How can a PowerMac G4 be twice as fast as a Pentium III?

Posted on 2000-04-30
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-04-27
I do not wish to start a Mac versus Intel/Windows/PC war, but rather I am honestly asking because I don't know the answer to the following question...

From Apple's Web site and advertisements, the PowerMac G4 is supposed to be over twice as fast as the fastest Pentium III based WIntel PC.  However, with AMD and Intel breaking the 1.0 gigahertz landmark, how can a PowerMac G4 with half CPU speed be twice as fast the Wintel PC?  Is Apple's claim correct, or is their claim based upon a 1 year old Pentium III 500mghz Intel CPU?

---------- Below taken from www.apple.com ---------

The new Power Mac G4. This is not just the fastest Mac in history. It’s the fastest personal computer in history. And it’s supported by a library of mainstream and high-end software titles optimized to take advantage of its scorching speed.

Rather than being just 35% faster, the new Power Mac G4 is more than twice as fast as the fastest Pentium III-based PCs.*

Question by:Kapusta

Expert Comment

ID: 2765098
Might have something to with the Motorola Processor ... Remember the Amiga ? It ran a motorola processor and ran absolute rings around its Intel competition.. (RIP Beloved Amiga). In any case its a personal pref isnt it.. We all run Wintel systems these days because of Hardware/software availability. We like whats easy.
LVL 12

Accepted Solution

pjknibbs earned 150 total points
ID: 2765336
When a manufacturer makes claims like this about the capabilities of their own machine, you know there's been some jiggery-pokery. Clock for clock the G4 is certainly faster than a PIII, but you're right, it's hard to believe a 500MHz G4 can outperform a 1GHz PIII. I reckon it boils down to this:

1) They used the fastest PIII at the time of the G4's launch, which would probably have been around 700MHz. You'll probably find a disclaimer somewhere on the site specifying which machine they're doing the comparison with.
2) They searched long and hard until they found *one* particular operation--whether it's encoding an MP3 or doing a Photoshop Gaussian blur--which happened to be twice as fast on the G4 as on the PIII, and then trumpeted that in their advertisements. They might also have used system-level benchmarks, which are notoriously bad indicators of how fast a machine is when running real-world applications.

Expert Comment

ID: 2766136
Actual test does (as I remember) not show the Mac to be that fast.
As I remeber, the test (in á danish magazine) showed, that MS office ran a bir slower on the Mac, than on a clone Celeron-500 at less than half the price.

These test very much depends on whats tested. Most high-end CPU's has something they are really fast on.
2day the important factor is overall performance. Its no fun having spend all the savings on a GHz CPU, when waiting on slow I/O devices, such as memory, HDD, poor VGA adapters etc.

Things to remember
Timeouts and 3 second wait still takes the same amount of time despite CPU speed.

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