MacSpeedZone's Performance News And Information Page

Updated: Saturday, September 22, 2001


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Current Performance News & Information Page

Chip Performance & Information

  • The Motorola [7450] G4+ Processor Core -- Does It Make The Cut? - Of most markatable note is that the G4 contains superscalar SIMD, a feature formerly found only (well, for consumers) in x86 processors (the P55c for integer, and the K6-2 for floating-point). If I recall correctly, AltiVec is a single precision floating-point SIMD (not counting the integer stuff) capable of essentially the same peak stuff as SSE (save for the MAC instruction and a few others, which are faster, and possibly some others are slower). G4+ has two pipes going into the SIMD doodads which can double peak ... well, don't let me get ahead of myself here
  • In-depth report: The New PowerMac G4 at 466-733Mhz - Macs have been stuck at 500Mhz watching as PCs speed past to 800Mhz, 1Ghz, 1.5Ghz. This PowerMac is not only faster, but includes enhancements to the motherboard that take it beyond a simple speed boost. Thankfully, Apple pulled it off, and the 500Mhz barrier has been broken
  • MWSF - Motorola Releases Details On Latest G4 Chips - The keynote speech included the pleasant surprise of brand new 733MHz G4 processors from Motorola. Rather than these chips simply being overclocked versions of the old chip (MPC7410), the new chip, the MPC7450, includes a host of new features and performance enhancements
  • Pentium 4 review - the chips are down - Intel's hype machine is busy telling the world how much faster the internet is with its new Pentium 4 processor, but what does the next-generation chip architecture really have to offer
  • Pentium IV versus G4
  • How much does the Altivec unit on Motorola's G4 chip improve floating-point performance? - On my modified HINT floating-point benchmark code, Altivec vs. code which isn't Altivec-enabled on the same machine, a Power Macintosh 7300 with a 450 Mhz G4 processor upgrade, results in
  • Intel's New Pentium 4
  • Pushing the Mac envelope - Fourteen months after the introduction of the Power Mac G4 -- an introduction that was hobbled for six months by the inability to produce quantities of the 500MHz G4 chips Apple rashly promised would power the high end of Apple's pro-desktop line -- Motorola still hasn't come out with a chip that exceeds a clock speed of 550MHz
  • Could Apple make the x86 leap? - What would it take for Apple to switch from PowerPC chips? Developers said the gap really isn't all that wide.
  • 2G Java Chips Take Accelerator Role - Second-generation twists on Java silicon are taking shape separately at two little-known startups that aim to bust through the language's performance and memory-management problems
  • What's happening at Motorola? - No matter how Steve Jobs chooses to spin it, there's no getting past the fact that the speed of the chips that power Apple's Power Mac line hasn't increased in a year.
  • IBM plots next PowerPC chips - The new G3 chips include the 750CX and 750CXe, code-named SideWinder, both of which will be aimed at portable computers, among other devices. The 750CX will range in speed from 350MHz to 550MHz, while the 750Cxe will range from 500MHz to 700MHz
  • Where the hell is... the PowerPC 'G4 Plus'? - Motorola has of late been ominously quiet about the development of the PowerPC. Last October, the chip company unveiled its 'G4 Plus' project to rebuild the current PowerPC 7400 (aka G4) CPU. That chip slots in between the current G4 and G5, the next processor listed on Motorola's current (ish) PowerPC roadmap
  • Intel chip will be bigger, more expensive to make - ntel's upcoming Willamette processor eventually will reach speeds beyond 2 GHz, but the size of the chip is raising questions about how much it will cost to make
  • Samsung preps 1.6-GHz Alpha as Intel, AMD competitor - Samsung Electronics is developing an Alpha microprocessor that will compete with the 64-bit processors of Intel Corp. and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. and feature a clock speed as high as 1.6 GHz
  • IBM doubles the data New memory system designed to enhance server performance -IBM rolled out a new line of computer memory modules that it says helps speed the flow of data on the Internet by doubling the amount that flows between a network server's memory banks and its central processor
  • Story: Who's Faster at 1 GHz? AMD or Intel? - Now that we've tested 1 GHz systems built around CPUs from both AMD and Intel, here are some things we think you need to know.
  • Story: 1 GHz: How Much Is Enough? - AMD beat Intel to the 1 GHz punch last week, and systems with AMDūs 1 GHz arrived at PC Labs for testing. Weūre also currently testing the first systems built around Intelūs 1 GHz processor. Iūll report on those results next week. Right now letūs tackle the question of just how fast 1 GHz really is.
  • The G4 and the K7: an architectural look at two post-RISC processors - The G4 and the K7 are both fascinating and powerful modern processors. Each represents the current peak of performance for one of two rival platforms that have been at each other's throats since the dawn of personal computing. Though some would have us believe that the K7 is from Mars and the G4 is from Venus, both processors actually have quite a bit in common
  • Motorola Hard At Work On Merced-Toaster G5 Chip - While most Macintosh users are still anticipating an eventual upgrade to G4 power, Motorola is already hard at work developing its next generation CPU -- the PowerPC 7500 or G5, which should be ready for consumer release within the next 24 months.
  • Hardware Helper: You and the G4 - The G4 operates similarly to the G3. The FPU (Floating Point Unit, the execution unit on the chip that handles sophisticated math computations) is more powerful on a G4 than on a G3, but the general processor is about the same. In fact, the G4 was designed with the premise that changes to the G3 architecture only be made if they produce multiprocessing or multimedia performance gains on the G4. There are other hardware tweaks on the G4 besides the faster FPU -- the memory management unit (MMU) has been improved to support more physical RAM as well as up to a 2MB L2 cache. However, the big difference between the G4 and the G3 is the addition of a 128-bit vector execution unit and the necessary on-chip hardware to control it and its new instructions. It's the technology Apple calls Velocity Engine, though Motorola prefers to call it AltiVec.
  • In-Depth Look at Speculative Processing and G4 Upgrades - Newer Technology sent Insanely Great Mac documents regarding their Speculative Processing efforts for their G4 products. This week, PowerLogix published its own FAQ on the Speculative Processing issue. Additionally, Sonnet has sent a statement to IGM on the matter for this article. The issue is somewhat confusing, and quite frankly, becoming increasingly out of date. A while back there was a good deal of attention placed on Speculative Processing with G3 upgrades, and this week we're revisiting the issue for G4 upgrades. This article should inform readers what the Speculative Processing situation is and where they stand in regards to a G4 upgrade.
  • G3/G4 Upgrades and Speculative Addressing - "Speculative Addressing (also called Speculative Access or Speculative Processing) is a method of achieving greater microprocessor performance. Technically, the processor fetches extra data from locations near where it is currently getting data. The processor is fetching this other nearby data speculating that the processor will eventually need it as the current execution stream proceeds. [However,], it can cause unintended problems on older Macs that aren't properly set up to handle SA." This has been an issue with G3 upgrades and now G4 upgrades in certain (primarily older) Power Macs.
  • What is RISC? Design Matters - People keep discussing what is and what is not RISC without really understanding it. RISC is just a name we've given on a certain design philosophy (that came from a collection of techniques to make processors better. So this will be a crash course in what exactly is RISC.
  • Motorola G5 Chip, Slated to Run at 2GHz, Could Debut as Early as 2001 - Mac users in a few years can expect their machines to run at more than 2GHz if plans to rapidly increase the speed of the PowerPC processor pay off.
  • PowerPC The Next Generation - So what will be called a G5 and why? When will it happen? I think the answer is the G5 will come out (and be called a G5) when Motorola marketing wants it to. There are no hard and fast rules as to what is a generation of processor. And this applies to the x86 camp as well. The PentiumPro, PentiumII and PentiumIII all combined probably had less architectural change than just the G3-G4 change alone. So it is sort of arbitrary.
  • Processors When do we need 64 bit? - People are reading on the "roadmaps" and hearing about 64 bit processing, and asking questions like "isn't the PPC already 64 or 128 bit"? Unfortunately, asking about the size of a computer is not an easy question to answer -- there are a lot of "sizes" in a computer -- but I'll try to answer lots of questions (asked or unasked), all about size, which matter, and why.
  • G5's - I would not be surprised if a little over a year from now, if we are working with PowerPC processors that take a 2 - 4 times leap over the previous generation.
  • Terabyte Chip Speeds - While conventional processors generally execute one to three instructions per clock cycle, Motorola's MPC7400 with AltiVec technology can execute a record 20 operations per clock cycle, thereby rendering processor comparisons on clock speeds (MHz) virtually useless.
  • G4's (7400) with AltiVec arrives - Motorola calles the Vector Processor in the G4 "AltiVec" -- and Apple calls the same technology the "Velocity Engine". Don't let the names confuse you -- it is the same thing.
  • Macintosh CPUs - Macintosh chips from the 601 to the G4 explained
  • PowerPC G4 vs G3 - How the PowerPC 7400/G4 differs from the PowerPC 750/G3
  • G4 vs Pentium and AMD Athlon performance data - detailed information comparing these three chip families
  • AMD K7 : Athlon Great chip for an x86
  • The New Athlon Processor - AMD Is Finally Overtaking Intel
  • Is the PPC on a limb? Is Apple going to abandon the PowerPC and go Intel?
  • The Future of Processors - Parallelism!
  • Technical Response to the State of Mac Processors: Reponse #1
  • Is Pentium II a RISC
  • The PowerPC Problem: A Technical Analysis Of The Mac Processor Techology, Part I
  • The PowerPC Problem: A Technical Analysis Of The Mac Processor Techology, Part II
  • Macintosh CPUs Part 2, PowerPC - The biggest change in the Apple product line was the transition to the PowerPC (hereafter PPC) family of CPUs. Designed by a consortium of Apple, IBM, and Motorola, the PowerPC quickly became the most popular RISC processor on the market
  • How does MMX/VMX work? - MacKiDo
  • AltiVec versus KNI (MMX2) - MacKiDo
  • AltiVec vs MMX - MacKiDo
  • PentiumII vs the G3 / G4 - MaKiDo compares these two chips - including their size
  • PowerPC "All you ever wanted to know about speed"
  • SPEC95 Questions And Answers - FAQ on this benchmarking program

Machine Comparisons

Multi- Processor Comparisons

  • The Dual Duel - Various Multi-Processor Power Mac G4's Compared - Multiple processors are cool, man. And with the help of the upgrade angels, you can make almost any respectable Power Mac into a "dualie." I decided to compare Apple's factory dual G4 models with some of the newest dual G4 upgrade offerings
  • The Multiprocessor Option - Apple has not been too strong in the multiprocessor area. Up to the launch of OS X, there was no Mac operating system with good multitasking, let alone strong multiprocessor support. A multiprocessor system can speed up individual applications if they are multithreaded, but the easiest speedup you can get from extra processors is running multitasking more effectively. OS X has the potential to turn the situation around
  • How does the Dual G4/533 compare to the Single G4/533 and Other G4's? - I still don't have test results on the G4/733 but I do have test results on the DUAL G4/533. Hopefully, this will give you something to chew for a week or so. What really blew me away was how close I came with my "guess-timates" on its performance.
  • Multi-Processing 604e upgrade vs. G3/G4 - While searching around for deals, I came across a Multi-processor 200mhz 604e upgrade card. It's price is similar to that of a 400mhz G3, and I was wondering which would offer better performance?
  • Terra Soft adds support for dual processor G4s - Terra Soft Solutions, a developer of Linux solutions for Power PC microprocessors, has announced an update to its Champion Server flavor of Yellow Dog Linux with support for new Apple hardware
  • Multi-processor support seems easier to build than Altivec
  • Two 450MHz processors are better than one... but by how much? - Macworld Lab's first results in testing Apple's new dual-processor Power Macs are in
  • AppleSeed Multiprocessing Development Page - Some Macintoshes now have multiple processors. In order to make multiprocessing easier for programmers, we have written a programming library called MacMP to simplify the use of Apple's Multiprocessing Services Library (v. 2.1)
  • AltiVec and multiprocessing in CAD/3D - The PowerPC G4 processor with the AltiVec instruction set is a superior chip architecturally for science and 3D visualization than anything coming out of Intel

Miscellaneous Hardware Comparisons

Software Performance Comparisons

Windows vs Mac Comparisons

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Sites Where Companies Have Performance Related Products

  • Multiprocessing Enhanced ZIF Daughter-Cards for PowerPC Based Computers - This white paper describes the enhancements within an XLR8 G4 MPe ZIF card for Power PC Macintosh systems and why it can be used as a processor in a multiprocessing environment when other ZIF card designs cannot. This paper explains what additional signals need to be connected on ZIF cards to make them –MPe compliant.” The Purpose of this white paper is to publish the information for manufacturers considering, or already producing PowerPC G4-based ZIF cards to make them compatible with the MPe (multiprocessing enabled ) architecture
  • - MacThrust - a unique performance booster for older Mac G3 and G4 computers, and XtremMac G4 - a development project that brings Apple's Macintosh computers over the GHz barrier
  • CSP INC.- As an authorized Apple reseller CSPI now delivers cluster-computing solutions ranging from entry level to supercomputer performance
  • Output Enablers - sell kits to clock chip G3 machines
  • Daystar Homepage
  • XLR8 - information on their CPU upgrade cards
  • IBM - benchmarks for the PowerPC chips
  • The L2 Company - benchmarks of performance improvement from using their Cache Cards
  • PowerLogix -manufacturers of processor upgrades
  • Sonnet Technologies Inc -manufacturers of processor upgrades
  • Sonnet OS X Compatibility

Performance Related Articles And Miscellaneous Information

  • New mobile modem hits download speeds of 128 kbps - Wireless Internet access provider Metricom today launched a broad offensive to boost adoption of its service for mobile PC customers.
  • PowerMac 6100 Upgrade Guide
  • Keep your Macs cool
  • The Mac Observer Talks To Xtrem About MacThrust And 1.2 GHz PowerMacs -When we first broke the story of Xtrem, the Swedish company that is planning on offering a 1.2 GHz PowerMac G4, we were somewhat skeptical
  • Wide Selection of PowerBook Drive Upgrades - Virtually any 2.5" IDE/ATA hard drive (including "PC" drives) will work in PowerBooks from the 5300 forward, provided that the 'Book has enough clearance for the drive to fit physically in the drive bay
  • Interware 400mhz G3 Upgrade for Powerbook 2400c - I finally broke down and bought a 400mhz CPU upgrade for my venerable Comet from Interware
  • IBM's RAM-doubling a Mac potential - A new technique from IBM Corp. that effectively doubles the amount of memory in a computer, could revolutionize the PC industry and be a part of everything from desktops and handheld devices -- including Macs -- in the not too distant future
  • Intel benchmarks fuel SDRAM vs. RDRAM debate - ntel Corp. has come under heavy fire within the computer industry for its endorsement two years ago of costly Rambus-based solutions as the memory of choice for future PCs. But the latest assault on the chip maker's decision features ammunition from an unlikely source -- Intel's own Web site.
  • Total mPOWER - The Total mPOWER is a PCI based multiprocessing solution for Intel compatible PC's and Apple Power Macintosh's. Solutions utilizing Total mPOWER range from a single board to a nearly limitless number of boards in a massively parallel system. Four PowerPC G3 (750) or G4 (7400) processors operating at 366 to 500MHz currently power each board.
  • The Acard Ultra ATA/66 & TurboMAX/66 'Fire' Back at VST's UltraTek/66 with Improved Firmware - until I received this latest firmware, the Power Mac G4 Sawtooth refused to boot with the IBM drives attached to the Acard. The new firmware not only solves that problem but gave much improved test results
  • IBM's New Chip Technology: The Impact On Apple & The Tech Industry - BM announced yesterday that it plans to use an advanced semiconductor manufacturing process to build the next generation PowerPC processors for Apple. This process is capable of boosting performance up to 30%.
  • Speeding a 7200 on the Web - Q: I have a Power Mac 7200/75 with 48 MB of RAM, a 1 GB internal hard drive and a 4 GB external hard drive. I am connected to the internet via my university's high-speed ethernet system. Here is my problem: I am connecting to the internet as slowly as when I connected at 33.6 Kbps with a 56k modem! Is there anything I can do to speed up my internet connection?
  • PS5benchtm 1.11 - The Best Cross-Platform Photoshop Benchmark for Adobe Photoshop Users
  • Net Speed Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet - Scientists at leading research labs are starting to push the data-transmission capabilities of fiber-optic cable into the realm of the mind-boggling. Setting a new record, researchers at Lucent's Bell Labs have for the first time managed to push an astonishing 3.28 terabits per second of data over a long stretch of fiber-optic cable.
  • FireWire Vs. USB 2.0: The Jury Is Out - Last week at Intel's Developer Conference, the company ran a demo of a USB 2.0-ready PC and a USB 2.0 scanner using NetChip's USB 2.0 Interface Device Controller. So let's reconsider. USB 2.0's "target speed" of 480 megabits per second is a shade higher than FireWire's 400, about 20% faster, at least until next early next year when the new FireWire standard doubles or triples the speed
  • About 800Mbit/sec Firewire - the proposed 1394b specification increases the speed to 800 Mbits/sec and 1.6 Gbits/sec. It is also adding the architectural infrastructure to go to 3.2 Gbits/sec and beyond. Second, "b" specifies alternate media that allow the 1394 bus to go up to 100 meters per hop, up from 4.5 meters
  • SCSI Terms & Terminology - STA-Endorsed Terms & Terminology for SCSI Parallel Interface Technology
  • A Parallel Macintosh Cluster for Numerically Intensive Computing - A Plug and Play Parallel Computer
  • Giantmike's Speed Tests
  • Project B - G4TimeDemo - Benchmark program to test how much of a performance gain games optimized for the G4 processor you wil get
  • SPEC Describes SPEC95 Products And Benchmarks - information on this cross-platform benchmarking program
  • LowEndMac's guide to G3 Upgrade cards
  • Buying a Computer - What salesman don't tell you
  • The Dark Side Of Testing, Or How Microsoft Always Wins!
  • Cost effective upgrades for 030 processor based Macs. How you can upgrade those older Macs!
  • A discussion of the relative merits of ZIF upgrade cards
  • Article claims that DSL is faster than cable Internet access during peak usage times
  • Faster and Faster - RAM speed, bus speed, wait states, caches, and processor speed. All are interrelated in determining computer performance.
  • - informative polished site dealing with Mac upgrades
  • BYTEmark FAQ
  • Understanding Pipelining Why MHz isn't always faster
  • More discussion on benchmark programs, how they work, what influences results and a comparison of the SPEC and BYTEmark benchmarking programs - MacKiDo
  • MacKiDo Hardware Page - very informative articles by someone who is obviously a hardware geek
  • Speed issues to think about when upgrading your old Mac - how much speed is overkill
  • Why computers are so crash prone and what you can do about it
  • MacWindows - many benchmark comparisons for different methods of running Windows on your Mac
  • Macintosh Daughter Card Information Page
  • Performance tuning your Mac for game play
  • MacGurus RAM FAQ - very good resource that can answer almost any question you might have about RAM
  • MacGuru's Logic Board Database - useful Mac Motherboard Schematics for many machines
  • L2 - What is Cache
  • Message from the L2 Company on the relative merits of a large L2 Cache

Miscellaneous Links