Looks like it's time for a follow-up to my Mac post from the other night. The rant was linked from Slashdot today, and our server went off the deep end, while my inbox filled with flames. Plus, there are some other developments. Among them:
He has also revised his statement claiming a 1GHz Athlon was equivalent to a 1.7GHz P4 and an 866MHz G4, removing the Athlon. (We've shown an Athlon 1.2GHz is closer to the P4 1.7GHz.) Further, he's admitted a mistake in omitting an Athlon-based system from the chart, and promises to include one next time around. If this keeps up, the PCs will be winning by fifty points in no time! :)
Here's the comment I posted on the subject:
OK, Mac freaks. I will say this once clearly. Listen up. Read and comprehend.
MHz matters. It's one part of overall processor performance. There is a marked difference in performance between a 400MHz G4 and a 500MHz G4. Or between a 700MHz Athlon and a 1400MHz Athlon. This is a fact.
The other big variable in the equation is IPC, or instructions per clock. IPC * clock speed = overall performance. (Roughly. Other components in the system, like the front-side bus and cache/memory architecture will boost or hinder IPC.)
All of these things are well known and understood in the PC enthusiast world. The Pentium 4's IPC is lower than the Athlon's. Likewise, the G4 "Plus" executes fewer instructions per clock than the older, 500MHz-and-lower G4.
Not all instructions are created equal, of course, so IPC * MHz isn't the whole story. That's why we have benchmarks.
Overall, the G4, even in its higher-IPC form at 500MHz, isn't much faster clock-for-clock than its x86 competition. Check out zamboni's SETI numbers, in which the CPUs process fast Fourier transforms, to get a feel for the match-up:
Of course, these things will vary according to the type of work being done, processor optimizations, and the like. To see a fairly nuanced look at how a pair of processors stacks up when clock speeds, compilers, and the types of math vary, I suggest you read this article.
This is why I say the Macolytes have ignored advances in the PC realm for the past year or more. You guys just don't get it. We aren't buying any "MHz myth." We are simply buying the reality that MHz matters, as one part of overall performance. Sadly for Apple & co., the G4's clock-for-clock performance isn't strong enough to overcome the disparity in clock speeds. Not even close.
Spare us the lectures about myths until you have actually grasped the realities.
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