[thechat] Mac new stuff

Seb seb at poked.org
Tue Jun 24 12:17:59 CDT 2003

On Tue, 24 Jun 2003 17:29:49 +0100, Martin Burns <martin at easyweb.co.uk> 

> ...so, any non-current Mac users tempted to switch with all the stuff 
> announced yesterday?

Not after I did a little investigation into all the benchmarks and 
claims... it would seem that Apple's SPEC_2000 figures are compared to a 
crippled P4, where SSE2 has been disabled (double floating point and vector 
units not available, so the benchmark falls back to the i387 instruction 
set, which is **slow**) and hyperthreading has been disabled (which in the 
tests with the dual-xeon effectively turns the processor into a single-cpu 
pentium 3).

Not to mention the massive optimisations done to gcc3.3 for OSX, and the 
mysterious absence of those optimisations for the p4 (which gcc is really 
good at) and the fact the the entire SPEC_2000 benchmark is based off a 
fortran compiler that is abysmal.

Oh, and the malloc library (memory allocation, very, very important) is a 
single-threaded version that (by Apple's admission) is next to useless in 
the real world.

Quite a good analysis here: http://www.haxial.com/spls-soapbox/apple- 

So, the fastest machine available, including the dual 2GHz G5?

That would be the AMD Athlon-XP 3000+, which in price/performance terms 
beats all competitors with a rather large stick. Then the P4 3.2GHz... the 
dual PPC970 is quite a way down the list.

For us Linux users who get to optimise all their apps for their specific 
systems, the idea of going to a machine as slow as a mac is just painful. 

Of course, that doesn't stop the OS from being very nice indeed, and the 
new features such as iChat a/v and workspaces are gorgeous... and the box 
itself is just delightful... mmmmmm Aluminium.

Oh, hang on, I've got an aluminium box, with lights and panels and all the 
bits I want. erm...

- seb


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