy faster than a P4 overclocked to 3ghz running a 5400rpm drive.



    [ 01-28-2002: Message edited by: cowofwar ]</strong><hr></blockquote>

    Ya but the point was that he THOUGHT that the processor was the main factor. Also, I have 5400rpm drive and a 24X cd-rom. He has a 7200rpm drive and a 48X cd-rom



    [ 01-28-2002: Message edited by: G4Dude ]</p>
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