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Apple Hardware VP Defends Benchmarks

pudge posted about 11 years ago | from the i-blame-florida dept.

Technology (Apple) 1081

Greg Joswiak, vice president of hardware product marketing at Apple, in a phone interview today, defended Apple's performance claims for its upcoming Power Mac G5, after they came under fire in the wake of yesterday's announcement. Read on for the details.Joswiak went over the points in turn, but first said that they set out from the beginning to do a fair and even comparison, which is why they used an independent lab and provided full disclosure of the methods used in the tests, which would be "a silly way to do things" if Apple were intending to be deceptive.

He said Veritest used gcc for both platforms, instead of Intel's compiler, simply because the benchmarks measure two things at the same time: compiler, and hardware. To test the hardware alone, you must normalize the compiler out of the equation -- using the same version and similar settings -- and, if anything, Joswiak said, gcc has been available on the Intel platform for a lot longer and is more optimized for Intel than for PowerPC.

He conceded readily that the Dell numbers would be higher with the Intel compiler, but that the Apple numbers could be higher with a different compiler too.

Joswiak added that in the Intel modifications for the tests, they chose the option that provided higher scores for the Intel machine, not lower. The scores were higher under Linux than under Windows, and in the rate test, the scores were higher with hyperthreading disabled than enabled. He also said they would be happy to do the tests on Windows and with hyperthreading enabled, if people wanted it, as it would only make the G5 look better.

In the G5 modifications, they were made because shipping systems will have those options available. For example, memory read bypass was turned on, for even though it is not on by default in the tested prototypes, it will be on by default for the shipping systems. Software-based prefetching was turned off and a high-performance malloc was used because those options will be available on the shipping systems (Joswiak did not know whether this malloc, which is faster but less memory efficient, will be the default in the shipping systems).

As to not using SSE2, Joswiak said they enabled the correct flags for it, as documented on the gcc web site, so that SSE2 was enabled (the Veritest report lists the options used for each test, which appears to include the appropriate flags).

cancel ×


so what (-1)

gdiersing (240179) | about 11 years ago | (#6289517)

likes he's really gonna say "OK, you got us"

poop on them I say

Suck it, Macintosh fags! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6289563)

Your idiotic zealotry has made you all look like the gullible fools you are!

Re:Suck it, Macintosh fags! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6289617)

awww, did someone get fired today?? :( it's ok, there are plenty of openings at the local taco bell. now run along..

this is the day the lord hath made... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6289524)

...let us rejoice and be glad. apple is the best because they let me get the words in.

Whoo hoo! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6289528)

Whoo hoo first post!

Who cares? (5, Insightful)

ObviousGuy (578567) | about 11 years ago | (#6289536)


If you want OSX, you'll need to get the PPC.

If you want Windows, you'll get the x86.

If you want Linux, you can pick up 10 [] and build yourself a cluster for the price of one of these new machines.

Curious (5, Interesting)

igabe (594295) | about 11 years ago | (#6289628)

This is the first time I think _I_ have seen slashdot with an article they wrote compltely on their own.

Did you recieve a phone call directly or something(Apple calling Slashdot)? If so did they act really aggressive wanting to make sure people don't become anti-G5 before it is even shipped?

Not too important you might say, but interests me.

Re:Curious (1)

Xerithane (13482) | about 11 years ago | (#6289655)

One paragraph mate, at the top of the story:
Greg Joswiak, vice president of hardware product marketing at Apple, in a phone interview today, defended Apple's performance claims for its upcoming Power Mac G5, after they came under fire in the wake of yesterday's announcement. Read on for the details.

You seem to be forgetting Slashdot's whole "Interview" thing that's been going on for quite a while.

Re:Curious (5, Informative)

pudge (3605) | about 11 years ago | (#6289698)

Eh, we do this sometimes, when it is appropriate. In this case, I have a PR contact at Apple who asked me last week if I wanted to talk to someone about WWDC, and we set up a call last weekend, for this afternoon. It just happened to coincide with the benchmark discussion, which Greg was eager to set straight (he had read the arguments and already compiled his responses :-). We also talked a bit about some other topics, but nothing of interest that you haven't read elsewhere.

Re:Who cares? (4, Insightful)

Xerithane (13482) | about 11 years ago | (#6289632)

The people who care are the zealots who don't understand, "Use the best tool for the job."

This means 3 things:
  • Use a tool that is made for the task.
  • Use a tool that you are comfortable with.
  • The other tools don't suck.

People just have a hard time dealing with this whole "choice" thing.

Re:Who cares? (1)

mrmeval (662166) | about 11 years ago | (#6289645)

Slaver, slaver. I like the idea of openmosix. I *will* try this soon and maybe post something here if allowed.

Mac users care =) (0, Offtopic)

Andorion (526481) | about 11 years ago | (#6289659)

It's a well known facts... they're fanatical, they love to say "we're better," and having numbers to back up that claim means a LOT to them. You're absolutely right, it's comparing apples and oranges, but the argument always turns into "which is the tastier fruit."


Re:Mac users care =) (0, Offtopic)

ObviousGuy (578567) | about 11 years ago | (#6289689)

I had loquats this morning. Tasty!

Re:Who cares? (1)

Seor Pelo (323921) | about 11 years ago | (#6289665)

The sad thing is, there are so many people out there who, including me, follow every first bit of news about something, and say "oh yeah, I could've said that", only to turn right around and follow the latest rebuttal. I don't think many people do it on purpose...

hi (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6289537)

Apple just rocks

yeah right (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6289540)

Why would you put your own links in the article submission? I highly doubt apple would come out and prove themselves becuase of some slashdot discussion

Re:yeah right (-1)

gee308 (167706) | about 11 years ago | (#6289575)

I forgot my password for a sec, the above coment is mine

Why not? (2, Informative)

AnEmbodiedMind (612071) | about 11 years ago | (#6289701)

Slashdot has a huge readership of IT professionals, both in-charge of purchases, and the target market themselves.

Honesty (5, Insightful)

dioxn (640015) | about 11 years ago | (#6289543)

At least everything that they did seemed to be amply documented.
I found that to be refresing especially in light of all the recent benchmark tests that have not been so forthright with all their methods and procedures.

Re:Honesty (0, Funny)

TobyWong (168498) | about 11 years ago | (#6289613)

If I shit in a bucket and carefully label and document everything does that make it a bucket of gold?

Flawed logic.

Re:Honesty (0, Funny)

TobyWong (168498) | about 11 years ago | (#6289654)

Mac threads are funny... if your post doesn't say "love" and "mac" in the same sentence you get modded down.

Well get moddin fanbois!

Re:Honesty (5, Funny)

switcha (551514) | about 11 years ago | (#6289664)

If I shit in a bucket and carefully label and document everything does that make it a bucket of gold?

No. It makes it a container containing homo sapien fecal matter, deposited on June 24 at 16:21 after a lunch of onion rings and a Rodeo cheesburger from the Burger King establishment.

And to top it off, you now have to deal with a shit in a bucket.

Re:Honesty (1)

topham (32406) | about 11 years ago | (#6289748)

No, you have art and you can get a gallery showing in Ontario. See here... []

Re:Honesty (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6289681)

No, but at least I don't have to stick my nose near it to figure out what it is.

Re:Honesty (1)

The_K4 (627653) | about 11 years ago | (#6289760)

I find their data honest, but their claim to be bull. Look at their numbers they are comparing the G5 to the P4 3.0 and Xeon 3.06. What about the new 3.2's? What about an AMD or two? What about an Opteron (another 64-bit machine)? Their numbers a great and clear, but they are also very meaning less.

oh great (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6289553)

slashdot the poor website twice. Shouldnt we like, give a heads up before we melt another server?

Anti-Apple Whingers... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6289557)

Attack! You have nothing to lose but the frothing at the mouth.

BillyG eat your heart out.

anybody bored? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6289560)

wednesday might as well burn some karma.. from conn.ConnectionString = "Provider=SQLOLEDB.1;Persist Security Info=False;User ID=terraweb;Password=1mag3s;Initial Catalog=tsv6;Dat a Source=terradb01" now I just need a few terrabytes of space..

hey, quit burning our karma, man! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6289619)

Apple: innovation or catch up? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6289564)

Here is a really good editorial in the Apple situation: []

the article is analyzing if the recent announcements from Apple were innovation or simple catch up.

Benchmarks (1, Insightful)

haut (678547) | about 11 years ago | (#6289565)

I think he forgot to mention an important part about the benchmarks: they are not all that useful for a real life comparison with real applications.

Re:Benchmarks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6289741)

That's why they showed real applications during the keynote, that also stressed system bus and hard disks.

Re:Benchmarks (5, Informative)

j3ffy (639422) | about 11 years ago | (#6289750)

But what was even more inpressive than the spec scores was watching the powermac squash the dual xeon in several applications from 3D video rendering, to photo editing, to audio processing, to mathematical calculations.

I'm a science guy, and for the calculations and simulations done here at the physics dept. where I work, the IBM power4 kills just about everything else. And when I saw the powermac calculate fractals with mathematica faster than the xeon box by more than a factor of 2, I was very excited (although a little cautiously) to see we will soon get power4 performance for well under $20,000

I love Apple (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6289568)

Fuck those $750 PCs, I'm getting me a $3000 Mac.

Re:I love Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6289631)

For $229, I can get a complete Athlon 1.2Ghz system with CDRom, 30GB hd, 128MB ram.. so, buy 10 of these and cluster them for $ Dual G5..

I don't care (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6289676)

For *years* I have been wanting a Mac, but have been to cheap to get one. Now that I have the money, I'm getting one (Maybe not the dual G5, but *something*)

Re:I love Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6289649)

isn't a mac a personal computer also? *g*

Re:I love Apple (5, Insightful)

sribe (304414) | about 11 years ago | (#6289685)

Fuck those $750 PCs, I'm getting me a $3000 Mac.

Q: You know what a $750 dual 3gHz Xeon PC is called?

A: "Stolen Goods"

Really, the point for Mac users is not so much whether or not the G5 wipes the floor with the Pentium, but whether or not the long period of performance stagnation is coming to an end, and whether or not top-end Mac performance will once again be reasonably comparable to top-end PC performance. And it looks like the answer to both questions is YES! (FINALLY!!!)

Re:I love Apple (1)

AJacque (679614) | about 11 years ago | (#6289729)

Oh you mean $750 processor? Cause we all know you can't get a 3.2Ghz PC, 1GHz FSB, with DVD-R, 512MB PC3200 RAM, a Radeon 9600, 160GB 7200rpm HD, gigabit ethernet, and a 56k modem to boot for $750. Now you could get all that less than the $3000 it would cost for the Mac but that's a different story. It's just a comparable PC wouldn't be in the sub $1k price range.

More marketing games. (1)

Reservoir Penguin (611789) | about 11 years ago | (#6289569)

If they were really interested in providing users with realistic benchmark results, they would have submited their systems for the offcial spec testing, insted they opted to hire some 3rd party company. (wonder what NDA they had to sign for that?) this stinks of the tpc benchark disaster.

Everyone should benchmark with GCC (5, Insightful)

RalphBNumbers (655475) | about 11 years ago | (#6289570)

If everyone benchmarked with open source compilers, there would be none of the shady benchmark-specific optimizations you'd expect to see in proprietary compilers. Everything would be above the table.

And that's not to mention the benefits for OSS compilers. Imagine the kind of resources and funding processor companies would dump into open source compiler projects if they were going to be the basis for their benchmark scores instead of their closed source proprietary compilers.

Re:Everyone should benchmark with GCC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6289583)

Except that gcc performance varies between platforms as well...

Re:Everyone should benchmark with GCC (3, Funny)

mrseigen (518390) | about 11 years ago | (#6289672)

And that's not to mention the benefits for OSS compilers. Imagine the kind of resources and funding processor companies would dump into open source compiler projects if they were going to be the basis for their benchmark scores instead of their closed source proprietary compilers.

"So, Bob's been looking at those Intel diagrams for quite some time now."

"Yeah, I wonder if it's anything to do with his new assistants and Porsche."

Even the OSS community has a price. ;)

gcc a constant, that is naive (5, Insightful)

AHumbleOpinion (546848) | about 11 years ago | (#6289753)

All this talk of gcc removing a variable is naive at best, misinformation if the speaker is knowledgable on the subject. Gcc is not a constant, the quality of it's code optimization varies from platform to platform. To be more specific, gcc is used by Apple to build MacOS X and Apple has been improving gcc PPC code generation. Apple provides gcc to Mac developers. Apple is also IBM's partner in the development of the PPC970. Gcc is the developer optimized compiler for the chip in many ways and is more comparable to Intel's compiler in this respect.

If everyone benchmarked with open source compilers, there would be none of the shady benchmark-specific optimizations you'd expect to see in proprietary compilers. Everything would be above the table.

No. Benchmarks would become less realistic. There is nothing wrong with proprietary compilers. If they use proprietary techniques not available to gcc, so what. The only consideration is whether the compiler is available to other developers. The Intel compiler is available under Windows and Linux so it would be completely fair to try it and gcc and pick the faster of the two.

Apple got owned. (-1)

ClickWir (166927) | about 11 years ago | (#6289573)

Apple got owned. They need to just realize it's not the greatest. Good? Maybe. But it's not going to change shit into ice cream.

Separate compiler from hardware? (4, Insightful)

NSParadox (135116) | about 11 years ago | (#6289578)

Why on earth would you want to separate the software from the hardware? This isn't a IBM vs Intel comparison. This is an Apple vs Dell comparison. Apple is selling a platform, not a bunch of PCB boards. I sure as heck won't use GCC to compile SAS or Oracle just before I put up a mission-critical database server...

Re:Separate compiler from hardware? (4, Insightful)

Dixie_Flatline (5077) | about 11 years ago | (#6289612)

No, in this case, it actually is an IBM vs. Intel comparison. The spec benchmarks only test the performance of the processor.

However, the IMPORTANT benchmarks are the ones that test the whole system. The stuff up on stage during the keynote is the proof of that, I think. The architecture of the G5 gives it a big win. Getting data to the processor is almost as important as having a fast processor itself.

Re:Separate compiler from hardware? (1)

NSParadox (135116) | about 11 years ago | (#6289674)

That would be an argument against the system's single DDR 400 channel, especially since it has to push around a lot more (64-bit vs 32-bit) whenever it wants to send a memory address.

The SPEC benchmarks do NOT test the performance of the processor. The SPEC benchmarks test the performance of the processor AND the compiler (and they may also test the memory interface... I don't know how data-intensive SPECint and SPECfp are).

If GCC sucks on NT, and professional software written for NT doesn't use GCC but rather MS/Intel compilers, and those Dell dual Xeon systems are installed with a variant of NT and not Linux or BSD, what business does Apple have using gcc to compile SPEC for the Dell platform? One could argue that a small minority of Dell server/workstation administrators install Linux on their machines, but that's only a very small subset of the users who buy a Dell platform.

Re:Separate compiler from hardware? (3, Insightful)

Dixie_Flatline (5077) | about 11 years ago | (#6289737)

Okay, you're right that the SPEC benchmarks test both the compiler and the processor. But if the compiler is the same, you're testing just the processor, right?

The important thing is to test the processors on an even playing field, as much as anything could possibly exist.

Apple using GCC is the fairest way to test, for both systems. I'm sure that a specific IBM compiler would ALSO make the PPC970 look good, as much as an Intel compiler would make the Xeon looks good. But that's like testing cars by putting me in one and Schumacher in another. It doesn't really matter how good the car is I'm driving, Schumacher is going to wipe the floor with me, and you'd then conclude that the car Schumacher was driving was better? Probably not. It's not a fair test. For results that are even close to scientific, you have to eliminate as many variables as possible, including the compiler.

But..but..but... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6289581)

He's a Corporate Drone(tm) justifying Marketing Speak and Glossy Lit numbers.

Doesn't everyone realize that this is a black and white issue?

Corporate Drones == Lies
Populist Raving == Truth

Always always always. Doesn't matter what the numbers mean. They threw in that one graph with the single processor machine slower than the Intel just to throw off the hounds. But it didn't work.

Removed one of the processors for the SPEC CPU 200 (4, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 11 years ago | (#6289587)

I hadn't looked through the detailed report before - one interesting thing was that they physically removed one of the processors for at least one test (SPEC CPU 2000). I seem to remember some people claiming some of the spec tests were unfair when run on a DP system... well there you go.

It really seems like they tried to do a pretty even evaluation. And again, if the benchmarks were so off then why was the performance on the G5 apps so good? And that was without G5 tuning most likely.

Re:Removed one of the processors for the SPEC CPU (4, Insightful)

kwerle (39371) | about 11 years ago | (#6289713)

It really seems like they tried to do a pretty even evaluation. And again, if the benchmarks were so off then why was the performance on the G5 apps so good? And that was without G5 tuning most likely.

Oh, yeah. Steve probably said "hey, vendors, come on over and do a little demo. Yeah, it'll be a duel, but don't worry about recompiling for the G5 (which is supposed to be trivial). We'll just see what happens."

Look -- they spent every last minute they could optimizing the builds they used for the demo - don't doubt it for a minute. On the other hand, every last minute probably wasn't all that long, and the demos did kick ass.

But let's call an Apple an Apple. This was a DEMO. Smoke and mirrors were involved. But I drank the cool-aid; I believe it's faster. Dunno how much, but I don't really care. Mostly I'm just happy it kicks the crap outta the systems they're shipping now.

G4 story icon (5, Funny)

Capital_Z (682911) | about 11 years ago | (#6289590)

/. had better get with it! We're talking about G5s now and the G4 chip icon is still up in the story post.

The G4 is so last month.

Re:G4 story icon (-1)

ClickWir (166927) | about 11 years ago | (#6289620)

But this is slashdot, not apple. We don't just forget about people with 2 week old technology.

Gosh what a big supprise (-1, Offtopic)

Johan Veenstra (61679) | about 11 years ago | (#6289594)

The story Apple is reacting to was posted on /., it had to be a load of crap

1423 comments down the drain........

Joha Veenstra

Lies, more lies and, er... benchmarks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6289595)

So someone says "my benchmark is better than yours" (and vice versa)

Can you all just go off into a field and fight it out, and leave the rest of us to just get on with our work.

(FWIW, the G5 is fast enough for most folk in the real world. On /. though, it's all set for processor wars. Book your seats.)

heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6289598)

Anyone that uses abstract benchmarks as a decisive factor in a new computer purchase deserves what they get.

I suspect that most folks would be more far interested in rendering and encoding times...

Compiler's should be included (3, Insightful)

mozumder (178398) | about 11 years ago | (#6289601)

It's incorrect to normalize the compiler out when performing CPU benchmarks. Instead of measuring 2 different CPUs with the same compiler, they should be using the fastest compiler for each platform. The compiler is integral to CPU design- I could make a teraflops VLIW CPU that does 1000 floating point multiply-adds per instructions, but it would be useless if I gave it a compiler that wasn't designed for it.

So, the correct SPEC results for the 3GHz Intel CPU (from the website) should be 1200 SPECInt and 1229 SPECFp, vs. 800 SPECInt and 840 SPECFp for the PowerPC 970.

The Intel CPU wins (by a lot!)

Re:Compiler's should be included (3, Insightful)

pudge (3605) | about 11 years ago | (#6289668)

No, because they likely could get better performance on the PPC with a different compiler, too. Think on.

Re:Compiler's should be included (1)

NSParadox (135116) | about 11 years ago | (#6289725)

So then they should. And we should be comparing the MS or Intel compilers to THAT compiler if we want to make hardware-to-hardware comparisons that aren't TOTALLY inappropriate.

Also, if Apple is claiming to have configured systems as they ship, they should have to COMMIT to their use of fast malloc(), and they should have also left all of Intel's default options (including hyperthreading) enabled for all tests.

Re:Compiler's should be included (1)

mozumder (178398) | about 11 years ago | (#6289728)

Then they should include the results of that. The comparisons should be done on the fastest results available, and not be based on some arbitrary factoring out of the compiler capability.

In the end, SPEC is about measuring how fast something can be done in the real world - gzipping a file, large matrix multiplications, etc. Why attach an arbitrary compiler to achieve that end result? Get the fastest one, instead.

Re:Compiler's should be included (2, Informative)

pudge (3605) | about 11 years ago | (#6289744)

The comparisons should be done on the fastest results available, and not be based on some arbitrary factoring out of the compiler capability.

It isn't arbitrary.

In the end, SPEC is about measuring how fast something can be done in the real world

No, it really isn't. It is about raw performance, not real-world use.

Re:Compiler's should be included (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6289671)

What PPC specific compiler are you using on the IBM 970 side? GCC? That started out on Intel and is still more optimized for X86.

Thanks for the laugh.

MOD UP!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6289738)


phone interview with who? (1)

Thinkit3 (671998) | about 11 years ago | (#6289603)

You? Some slashdot nobody?

Does this mean.. (4, Insightful)

tarquin_fim_bim (649994) | about 11 years ago | (#6289622)

that all software vendors have to be honest now, or just Apple?

regarding the malloc.... (2, Insightful)

MarcoAtWork (28889) | about 11 years ago | (#6289623)

If the 'high performance' malloc that was used is not thread safe (as it seems from reading about this issue) I strongly doubt it will be the default in the shipping system...

Personally I don't care very much about synthetic benchmarks, day-to-day apps are a much better test: OTOH if it comes out that this 'tweaked' malloc library was used for PhotoShop (with, say, side effects of making PS taking up 2 gigs of RAM and it crashing every 2 hours) then my feelings of this would change...

Re:regarding the malloc.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6289736)

Yeah no kidding, for a CS class we got to write our own mallocs. The assignment was graded on how many TIMES faster ours was than the libc implementation, it's not very difficult to do much better...
( ml) for the curious

Going against the flow (like the late JesusGeeks) (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6289627)

My PC is a piece of crap, I got what I paid for. Now that the 3 year mark is approaching (I buy a new machine every 3 years, or so), I think I am just going to drop the money for the mid-range G5 tower. I really don't care if the Mac is slower and more expensive than a PC, I have the money to spend, and I want a nice box.

Fuck all you poor, dirty, Lunix PC hippies... welcome to the real world.

Steve Jobs owns your ass.

Real world tests (1)

mrklin (608689) | about 11 years ago | (#6289633)

I would like to see real world tests, which, of course Apple cannot provide right now.

In addition, in the keynote speech Apple is comparing a system (G5) that will not ship in 3 months with a system (dual Xeon) that shipped 3 months ago! To put it in perspective, this is like comparing Intel's Prescott processor (aka Pentium 5 - 90nm) or Madison to G4.

Still, I am dying to replace my G3 iBook with a G5! I am such a sucker for shiny metal objects.

Re:Real world tests (0, Redundant)

dspisak (257340) | about 11 years ago | (#6289754)

"To put it in perspective, this is like comparing Intel's Prescott processor (aka Pentium 5 - 90nm) or Madison to G4"

Care to give me a hit off your crack pipe?

The G4 processor has been out in various speed grades and minor revisions for a HELL of a lot longer then the last three months.

The G5 might not be shipping *right now this very moment* but it does physically exist in a stable enough form for Apple to feed confident to benchmark it against known, released CPU technology that is at the leading edge of the Intel workstation performance market.

Sure, Intel is coming out with the Prescott (aka Pentium 4?/5?) in Q4 of 2004 at a speed of around 3.4GHz but that is a *desktop* CPU and not a server Xeon CPU. Intel does have a roadmap spelling out when Xeons get to 3.2GHz and 800Mhz FSB finally.

If Intel has a Prescott system or a more advanced Xeon DP system working well enough to SPECmark I will garuarntee you that there will be a press release from Intel regarding how their "new Xeon 3.2GHz with 800Mhz FSB and expanded cache" now "regains the performance crown back from the clutches of Apple" and expect to see it between now and August when the G5 are expected/hoped to start shipping in volume.

Other Benchmarks? (5, Insightful)

WatertonMan (550706) | about 11 years ago | (#6289634)

Unfortunately the more egregious benchmark was the Quake benchmark. I'd have liked to have heard about that one. Th

Further I notice he didn't mention the problem of not doing comparisions to AMD.

While I can understand his reasoning, the fact is that most software on the PC runs under VC or Intel's compiler. It doesn't run under gcc. The benchmark might be a fair Linux/OSX comparison but implies something about Windows/OSX that is incorrect.

I'd also like to see the tests done under Mathematica and Photoshop discussed more. Apple's had a history with photoshop so there is prima facie reasons to distrust it. But the Mathematica test, which seemed the most exciting to me, is what I'd really like to see.

Realistically though the tools for Apple, including graphics drivers, are all very beta. So we should see improvements with time. And realistically benchmarks are typically kind of deceiving as an indicator of real world performance.

So any word on these other questions?

PS - I love OSX and would love to make a Mac my primary machine. If only Project Builder was up to the task so I could abandon Visual Studio. But I am excited about the G5, but I think Apple's "questionable" tactics have brought a lot of unfavorable press that more honesty would have avoided. Personally I think being within 10% - 15% of the top end PC would have been fine.

More Data Good (3, Insightful)

jafac (1449) | about 11 years ago | (#6289637)

Okay, if he asserts that redoing the test WITH hyperthreading, and on Windows, will only slow down the Intel scores, then DO IT.

I think that Apple should benchmark every case, especially the ones that the Wintel boosters are whining about, and post ALL the results. It certainly can't hurt if the G5 wins them all anyway. And even if it does not, it will bolster the argument that Apple's trying to be a straight shooter with these tests, which will help their credibility. Which is important, because that's at least as much at stake here, as the arguably temporary "bragging rights" of being the fastest.

This is a good point.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6289638)

Have fun apple people..
conn.ConnectionString = "Provider=SQLOLEDB.1;Persist Security Info=False;User ID=terraweb;Password=1mag3s;Initial Catalog=tsv6;Dat a Source=terradb01"

Honesty (4, Insightful)

r84x (650348) | about 11 years ago | (#6289639)

It seems to me that this rep from Apple, unless I am very naive, is being very candid and honest with us. It seems that, by showing us the complete specs on the benchmarking, they are doing what they claim to be doing. Thinking differently, and giving us (for 3 grand) an honestly faster machine. I appreciate the prompt frank response from Apple on this controversy. I am typing this on a PC, simply because I could build it myself for less money than I could buy a nice Apple. Ah, the life of a poor student...

Greg Joswiak... (1, Funny)

killerc (462845) | about 11 years ago | (#6289640)

...Steve many *os**iaks does Apple have on the payroll?

Punish! (0, Redundant)

blackmonday (607916) | about 11 years ago | (#6289641)

The one thing he didn't mention was that during the benchmarks, the G5's were also parallel processing computations on the most painful wretched hideous punishments, to be bestowed upon the web server admin who fucked up and released the G5 specs days too early.
The numbers are coming in, and it won't be pretty.

Gives me a lot of ammo to throw at mac zealots (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6289642)

I'm gonna may so much fun of people when talking to them about the new macs.

Shit sticks ya know.

Re:Gives me a lot of ammo to throw at mac zealots (1)

presearch (214913) | about 11 years ago | (#6289693)

You need another hobby.

Impressive turnaround speed (4, Interesting)

General_Corto (152906) | about 11 years ago | (#6289644)

There have been a few things that I haven't seen Apple pull out of the hat in the last few years:
  • a revolution in hardware platform (not since G4 launch);
  • SPEC benchmark results;
  • a fast response to potentially damaging remarks

Okay, so Apple needs the G5 to succeed in order to survive. Motorola just aren't sending out the chip upgrades fast enough. They (Motorola) have enough other problems in their wide range of markets that they're in that not having to worry about CPU competition is probably a good thing as far as they're concerned.

The fact that the (almost) top person at Apple has made this clarification shows how much importance they're putting against these claims. Given that nobody else has had a chance to verify yet, and people are making wild speculations based off of paper and a lack of understanding, it's probably just as well that they're putting a positive spin on things.

Maybe the documents should have been clearer, showing why these configuration decisions were taken.

The "we had to use GCC" argument is a little strange though; is there any other good compiler available for the PPC at the moment? if so, I'd like to know; I use macs myself! :)

Re:Impressive turnaround speed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6289709)

The "we had to use GCC" argument is a little strange though; is there any other good compiler available for the PPC at the moment? if so, I'd like to know; I use macs myself! :)

There was up until last week - Codewarrior. It's always good to have the compiler written by the company that makes the chips. Now we just need IBM to buy the rights to Codewarrior. Considering Motorola is a dead duck, IBM could probably buy the whole company in exchange for a few Power4 chips.

Perhaps a case of ineffective thoroughness? (4, Insightful)

digital photo (635872) | about 11 years ago | (#6289661)

I have to say, this puts things in an interesting light.

Does a company, in trying to be fair as it seems in this case, get penalized for choosing the best optimization and not testing with the worst optimizations(as per their views)?

In looking at other sites like Tom's Hardware and Anantech, I think the answer is simple: Show all of the results, both the good and the bad. That way, it removes the spectre of doubt in peoples' minds that fairness wasn't present during testing.

Personally, I don't have the funds to get a G5 based system. It just isn't in the budget. But then again, the only reason I would buy a G5 system over an x86(Opteron or P4) would be to run Mac OSX. :)

I'm guessing that tests will be conducted by various groups over the next few days to either validate or invalidate the tests. Sounds alike like that whole MS/cost analysis/web server speed fiasco all over again.

Despite the tests, for Mac users who wish to stick with Mac OS X, the G5s are as fast as they come.

Angry writer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6289666)

Would that guy from Haxial just be ranting now that iChat steps on his excelent NetFone software?
I bought those guys the 20bucks NetFone and it IS FANTASTIC. It already saved 5 times the money spent. Don't regret buying it even now with iChat that does the same thing for free. However a great thing on iChat is that does echo cancelation.

Amazing how people trust some no-named net person (5, Interesting)

weave (48069) | about 11 years ago | (#6289686)

He made so many errors in his "debunking" yet so many people took it for gospel.

Like, the switch -mfpmath=sse when used in a P4 *does* use SSE2, but this guy thought just cause the switch flag says sse that it must be SSE only.

Then someone else (can't find the post, on usenet, under the mac advocacy group) pointed out that Dell's SPEC tests also disabled hyperthreading [] .

Then, based on this person's web page who no one even knows who he is, they start drawing conclusions that if Apple faked these (based on his flawed analysis), that they also must have faked those Adobe, Mathmatica, and other demos -- despite the execs for those companies being on stage also confirming the results.

Gotta love the net...

As for me, I don't know what to believe. I'm just going to patiently wait until some reputable sites spend a lot of time and do an in depth analysis and their own benchmarks, like Tom's Hardware for example. Then I may start drawing my own conclusions.

As for me, all I want is to be able to encode mpeg video at something greater than real time. Show me *that* benchmark please!

You can't normalize the compiler out (1)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | about 11 years ago | (#6289687)

Since gcc uses different code generators and optimizers for PPC and x86, they aren't really the same compiler. All they are normalizing out is the front end and some generic code generation.

compilers do matter (2, Insightful)

mz001b (122709) | about 11 years ago | (#6289688)

I appreciate the idea of using the same compiler to look at just the effect of the difference in processor, but the fact is, when buying a computer, you worry about how fast you applications run, which is a function of both the chip and the compiler.

I use the Intel compilers on all the x86 boxes (including Athlons) I run on, because they give me the best performance on my application code (a computational fluid dynamics code). When evaluating a machine, the only thing that matters to me is how fast it runs my code. I will use whatever compilers give me the best performance (while still giving the right answer).

For people not doing high-performance computing, none of this matters. Nor, for that matter, does any chip from the last year or so -- they are all fast enough. But when looking for the fastest platform to run your specialized codes on, everything must be taken into account.

An interesting benchmark I'd like to see if for Intel and Apple to agree on some codes/benchmarks, and then they should be free to trick out machines however they seem fit, and run the codes at the maximum speed (without outright cheating, and still making sure they get the right answer), and submit those numbers for comparison. In the end though, it is whatever code you run personally, and how that performs that matters the most.

Re:compilers do matter (2, Insightful)

topham (32406) | about 11 years ago | (#6289714)

The problem with benchmarks and compilers (specificly) is that many compilers are optimized to score well on benchmarks. Atleast by using GCC it can be proven whether the compiler was 'cheating'.

anagrams (0, Offtopic)

mary_will_grow (466638) | about 11 years ago | (#6289694)

Clint Eastwood : Old West Action

Greg Joswiak : Steve Wozniak ???????????

2 GB RAM vs 1.5 GB for the G5 (2, Interesting)

myrdred (597891) | about 11 years ago | (#6289696)

One interesting thing about the benchmark report was that both Intel systems were equipped with 2 gigabytes of memory, wheres the powermac G5 only had 1.5. I don't know if this actually has an effect on performance, but its good to know all the details of the tests conducted.

Would it really be right.... (1, Funny)

bc8o8 (683988) | about 11 years ago | (#6289700)

if a software company didn't lie about its benchmarks?!

I guess my take is this... (4, Interesting)

WndrBr3d (219963) | about 11 years ago | (#6289704)

If my car has 200HP at 6,800RPM on the sticker, I usually donâ(TM)t take the stickers word for it, but trust that I would get around those numbers on average.

There are those people who want to know if those numbers are EXACT 101% of the time, so they go bust out their dynamometer and begin writing complaint letters when their engine only hits 195HP.

I think benchmarks these days are no longer a science that they used to be. There are far, far, FAR too many hardware and software variables to do an accurate cross-platform analysis and comparison.

I mean, is it really logical to compare Apples (har har har) to Oranges? I mean, most all applications that will be running on the G5 will be optimized for the G5. So does it matter how a 'comparable' application will run on x86? No, because the x86 Application might have a few more optimizations which would make the comparison pointless.

These days people should take benchmarks with a grain of salt. Just another selling point they'll put on the big list of bulleted marketing jargon on the back of the box to try and rope in first time buyers who are turned on by big acronyms and high-tech sounding words.

So yeah, I think people just need to cool their heels and take this for what it is, just marketing propaganda. Does QuantiSpeed really make your CDs burn faster? [] No. Does the P4 make âthe internetâ(TM) faster? [] No. Just take it for what it is and let it go.

benchmarks and real apps (2, Insightful)

nozpamming (664873) | about 11 years ago | (#6289705)

I think apple did a reasonably good comparison, as much as would be possible. I don't like these spec-indexes too much anyway as more things factor in.

What I do like is the real-world application performance. I was much more impressed by the photoshop, etc. comparisons (Mathematica: comparison to higher end unix-workstations!) than those silly benchmark numbers. Real tests that finish twice as fast are more impressive and less deceptive (well, a bit anyways).

So now we wait...for panther, for the G5's and for the G5 powermac (could be some time though...sigh). I am already happy that apple is back on track, if their product is even any faster than other platforms: good for them...and us. Even other platforms must welcome some competition, right?

Benchmarking (4, Insightful)

bm_luethke (253362) | about 11 years ago | (#6289716)

The Apple guy is both correct and wrong.

Correct in the sense that he wasn't necessarily being unfair. I don't think Apple was raelly cooking the books here. OTOH benchamarking is quite difficult.

No, it would not be fair to compare intel compilers to gcc compilers. But what about, say, another non-hardware tied compiler? Look at it this way - 3dmark scores on graphics cards. Theoretically it should give a good impression on thier relative hardware - but we all know that it doesn't necessarily. It may do something bad on one system, great on another, one system may cheat and have special code to work better with that particular test.

Same here. Ideally you would find many benchmarks, not just gcc, but both with all optimizations on, with all off, both with the best compilers, worst compilers, and middle of the road. You also need memory intensive, processor intensive, grpahics intensive, floating point, integer, and many others to get the full idea and compare it to what you need to do with the computer. For many of the crowd that worries over this stuff overclocking can become an issue also.

This is why benchmarking is as much art as science. I care about all those numbers - I have code compiled specifically for my athlon-mp's, some generic, and some optimized for p4's for the consumer tasks. On our computation cluster we use specialised compilers. I care how it runs on all of it for real world use. But no hardware manufacturer does those extensive of a tests - they pick the best of the ones they can claim "fair" on usually.

And lastly, in the end, who cares? Unless you are regularly running 4 hour jobs from a console it is irrelevent. It is more important that you are productive with the interface and that is personal choice. Few consumer tasks (and even programming tasks) require that power - and the stuff that does is generally handled by specialised hardware. Then if they have the fastests today they won't tomorrow.

That was fast. (0, Offtopic)

yo303 (558777) | about 11 years ago | (#6289717)

There were only eleven Slashdot stories between the challenge and the rebuttal from high up in Apple.

That's almost as fast as some of the SCO happenings recently. Man, there's several new things a day sometimes. Things sure happen fast these days.

Is Slashdot stories the new unit of Internet Time? Will there VPs yelling at PR to get a press release out before an attack story scrolls off the front page?


...but is gcc equal across architectures? (5, Insightful)

Chad E Dirks (681955) | about 11 years ago | (#6289720)

Is there good reason to believe that the same compiler will produce relatively as well-performing of code for one chip it supports as it does for another? I don't think so.

In this case, performance will in part be a function of how mature and optimized the generation of code for the advantages of that particular chip is.

Because there is no guaruntee at all of fairness by using gcc for both processors, except of course if we had the expert opinion of someone intimately familiar with gcc's code generation for both processors, using gcc for both processors would seem to be little more than a marketing tactic to give the appearance of fairness and credibility.

It seems to me that a better test is to take the best compiler widely available for each chip, and then run your tests with the produced code. Now, this isn't necessarily real world application testing, but that isn't what we are necessarily looking for here.

How well the processor performs with code generated by the best generally available compiler, is, apart from extraordinary measures, the best prediction we have of how generally the processors will compare for any given well-written, production quality code.

Speed test (1) (156602) | about 11 years ago | (#6289721)

Why didn't Apple just reply with the output of the command:
$ openssl speed
I'd like to pine over those numbers.

This situation needs to be abstracted a little (3, Insightful)

coolmacdude (640605) | about 11 years ago | (#6289739)

As someone submitted in the last story, hyperthreading and those other options does not always mean a performance increase in every situation. I am glad to see that Apple responded to clear up the confusion. I had suspected something like this was really the case when the trolls came out looking to bash [] .

What seems to be missing in all of this is the big picture. Whether or not the G5 is 1.2% faster or slower than the Xeon/P4/Opteron is not a uniform answer. Different apps are going to perform differently on different platforms. Not only that, but there are a million possible variations of benchmarks that could make both sides the winner. Like Greg said in the interview, if Apple was looking to cheat they wouldn't have hired an independent company and provided full disclosure.

Processor speed notwithstanding, most Mac users are so because of Apple's OS not their hardware. Windows would slow me down much more than 6 extra cycles of processor speed. For my circumstances, the fact that Apple now has hardware fast enough that it can even attempt to make the 'fastest' claim is far more important.

Even if Apple is faster (-1, Troll)

djroute66 (43321) | about 11 years ago | (#6289742)

Even if Apple is faster than Wintel, the Price:Performance ratio is horrible for Apple hardware and software.

I'd like to see Apple spec that.

Of courser the Dell benchmarks..... (4, Insightful)

trouser (149900) | about 11 years ago | (#6289747)

.....can be trusted 100%. Only Apple would exaggerate for marketing purposes.

I have this theory. A 2Ghz twin G5 system is really fast. And if you have some money to spend and you want a really fast system and you'd like to run OSX then you could do worse than buy one.

Jealous Much? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6289751)

Read the benchmarks a little closer... that's right... they actually TRIED to boost the performance a bit on the Intel side (you thought they didn't think some Intel/AMD whiner was going to question their specs...??). Doesn't matter - Intel still got bitchslapped - BIG TIME. Its running 1GHz lower clockrate for Christ's sake! That fact alone points to a serious fucking problem with Intel's strategy.

This all revolves around one thing... some jealous douchebag Linux/Windows user who thinks they've got the 'ultimate rig' (or COULD have, if they had the money).

And all this bullshit about "we'll shit, i could buy 4 Linux machines at Wal Mart for what i'd pay for one of the Dual2GHz." You know what? Buy your POS Wal Mart computer... or even roll your own with Firewire2, Bluetooth, a 1GHz bus, PCI-X, built-in 802.11g, etc... then load it with 8GB of ram. Good luck, Skippy!

Most morons just can't seem to wrap their minds around the fact that Apple now leads in performance. Big fucking deal - Intel will catch up and pass them, then IBM/Apple will up the ante and so on, and so on.

Now that the performance issues aren't... well, and issue anymore - the deciding factor becomes the OS - something that Apple and OSX soundly kick the shit out of every wannabe OS out there.
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