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Let's just say this - the G3 isn't horrible, but just isn't the best anymore. No Velocity Engine, or any dual-processor G3s, either. And Mac OS X is significantly faster on a G4 rather than a G3. But - a fast G3, like 900-1000 MHz, is pretty quick.
 

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The G3 is far from dead, IBM has it on their roadmap all the way to 2 GHz. The current G3, called Sahara (PPC750FX) is pretty good, actually has a better L2 cache than the G4.

The next version called Gobi (PPC750GX) is slated to start volume production soon (if it hasn't already) at speeds exceeding 1Ghz.

Interestingly enough, if the Gobi G3 rumored specs are true (the 200MHz bus speed and 1MB l2 Cache), then it would bring it's performance up by an order of magnitude. Remember that a big part of the reason the Intel Pentium-M (Centrino) performs as equivilent to a Pentium 4-m running at almost 1GHz faster is the 1MB l2 cache.

--PB
 

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I was reading lately that Quartz Extreme actually helps to narrow the performance gap between a G3 and a G4. QE takes stress off the computer processor since it gets the video card to do a lot of the processing work.

A new iBook with a G3 and a powerful video card can now compete very nicely with a G4 since it is not burdened with graphics processing.

It kinda sucks that there are no desktop G3 machines that can truly take advantage of QE since they don't have AGP slots. The Radeon 7000 PCI card is the best video card upgrade you can get, but it isn't even officially supported for QE.

This is another example of how Apple pisses me off with their OS X strategy. I'm sticking with OS 9 and my older machines until Apple gets off this built in obsolescence/upgrade bandwagon. It didn't use to be this bad. That's why used Macs kept their value and are usefull machines. If Apple wants to make disposable computers like everyone else they better get the cost down.

Done ranting (for now)
 

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Rob was saying:
It kinda sucks that there are no desktop G3 machines that can truly take advantage of QE since they don't have AGP slots. The Radeon 7000 PCI card is the best video card upgrade you can get, but it isn't even officially supported for QE.

This is another example of how Apple pisses me off with their OS X strategy. I'm sticking with OS 9 and my older machines until Apple gets off this built in obsolescence/upgrade bandwagon


At the time of the G3 desktops (especially the beige ones) AGP was just coming around. If they had them, they would have been AGP1x, which really is almost as useless these days as PCI for graphics (all the newer cards are AGP2x and up).

As to built in obsolescence, only having PCI is not that bad, and really the fact that there are no upgrades beyond the Radeon 7000 PCI isn;t really Apple's fault, unless you want to blame that on Apple's lack of a marketshare, because that is the reason that ATI hasn't made more video cards PCI and nVidia never made a PCI GeForce for Mac.

And maybe Apple is slow on implementing newer technology in a lot of their products, but in many cases they are the first to do so (a la WiFi or Bluetooth). I for one am confused as to why they haven;t started using 66Mhz PCI slots instead of the older 33 Mhz ones.

--PB
 

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Foaming Rant (Part Deux)

The reason I get so upset is that it is entirely within Apples ability (and duty) to update drivers and software for older machines.

In the past, one of the big advantages of the Mac was the tight integration of the hardware and the operating system. When I bought an OS upgrade I was really gaining something in features and/or performance. I wasn't forced to upgrade hardware at the same time. Those were the days when I felt Apple was customer focused. They were justified in charging higher prices since the usefullness of your machine would continue for several years.

Apple seems surprised that the transition to OS X has been slow. They shouldn't be. To move up to OS X you really need to upgrade your hardware at the same time. This is a huge financial step for the vast majority of us who don't rely on our computers to make a living.

I felt truly cheated when I purchased the original release of OS X. I was expecting that a modern UNIX based OS would provide significant speed and feature improvements. This was the first OS upgrade that indicated that Apple was no longer interested in offering anything useful for anyone with less than the latest hardware.

If Apple wants their installed user base to switch to OS X, then they really have to make it useable on the computers that people have now. Why can't a B&W G3 or an early PCI based G4 take advantage of Quartz Extreme? Why are first generation iMacs, Beiges, and G3 Powerbooks so painfull to use in OS X? I think the answer is that Apple no longer cares about it's customers as soon as they have their money. This strategy could work if you are selling disposable computers at very low prices.

There will always be a market for cutting edge Macs at high prices for professionals that make money with their Macs. For the rest of us, there is hardly any reason to pay the extra buck for a computer that will be obsolete just as fast, if not faster, than a PC. C'mon Apple, throw us loyal supporters a bone here, I'm tired of getting it up the wazoo!
 

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The short answer on Quartz Extreme on Older Macs (especially Laptops).

The ATI Rage card are why there is no QE on an older Mac. Not because it is impossible, but because the amount of benefit you would see from having QE on a Rage card (with any amount of memory) is negligable.

Why? Because the Rage card can only do 2d stuff in power of two. What does that mean? If you have a window that is say, 320x240, the rage card would render out the entire 320x320 are that the window is sitting in. Inefficient to say the least and while it might offload some of the processor load and make Photoshop run a smidge faster, the interface (Aqua) would remain just as slow, if not be slower, which is the issue that QE was designed to alleviate in the first place.

Keeping in mind that despite this power of 2 BS, the Rage card was a good one at the time. It's just that the Radeon was a huge step forward.

So why isn't there quartz extreme on older macs? Because in almost every case, it just wouldn't help.

You might also ask "Why doesn't QE become enabled automagically when I put a Radeon 7000 into my PCI PowerMac?" I don't know. That you would have to talk to Apple about. It's probably something to do with the fact that a 33Mhz PCI bus will become saturated quite quickly by the amount of data going back and forth, more so than an AGP slot, but really you would have to ask Apple about it to be sure.

OS X and the steps forward

OS 10.0.x, as far as I am concerned, was Public Beta 2, they just decided that they couldn't afford to not be charging for it anymore. If you were disappointed with OS 10.0, well sorry but all you had to do was go to their website to find out that there was No DVD playback (and all the other stuff it was missing).

And while Apple did begin including OS X with new Macs after 10.0 was released, they hadn't began installing it, and once they did it wasn't the default OS. It wasn't even the default OS until 3 (or was it 4?) months after 10.1 was released (for free to owners of 10.0) which added all the missing functionality (and I mean the major stuff, don't bring up all the minutiae liek draggable edges because as handy as they may be, they are by no means a huge feature, nor a reason to choose one OS over another).

OS X does tend to run slowly on older machines, but there are a multitude of reasons for this. The easiest one to rectify is RAM, of which many old machines had half or a quarter of what OS X requires (which is 128, despite all the arguments that are going to be lobbed at me). Other factors include slow slow system bus, small slow hard drives, and also slow slow ram. The fact is that despite how much zipper an iMac 333 may feel in OS 9, it is still a slow ass machine.

For a comparison, try running Windows XP on a P2 200 with 32 megs of RAM and a small hard drive. Sure, it runs, but it doesn't feel as fast as it did when you bought it new with the brand new Win98 (first edition!).

The biggest problem with the OS transition for existing Mac users is that we have not really had to upgrade in the past. The requirements for OS 9 are not really that much steeper than 8.6, and 8.6 is not really that much more than 8.1, at least compared to the jump in requirements from 9 to X. We aren't used to having to upgrade and so it comes as a shock that we should have to.

One of the biggest complaints I hear about OS X is that it is slower. And maybe Aqua is slower, maybe it doesn't feel as zippy as OS 9 and Platinum did. But because of all the other advances (especially the stability, SMP and everything else that lets me work well in more than on App at a time) *I* work faster and *I* work better, and that more than makes up the difference.

Just my 2 bits.

--PB

[ May 15, 2003, 03:47 AM: Message edited by: PosterBoy ]
 

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The G3 is a great chip, especially for certain uses (ie portables, with it's low power consumption). I suppose the real question is whether it's a great chip to run present and future MacOS applications.

It all really boils down to what you want to do with it. A new Ford with the latest EEC-V engine management computer runs on a derivative of an Intel 8086 (Intel actually designed the 8086 specifically for automotive use) while GM has moved up to 16bit Motorola chips. Some of these advanced engine control chips run as fast as a whopping 15Mhz.

NASA's space shuttle runs on Intel 386's with a number-crunching 2MB of RAM (and that's after a very recent upgrade), and in each of the above cases they are more than enough to do the job quickly and safely.

If you want to run the latest and greatest SW, you have to keep up with newer hardware. If you are willing to use a suite of applications that take advantage of the G3's strengths even though they may be a version or two behind, then run 'em and save your money.
 
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