My Blog

My thoughts on it all


Jun 12, 2004 — That's all I have to say.

vampirical says:

Well all my wallet has to say is, "ouch!".

Wirehead says:

I was going to try to refrain from commenting on just how brain-damaged those benchmarks are. But I couldn't do it.
First of all, the G5's were tested (according to the fine print on the bottom of that page) with a *14* disk RAID level-50 array with 512MB of RAM per controller. For those non-geeks in the crowd, RAID 50 is a RAID-0 array *OF* RAID-3 arrays. It's one of the most expensive types of RAID there is, and takes high-performance controllers to be worth implementing. I shouldn't have to point out that disk access is paramount when working with large files, and the tests Apple ran were run with 650mb + files in photoshop. By comparison, the Dell system they ran it against had a six-disk RAID-0 array with NO added RAM for the controllers.

That right there is enough to invalidate the tests, but they also ran the Dell on RedHat Linux in a lot of the tests, which is ridiculous. Not only has it been proven that Linux is slower than Windows for most things (even if only by a bit) but RedHat is not exactly the most performance-oriented Linux distro. In any case, if you're running two systems against each other, you run them IN THEIR NATIVE ENVIRONMENTS, or your results are worthless. It's like me compiling a special Linux kernel that will work on a G5, then running that against my new copy of XP Pro. Maybe the Apple would run better, maybe it'd run worse, but the point is your results are now not comparable to anything but your own results - because you just made up your own tests as you went along.

There is also the factor that I've never even HEARD of a lot of the apps they test with - they're not exactly industry standards, which makes it pretty easy to believe they're picking and choosing on what looks good for them - I saw some benchmarks last night where an $85 AMD AthlonXP 3000+ completely SMOKED a $1200 Intel Pentium4 3.4Ghz Extreme Edition - but it was in ONE benchmark on Tom's Hardware on a type of software that AMD chips are known to be very good at. What's the relevance of that one benchmark? Nothing, unless all you do is run that one app.

It has also been documented that Apple uses their OWN, non-standard compilers when setting up these tests in order to make their systems look better. Their SPEC scores for the G5 systems are accurate, but the scores for the PC systems that they post to compare to are typically down anywhere from 20% to 60% compared to the official results published on the SPEC website.

On the bright side, at least Apple is disclosing SOME of their test conditions. In the past they'd just post some absurd claims and made-up numbers and not even tell anyone how they got them. So, they are apparently getting BETTER, but they've still got a long way to go.

If a PC company did this kind of thing they would be SHREDDED by review sites and the general public. But Mac people just BELIEVE whatever Apple tells 'em.

That said, it's a pretty case, and Apple is taking the lead on implementing next-gen cooling technology, for which I am thankful. The PC industry as a whole has been too reticent to move to liquid cooling and now Apple is once again doing something that the rest of us should have done years ago, which oughta get everyone else doing it in a year or so, too. There is a pretty good analysis of this here.

Wirehead says:

I should have also noted that there is NO WAY you're fitting 14 hard drives in a G5 case. Even if they'd physically fit, the power supply won't handle them - that's about 280w worth of drives.


I didn't even realize that the RAID setup I complained about Apple using was, in fact, a separate Apple product that costs $11,000 and uses FIBRE CHANNEL connectivity via an add-in PCI card (incidentally, the G5 has only 3 PCI slots). Yeah, that's fair.

vampirical says:

Though generally it is true that Apple can get away with anything in this case there was a huge flap about it. Just about every forum a fequent and review site (just about any computer related site really) had something to say about the plain absurd results. There was even that incident in Europe where Apple was told in essence, "You can't say that, you're lying your asses off!".

Delphi has G5's and an accompanying RAID server (my wallet writhes in terror) so maybe Dylan has something to add.

vampirical says:

And while talking about Apple I would like to bring up the issue of how amazingly cool the Airport Express is and that I would never pay the obsense price tag.

vampirical says:


I don't know how that c moved two places over and became an s but it did.

*shakes fist at the spot where the edit button should be*

Wirehead says:

I'd fix it for you, but the resulting second post is too funny.

Dylan says:

Maybe I'm missing something, but from what I can see, all the Apple benchmarks on that page are for dual systems, whereas the PC systems were all single-chip systems. "Look! Our dual CPU systems perform twice as fast as a single CPU PC system! W00t!"

Jab aside, yes, the RAID server we have runs as RAID-5, with four 250GB drives, yielding I think 706GB of usable space. The connection is, as you said, a 1GB fiber-channel connection. Very very nice. The thing sounds like a 787 jet engine though.

Wirehead says:

To be fair they did run it vs. a couple of dual CPU PC systems, but yeah, the baseline computer they ran it against was a single-chip Dell 3.2Ghz P4. I'd feckin' HOPE that a dual 2.5Ghz system outpaces a single 3.2Ghz system.

Of course, in a lot of benchmarks done in the REAL world, even the single-chip Athlon64 solutions mop the floor with dual G5 systems.

DataBind() says:

I wish that apple would just sell me one of their laptop cases.

Wirehead says:

They ain't all they're cracked up to be. My mom got a G4 Titanium (against my fervent recommendations) a while ago and the mere pressure of her fingernails scratched the finish all around the touchpad. Also she had some horrid hardware problem that required her to send the thing back to the factory no more than a couple of weeks after she got it. For reasons unknown to me, she still kept it.

The best part was that she, after spending 8 years working on Windows computers, kept repeating the Mac mantra to me as her justification for spending 2x the money for .5x the performance: "Easy to use, easy to use, easy to use." She is not, and never has been, particularly computer-literate, so when one of her mac-nerd buddies was extolling the virtues of WYSIWYG to her (without mentioning that this has, in fact, been an integral feature of PC's since about 1995) she was sold on the idea that by making "The Switch" she would immediately become a cyber-God of some kind, flinging out beautifully rendered three dimensional objects and professionally created documents left and right, faster than the eye could follow.

What actually happened?

Well, let's just say she's running a skin to make OSX look just like Windows so she can "deal with something familiar".



I should note, by the way, that my mom uses her computer EXCLUSIVELY for email and web browsing, and prints the odd document now and then. That's IT.

As for being "easy to use"? FEH! FEH, I SAY! Plug and play my ASS. The thing doesn't even play MP3's out of the box! It requires some sort of setup which I'm sure any Mac nerd would be able to do in picoseconds, but when I'm linking my mom to a sound file I think is funny and her computer just doesn't have the slightest idea what to do with it (a capability that Windows has supported natively for SIX YEARS), I just find it a little hard to take the Mac propaganda seriously. Not to mention feeling like an idiot for being unable to walk her through installing whatever she needs to install via AOL Instant Messenger.

rnewhouse says:

I have never been able to figure out the logic behind the typical Mac user's indefatigable loyalty and even mania for the Apple products. As a PC user since PCs were the size of a small room and used vacuum tubes, and then a die-hard adherent of DOS, I resisted Windows for years until I discovered you could multi-task and DRAG stuff from one directory to another. Then I was hooked.

One of the big selling points I have always heard about Mac is that it was using GUIs centuries before Microsoft even thought of it. To which I say "OK, and now that Microsoft has thought of it, your point exactly is...?"

I have similar problems with clients who are Mac users to what Wirehead has posted. They try to send me files that won't open in any of my MS applications, and can't receive GENERIC stuff that I send them. And then they want me to make The Switch so I can service them. Which of course ignores the fact that the other 99% of the clients I work with have absolutely no trouble with file transfers and compatibility.

But I usually take the coward's way out in discussions of the subject and say something like "That's neat -- I sure wish I could afford the time and money to work with something as terrific as a Mac."

Wirehead says:

Hehe. I like it.

"Boy, I sure wish I had loads of extra cash and all sorts of free time to spend troubleshooting my $6,500 desktop, like you special artistic types over at Henry's Auto Parts."

Wirehead says:


I just found it earlier today and immediately thought of this thread.

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