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iMac G4 700MHz - 10.4 or 10.5?

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#41 bunnspecial

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Posted 20 December 2016 - 09:19 PM

Quad G5s (and similar HW) are getting particularly anemic at the web, and those are by far the fastest PPC systems. I can't imagine a single 700 MHz G4 would be pleasant for browsing the web at all. I agree with the sentiment that you could appreciate the machine for what it's good at, and not trying to force it into things it can barely do. (Macs aren't the best choice for this scenario anyways - the ecosystem moves a lot quicker and it's not as flexible for these things.)

Also, upgrading /to/ a 3GS in 2016? Huh?


I don't know that I would agree with that.


I have few web browsing issues on Quads provided that I stay away from flash-heavy sites. Youtube is perfectly doable even up to 720P-my Quad can manage with no stuttering or dropped frames.


I'm not an anti-Intel zealot. My first Mac was a late 2011 13" MBP, and I've since upgrade to a mid-2012 non-retina 15"(hi-res matte screen). I have 16gb of RAM and a Samsung SSD in the 15", and while it's not as fast as a Retina with PCIe drives and other architecture improvements, it's still a pretty darn fast computer. My work computer is a Mac Pro 1,1 that I've upgrade pretty extensively, including going to dual quad core processors, 16gb of RAM, a Geforce 8800, and SSDs for storage. It is showing its age, but is still perfectly usable. 


Most of my PPC computers are hobby computers. I do, however, use a Quad at work to run some software for which I can't afford(and my work can't afford) an Intel equivalent. IT has been cracking down pretty hard on SL users, so my Quad mostly stays offline. I have a dual 2.7 at home that I use a lot for scanning work, but it's also a perfectly comfortable computer for web browsing and the like.

#42 Cory5412


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Posted 20 December 2016 - 10:05 PM

A Mac Pro 1,1 and a 1.83GHz CoreDuo/Core2Duo iMac aren't particularly modern, certainly as far as Apple and OS X are concerned. They stopped receiving new versions of Mac OS X several years ago, and it's been long enough that there aren't security patches for the versions they do have.


They fall into the same potential risk category that PowerPC Macs running OS X do, really.


The main difference is that the earliest Intel Macs can easily run Windows or Linux/BSD.


By the by, I would legitimately be interested in seeing http://browserbench.org/numbers for all of the mentioned PowerPC systems. A few years on some of the older JS benches, even a Surface RT and an iPad 3 outgunned most, if not all (even the Quad) G5 systems. I don't know if that has changed with newer versions of Firefox. Unfortunately, the RTs are now out of the running because Internet Explorer 11 won't actually complete most of these benches.




EDIT: I'm actually trying, at least on my work computer, some of the BrowserBench tests are working. I'll have to go look at my Surface RTs and do all the patches and try these tests again. Perhaps we could collect results on the wiki or on my public sharepoint page.


EDIT again: My memory has failed. JetStream ran, but MotionMark didn't. It appears Motionmark still doesn't run, so comparing PPCs against the phone/tablet grade ARM chips in Surface RTs may not be fully possible. I don't know how MotionMark will work on tenfourfox, but I'd love to see some numbers.

Edited by Cory5412, 20 December 2016 - 10:16 PM.
Added EDIT:

#43 bunnspecial

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Posted 20 December 2016 - 10:19 PM

MP 1,1s with an upgraded video card can run up to El Capitan, although Sierra is a no-go. Mine is running Mavericks.


There are C2D Macs supported under Sierra. There are a lot of others-like '09 MBs and '08 MBPs, that were deprecated but can run it with a little bit of work.

#44 Cory5412


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Posted 20 December 2016 - 11:06 PM

I didn't say all Core2Duos weren't modern, just something like a 1.83GHz iMac, which is going to be on the 945 chipset. The last of the Penryn-based Core2s that still run are three generations of hardware newer than that.


And really, Penryn Core2 as a microarch is almost nine years old, it was introduced in 2008. That said, the right Penryn (most at 2.4GHz or above) is  a total screamer compared to a G5.

#45 bunnspecial

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Posted 21 December 2016 - 12:16 AM

Apple really gimped the early non-pro Macs(iMac, Mini, MB) with the awful GMA 950 GPU. Those can run ML okay, but that's as far as you can go realistically. I have a 17" iMac that I don't use. My X3100 based Blackbooks do somewhat better, but the Macbook really didn't get a good GPU until the 9400M in the '09 models.


My unibody Macbook(2010) is fast enough that I could use it as a main computer. It natively supports Sierra, and is pleasantly fast with 8gb of RAM and an SSD. The main difference between it and my newer MBPs(aside from the inherently faster Core i architecture) is that the SATA II bus limits the speed of the SSD to about half what I can get in my 2012 MBP. Also, it's VERY picky about RAM. When I first got it, I used the 2x2gb that I'd pulled from my 13", and the computer would POST. It seems that you need to actually match the spec timing of the RAM and can't rely on faster RAM to downclock.


I still consider the 2012s something of a pinnacle of portable design, though. They are relatively upgradeable and also have some nice touches like USB 3.0. Also, the 15" models aren't plagued by the GPU issues of earlier ones(and even some of the Retina models). It was the last generation where you could get the beautiful AG screen.


On a different note, I'm still shocked every time I use my first gen MBA. I'm running SL on it because it's really intolerable with anything newer. I have an SSD in it, but after trying several mSATA adapters I finally gave in and bought a Kingspec(one of the only brands that makes oddball SSDs like ZIFs) but the I/O is quite poor on it. It's 1.6ghz, is locked down with 2gb of RAM, and runs frighteningly hot(close to 100ÂșC under load). I can't believe Apple charged $1800 for that piece of crap in 2008. In use, my last generation Powerbook feels faster than the MBA.


Meanwhile, the Mac Pro 1,1s just keep soldiering on. As of 10.7, you don't even have to flash video cards unless you want boot screens. Funny enough, the PCIe slot utility, which is unique to the MP 1,1/2,1, is still present in Sierra despite the fact that they lack SSE4 support so will never run Sierra. They really are a workhorse of a machine.

#46 TheWhiteFalcon

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Posted 21 December 2016 - 12:20 AM

A note on the RAM; you need just one of the two chips to be 1066MHz. The other can be a higher speed.

The older white MacBooks were similarly weird.

I *believe* the 1066 chip needs to be in Slot 0.

Edited by TheWhiteFalcon, 21 December 2016 - 12:21 AM.

Desktops: Cube, iMac G4, 128k, 512k/Plus, SE/30, IIsi, Q700 PVT. Laptops: 180, 3400c, Pismo, TiBook, iBook Clamshell, MBP 15", MBA 13", Unibody MB, '15 MBA13 Portables: MP 130, 2100, eMate.

#47 Cory5412


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Posted 21 December 2016 - 06:01 PM

The 9400M isn't even really that good a GPU.


Only certainly early iMacs (the education models) got the GMA950, but yes, the GMA950 was a product of a time when integrated graphics were not as good as they are today.


Sidenote: Until just earlier this year when, not because it was slow, but because it suffered physical damage to its display, a ThinkPad running a Penryn CPU was my main computer for photo organization, etc.


I'm very familiar with computers from about that time, because that was when I was in the throes of shopping for what would become the ocmputer I used for the next 7-8 years (by odd mistake, really) and I can easily see why one of the Sierra-capable MacBooks would be a desirable system. Heck, I've low-key wanted one basically since the Penryn+9400M launched, both before and after the plastic unibody restyle.


About the MacBook Air: I think a very specific part of Apple's market (and perhaps even some new Mac users) were intrigued by a system like that. Parallels have been drawn all over between it and the new MacBook with Retina display. It really only feels slow because of the RAM limit and the slow disk interface. The point wasn't the performance though. The thing we all see with good Core2Duo laptops is the computing requirements plateau in extremely plain action. Software is getting more efficient, and unless you're actively getting new cameras or games all the time, requirements aren't increasing for most people the way they were before.


We'll see what the next big thing to become mainstream, but the biggest things that really drive the need for better performance is the fact that computers from before the late Core2Duo era were usually extremely poorly equipped, even for their time, web sites, and then after that, just physically wearing out.


And that's the reason I'm not rushing to put a new screen in my ThinkPad T400. I can do the repair, I'm confident that it'll work and go back together... as well as a system that's as old as it is and has been taken apart to the bones for service can be. Everything on it is looser, the keyboard is obviously wearing out, fans are starting to spin more slowly or make rattling noises, and for an OS that has been more efficient than OS X for the past decade, like Windows Vista/7/8/8.1/10, the upgrade from 4 to 8 gigs of RAM is a lot less straightforward and obviously necessary.


(Neat sidenote though about at least some of the late geforce-equipped MacBooks, not sure if this is just the 320M or both the 9400M and the 320M versions, they can run 16 gigs of RAM, which is something Intel 4-series notebooks are, as far as I've seen, are unable to do.)



All that said *2, the MacBook was never really meant to have a good GPU specifically. It was meant to be the cheap model, an affordable entry level computer (within the context of the Mac, anyway) that was also a pretty nice machine, but in comparison with the MacBook, the "Pro" had a much better screen, a discrete graphics chip, better default configurations, and higher max configurations.

#48 Gorgonops

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Posted 21 December 2016 - 07:17 PM

Going back a ways, re: the suggestion to run Linux on an iMac G4 or whatnot to get better access to modern software, it's probably worth throwing out this particular portent of doom: Debian announced a couple months ago they're dropping PowerPC as a release architecture for the next major version, probably due out next year sometime. While that doesn't mean that Linux for the PowerPC will be "going away" it is a decision that's likely to cut the legs out from under some of the related distributions that still offer Mac versions, like Ubuntu MATE.

Honestly I was sort of surprised when I heard about this myself, because I was under the impression that PowerPC still had enough of a foothold in the embedded market (with CPUs like the PowerPC 400 and Freescale/NXP e-series) that you wouldn't have too much of a problem finding maintainers willing to carry it forward, but apparently that's not the case.

Anyway, I guess what it boils down to is if you're looking for a good Linux to put on a PowerPC you might want to look at Fedora/Gentoo/etc-based distributions first. Or see how Net/FreeBSD is doing these days.

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