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The Future of Apple - "MHZ-Gap" and a 1200mhz Macintosh

By farl in News
Tue Oct 24, 2000 at 03:10:37 PM EST
Tags: Technology (all tags)
Technology

A rather interesting piece of information came to my attention today regarding an announcement by Xtrem of a 1200 Mhz Macintosh that they are developing. This kind of technological leap is what Apple needs to spur its own development of faster and better macintosh's to keep up with the so-called "perceived mhz gap" between intel/amd/etd. and macintosh.


Apple recovered recently from the dead.

Imacs, g3's, g4's and the like have helped save it from financial doom. However, a new problem has arisen that might cause that problem all over again. And this time the solution for Apple might not be as simple.

Recently a perceived mhz gap issue has come to the forefront of the news in the Macintosh world. People look at a top apple system running at 500mhz, and compare it to a PC (and i am going to use the word PC to mean windows/linux/etc. You all know what i mean) system that runs at 1 ghz plus. You look at those pure numbers and say "WOW! Apple sucks. PC's are twice as fast!" And of course this is a reasonable reaction. However, this is innacurate. While clock speeds might differ, a system is not 2x as fast just becuase of its clock speed. Bus speeds, memory speeds and other such all influence, as well as the actual chipset and isntructions on it.

As a mac fan, I must admit that I firmly believe that a dual g4 500mhz system will blow away a top PC system. As a realist, I must admit that this is specific to certain applications ONLY. Photoshop has been shown to be faster on a dual g4 mac than on a 1ghz+ pc. I am guessing that Quake is not faster on the mac, or many business applications or other such. Since i follow the market and tech news pretty closely, I can understand the difference and how speeds are not purely clock based. I am sure I am in the minority of computer buyers here. Most buyers are not tech-savvy, but rather AOL-crazy.

This gap is only going to get worse, as apple's rollout plans for new and faster chips does not indicate any major "catch-up" within the next year or 3. Apple used to license its technology out to 3rd party developers and clone makers. This lead to faster, better (and often unreliable) mac clones being made, which in turn, spurred Apple on to making better machines itself. This is where Xtrem comes in.

A new 1200mhz Macintosh clone by Xtrem is under development. Running the same OS and programs. No compatability issues (yeah right). Sporting a REALLY good looking chassis (and I hear you say that a chassis's look makes no difference, but do not forget, as an educated buyer you know that. Uneducated buyers LOVE cool gimmicks like this). 150mhz system bus. 64G of addressable memory. Altivec extensions. 5 3.5" drive bays empty. 3 5.25" drive bays - cdr, dvd, removable all included. 320MB scsi. 1500rpm drives. 4 simultaneous 32bit data streams. 3 PCI. 2x AGP (altho i expect this to improve). gigatexel+ video. 3 firewire connections. 2 usb connections. (And probably a huge whopping price tag for this).

If this dream becomes a reality, it will really push Apple in many ways. while I don't think it will really hurt apple financially, as i am sure the top of the line xtrem system will be major $$$. It WILL force apple to develop better and faster technologies to keep up. And everyone knows competition is good. Look at Intel vs. AMD. Without AMD, we would still be in the p2 phase right now.

Companies like Xtreme, AMD and such need to be supported in their bid to bring brighter, faster and better products to the market. Likewise, standards industry companies like Apple, Motorola and the such deserved our continued loyalty for providing us with the great toys we play on every day.

Farl
farl@sketchwork.com

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Poll
The Future of Apple
o Motorola getting off its ass and delivering the new g4 1ghz 11%
o Motorola getting off its ass and delivering the new g5 13%
o Apple licensing its products to 3rd party vendors/developers again 8%
o 3rd party vendors ignoring Apple and taking over its own market with Macintosh clones 5%
o Apple dies a slow, painful death 34%
o Bill Gates gets a pie in the face again 25%

Votes: 102
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o mhz gap
o dual g4 500mhz system
o top PC system
o A new 1200mhz Macintosh clone by Xtrem is under development
o Also by farl


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The Future of Apple - "MHZ-Gap" and a 1200mhz Macintosh | 34 comments (28 topical, 6 editorial, 0 hidden)
some questions and comments (4.33 / 3) (#3)
by Anonymous 242 on Tue Oct 24, 2000 at 12:51:55 PM EST

Unless this is a different company offering a Ghz+ Mac than the ones I've read about, this Ghz+ Mac is really just a super-cooled, overclocked Mac. Unless I'm mistaken, Xtreme even plans to build their system out of off the shelf Macs purchased on the market. Given that one can apply the same type of super-cooled overclocking to the Athlon or P-IV, I don't think this really gives any sort of edge to the Mac.

I would also like to know (if anyone out there knows) why Apple doesn't use the 700 or 750 Mhz PPC chips being shipped by Motorola and IBM. Is there only some magic subset of PPC chips that Apple can use for Macs?

I'm a big fan of the PPC chip and if Apple hadn't discontinued the clone program, I likely would have bought one. But I refuse buy hardware where I'm at the mercy of one company. With stock x86 (or Alpha for that matter) hardware if any one component needs to be replaced, I have multiple vendors to choose from, not so with Apple gear. Even if Xtreme gets off the ground (and I wish them the best in what seems to be like a Quiotic campaign), I doubt their motherboards will be swappable for Apple parts.

What I would really like to see, is someone put out an ultra-low power ATX motherboard around an ARM chip of some type. That would kick butt!

RE: 750mhz chips (3.40 / 5) (#4)
by farl on Tue Oct 24, 2000 at 12:54:55 PM EST

The reason as far as i know for the lack fo 750mhz chips is that
a. They are currently still being tested by Apple
b. Motorola/IBM are unable to produce them in quantity at a high enough quality yet. This apparently is getting resolved as we speak, so lets hope by Macworld SF we will have new machines.

As for how Xtreme is doing this (via overclocking or whatnot) I have not idea honestly.


Farl
k5@sketchwork.com
www.sketchwork.com
[ Parent ]
Through marketing. (2.50 / 2) (#9)
by ksandstr on Tue Oct 24, 2000 at 02:37:34 PM EST

See, they can announce now that it's going to have like 6666666mhz!!!1 and then tell the drooling public that "due to problems with the chip manufacturer, blah blah blah".

Or, they're just going to put in 2 600mhz chips and use their meager marketing muscle to force it into the soft heads of macintosh users that 2x600mhz really is 1200mhz, really!.

That's the way it is with vaporware. Always has been and not about to change.



Fin.
[ Parent ]
"Magic subset" (none / 0) (#32)
by Potatoswatter on Sun Oct 29, 2000 at 12:30:16 PM EST

Apple could put the faster G3s in their low-end machines, but then they would have a low end that's faster in many applications than the high end. They can't put them in the high end because they've committed to the G4 and AltiVec.

Accelerator companies can't put them on their boards because that would brin g Apple's wrath upon them, which they don't want. After all, they depend totally on the engineering decisions of that one big company.

myQuotient = myDividend/*myDivisorPtr; For multiple languages in the same function, see Upper/Mute in my diary! */;
[ Parent ]

Try a dual P3-600 (4.44 / 9) (#5)
by DeadBaby on Tue Oct 24, 2000 at 01:11:22 PM EST

As a mac fan, I must admit that I firmly believe that a dual g4 500mhz system will blow away a top PC system. As a realist, I must admit that this is specific to certain applications ONLY. Photoshop has been shown to be faster on a dual g4 mac than on a 1ghz+ pc.

A dual G4 500mhz at Apple.com is $3500. You could build 3 high end Duron machines, with monitors for that much. hell, you could build 2 1ghz Tbird/K7 machines for that much. You could build 4 lower end Duron machines for that much.

If there were SMP aware K7 chipsets out you could build a 2x Tbird for half that. (1ghz Tbird = $300)

I'm sorry but Apple just isn't getting it done.
"Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us." - Carl Sagan
oppsie (none / 0) (#26)
by DeadBaby on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 11:00:48 AM EST

I put the Duron in twice, I believe the 4 durons for the price of 1 dual g4 is correct.
"Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us." - Carl Sagan
[ Parent ]
Yes, but... (none / 0) (#29)
by Stmpjmpr on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 10:58:23 PM EST

First, the key word in your statement to me is build. While some folks might be comfortable building a machine, others are not. I agree that Apple's machine is priced higher than a PC -- no way around that with a proprietary system. However, you're getting top-notch stuff for $3500, including firewire and other things that aren't on your typical PC. You're also getting software like iMovie, which is a big plus to a lot of people in the Mac market. For some people, raw speed is often not the main issue in price -- convenience, perceived power, and yes, even aesthetics are.

You obviously can spec and build a system custom to meet your needs and that's great. But the Mac is an awesome system for those who want it's benefits, but can't build their own.

I might also point out that you'd be hard pressed to buy a dual-processor consumer machine that keeps up with the dual G4/500 from a well-known, reputable manufacturer with solid components and a bevy of useful software. If you could, I doubt seriously that you could buy more than one for $3500.

[ Parent ]

Don't cater to fools (3.25 / 4) (#6)
by vsync on Tue Oct 24, 2000 at 01:48:56 PM EST

People look at a top apple system running at 500mhz, and compare it to a PC [...] system that runs at 1 ghz plus. You look at those pure numbers and say "WOW! Apple sucks. PC's are twice as fast!" And of course this is a reasonable reaction.

No it isn't. It is the reaction of script kiddies and utter fools, and such stupidity should not be catered to. It's awesome that there's a 1.2GHz Mac coming out; I'm drooling already (to run Linux or NetBSD, of course... =). But we should celebrate that on its own merit, not because "now someone who doesn't know what he's talking about won't say we suck".

--
"The problem I had with the story, before I even finished reading, was the copious attribution of thoughts and ideas to vsync. What made it worse was the ones attributed to him were the only ones that made any sense whatsoever."

Who buys computers (3.40 / 5) (#7)
by Alternity on Tue Oct 24, 2000 at 01:51:06 PM EST

The main problem is that the majority of computer buyers (especially the crowd who would end up buying macs) will stop at those numbers to see what computer is more powerful. With a majority of customers being computer illiterate those numbers DO matter when it comes down to sales.


"When I was a little kid my mother told me not to stare into the sun...
so one day when I was six I did
"
[ Parent ]
{Sob}... I know, I know (3.50 / 2) (#12)
by vsync on Tue Oct 24, 2000 at 03:01:34 PM EST

And this is why I often wish computers were still limited to the elite, to those who actually have knowledge and interest in the subject. Don't get me wrong; I'm all for the benefits of technology to the masses and the free market and such, but it's so depressing when I see things like this every waking moment. Don't you dream of a way that the huddled masses could get this stuff without ruining the fun for the rest of us?

Oh yeah, and I also wish that occasionally a whining customer would be told to stuff it, regardless of how much money he had.

--
"The problem I had with the story, before I even finished reading, was the copious attribution of thoughts and ideas to vsync. What made it worse was the ones attributed to him were the only ones that made any sense whatsoever."
[ Parent ]

Telling customers to piss off (3.50 / 2) (#13)
by farl on Tue Oct 24, 2000 at 03:04:37 PM EST

You should have come to the restaurant I ran. Our motto was: "Our employee is always right becuase they know what the hell they are doing"


Farl
k5@sketchwork.com
www.sketchwork.com
[ Parent ]
LOL (3.00 / 1) (#15)
by Alternity on Tue Oct 24, 2000 at 03:07:52 PM EST

Tell where that restaurant is! I have always dreamed of seeing a waiter tell a customer to go fsck himself because the cook knew better what he was doing :o)


"When I was a little kid my mother told me not to stare into the sun...
so one day when I was six I did
"
[ Parent ]
LMAO! (none / 0) (#21)
by kjeldar on Tue Oct 24, 2000 at 09:09:32 PM EST

I love it. Your use of the past tense worries me, though... please tell me that you sold or hired an operator, and that this motto wasn't responsible for your restaurant's demise. =)

[ Parent ]
LMAO at LMAO (4.00 / 2) (#25)
by farl on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 05:22:27 AM EST

Actually i got tired of the business so I moved into somewhere with less stress and more money...

Making Kids Coloring Books. (i was wrong about the stress though... it's just different)

And the restaurant is still there and semi-thriving. 3 of my roomates still work there in fact.


Farl
k5@sketchwork.com
www.sketchwork.com
[ Parent ]
More litterate people in a generation... (2.00 / 1) (#14)
by Alternity on Tue Oct 24, 2000 at 03:07:03 PM EST

Maybe if we're lucky, in a generation or 2 people will be more computer litterate and will understand that stuff. But I'm pretty sure there will be some new technology to confuse the masses :o)


"When I was a little kid my mother told me not to stare into the sun...
so one day when I was six I did
"
[ Parent ]
Ruining the fun??? (none / 0) (#31)
by roystgnr on Sat Oct 28, 2000 at 01:47:07 PM EST

Thanks to the cash those huddled masses have been pumping into hardware companies' R&D programs; I've gone from using a 1 Mhz Apple IIe a dozen years ago to a 650Mhz Duron today. Not only is that not "Ruining the fun", it almost makes up for all the "Roy, I think I got a virus" type incidents in between.

[ Parent ]
Except when they have cash (2.20 / 5) (#8)
by blp on Tue Oct 24, 2000 at 02:17:00 PM EST

It is important what people who are less knowlegable about computers think because they make up most of the market.

I can no longer sit back and allow: Communist Infiltration, Communist Indoctrination, Communist Subversion and the International Communist Conspiracy to sap and inpurify all of our precious bodily fluids.
[ Parent ]

Alright, people. (2.33 / 3) (#16)
by 3than on Tue Oct 24, 2000 at 04:13:06 PM EST

C'mon. Do you have any idea how expensive this '1200 mhz Mac' will be if they ever get it there? I don't see how they can push the standard 500mhz G4 chip to more than twice its original speed, with or without supercooling. I'll believe this when I see it, but I still won't pay the ridiculous price that it would require.
Mac hardware IS good. I'll give you that. Even faster on some things. But OS 9, isn't, IMHO, a decent OS. I've been using one of the original mac g3's with OS 9 for music stuff, and its lack of multitasking has been driving me crazy...not to mention the ridiculous amount of cruft in the software, Digital Performer(albeit not Apple's fault.) OS X, on the other hand, seems cool, but it's still a LOT of cost to get to a level of stability and multitaskability that has been around for quite some time for Intel/AMD.
So whatever. The MHZ gap is huge, but not as big as the price gap...and when you add the two up...well, it seems like a lot of cash to run photoshop fast...especially when it's pretty darn snappy on my dual celerons at 550 mhz already. I think the real issue is that we've pretty much hit a performance wall at the current speeds. Boosting CPU speed doesn't really boost performance the way it used to, because the bottleneck is the RAM or the hard drive. If you ask me, for most people, 500 mhz is fast enough anyway. Just don't forget that what Mac needs right now most of all is a good Mac OS X, with SMP for really wide multitaskability.


OSX (none / 0) (#33)
by Gurney on Thu Nov 02, 2000 at 11:34:41 AM EST

I bought an IBook to run linux on a while back. I was having a good time running linux on it, but was getting somewhat tired of small driver problems. I got a hold of the OSX public beta last night and have been fiddling with it quite a bit. First impression is that it is going to turn out to be a fine OS, a good GUI built on top of BSD. Some small bugs and irritations are around, but I have a feeling they will be dealt with by Jan. BTW who stole my name? -Gurny

[ Parent ]
Might be teetering again... (2.50 / 2) (#17)
by Alik on Tue Oct 24, 2000 at 04:37:53 PM EST

I happen to own stock in Apple, because even though I personally have to be forced before I'll use an iMac, they're popular with consumers and the new OS is looking pretty cool. Starting at the end of last month, they began indicating that they'd miss earnings targets. Stock price tanked, all the analysts started saying "Well, it might pull through, but we're not sure anymore."

Me, I'm staying with them, because I know they won't fold anytime soon. However, this reflects the fact that they're not selling quite as well as people perceived, which could lead to another decline if they're not careful.


I don't care too much about speed... (4.00 / 1) (#19)
by itsbruce on Tue Oct 24, 2000 at 05:08:19 PM EST

I'm writing on a 450mhz K6-2 and I rarely push it. Don't expect to upgrade it this year. Maybe middle of next, depending on what becomes cheap then.

Wouldn't mind a nice Mac (iMac, G4, whatever) to play with, but I've never had the spare cash. Strangely enough, I don't think I could feel proud to tell people how big a margin the manufacturer took from me.

So I'll keep on using Linux on good-enough PC hardware (AMD, Via) to get the best out of what I have. Am I falling behind? Can't say I'm bothered.

--

It is impolite to tell a man who is carrying you on his shoulders that his head smells.
relative obsolesence (none / 0) (#23)
by Delirium on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 02:39:57 AM EST

Well you're still using a pretty good system (low end of the "current" technology). I'm still using my Pentium II 266 - now that is getting to be just a bit too slow for my tastes with the programs that are coming out these days...

[ Parent ]
OMG! Sad, but true! (3.00 / 1) (#22)
by Elendale on Tue Oct 24, 2000 at 09:45:16 PM EST

The 'MHz gap' is silly stuff indeed. My mom has a dual G4 450 system that beats my computer senseless in Q3A benchmarks (she gets something like 110 FPS compared to my 90 at highest settings and 1024 resolution). I have a 900 MHz Tbird with GeForce 2 GTS and 128 megs PC150 HSDRAM, so its not a problem with my comp for sure. Mind you, my machine was $2K USD cheaper to build, but the mac runs Photoshop (my mom is a graphic artist so that matters a lot for her) `bitchen quick. Oh well, until macs can perform equivalent price/performance ratios I'll stick with Linux and PCs. Mind you, I would have OSX if I could :)

-Elendale (*drool* `Nix with a real GUI)
---

When free speech is outlawed, only criminals will complain.


Xtrem hoax (3.00 / 4) (#24)
by plastik55 on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 04:14:11 AM EST

I saw the Xtrm mac site a whle ago and I thight it was relatively well known that it was a hoax.

Compare the pcitures for yourself: Xtrem mac (link may trap you--watch out), microphone.


w00t!

Yeah, it looks like a hoax (none / 0) (#28)
by Broco on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 09:37:12 PM EST

It's well designed, but their website is fishy. On their technical specification page, it says "THIS PAGE COULD INCLUDE TECHNICAL INACCURACIES OR TYPOGRAPHICAL ERRORS.". Sounds like they are inventing specs on the fly and are insuring themselves against mistakes. I've never seen such a warning on a real corporate page. Also, the text of the page isn't written in the style of borgish professional marketers.

And it's actually mentioned that the box looks like a microphone on the page, so the person who faked the picture also wrote the page. There's no chance it would be mentioned if that wasn't the case.

It looks like these people aren't just people with a twisted sense of humor but actually plan on frauding people with this. First, since the 1200mhz computer is by far their most interesting product, you'd expect the emphasis to be on it in the products page. But an 80$ overclocking gadget they are selling takes up half the products page. They're probably trying to attract attention to this gadget.

Also, there's a form to enter your email address on the computer page. I can't see what gathering email addresses of random people can achieve, since only rich and power-obsessed people will buy the box. They may want to sell those addresses to spammers.

Still, that's one incredibly realistic hoax. If it wasn't for the microphone thing, I would probably believe in it.

Klingon function calls do not have "parameters" - they have "arguments" - and they ALWAYS WIN THEM.
[ Parent ]

It's not a hoax (none / 0) (#34)
by mikael_j on Fri Nov 03, 2000 at 06:16:13 AM EST

I read an interview with with someone from them, and he pointed out to the reporter that the reason they weren't doing the interview in his office was because they had strict rules against doing things which might let "outsiders" see things they weren't supposed to see (apparently they had had some problems with competitors)

/Mikael Jacobson
We give a bad name to the internet in general. - Rusty
[ Parent ]
Nothing special! (none / 0) (#27)
by AnimalSnuff on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 07:43:33 PM EST

Note some of the specs from Xtrem.

Cooling System
    - Active Cooling System (ACS)™ for sub-zero cooling of CPU
       and Level 2 cache. The ACS™ also includes cooling of vital
       parts of the motherboard
    - Cooling range: -60ˇ to -125ˇ C (213-148 K)

Some one must been jealous of Kryotech, but I wouldn't call it revolutionary.

Left out one Poll option... (3.00 / 1) (#30)
by mafried on Thu Oct 26, 2000 at 12:59:28 AM EST

  • "Apple dumps Motorola and buys superior PowerPC chips and technology direct from IBM"
Not that it's ever going to happen (with Steve Jobs as the iCEO, at least), but It would be a smart move.

The Future of Apple - "MHZ-Gap" and a 1200mhz Macintosh | 34 comments (28 topical, 6 editorial, 0 hidden)
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