G5 First Impressions from a none techy

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
Hello all,



I went to THE MAC STORE today and got my hands on a 1.6 and 1.8 G5. Let me just say that I did no benchmarks, nor do I have any intentions of doing any benchmarks so please do not ask. I think that they are rather silly for the most part. I was interested in performance, however. I am thinking about getting a more powerful machine to resurrect my DAW. I have a friend there and we spend quite a bit of time talking Mac. Frankly, I was a little disappointed with what I saw. My unofficial test for Mac performance is scrolling a long document. When you move the slider, the document should move exactly with the pointer no matter how fast you move it. This is true in OS 9 and Windows. It demonstrates how the OS feels, QE and all that. Well, it did not do all that well. There are no miracles here folks. I know this is just one element of the GUI, but this is what OS X is based on. Yes, yes, I already know about the expected improvements in Panther. I grow a little tired of waiting for software solutions for performance deficiencies.



It could be said that my tests of the 1.8 were a bit unfair because it was encoding MP3s at the time. The CPU meter showed 100% usage. On this machine, I tried iSight for the first time. I was not impressed. The image was quite choppy. The salesman said that it was because the processor was under load. I hooked the iSight up to my iBook and it was still choppy and the salesman said that it was because it was a G3. He promised that the iSight really worked better than was he was able to demonstrate at the time. I will just have to take him at his word. It is quite possible that the dual 2 will be able to handle a processor intensive task and something else without taking a big performance hit. I hope so. But for those who believe that the G5 is the end all to all of Apple's performance issues, IT IS NOT! There is no magic here people so don't drink too deeply of the Kool-Aid.



The architecture may in fact lead to revolutionary performance gains. But the current iteration of the SP G5 is evolutionary at best. I would love to see the real world performance of a dual G4 in comparison. I do not have hands on experience with G4 towers. I never had an interest in them until now. My experience with the 1.6 and 1.8 really made me think that duals are the only way to go for the Mac. I will also acknowledge that either machine would probably be sufficient for audio work I would hope that running 16 stereo tracks with two or three filters per track would not bring the system to its knees. But after the demo I had in the store today, I'm not so sure.



There were some things I liked, the design is nice, though it is really big in person. You can feel a pocket of cool air in the front of the machine and warm air blowing out of the back. I heard the fans going at full blast and it was not that bad. By the way, the air coming from the back was not very hot at all. Good job, Apple. Menus were snappier than I was used to. But remember, I have an iBook.



My conclusion, this may be a very good, if not expensive upgrade for people with a low end Macs. Certain pro tasks may see a nice speed bump in specifically optimized programs. I do not know what kind of improvement it represents for general computing. I still use my PC for heavy lifting. (I am not a PS user.) This is not a slash and burn review. This is not a review. It is the first impression of a not overly technical guy that loves computers on any platform and who happens to be in the market for his next tower. Please don't bog this thread down with benchmarks. Try to keep the discussion in layman's terms. If there is no discussion, that's OK too. I hope this post is helpful to someone.



Cheers.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 82
    About the scrolling. That sounds really weird because I have a G4 800Mhz in my 9600 and a 600 page PDF file in OS X scrolls like a dream. Make sure you have continuous scroll, and not page by page.





    My comp spec G5 comp spec

    800Mhz G4 1.8GHz G5

    50Mhz Bus 800Mhz Bus

    SCSI 10MB/sec throughput Serial ATA 150MB/sec

    OS X 10.2.6 OS X 10.2.7
  • Reply 2 of 82
    fluffyfluffy Posts: 361member
    Yep. On my dual 800 G4, a 40,000 line text document scrolls perfectly in TextEdit, and lags just slightly in Project Builder. Maybe the 256 MB of RAM on the 1.6 was a limiting factor.
  • Reply 3 of 82
    This was in an APPLE STORE ????



    who the heck is running thier marketing/PR ?



    They are in the business of SELLING these machines... why in the world would they demo them while a processor intense task is operating in the background ? ... That's just stupid ! (unless of course the customer ASKS to see that.)



    I agree that the machine should be able to handle it (God knows a $2500 P4 can)('cept when sobig is operating in the background) but what are these SALESpeople thinking ???
  • Reply 4 of 82
    I saw the G5 today for the first time and you know what? It's just a computer...lol. It's a gorgeous box no doubt. I didn't run any benchmarks either, but the OS responsiveness was pretty much the same as my Dua Gig MDD. I must admit that it really is a gorgeous and very well designed case, and I'm sure a dualie would be a dream to edit video and use photoshop on. But some of the kids over at SpyMac are just totally flipping out and literally lusting (complete with innuendo and all) over the damn thing...It's just a computer...lol. Then again, I love my Macs and I love the G5, so once the Dual 3 Ghz comes, I might think about gettin one. Peace
  • Reply 5 of 82
    These are sad days at Apple indeed if a $2500 G5 can't resize windows without lag.
  • Reply 6 of 82
    reynardreynard Posts: 160member
    Mac Voyer and I have some things in common. Except Im no voyeur.

    But I, too, am a non-techy and I had similar impressions with a 1.6 G5 today.



    There is a lot of talk about snappiness on Apples. Or lack of it. Its a hard characteristic to define but I guess it just means navigating the finder basically. (I've seen that this term snappiness triggers some hostility from the pros 'cause of its subjectivity but I think most people accept it as a useful description.) Anyway, the 1.6 did not seem any different from the recent dual G4s Ive tried out. But to me, its plenty good enough.



    I saw that the real techies had downloaded some of their larger files for Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, etc. earlier today. The MacMall guy said their impressions were favorable but that they needed to see more RAM for a legitimate test. I guess they were rather aggresively urging him to get some more ram ASAP and he sounded as though he was going to make an effort.



    So, yeah, as filmaker said, it is just a computer. I think its got a lot of potential. And it certainly more than I need. I would wait until Panther even if I were in the market. Unless Apple promises a free upgrade.



    Oh, one thing that matters to me...it is very quiet. No need to hide its beauty on the floor to help muffle it. (Might be too all for some caddies anyway!)
  • Reply 7 of 82
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,271member
    It's a fair report. I think that the G5 will be good for Apple but I'm not convinced that a SP G5 Powermac is that good of a deal. Apple has only benchmarked the DP Powermac G5 against PC competition for good reason. The SP Powermacs simply won't win in enough areas.



    We're on the right track but as always Apple deems it necessary to weaken the lineup by going SP in the bottom two models. This would be fine had the pricing started at $1699 and $1999 but the current $1999 starting point is flat out assinine for a SP G5.
  • Reply 8 of 82
    powerdocpowerdoc Posts: 8,123member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by hmurchison

    We're on the right track but as always Apple deems it necessary to weaken the lineup by going SP in the bottom two models. This would be fine had the pricing started at $1699 and $1999 but the current $1999 starting point is flat out assinine for a SP G5.



    The G5 is just the beginning of a new line of computers, who will evolve for the next coming three years.

    More dualies, will be avalaible in the future, especially if many people order it.
  • Reply 9 of 82
    mac voyermac voyer Posts: 1,283member
    Just for clarification, it wasn't an Apple Store. It was THE MAC STORE. It is part of a chain of Apple dealers in the NW. The 1.8 had been encoding music for some time and so I found it to be somewhat useful to get a feel for what the machine would be like under load, the fans at full, and the heat at full. All of those things were good. I was pleasantly surprised. It is very well engineered. I am convinced that the performance issue is the fault of OS X, not the hardware. On all hardware, OS X is not even close to the performance of OS 9. I booted into 9 only once out of curiosity and I finally understood what people were talking about when comparing the performance of the two. OS 9 is how X should feel by now, but it doesn't, not even on a G5. Hopefully, Panther will speed things up even more. If you have never felt a truly responsive OS, you may have a hard time understanding all this talk of snappiness. It is extremely important though in at least one respect. If an experienced PC user tries a Mac for the first time, they could very well conclude that the Mac lags behind the PC because it is not as responsive as a PC running Windows.



    Also, on the 1.8 machine, ram was not an issue. It had 2.5 GB. I believe that the 1.6 was stock.



    The shame of it is these machines may well be as fast as Apple claims they are. But because of the snappiness (responsiveness) issue, you will never know it unless you are actually doing some professional task. Also, they really should have found a way to do dP across the line. A Pro class machine should be able to handle to processor intensive tasks at once without compromising performance. The tasks my demo machine was doing were consumer tasks not pro tasks. (Not that the processor would know the difference.) Perhaps with an all dual line up and a speedier OS, Apple really could rule the computing world. Here's to hoping they know what they're doing.
  • Reply 10 of 82
    Third party resellers are famous for having screwed up machines because they're beat on by the general public. I found one at CompUSA that had a kernel extension (OS X) installed that it refused to boot with, and so was just sitting at a console-of-death. Poor thing. I removed the piece of junk software and brought it back to life.



    There is a special spot in heaven for the souls of these machines.



    In other words, expecting performance out of them is not reasonable. My 667MHz G4 handles the encoding for the iSight just fine. The video may not be perfect but there are no speed issues to speak of. What you see at your local reseller may well not be indicative of real life.



    Can you tell I don't like most third-party mac resellers?
  • Reply 11 of 82
    powerdocpowerdoc Posts: 8,123member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Mac Voyer

    Just for clarification, it wasn't an Apple Store. It was THE MAC STORE. It is part of a chain of Apple dealers in the NW. The 1.8 had been encoding music for some time and so I found it to be somewhat useful to get a feel for what the machine would be like under load, the fans at full, and the heat at full. All of those things were good. I was pleasantly surprised. It is very well engineered. I am convinced that the performance issue is the fault of OS X, not the hardware. On all hardware, OS X is not even close to the performance of OS 9. I booted into 9 only once out of curiosity and I finally understood what people were talking about when comparing the performance of the two. OS 9 is how X should feel by now, but it doesn't, not even on a G5. Hopefully, Panther will speed things up even more. If you have never felt a truly responsive OS, you may have a hard time understanding all this talk of snappiness. It is extremely important though in at least one respect. If an experienced PC user tries a Mac for the first time, they could very well conclude that the Mac lags behind the PC because it is not as responsive as a PC running Windows.



    Also, on the 1.8 machine, ram was not an issue. It had 2.5 GB. I believe that the 1.6 was stock.



    The shame of it is these machines may well be as fast as Apple claims they are. But because of the snappiness (responsiveness) issue, you will never know it unless you are actually doing some professional task. Also, they really should have found a way to do dP across the line. A Pro class machine should be able to handle to processor intensive tasks at once without compromising performance. The tasks my demo machine was doing were consumer tasks not pro tasks. (Not that the processor would know the difference.) Perhaps with an all dual line up and a speedier OS, Apple really could rule the computing world. Here's to hoping they know what they're doing.




    Panther should fix the issues of snappiness of Mac OS X. Classic is faster than OS X, but is extremely lack in others important aeras : stability (mac OS 9 sucks, i do not support it anymore, and i can't wait for my G5 in order to change them), multitasking.

    QE also brings new visual effects that are extremely power hungry.



    I think it's unfair to compare os 9 with OS X , it would like to compare windows with DOS. Dos is a lot snappier definitively ...



    Anyway Panther on a G5 will improve the snapiness, and thus the overall user experience. Panther will be the really fist mature os X interface, both in term of software avalaible, than in term of speed, services and stability (this quality is already here since the beginning).
  • Reply 12 of 82
    I run Jaguar on a 15" 1Ghz G4 PB with 768 MB of RAM and it scrolls documents just fine and feels plenty snappy. Tell me, what program were you using to scroll docs with - it wasnt MS Word was it? I think you are being overly harsh on the G5 as regards the processor load - I dont know of any processors that when under a 100% load can run other stuff smoothly. No doubt the G5 will crunch those MP3's twice as fast as a G4, but even a supercomputer can not run faster than 100%. Multi-tasking is as good as the available processor capacity and that is the same on a PC or a Mac.
  • Reply 13 of 82
    gee4orcegee4orce Posts: 165member
    so what you are saying is that you want iTunes to NOT use 100% of the CPU (and therefore cripple it's own performance) ? Well, if that's what you want, then you can use Unix's 'nice' command, to lower the process priority.



    I don't think I've ever seen text not keep up with the scroll bars, except in something like Hydra with syntax colouring turned on and a very long document.



    You really didn't give the G5 or the iSight a fair chance. Go back, turn off iTunes, and I think you'll be impressed.



    ...and yes, I know you don't want to hear this, but Panther really does make a huge difference.
  • Reply 14 of 82
    10.2.7, aka Smeagol, on the G5 can be considered a "hack job", FYI. It's just a quick fix to get the OS to *run* on the new processor. It is very un-optimized for the G5 and uses the old compiler that's designed for the G3s and G4s. It was stated months ago that Smeagol would be slow and would make the G5 look slower than it really is.



    Panther is the OS that is *meant* for this machine not just because it offers performance gains across the board but also because it uses the updated gcc. Panther will make the G5 fly compared to Smeagol.
  • Reply 15 of 82
    satchmosatchmo Posts: 2,699member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Brad





    Panther is the OS that is *meant* for this machine not just because it offers performance gains across the board but also because it uses the updated gcc. Panther will make the G5 fly compared to Smeagol.




    This was often the said of the first release of OSX...Jaguar was supposed to make G4's fly. Now we have to wait for Panther to make the G5 fly.



    I hope it's true. I think even many of the Apple faithful are beginning to grow tired of hearing this "excuse".
  • Reply 16 of 82
    Quote:

    Originally posted by satchmo

    .Jaguar was supposed to make G4's fly.



    It flies for me baby! You not happy? And who are "the Apple faithfull" when they are at home? Are they some kind of sect or somethin? Are they waiting for judgement day?
  • Reply 17 of 82
    Quote:

    Originally posted by satchmo

    This was often the said of the first release of OSX...Jaguar was supposed to make G4's fly. Now we have to wait for Panther to make the G5 fly.



    I hope it's true. I think even many of the Apple faithful are beginning to grow tired of hearing this "excuse".




    Especially when you have to pay the full price for each new release!



    <subject change/>



    I find it very funny that many here were questioning the sanity of Robert from PL when he claimed that the dual 1.6 7457 would beat the single G5 in certain real world tasks. It doesn't seem that unlikely now.....



    End of Line
  • Reply 18 of 82
    Don't get any ideas yet guys.... The G5 will be VERY VERY good, but not yet! we need panther. also the 256MB of ram probly isn't that great for the curent OS X

    10.2.7 witch is NOT made for the G5 it doesn't take advantage of ANY of the G5 features.



    There ONLY goal for 10.2.7 is to let it run with onpar preformance of 10.2 on a G4.

    heck the 10.2.7 I heard it just was seeded for NON G5 users. This is NOT the OS that will do anything all that great on the G5.



    so sorry to say it guys... but WE HAVE TO WAIT FOR PANTHER to be the fastest computer..
  • Reply 19 of 82
    yevgenyyevgeny Posts: 1,148member
    And how would windows work better under 100% CPU load? I write very processor intensive software- it is common for me to peg the CPU at 100% for 5to 60 minutes at a time doing data processing. On my Dell (P4, 512 RAM), I sometimes loose the ability to quickly switch between programs. The UI is horribly sluggish.



    testing a system at 100% load is a worthless measure of speed. It is like seeing how many things you can juggle if both of your hands are already full.
  • Reply 20 of 82
    kidredkidred Posts: 2,402member
    I'm sorry but performance issues? This is the biggest crap I've read so far. Whines about G5s running intensive apps in the background with stock ram and running a TWEAKED/HACKED 10.2.6!? Copping iSight is ah, running on a um, BETA iCHAT APP!!!! Let's see, it's also dependent on the um, CONNECTION!!!!



    This is crap folks. This is the best we have or have had. This is not the absolute best, there never will be. That's not depressing, it's common fricking sense. Jaguar did make G4s fly. Put a G4 with jag next to a G4 running 10.0 or 10.1 and you'll see which one flies.



    And to those trolling saying the G5s are expensive. Troll boys, go to dell and spec out the differences and compare prices.
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