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Nat!

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RFC: What Mac to buy ?

I am pondering what Mac to buy. Basically I want a 20" display and a machine that compiles fast. The previous only option was a G5. I already own a Dual 2 GHz. Now I got a big Mac project in my company, and I need a new machine for that.

I don't see the point of the new single CPU G5, so the options are (monitor included in price):

iMac 20" G5 Dual 2.5 GHz G5 Dual 2.0 GHz G5 Dual 1.8 GHz
1.8 GHz 5 GHz 4 GHz 3.6 GHz
600MHz frontside bus 1.25GHz frontside bus/processor 1GHz frontside bus/processor 900MHz frontside bus/processor
NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200 Ultra ATI Radeon 9800 XT ATI Radeon 9800 XT ATI Radeon 9800 XT
$1,899.00 $4,598.00 $4,148.00 $3,648.00

The iMac 20" is comparatively really cheap. I could buy about two iMacs or more for the price of any of the Dual G5s. For the G5s the increase from 3.6 GHz to 4 GHz is 11% in Hz and 14% in $. The increase from 4 GHz to 5 GHz is 25% in Hz and 17% in money. The 1.8 GHz machines are a little more crippled AFAIK, still I think it should be either the 2x1.8 or the 2x2.5.

But does it make sense as a development machine ? It would be painful, if the iMac 20" would compile only a little slower than the Dual G5.

Any experiences or advice out there ? Is the iMac 20" LCD panel as good as the Cinema Display ?


10 Comments

A photo of zool

From: zool

The point of the new single G5 is that you can get an affordable headless system which allows you to swap the machine but keep the display (read: the expensive part).

When the iMac G5 gets to slow, you can throw away your display.

On the other side the eBay value of the iMac should be much better than the single G5 in two years (my G4 iMac 17" was EUR ~2400, sold for EUR ~940 and the 17" iMac G5 is EUR ~1300. Good deal, IMHO)

But you need the Dual anyway, because: "It would be painful, if the iMac 20" would compile only a little slower than the Dual G5". I think it somewhat obvious that the Dual will be _way_ faster for compilation since gcc calls can be distributed very well.

A photo of Stephane

From: Stephane

I'm using a 3.6 GHz with a 20" and it's working fine. The cons of the 5 GHz is that it can take a long time to get delivered.

P.S: 1123.5 for the moment. It looks like the 30 last feet are the most difficult.

A photo of Nat!

From: Nat!

It should be faster. XCode can compile in parallel and it works quite well. But how much faster ? Is File I/O in some way still a limiting factor ? For clarification, the painful part for me would be to have payed twice the money and only gotten lets say 25% compile speed increase.

With the display, it's true. My current CD has the ADC connector. Not very useful.

A photo of Nat!

From: Nat!

Re: 1123.5.

I am very glad, that I made that lucky hit. :) So I have some peace of mind.

A photo of znek

From: znek

The most important thing IMHO is to have a more expensive machine than all your buddies own. It really makes them look up to you. It still works for me. ;-)

So, as a matter of fact, your specs need to be adjusted. You need to go for the 30" display and 2.5 GHz dual G5 to really beat me to it. If you buy that stuff you can be sure to have my full respect (and probably zool's as well). ;-)

A photo of znek

From: znek

Re: Stephane. Actually my dual 2.5 GHz G5 came within 2 weeks - surprisingly fast. I like to think I've got VIP status or something similar. ;-)

A photo of zool

From: zool

"But how much faster ? ... only gotten lets say 25%". This is a mismatch with "It would be painful, if the iMac ... only a little slower". 25% is certainly more than a "little slower".

Wrt to file i/o. I'm not sure whether this is really that relevant. If you have sufficient RAM all the headers should be in the cache.

I would expect the 4 Ghz to be really about twice as fast for raw compilation. SOPE compiles about 3 times faster on the 5GHz of ZNeK than on my G4 1.25GHz PB.

If you can _afford_ a Dual G5, get it. Just the dual is IMHO worth the money because it ensures interactivity with peek loads on one CPU.

A photo of zool

From: zool

PS: of course I agree with ZNeK on his penis enlargement. You should get the 30" and beat him ;-)

A photo of zool

From: zool

BTW: the single 1.8 PowerMac G5 + 20" display goes for $2,669.00, which is very well between $1.899,- and $3.648,-. As mentioned it saves you the display on the next upgrade (this _will_ hurt you with the iMac). Its really unfortunate that you can't add a second CPU later, if this would be possible, I would cancel my iMac G5 order and go for the PM G5 single.

BTW: If you really care about the money, IMHO the 17" iMac is really sufficient (and $700 less!). At least the display of my G4 17" rocked and was certainly sufficient.

A photo of Nat!

From: Nat!

I went to my favorite *cough* shop Gravis today and looked at the Cinema Display 20" and the iMac 20". I didn't see any difference in quality, though the salesman of course saw a huge difference. He thought the CD was much better. The CD appeared to be smaller, a psychological thing probably. The iMac doesn't look bad, yet compared to the G5 it looks a bit ... old somehow.

17 inch is too small for me.

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