iMac Video

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
Considering that this is Temporary Insanity, I don't think it's too offensive starting a thread like this. If I'm wrong, I apologize.



But...



Apple's OS is becoming more and more integrated with the video card. Just as it was important that all products moved towards Altivec, it's very important that all machines migrate to having the proper video specs to run Apple's OS properly. It's one thing to say that a person should buy a PowerMac if they want to play a third party game like Doom III, but the OS should run close to optimally on all hardware.



That's not to say I don't like the new iMac (I do), but it is far to argue that the video card isn't compelling even if you don't want to play games.



Just my two cents for Temporary Insanity.



Thank you. Good night.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 14
    placeboplacebo Posts: 5,767member
    I seriously think that the OS thinks like this: "Okay, I'll do as much as I can with his video card, but I'll do the extra with the CPU."





    I think having a nice video card is to free up the processor, not to completely handle everything thrown at it. I think it goes a little like getting hardware accelerated audio: the processor still has to do the sound variety and load the sound files, but it can delegate the Doppler effects and 7.1 playback to the sound card.



    A G5 is a shameful thing to waste, and if Photoshop ends up being CoreImage based, we can only hope that CI uses the CPU as well as the GPU.
  • Reply 2 of 14
    bungebunge Posts: 7,329member
    I do think the OS does exactly what you say, but it's important to keep as much on the GPU as possible. That frees up CPU cycles for everything else you're doing beneath the gloss of the GUI.
  • Reply 3 of 14
    Well, OS X runs real smooth on my iBook G4, which doesn't have a card nearly as fast as the iMac G5. I'm not quite sure what the problem is.
  • Reply 4 of 14
    ensoniqensoniq Posts: 129member
    Though I enjoy debate as much as the next person, and am NOT posting this as an attack on the thread creator or the countless others who agree with him, let me make an observation: The whining about video specs (not just on the iMac but on most of Apple's machines) is becoming tedious. I've seen it on countless sites and countless threads, and it's time for a reality check.



    I understand that gamers may WANT a "better" video card. I understand that video professionals may NEED a "better" video card. And the PowerMac G5 can be built to order for the most demanding gaming geeks and video pros among you.



    However, the fact is that since Apple includes the 5200 Ultra as the graphics chip in their PowerMac G5 systems, PowerBook G4 systems, and now the iMac G5, you have to believe one of two things:



    1 - Either Apple's design teams are intentionally ignoring customers and including graphics chips they know "suck". Or;



    2 - Apple's design teams know that for the average customer, both consumer and pro, the 5200 Ultra w/64 MB of VRAM is all that Tiger will NEED to run Core Image properly.



    I happen to believe in #2. Yes...there are some advantages to other graphics processors, like gaming framerate and faster processing of the most complex video applications. But nothing that makes E-Mail faster. Or web browsing. Or web design. Or word processing. Or desktop publishing. Or music creation. Or medical research. Or playing games properly optimized for the Mac using reasonable (if not the best possible) graphics settings.



    Apple lists the 5200 as being completely supported in Core Image. That means that even though some functions of Core Image MAY run faster on faster GPUs, there is nothing that the 5200 will NOT be able to do that the others can. The 5200 may just do it a little more slowly. And that ignores the RAM speed, bus speed, processor speed, and everything else that will be involved in the overall graphics performance of the machine.



    For example: Apple claims the new iMac G5 handles graphics nearly 3 times as fast (in some select instances of course) as the previous iMac G4. How is that possible? They are using the same exact 64 MB 5200 Ultra in both machines. But the new iMac G5 is AGP 8X instead of AGP 4X, and the bus speed is 533/600 instead of 167, and the RAM is 400 instead of 333, and the processor is 1.6/1.8 instead of 1.25 GHz.



    So clearly, the same video card with the same amount of RAM isn't the only part of the equation. And if Apple's top Tiger designers were sitting in the labs with the PowerBook G4, and PowerMac G5 and the iMac G5 and saying "you know, this 5200 Ultra really sucks!", would Steve have let them get released? Do we really believe Apple wouldn't have included better video if they felt that the 5200 absolutely destroyed the whole Apple experience? Again, I just can't believe that's true.



    Let me make it clear...I am not a gamer, and I am not a video pro. I'm an Apple fan for over 20 years (since back in the Apple ][ days) who is typing this on an iMac DV 400 with a Rage 128/8 MB video processor. I've enjoyed it for 5 years. With 512 MB of RAM installed, it works better today running Panther than it did running the OS 8.5 it came with. But after debating over an eMac purchase for a long time (since I felt the iMac G4 machines were over-priced), the iMac G5 announced today has nothing to apologize for. It's significantly better, faster, and cheaper than what it's replacing. And it's likely that the new iMac G5 is finally going to replace this aging Grape gumdrop with something that I expect I'll be happy with for another 5 years.



    No amount of whining from a very select, somewhat elitist, group of "need-it-alls" is going to convince me that the new iMac G5 isn't designed properly and suitably powered for exactly the group it's targeting. That group is ME ... not the tiny percentage of tech-heads who obsess over every last frame of gaming performance, or who worry about the few milliseconds speed difference in rendering polygons. The 5200 is the right video chip for the right price for Apple's stockholders and the average consumer. No one claims that it's the best available, not even Apple. They just explain that it works well, and is fully compliant with Core Image, which is all I need to know.



    Again, the PowerMac G5 with build to order video is available to the rest of you who insist you're special. So buy one and enjoy.



    -- Ensoniq
  • Reply 5 of 14
    bungebunge Posts: 7,329member
    Ensoniq,



    We seem to be in the same boat. I was an Apple ][c user, and still love Apple and now Macs. I even love the new iMac.



    My main point with the thread though, was simply to point out that a good graphics solution is necessary even for people who aren't graphics pros (I'm not) or hardcore gamers (I'm not). Does this card/machine fit the bill? I'd say it's probably pretty damn good for most things, you're right.



    But I simply had to disagree with the argument I constantly here: buy a PS2 or Xbox. Those do not help me run iPhoto, iMovie or use Expose. And with more GPU integration coming, I was just saying it's a legitimate concern for even average users and not just gamers.



    EDIT: PS I already have an original Dual 1.8 G5. I'm not a hardcore gamer but I'll have to play DOOM III. I'm just waiting for them to release it so I can get my upgraded video good enough to play it well.
  • Reply 6 of 14
    ensoniqensoniq Posts: 129member
    Bunge - Your question about the longevity of the 5200 Ultra is completely valid. Ironically, most of what I posted was not brought on by your post, which was a thoughtful, logically presented question, but by the bombardment of "the new iMac sucks because..." posts I read all over these and other forums. My little "rant" just ended up here because it was the thread I was in when I decided I had to share my long-winded opinion.



    Your point that the 5200 Ultra may not have been Apple's best choice (considering there are already a number of faster processors available) can't be argued with. I completely agree that other video chipsets exist that are better, and faster, and probably hold more overall longevity than the 5200 Ultra does.



    I'm just guessing that Apple used the 5200 Ultra because they decided that it was more important to have the machine available at the newer lower pricing points than it was to include a faster graphic chipset. For 80% of who they are targeting, I think the lower price is more important than Core Image performance.



    That leaves another 20% of those who'll buy the iMac. I fall into the remaining 15% who DO know what Core Image is, understand what it's benefits will be, and yet will besatisfied that the 5200 Ultra is Core Image compatible. Maybe the 5200 Ultra is not the top of the line in speed, but it IS fully, functionally Core Image compliant. The remaining 5% are the ones who insist that the 5200 Ultra is a disaster right now today, and yet STILL are looking at the G5 iMac because the price compared to the PowerMac+Display combination is much more appealing.



    I believe lots of PowerMac G5 owners convinced themselves they needed 3 PCI slots they would never use, and extra drive bays they would never use, and dual processors they would only rarely take full advantage of, all to get the ONLY shipping G5 machine and an upgradable video card.



    If you're willing to give up the upgradable video card, the iMac G5 is a significantly better (and more logical) choice for a lot of people who decided (or convinced their clueless parents) that they "had" to have a G5 tower. I'm guessing a whole lot of PowerMac G5 owners who spent $3000 (give or take) for their towers and 17/20" monitors are wishing they could get their $1000+ back and "downgrade" to the iMac G5 today.



    -- Ensoniq
  • Reply 7 of 14
    3.14163.1416 Posts: 120member
    Quote:

    I'm just guessing that Apple used the 5200 Ultra because they decided that it was more important to have the machine available at the newer lower pricing points than it was to include a faster graphic chipset.



    Maybe. But the 9600XT upgrade for the towers is only $50, and I doubt Apple's taking a loss on it. I'll grant that for the $1300 model the 5200FX is (barely) adequate, but it's ridiculous that a $1900 "consumer" machine won't be able to play modern games well.



    Quote:

    I'm guessing a whole lot of PowerMac G5 owners who spent $3000 (give or take) for their towers and 17/20" monitors are wishing they could get their $1000+ back and "downgrade" to the iMac G5 today.



    Doubtful. Dual processors are very nice, and contrary to your implication it's virtually impossible to *not* take advantage of them with OS X.
  • Reply 8 of 14
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,302member
    Quote:

    but it's ridiculous that a $1900 "consumer" machine won't be able to play modern games well.



    That's tricky wordplay. Pricing has no bearing in offerings. I could purchase an Emachines computer and run a Viewsonic 9MP LCD for $6000 and claim the same. "My $6500 doesn't run Doom III well"



    The arguement about the iMac always centers around gaming. Doom III is a nice game but there are hundreds of thousands of buyers who don't give a rats arse about how well Doom runs. It's the hard thing about being a geek. We get jaded over things that "normal" consumers will be estatic about.



    Gamers should go where Gamers are. A SFF PC with the money spent on AGP/RAM improvements is a far better option. Macs aren't PCs..they never have been. I love/hate the way Macs are now because they blaze their own trails. I don't want Apple to become some drab commodity vendor.
  • Reply 9 of 14
    3.14163.1416 Posts: 120member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by hmurchison

    [B]That's tricky wordplay. Pricing has no bearing in offerings. I could purchase an Emachines computer and run a Viewsonic 9MP LCD for $6000 and claim the same. "My $6500 doesn't run Doom III well"



    And if Emachines didn't offer those components unbundled, that would indeed be a reasonable criticism. But they do, so it isn't.



    Quote:

    Gamers should go where Gamers are. A SFF PC with the money spent on AGP/RAM improvements is a far better option. Macs aren't PCs..they never have been. I love/hate the way Macs are now because they blaze their own trails. I don't want Apple to become some drab commodity vendor.



    Once again, "consumer who sometimes wants to play games" does not equal "hardcore gamer". The former are far more numerous than the latter.
  • Reply 10 of 14
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,302member
    Quote:

    Once again, "consumer who sometimes wants to play games" does not equal "hardcore gamer". The former are far more numerous than the latter.



    Duly noted but at the Apple Paris Expo they had Unreal running and I haven't heard many complaints. The "picture" you all are trying to paint is of a card that simply cannot even play games from 2003 and that's not the truth. If you want to play Doom you need a kick ass card. The 5200fx Ultra will handle most of the Mac games shipping now. Distorting reality to serve your thesis isn't going to help.



    The iMac is what it is..you can game quite well on it and it will be popular. The same boo-birds that panned the iPods are back in force(farce?). Everyone thinks they have their finger on the pulse of consumers.
  • Reply 11 of 14
    Maybe the people screaming for a better video card ought to wait and see what it's actually like playing games on the the new iMac before slamming it. If you believe apple, it is much better than the old model and many people played games on that.
  • Reply 12 of 14
    ionyzionyz Posts: 491member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by 3.1416

    Maybe. But the 9600XT upgrade for the towers is only $50, and I doubt Apple's taking a loss on it. I'll grant that for the $1300 model the 5200FX is (barely) adequate, but it's ridiculous that a $1900 "consumer" machine won't be able to play modern games well.



    They have have chose the "lowly" 5200 FX on cooling concerns too. Cube owners would love to have a 9800 in there, but its too hot. What about the fanless 9000? Still too much heat in a small place. Perhaps the FX produces less heat then the 9600XT.



    Quote:

    Originally posted by 3.1416

    Doubtful. Dual processors are very nice, and contrary to your implication it's virtually impossible to *not* take advantage of them with OS X.




    Duals are great, and once your used to having them its hard getting used to singles. But the iMac G5 makes a very compelling case with its price versus a Power Mac + Display. The loss of duals depends how you use your machine. Some feel it worse then others.
  • Reply 13 of 14
    3.14163.1416 Posts: 120member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by hmurchison

    The "picture" you all are trying to paint is of a card that simply cannot even play games from 2003 and that's not the truth. If you want to play Doom you need a kick ass card. The 5200fx Ultra will handle most of the Mac games shipping now.



    I'm willing to reconsider my position after iMacs are available and their performance can be tested. But Doom 3 is a valid consideration; Apple specifically mentions it on their iMac pages, and I expect many more games in the future to use its engine (possibly modified to be even more complex, as was done with the Quake engines). Reports I've seen from PCs with the 5200FX are not encouraging.



    Quote:

    The iMac is what it is..you can game quite well on it and it will be popular. The same boo-birds that panned the iPods are back in force(farce?). Everyone thinks they have their finger on the pulse of consumers.



    We'll see. Don't get me wrong; I expect the iMac3 to be quite successful, much better than the iLamp, although not up to iMac1 levels. (Which isn't an entirely fair comparision, since there was no iBook or eMac back then). It's just my belief that Apple is costing themselves sales and profits by skimping on the GPU. Apple's market research is far from infallible; the cube is the obvious example, and there was the single 1.8 G5 that had to be hastily upgraded to a dual because nobody was buying it. Sometimes the detractors are actually right.
  • Reply 14 of 14
    stoostoo Posts: 1,490member
    Quote:

    The 5200fx Ultra will handle most of the Mac games shipping now. Distorting reality to serve your thesis isn't going to help.



    Of course it should handle present games. It's games shipping in one or two years, halfway (or less) through the machines' life cycle that are in question.



    Remember that the 5200 Ultra is 50% faster(-ish) than the plain 5200, in both GPU core and memory clock speed.



    The Radeon 9000 is a bad choice. The Radeon 9x00 series isn't fully CoreImage compliant until the 9500 and up (The nine is presumably meant to mean DirectX 9 hardware, but the 9000/9100/9200 aren't full DirectX 9 (or CoreImage) hardware. ATI's naming scheme gets worse from hereon in. ).
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