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Thread: an Engine to run new world apps.

  1. #1
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    Default an Engine to run new world apps.

    By "new world" I mean written to take advantage of altivec routines. I'm trying to settle on a machine that can run things like indesign CS at a pretty good clip. I would LIKE to keep it to under a thousand (since spending over $10K on my maxxed out 6100 system YEARS ago - and ALMOST that for my 7500).

    But I was wondering which path might have more wisdom;

    1. a legacy low-end G4 (like a sawtooth, DA, GE, etc..) with a processor upgrade (to the mid-teens in GHz).

    2. A new-ER machine like an MDD (read TZs experiences with great relish)

    or
    3. Something like a refurbed G5 (such as offered by the apple store) for around 1K.

    My workhorse B&W needs an upgrade too - maybe someone could recommend something (not sure if I want to play the powerlogix processor lottery or not!!)

    SOOOO - all that being said - does anyone have a recommendation re: the three strategies? I'm thinking the G5 is the least attractive of these from the perspective of hardware compatibility.


    Thanks so much for the great advice from the past - and (I'm sure) the future, too.

    Jonathan


    PS - Also - what's the ultimate lowdown on AGP? Seems I've heard that they are fast - but also that people seem to be pulling AGP card in favor of PCI.

  2. #2
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    Lightbulb

    If you up your grand by $500 you can drive away with PCI-X G5 DP that will last for years.
    Apple Store Specials

    You may need to figure in $300 for RAM along with disk drives, controllers, no matter what.

    AGP over PCI? Look for 133MHz bus. AGP 4x. I wouldn't even consider pre-AGP systems or that won't take a dual.

  3. #3
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    Default PCI-X... oh right.

    Guess that's the 3.3v bus, right?

    Should I suppose that includes G4s incl. quicksilver and up? Maybe I shouldn't be so lazy and just look it up...!

  4. #4
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    Default The THING is...

    It looks like there are lots of 800MHz+ quicksilvers around in the sub-$500 range... and all other thing being equal - that means I'd save about a grand compared to going the G5 route. AND I'd probably be able to get a cheap upgrade to 1.5-2.0 GHz sooner than the G5. Probably less hardware issues (= new purchases) than with the G5 too. Do you think those are safe assumptions?

    Jonathan

    I checked it out - looks like the QS has 133 MHz PCI bus.

  5. #5
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan
    2. A new-ER machine like an MDD (read TZs experiences with great relish)

    or
    3. Something like a refurbed G5 (such as offered by the apple store) for around 1K.
    If performance is your biggest concern, I concur with TZ: push your budget to about $1500 and get yourself a refurbished dual 2ghz G5 and add more RAM as budget allows. It's a grievous error to look at the clock speeds of G4 upgrades and assume you can comparable or even reasonably reduced performance & value vs an actual G5. The G5 changed and improved in a great deal more ways than just getting a processor with higher clock speeds. While a dual 1.8ghz G4 upgrade can do wonders for a legacy machine you already had setup and invested in, a pair of 7447A's on a 133mhz bus ultimately can't stand up to a pair of G5's on a 900mhz+ bus. I know, I've got a dual 1.8ghz G5 and a DA G4 with a dual 1.6ghz Giga upgrade. When the chips are down, the G5 wins by a much greater margin than a mere 200mhz would account for.

    The only arguments I can see to go the G4 to upgrade route is that if you have a really heavy (and I mean really heavy) investment in existing equipment that won't just seamlessly hook up to a G5, or if money is really so tight that a few hundred will make or break the ability to made the upgrade happen at all.

    PS - Also - what's the ultimate lowdown on AGP? Seems I've heard that they are fast - but also that people seem to be pulling AGP card in favor of PCI.
    You're thinking of PCI Express, which is a completely different animal than PCI. PCI is the oldest expansion card standard still shipping, and it's on its way to a slow retirement. For high performance throughput, PCI hasn't been a contender for some time now. AGP can still throw it down for the time being, but it too is a well-aged standard and being superseded by PCI Express, which is what's in all the current generation of shipping G5's.

    PCI-X must not be confused with PCI Express. They are not the same. PCI-X was mostly backward compatible with PCI (save for that 5v vs 3.3v issue) and was used in the higher end G5's until it was replaced by PCI Express. PCI Express is in no way backward compatible with PCI.

  6. #6
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    Default Get out of TOWN!!

    900 MHz bus??? WTF? Really???

    I'd seen some benchmarks - I think over at XLR8 that lead me to think that the G5s really didn't have much advantage over the G4s - so that the clock speeds of each model were somewhat interchangeable. Of course - I do know that the upgrade cards are never QUITE what they're made OUT to be. But if it can get me 75 percent there - then I'd be happy. Okay - well, maybe I'll start to seriously consider going G5... JUST in time for G6, no doubt!!

  7. #7
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    Default

    The DA G4s (133 system bus, 4X AGP) are actually a better startng point for a G4 upgrade scenario if you can find one. QS seem to suffer from an unusually high percentage of logic board failures.

    I concur however that it's better to get a G5 if you can.

    if money is really so tight that a few hundred will make or break the ability to made the upgrade happen at all.
    Hey, I resemble that remark!

  8. #8
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan
    900 MHz bus??? WTF? Really???

    I'd seen some benchmarks - I think over at XLR8 that lead me to think that the G5s really didn't have much advantage over the G4s - so that the clock speeds of each model were somewhat interchangeable. Of course - I do know that the upgrade cards are never QUITE what they're made OUT to be. But if it can get me 75 percent there - then I'd be happy. Okay - well, maybe I'll start to seriously consider going G5... JUST in time for G6, no doubt!!
    No lie, the G5's run their frontside bus at half the speed of the CPU, so the 1.8's have a 900mhz bus, the 2ghz have 1ghz, etc. Mind you, this doesn't of course, translate into 9 times the performance of an 100mhz bus machine, but I was trying to point out that G5's have improved architecture throughout, all of which has impact upon overall performance. Perhaps the most notable example of the enormous leap in bus speed is that in G5's, L3 cache is irrelevant because the main system's RAM is running as fast as L3 cache would.

    Benchmarks have shown that in many tasks, a G5 doesn't always outpace a G4 running at close to the same block speed by a wide margin, but it's vital to keep in mind that every type of task is different and so too can be the corresponding performance gaps between different machines. Even within Photoshop, different actions and different filters put different kinds of stress on the computer's resources.

    I expect you could get your 75% out of an upgraded G4. If you're looking at throwing down close to a grand anyway though, I feel you need to take a hard look at the question if it's worthwhile to save that few hundred now and end up with a machine's capable but old both in literal years and architecture, or pushing a little more to get not only potentially much greater performance, but also longevity. Not only is a G5 better at the core, any G5 you get will have come off the assembly line much more recently, have fewer hours on it and might even come with warranty depending on how you acquire it.

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