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9600/200MP vs G3 upgrades


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It depends.

 

The G3 is heavily based on the 603 architecture, which in itself is inferior to the 604/e. But a couple of clever improvements did put the G3 far ahead of the 603, and in many cases it outperforms the 604/e at the same clock speed. Mainly because of the L2 cache and a redesign of the branch prediction unit that manage to keep its shorter instruction window full. 

 

BUT, if the software is coded to take full benefit of the dual 604 cpus, then its a different story.

Edited by John_A
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Short answer would be, yes, unless you're running software which takes advantage of the second CPU (which probably excludes 99+% of classic MacOS software) the G3's probably going to grease the 604e at any clock speed in remotely the same ballpark. There are some fringe areas where the 604e can outperform the 750 per-clock but you'd basically have to write your own benchmark intentionally designed to smack the G3 square in the kneecaps to really see a win for the older CPU.

 

If you *are* running an SMP-aware OS (Linux would probably be your best bet?) and applications I'd still wager the best you're likely to see out of the dual 604e is roughly comparable aggregate performance to, I dunno, *maybe* a 300mhz G3 card? Pretty much the only thing the dual 604e has going for it is the coolness factor.

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To say the same thing -- it really depends on the applications and the operating system you're doing, and the overall workload of the system. Almost nothing in Mac OS 9 was ever coded to take advantage of dual 604s. Among things that were, the list was very short and it was typically only specific tasks or sub-tasks within a larger workflow or application. For example, in Photoshop an SMP plugin could speed up some, but not many of the large application's functionality.

 

At almost everything you can do in system 9, a G3 will be faster. 233MHz is a good guess. If you could get any G3 with 1 meg of cache, that'll help a lot as well.

 

However, if you're running Linux or BSD on the system and you're running a heavily threaded workload, then you're probably going to see the system is overall "more responsive" with the dual processors, even if with a G3 (at, say, 233MHz) it could do single tasks faster.

 

One thing to note is that, say, for the 9600, there were 604e cards up to about 233MHz available, and of course you could get a Mach5/Kansas board and use a 300 or 350MHz CPU, which would (out of sheer cache) likely also outperform a 233MHz G3. So if this is about buying parts for, say, a 9600/200, then my recommendation is the faster 604 or a G3 upgrade, purely because that's what OS 9 and apps for it will be able to use.

 

Now, if you're talking about whole systems, rather than just CPU card swaps, then I would expect that the faster "literally everything in the whole computer" that came along with the Power Macintosh G3 (Beige and later Blue-and-White) would be noticeable, even possibly at lower overally frequencies, but I'd say that by 400 or 450MHz you're guaranteed an across the board performance improvement.

 

As it was alluded to in the other thread, this depends on you not needing more than 768MB (Beige G3) or 1GB (Power Macintosh G3) of physical memory for your task, because expandability (memory ceiling and slots) went down a lot from the 9600 tot he G3 family.

 

However if you needed 1.5 gigs of physical memory in 1996-1999 I question whether or not you were shopping for Macs, and maybe looking at a RISC/UNIX system instead. (This is especially true if your workload was UNIX to begin with.)

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