My notes on the G5's hardware architecture

Discussion in 'OT Technology' started by Laserbeak, May 23, 2005.

  1. Laserbeak

    Laserbeak Remember kids! Be like Billy! BEHAVE YOURSELVES!

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2001
    Messages:
    22,909
    Likes Received:
    46
    Location:
    WA
    Cliffs Notes: Read the first paragraph only. It's up to you as to whether or not you want to actually read the details and the justification behind the reasoning.

    I found some info from reading tonight that may justify the reasoning behind Apple's colossal costs of Power Mac G5 systems, and why may very well be a better deal than a comparably performing PC, and here's what I've found:

    * Dual 64-bit CPUs (a given, of course).

    * RISC-based, allowing for the same level of processing using half the instructions as an x86 (read: Intel / AMD) CPU would use, resulting in more efficient computing (another given since the inception of the PowerPC CPU).

    * G5s are copper-tipped CPUs, allowing for CPUs to run much, much hotter than their x86 counterparts, which use gold interconnects. This manufacturing practice with CPUs date back to 1999, when the Power Mac G4 was first produced.

    * Liquid-cooled system, which allows for the system to run hotter without having to invest in and set up in third-party, do-it-yourself solutions. Nearly all x86 systems currently only offer air-cooled systems. Thanks to the structure of the aluminum case in addition to the architecture of the case allowing for maximum cool air flow, cooling is maximized.

    * IBM manufactures the G5 CPUs, which go under the name of "Power 970," which are also used in IBM-brand servers as well. On an interesting note, the G5 CPU is the same CPU that will be used to power the next-generation XBox gaming console from Microsoft: the XBox 360.

    * HyperTransport technology is used throughout the computer, providing an ultra high-performance bandwidth bus between every I/O component of the computer (e.g. FireWire bus, SATA bus, USB bus, PCI-X bus, AGP bus, Ethernet bus, et al) and the system controller. This appears to explain why the G5 was able to outperform high-end Intel systems in CPU-intensive tests such as rendering in Photoshop, and video editing when the G5 system was first announced to the public, whereas it was more evenly matched (or edged, depending on your point of view) by the FX.

    An interesting note is that AMD utilizes HyperTransport technology in their Athlon64 processors, but only their highest-end systems carry HyperTransport technology to all their system devices, and their more affordable solutions are limited only to the CPU and system memory. Granted, they do have systems comparable to the G5 in performance, but it tends to get rather pricey very quickly, considering the highest-end FX CPU will run you about $850-$1000 for a single CPU (let alone two)! That's not including the motherboard, video card, hard drive, optical drive, case, etc.

    * Each CPU has a dedicated front side bus (FSB) that carries information from the CPU to devices within the system such as the drives, PCI-X cards, etc. Intel tends to toot their high FSB as the reason that their systems have an edge on their competition, in conjunction with their HyperThreading technology. AMD for the most part was able to do away with this since their usage of HyperTransport technology on the CPU itself was able to do away with the FSB for the most part. G5s however still have FSBs in addition to HyperTransport technology throughout the system, therefore allowing for much higher bandwidth for system-intensive tasks. Intel IIRC currently tops out at 800 MHz for its FSB, whereas the G5s top out at 1.35 GHz per CPU in its stock form.

    * Memory speed: The G5 is able to take advantage of dual-channel DDR memory, as well as its memory controller being able to run the memory at their full speed (400 MHz) without modifications. Since the memory is run in dual-channel mode, the data paths for memory is now 128-bit, instead of 64-bit if the DDR was running in single-channel mode. Being able to run DDR in dual-channel, 128-bit mode allows for much higher amounts of data throughput than in 64-bit mode. To achieve this, DDR memory must be installed in pairs in order for this to work. x86 computers are able to take advantage of dual-channel DDR memory, but it depends on whether or not the motherboard supports such a feature.

    * PCI-X: All Power Mac G5s come with PCI-X (PCI-X) expansion ports instead of regular PCI, which is an evolved form of the familiar PCI expansion card interface used in computers today. While PCI-X has not become as widely popular or mass-produced in desktops for the consumer market (read: the general public), PCI-X does allow for either the use of high-speed PCI-X expansion cards, but also supports the installation and usage of regular PCI expansion cards; keep in mind that PCI cards will not be throttled up to 64-bit levels, they will stay in 32-bit mode. This works similar in concept to wireless network cards (802.11) that support 802.11A, B, and G protocols, as it is built for high-speed connections, but also supports lower legacy speeds for increased compatibility. It is rumored that the next revision of the Power Mac G5 may switch over to PCI Express, as pressure from hardware power players such as Intel, Abit, Asus, and ATI may cause the industry to move towards something more standardized.

    * Optical Drive: Power Mac G5s come with 8X DVD burners out of the box (but can be downgraded to a combo DVD-ROM / CD-R(W) drive if you wish), but they can be upgraded to a 16X dual-layer DVD burner if you like as well. I did some extra researching on this issue, and found that Pioneer manufactures the DVD burners for the G5s, so you know you are getting a quality brand from a reputable manufacturer.

    * Expansion Ports: Power Mac G5s come with not only USB 2.0 ports, but also FireWire 400 and 800 (a new version of the FireWire bus that allows for up to 800 Mbps transfers) ports, optical digital audio in/out ports, is 802.11B/G ready, analog audio in/out ports, etc.

    * Video Cards: Power Mac G5 video card offerings range from the aging NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200 Ultra to the high-powered NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra DDL with 256 MB of GDDR3 memory. GDDR3 memory is video memory that carries speeds of 500 MHz (100 MHz faster than DDR400 memory), with headroom for up to 800 MHz.

    * Storage: All Power Mac G5s come with Serial ATA (SATA) drives with a capacity of 250 GB, but can be configured to have as much as 800 GB (2 x 400 GB in a RAID-0 formation) from the factory.

    So, in summary, Apple's philosophy on hardware has been more on the lines of "throughput, throughput, throughput" than sheer megahertz and frames per second in a video game. The Mac possesses the capability for gaming, but its primary design is not for gaming like an Alienware computer is. If you were pressed to find a comparably performing x86 desktop that can also double as a server to beat the highest-end G5 available, you'll need to piece together something that has the lines of:

    - Dual 64-bit, 2.7 GHz RISC CPUs
    - 1.35 GHz FSB per CPU
    - Dual-layer DVD burner
    - HyperTransport through all I/O devices
    - 512 MB 128-bit DDR system memory running at 400 MHz, supporting up to 8 GB
    - PCI-X on ALL expansion ports
    - FireWire 400 and 800 ports
    - 256 MB AGP 8X Pro video card with support for GDDR video cards
    - USB 2.0
    - Gigabit Ethernet
    - 56K modem
    - 802.11 B and G
    - 250 GB SATA hard drive, supporting up to 800 GB
    - Optical digital audio in/out + analog audio in/out, and
    - A license for an OS,

    ...for under $3,000 out the door.

    ------------------

    Sources:

    HyperTransport Consortium - Power Mac G5: http://www.hypertransport.org/applications/systemdetail.cfm?RecordID=51
    HyperTransport Consortium - AMD Athlon 64: http://www.hypertransport.org/consortium/cons_companydetails.cfm?RecordID=26
    WikiPedia - Front Side Bus: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Front_side_bus
    Apple - Power Mac G5: http://www.apple.com/powermac
    Microsoft Reveals XBox 360 Specs: http://www.betanews.com/article/Microsoft_Reveals_Xbox_360_Specs/1115954701
    PearPC - G4: http://wiki.pearpc.net/index.php/G4
    X-bit Labs - ABIT, ATI, Intel to Push PCI Express Graphics into the Market: http://www.xbitlabs.com/news/video/display/20040625122741.html
     
  2. Squally

    Squally New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2002
    Messages:
    7,293
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    West LA
    damn it, now I want my G5 even more, but have to wait until August. Thanks for the info, I'm a Mac newbie and don't really know a lot about them. :bigthumb:
     
  3. Jkuao

    Jkuao New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2004
    Messages:
    513
    Likes Received:
    0
    Apple said to mull switch to Intel chips

    http://money.cnn.com/2005/05/23/technology/apple_intel.reut/index.htm

    $3k buys a lot of x86 hardware. Especially if you discount a monitor. I wouldn't be surprised if you could spec 2x dual core Opterons (or 1 very high performance one), more memory, bigger hd, and a better video card within the price range of a relatively stripped G5.

    Running hotter isn't necessarily a good thing regardless of the cooling technology. Intel realized this since it increases electricity costs, cooling system costs, etc...all for relatively minor performance gains. Their Prescotts are furnaces all the while getting outperformed by their notebook PIII based Pentium M's. Heat/power is also keeping the G5 out of Powerbooks for the time being. It's what keeps Itaniums out of many server farms since A/C costs are factored into any large scale implementation.

    As for the bus speed, it's only as fast as the components on the bus so without using higher speed memory it's largely a waste (read Intel 1066 bus).

    With all that said, G5 architecture is impressive. It's also out of synch expensive for today's market of the processor as a commodity. IBM would rather sell a company its consulting services these days than invest in another fab facility so Intel may just steal Apple away.
     
  4. Kix

    Kix Jailbait tested, Milf approved

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2001
    Messages:
    6,568
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Colorado
    Awesome, i had made a thread earlier asking questions to which the answers are contained here. thanks
     
  5. tenplanescrashing

    tenplanescrashing Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2005
    Messages:
    9,287
    Likes Received:
    0
    one week later and im still loving my new G5
     
  6. Laserbeak

    Laserbeak Remember kids! Be like Billy! BEHAVE YOURSELVES!

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2001
    Messages:
    22,909
    Likes Received:
    46
    Location:
    WA
    Um, since when is an (EDIT) AMD Opteron considered a desktop-class CPU? :ugh: :slap: Let's compare a Silverado to a Z06 and argue which can kill the other in both a towing contest and the Nurburgring while were at it. :uh:

    The G5 is much more versatile in terms of functions than an Opteron. The G5 functions both as a desktop and server-class CPU, and is capable of running multi-threaded processes under extremely heavy loads. In an enterprise environment, I want something reliable, not something where I have to worry about whether or not a server-side application is going to blue screen my server because the hardware couldn't handle the massive flow of data coming in and out to the client computers.

    You do know that there are Mac servers with G5 CPUs in a 1U format, right? They stay just as cool under heavy loads, but again, the G5 desktop and G5 server are designed and marketed for two different purposes. If 1U servers were the be-all-to-end-all technology at least in the CPU sense, why are we still using desktops, SFFs, and mid-towers in our homes?
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2005
  7. Laserbeak

    Laserbeak Remember kids! Be like Billy! BEHAVE YOURSELVES!

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2001
    Messages:
    22,909
    Likes Received:
    46
    Location:
    WA
    Oh and for the record, I would rather see AMD develop chips for Apple if it ever came to pass. HyperTransport throughout the entire computer with no need for outdated FSB technology > *.I/Obus. :bowdown:

    Intel needs to pull their heads out of their asses and realize there's more to making a good CPU then just "kekekekeke let's up teh megahurtz to compensate 4 r lack of R&D in the name of mass produkshun LOLOLOL!!!!!1"
     
  8. IcyHot4Life

    IcyHot4Life Str8 Ballin'

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2002
    Messages:
    18,151
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Inquire Within
    :werd: to that. AMD is certainly the "smarter, not harder" company and it's just my personal predisposition to see those guys win. :)
     
  9. turbo91

    turbo91 New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2002
    Messages:
    2,521
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    :ugh: You need to read up on RISC vs CISC. I stopped reading your post at this point.
     
  10. P07r0457

    P07r0457 New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2004
    Messages:
    28,491
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Southern Oregon
    wow, there's a lot of false information in the first post.

    Oh, and for whoever thought the Opteron was Intel, well, lol... that's funny..... you're funny...
     
  11. falconbrad

    falconbrad "You're one angry white boy."

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2003
    Messages:
    166
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    South Central
    Since when was the XBox sporting G5s?
     
  12. agent0068

    agent0068 OT Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2002
    Messages:
    39,833
    Likes Received:
    0
    sigh...
     
  13. P07r0457

    P07r0457 New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2004
    Messages:
    28,491
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Southern Oregon
    It's not. Rumor is that the new Xbox (Xbox 360) will utilize a chip made by IBM based on the "PowerPC" archetecture.

    This is *NOT* to be mis-construed as being an Apple processor... It is not.
     
  14. Laserbeak

    Laserbeak Remember kids! Be like Billy! BEHAVE YOURSELVES!

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2001
    Messages:
    22,909
    Likes Received:
    46
    Location:
    WA
    Care to elaborate how RISC is not more efficient than CISC? Pretty much everything is pointing to it in this lecture:

    What is RISC? http://cse.stanford.edu/class/sophomore-college/projects-00/risc/whatis/index.html

    I'll gladly listen if you happen to have some authority on the subject. Your friend's neighbor's cousin that works for Intel as a test lead does not count. I'm at least willing to quote my sources and admit that they are just notes, do you have anything to back you up?
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2005
  15. Laserbeak

    Laserbeak Remember kids! Be like Billy! BEHAVE YOURSELVES!

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2001
    Messages:
    22,909
    Likes Received:
    46
    Location:
    WA
    Well of course. I never said Apple manufactured the processor. That's like saying they manufactured the G3 and G4 CPUs.

    BetaNews.com? Take it for what it's worth. I guess the concept of you verifying sources and the fact that it was compiled on data that points to an opinion that uses vocabulary such as "may well be" and "what appears" to reinforce an opinion is lost on you.

    Notes and observations != conclusive research results.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2005
  16. falconbrad

    falconbrad "You're one angry white boy."

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2003
    Messages:
    166
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    South Central
    Yeah, that was my point... It was more of a rhetorical question, but whatever.
     
  17. Fucker

    Fucker out of the fast lane, bitches

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2005
    Messages:
    11,538
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    The Left Coast
    Very interesting, thanks for posting.
     
  18. Laserbeak

    Laserbeak Remember kids! Be like Billy! BEHAVE YOURSELVES!

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2001
    Messages:
    22,909
    Likes Received:
    46
    Location:
    WA
    Thanks. It was never intended to be "the final word" or "the one explanation" for it all; it was just that, notes.
     
  19. turbo91

    turbo91 New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2002
    Messages:
    2,521
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    No, I don't care to explain it. You said:

    * RISC-based, allowing for the same level of processing using half the instructions as an x86 (read: Intel / AMD) CPU would use, resulting in more efficient computing (another given since the inception of the PowerPC CPU).

    The reality is, RISC uses MORE instructions to accomplish the same task.

    I appreciate your post, but it's really nothing more than propaganda...and posting it in this forum is preaching to the choir. Everyone is privy to an opinion, but you shot yourself in the foot before you even started.

    The link you just posted says that RISC has a smaller, highly-optimized instruction set [than CISC]. This doesn't translate into "same level of processing using half the instructions as x86." In fact, if you use a basic example (seen here ), you see that RISC requires 4x the instructions of CISC to accomplish a multiply. I'm not arguing efficiency, because I'm not an authority on the subject (and apparently neither are you).

    I'll do everyone a favor and remove myself from the thread, since it's not going to go anywhere. I will say that I'm getting sick of reading posts full of crap in here though. A little research will go a long way in maintaining some sort of integrity. Everyone in here wants Apple to have more market share, so everyone in here is responsible for silencing misinformation that can and will just backlash.

    Maybe I'll check my luggage and take off for a while.
     
  20. Laserbeak

    Laserbeak Remember kids! Be like Billy! BEHAVE YOURSELVES!

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2001
    Messages:
    22,909
    Likes Received:
    46
    Location:
    WA
    Do you think people on the Windows side are any better? They use every minute scrap of information to discredit the Macintosh platform whenever possible, no matter how relevant or irrelevant it is to the argument..or if it's even credible (remember the alleged "virus outbreak" that came out around 2003-2004? All the Windows fanboys were busy living it up without even bothering to at least read more about it). I don't know how many people I've seen post with the "SuperPi/3dMark scores are the only measure of a computer's performance" mentality. Apparently you fit in with the aforementioned crowd perfectly based on your attitude.

    My point was to stress that Apple did not share that mentality when manufacturing their computers over the years, although their computers possessed gaming capabilities to an extent, but not to the extent of the Windows platform.

    Again, notes != the final word. Notes that lead to conclusions are always refined over time as more correct data comes into the picture to correct the premises.

    I would think that people could react to something intelligently without resorting to a knee-jerk response, blasting someone's credibility without providing evidence instead of "I'm right, you're a fucking idiot, although I'm above proving you why because I said so, end of discussion"-type replies.

    If you want to interpret this entire thread as nothing more than propaganda, that's your decision, but I will go on the record as saying that you've once again misinterpreted the intent of this thread: notes and observations.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2005
  21. turbo91

    turbo91 New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2002
    Messages:
    2,521
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    Why can't you be better than them?

    And you don't help the situation when you post your "notes and observations" that are totally incorrect.

    I don't think I associate myself with either camp, thanks. You can place me whereever you want...my attitude is coming from someone who recently started using Apple computers and has been observing both communities.

    I told you were wrong, and pointed you to a link at the SAME COLLEGE that you posted your link from to give you some reading material on the subject. I'm not above or below you...it's the internet, and we are posting anonymously. There isn't much credibility to go around.

    If you presented these notes to your computer architecture professor, you might have gotten the same response (depending on the type of guy he/she is).

    I apologize for jumping on you immediately and not hashing it out, but this forum is filling up with bogus info pretty quickly, and I can't tell who cares and who doesn't.

    And I will go on the record that your notes read with an obvious slant in the writing. They are your observations...and subjective at that.

    Peace.
     
  22. Laserbeak

    Laserbeak Remember kids! Be like Billy! BEHAVE YOURSELVES!

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2001
    Messages:
    22,909
    Likes Received:
    46
    Location:
    WA
    At least the majority of my information wasn't just reposted from Apple's sales pages. Unless you have a test bed of your own and have the time and resources to do full-blown experiments, the data you have on hand is only so useful.

    Well, if every last note and observation is 100% incorrect, then perhaps you know all the answers? Apparently you must be a very humble individual to cloak such pride in your own knowledge from the rest of us "ignorant sackriders."

    Well then, I'd like to see your your observations sometime.

    That's fine, I admitted I was wrong, but you seemed to center your entire retortion around one section (CPU info), and not on all the individual parts, and felt that there was enough grounds to render all the data invalid. I fail to see the logic that powers such decision-making, but whatever. My argument did focus on more than one area.

    When you hang around both groups long enough, your intuition will grow to the point where you can spot the difference between those trying to make a genuine contribution, and who's just trolling.

    Of course the writing's subjective; that's the whole point of an opinion! Writing without a subjective slant is nothing more than a news story or a report. There's a difference between subjective writing, and all-out skewing and fabrication of evidence that's deliberately taken out of context to support an opinion. Never in the writing was my intent to take information out of context to support my opinion. The information was used to support my opinion based on my understanding of the documents I read. Misunderstandings and errors happen all the time! That's why revisions exist.

    But you're right, this is nothing more than a glorified chat site, why do I even bother trying to justify my reasoning anyway? It all gets taken out of context and blown out of proportion eventually.

    Peace.
     

Share This Page