12/15/03 by Rob-ART
Morgan, mad scientist
Updated 12/17/03 with Photoshop results
After 4 months of
finally let me test a Dual 2GHz Opteron system.
There's been a lot of interest from readers
regarding the Opteron since it's the only other 64
bit desktop computer besides the G5. Since they
both are clocked at 2GHz, I thought it would make
an interesting article.
Below are the
results, at long last, including the lower rated
Dual and Single G5 systems. On this first page, we
have CPU crunch tests. On the second page,
we have 3D
The Power Mac G5 2.0 MP beat the Opteron 2.0 MP at everything but (SURPRISE!) Photoshop*.
You should read some of the angry email I'm getting questioning my methods and motives. Seeing how we're the only web site in the world that has begged for months, driven for miles, and worked for hours to test both the Opteron and G5 as carefully and as fairly as possible, you'd think they could cut us a little slack.
WHAT ABOUT 3D
TWO for those results.
The Dual Opteron
was running Windows XP Professional, not
XP 64 bit edition...
which is officially avaialable only for the
Itanium. Several of you pointed out to me that it's
available in BETA form for the Dual Opteron,
... there is no Windows 64 drivers for the
... and none of the software we used is optimized
for Windows XT 64,
... so we decided to wait until the next round in
February to test with it.
X isn't really a 64 bit
I guess you could say we were fair.
I tried to get
the two machines as close in hardware configuration
as possible. Both had 2GB of DDR400 memory. Both
had Dual 2GHz CPUs.
As you can see
TWO, we didn't do very well matching the graphics cards. But with the new 256MB Special Mac Edition of the Radeon 9800 Pro shipping soon, we may be able to provide a more fair comparision.
The hard drives
were different. The G5/2.0MP booted from a Hitachi
7K250 (8MB buffer) Serial ATA drive. The Opteron
booted from a WD2000JB (8MB buffer) Parallel
ATA-100 drive. Since the tests I run are not disk
intensive, matching the drives closely is not an
important factor. Just to prove it, I booted the G5
with a WD1800JB (8MB buffer) Parallel ATA-100 drive
(inside a FW800 box). The test results were
Xicomputer's Opteron case was taller than the G5. It had 6 bays for 3.5 inch storage devices (standard hard drives, floppy drives, zip drives) and 4 bays for 5.25 inch storage devices (optical drives) -- but those could also be used for 3.5 inch drives as well. Wouldn't it be nice to have room for 8 hard drives and 2 optical drives in a G5's desktop case? While the G5's case had 9 fans, the Opteron's case had 5 fans (two on the two CPUs, two in the PCI bay and one in the power supply). The Opteron case was surprisingly quiet but not as quiet as the G5 case.
ANSWERS TO YOUR QUESTIONS ON OPTERON:
MOTHERBOARD? Tyan S2885
MEMORY? 4 x 512MB DDR333 Registered ECC (2 in each channel)
DIRECT X VERSION? 9
VIRUS SOFTWARE? McAfee
"Adjust for Best Performance" checked
"Permanent Virtual Memory" not established
ANSWERS TO YOUR QUESTIONS ON THE G5:
PROCESSOR PERFORMANCE SETTING? "Highest"
PHOTOSHOP G5 PLUG-IN INSTALLED? Yes
WHY PHOTOSHOP 7 instead of CS? Version 7 is 17% faster.
G5 "AWARE" VERSION OF CINEBENCH 2003 USED? Yes
G5 OPTIMIZED PATCH TO UT2003 INSTALLED? Yes
This test page is
just the first round between the G5 and Opteron. By
next February, there's expected to be a Dual 2.4GHz
version of both available... maybe with 64 bit OS
on both... and we'll have test results right
COMPARISON: The G5 is $600+ cheaper when both
I got a quote
from the Xicomputer
website for the following:
Dual 2GHz Opteron (246)
512M of DDR333*
250GB SATA drive
Dual Channel SATA controller
Radeon 9800 Pro (128M)
56K Modem V90HW
Onboard Gigabit Ethernet
Pioneer DVR-106 DVD+RW optical drive
Standard Sound Card
Standard Keyboard and Mouse
Windows XP Pro
Xi standard MTower case
The total came to
I added third party IEEE 1394b card ($50) since the
G5 comes with it built-in.
The total rose to $4107.
The quote from
Power Mac G5/2.0MP configured as close to the above
as humanly possible:
The total came to $3424.
Several of you
took issue with the price comparison, saying that
you if you ordered the parts from the cheapest
sources and built the Opteron yourself, you could
get it for under $3000. I believe you. A
do-it-yourself system is much cheaper. But there's
no such thing as a build-your-own Power Mac. That's
why we compared it to an Opteron from a "we build
it for you and guarantee the whole thing" company
(* I would
never leave either machine at 512MB but the cost
for memory will be the same for both -- as long as
you don't buy it from the Apple
ĘGO TO PAGE TWO for 3D graphics...
...or RETURN to Main BARE FEATS Index Page.
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