Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Apple iMac G5 vs. iMac Core Duo

It's been 3 weeks now since Apple announced that the iMac would be the first Apple to house an Intel chip. One of the exciting things was that apart from the chip there would be very few differences between the previous iMac G5 and the new iMac Core Duo.

Here's a look at two best comparisons out there:

geekpatrol.ca: Geekbench iMac G5 & Core Duo Comparison

What does the Geekbench comparison tell us?

Most interestingly it shows us how the Powerbook G4 will compare to the new Mac Book Pro.

The G4 is a 4th generation PPC 601 chip so it's no wonder it looks old. The G4 like the G3 has stellar integer performance which is nice for day to day apps. The G5 is a great chip but there's no headroom. The Core Duo is quick and getting quicker. It's a huge leap in performance for the Mac Laptops. Also this highlights how desirable a Mac Mini with an Intel chip will be!

A word of caution: The Geekbench tests are rather synthetic and I'm not one for favouring synthetic tests. I think they work well to highlights architectural differences but not pure speed. In general applications the G4 isn't quite as handicapped and the Core Duo is helped a lot by it's huge 2mb cache (which is crying out for 64-bit instructions by the way!). Oh one last thing... The SSE1, SSE2 & SSE3 instructions in the Intel chips should make it pretty handy on FPU performance since that's where they help out.

Anandtech iMac Comparison

How is Anandtech's comparison different?

Since it's using real-world benchmarks I'm far more inclined to believe the numbers. An interesting point is how well OS X handles multi-threading. The apps that took advantage of multi-threading saw an almost 75% improvement in performance. It also highlighted that in many tasks the only thing that makes the Core Duo faster than the G5 is the fact that it has two cores.

Taking an overall view from both comparisons it becomes clear that the G4 is well past it's best so the Mac Book Pro will be a bit improvement in all areas vs the Powerbook G4. The G5 iMac is a different kettle of fish however. The G5 is a very advanced chip and as such stands up well to the Core Duo. Where the G5 falls is it's power consumption, it's easily beaten by the Core Duo.

If you have a G5 iMac no need to rush out and buy a Core Duo iMac. If you have a Powerbook G4 then the Core Duo Mac Book Pro will be very tempting... as long as you use software that has a universal binary.


Post a Comment

<< Home

free page hit counter