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IMG Offers The Quad G5: First Impressions


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#1 IMG News

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Posted 19 December 2005 - 01:01 PM

If you're in the market for a Power Mac Quad 2.5 GHz G5, then you'll want to check out our impressions of Apple's newest and hottest computer. Christian Franz shares his first impressions and some gaming benchmarks.

To check out the feature, please follow the link below.
Return to Full Article - InsideMacGames News


#2 steiner designer

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Posted 19 December 2005 - 03:04 PM

If the Battle Cat would be so kind as to loan me his "WOOT" cannon, I would gladly fire several celebratory rounds in the air.

Thank you, very much. (Aims cannon straight overhead and....)

WOOT!  WOOT!  WOOT!
PRIMARY MAC :: 2.5 GHz Quad G5 :: 4 GB RAM :: NVidia 7800 GT

SECONDARY MAC :: 1.25 GHz Dual G4 :: 2 GB RAM :: ATI Radeon 9000

CURRENTLY PLAYING :: Lego Star Wars :: Myst V EOA

CURRENTLY RE-PLAYING :: KOTOR

NEXT PURCHASE :: An Intel Mac?

#3 mangoman

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Posted 19 December 2005 - 05:54 PM

steiner designer, on December 19th 2005, 05:04 PM, said:

If the Battle Cat would be so kind as to loan me his "WOOT" cannon, I would gladly fire several celebratory rounds in the air.

Thank you, very much. (Aims cannon straight overhead and....)

WOOT!  WOOT!  WOOT!

View Post


Yeah, those framerates are definitely worth WOOTIN' about.

#4 Camper-Hunter

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 04:14 PM

However, all new G5s sport a 16-lane PCI Express slot, which is a lot faster than the older PCI-X graphic interface

Game-oriented hardware reviewers should definitely read Computer Graphics for Dummies before losing any credibility they might have had...

#5 Batcat

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 08:31 PM

The overall tone does seem a bit over the top, too, and I would like to see his Halo settings in detail before giving credence to his ca. 134 f/s claim. Halo isn't multithreaded.

At least, with 4 cores he's set for future multithreaded games spun off from the new consoles, those that are ported, with compatible middleware (pending resolution of that situation).

#6 George the Flea

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 02:17 AM

Just a note: please consider these benchmarks approximations.  This article was mainly intended to allow Christian to share his experiences with his new quad G5; were it a review of the quad G5 we would use benchmarks with enough info to be repeatable, and slightly more stringent efforts to maintain parity between test machines (such as not having one machine limited to 1 GB of RAM while the other had 4 GB, possibly testing differences between video cards, etc.).  Basically, these benchmarks should be considered more illustrative than scientific.

Camper-hunter: I would appreciate it if you could be a little more specific about why that sentence is incorrect and causes you to lose faith in the article.  Also, please note again that this is not a review (it is entitled, after all, "First Impressions").  :)
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#7 cfranz

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 03:42 AM

Camper-Hunter, on December 20th 2005, 11:14 PM, said:

However, all new G5s sport a 16-lane PCI Express slot, which is a lot faster than the older PCI-X graphic interface

Game-oriented hardware reviewers should definitely read Computer Graphics for Dummies before losing any credibility they might have had...

View Post


Thank you for the recommendation. I most certainly will do that, but perhaps you can kick-start my education in this regard. What misconception was I labouring under in that quote? I do realize that 'bandwidth' and 'speed' are separate issues, but in real-world applications increase bandwidth does translate to higher fps ("speed"). But then, I have not yet read your recommended book.

All in all, the article is indeed a first look, taking all the science of a gut feeling, mixed with a little infatuation and a grain of pride. I hope I didn't offend anyone with it.

#8 cfranz

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 03:59 AM

Batcat, on December 21st 2005, 03:31 AM, said:

The overall tone does seem a bit over the top, too, and I would like to see his Halo settings in detail before giving credence to his ca. 134 f/s claim. Halo isn't multithreaded.

At least, with 4 cores he's set for future multithreaded games spun off from the new consoles, those that are ported, with compatible middleware (pending resolution of that situation).

View Post


Ah, yes -- the article *is* over the top. I had a blast test-driving my new machine, and hope you had some fun reading it. This was no science exercise - it was the sheer exuberance of playing games on a heavy iron. When I talk about "bragging rights", science usually has left the building. The article is simply a romp through my new playing ground. My apologies if that wasn't clear.

With regard to the frame rates in Halo - all I did was run 'Timedemo', and then read the report that halo generates. The settings where the same that generated 46 fps on my old (1.25 GHZ G4 with old video card).

As I noted, it's still possible to bring the fps down in Halo when turning up FSAA and all the other goodies. In hindsight, the phrase 'audio threads' is unfortunate, as it may imply that Halo is multi-threaded, as it is not (as you point out). When you run Timedemo, you'll see (hear) what I meant: Voice-acting starts at their correct points, but because of the unrestrained speed they run into each other.

In any event - thank you for reading the article.

-ch

#9 Tesseract

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 05:15 AM

cfranz, on December 21st 2005, 07:42 PM, said:

What misconception was I labouring under in that quote?

View Post

I think Camper-Hunter's beef was with calling PCI-X a "graphic interface". While it is certainly possible to install a video card in a PCI-X slot, AGP is the far more commonly used "previous generation" graphics slot.

#10 cfranz

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 07:33 AM

Tesseract, on December 21st 2005, 12:15 PM, said:

I think Camper-Hunter's beef was with calling PCI-X a "graphic interface". While it is certainly possible to install a video card in a PCI-X slot, AGP is the far more commonly used "previous generation" graphics slot.

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Ah, now that does makes sense. Indeed, it appears I forgot that distinction. To be precise, AGP is no PCI slot at all, and I goofed there. Dang. My bad.

-ch

#11 Batcat

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 08:01 AM

cfranz, on December 21st 2005, 04:59 AM, said:

Ah, yes -- the article *is* over the top. I had a blast test-driving my new machine, and hope you had some fun reading it. This was no science exercise - it was the sheer exuberance of playing games on a heavy iron. When I talk about "bragging rights", science usually has left the building. The article is simply a romp through my new playing ground. My apologies if that wasn't clear.

With regard to the frame rates in Halo - all I did was run 'Timedemo', and then read the report that halo generates. The settings where the same that generated 46 fps on my old (1.25 GHZ G4 with old video card).

As I noted, it's still possible to bring the fps down in Halo when turning up FSAA and all the other goodies. In hindsight, the phrase 'audio threads' is unfortunate, as it may imply that Halo is multi-threaded, as it is not (as you point out). When you run Timedemo, you'll see (hear) what I meant: Voice-acting starts at their correct points, but because of the unrestrained speed they run into each other.

In any event - thank you for reading the article.

-ch
No prob. I did enjoy the article; I was simply taken somewhat aback by the Halo timedemo figure, far in excess of any I've ever heard of; but enthusiasm is fun.

There are quite a few settings in Halo, and with 4 fast cores & a high-end videocard it should be possible to max them all out without, say, audio slowing anything down (and even if, who plays without sound?).

As to the PCI question: there are both PCI-X and PCI Express Graphics- PCIe or PEG- slots/bus types. They aren't the same, and the latter is the type [ahem] expressly used for videocards as the replacement for AGP, whereas PCI-X is a faster, general-purpose replacement for the older, slower PCI.

#12 cfranz

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 11:00 AM

For the sake of completeness I just ran the timedemo again, and here are the results. first, with my G4's settings, then aith 1920x1200, then with all on. Sound was always Low Quality/No Environs/Medium Variety.

Standard G4 settings (imported from shiny)

Quote

Total Time=34.46s
Average frame rate=136.40fps

###Video Options###
Resolution= 800 x 600
Refresh rate= 0 Hz
Framerate throttle= No Vsync
Specular= No
Shadows= No
Decals= No
Particles= Off
Texture Quality= Medium

Screen res upped to 1920x1200

Quote

Total Time=39.05s
Average frame rate=120.36fps

###Video Options###
Resolution= 1920 x 1200
Refresh rate= 0 Hz
Framerate throttle= No Vsync
Specular= No
Shadows= No
Decals= No
Particles= Off
Texture Quality= Medium


With everything, and sugar on top!

Quote

Total Time=82.14s
Average frame rate=57.22fps
###Video Options###
Resolution= 1920 x 1200
Refresh rate= 0 Hz
Framerate throttle= No Vsync
Specular= Yes
Shadows= Yes
Decals= Yes
Particles= Off
Texture Quality= High

Don't know how to get the particles to work, though. Turning on FSAA x9 will further bring down the frame rate to 27.

Cheers,
-ch

#13 Lucian

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 08:47 PM

cfranz, on December 21st 2005, 01:33 PM, said:

Ah, now that does makes sense. Indeed, it appears I forgot that distinction. To be precise, AGP is no PCI slot at all, and I goofed there. Dang. My bad.

-ch

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Not so fast. The AGP bus is a superset of the PCI bus. So, indeed, they are related.
I live in Mexifornia.

#14 Tesseract

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Posted 22 December 2005 - 03:37 AM

Which shader settings did you use? I assume that Shiny was using "NV Shaders" (which was rolled into the "Pixel + Vertex Shaders" setting in later patches) while Ultimate can use "Advanced Pixel Shaders".

#15 Batcat

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Posted 22 December 2005 - 09:16 AM

cfranz, on December 21st 2005, 12:00 PM, said:

...
Don't know how to get the particles to work, though. Turning on FSAA x9 will further bring down the frame rate to 27.

Cheers,
-ch
Particles are always written as "off" in the Halo Timedemo results text for some reason, however they're set going in. Not to worry.

9 tap, not nine sample FSAA with NV, no?

Lucian, on December 21st 2005, 09:47 PM, said:

Not so fast. The AGP bus is a superset of the PCI bus. So, indeed, they are related.
Yes- with 2X (66MHz) clock, sidebanding etc. supported. Voodoos 4 & 5 rode the AGP bus but didn't use anything but the 66MHz clock; in effect high-speed PCI parts.

Tesseract, on December 22nd 2005, 04:37 AM, said:

Which shader settings did you use? I assume that Shiny was using "NV Shaders" (which was rolled into the "Pixel + Vertex Shaders" setting in later patches) while Ultimate can use "Advanced Pixel Shaders".
Still waiting for one more patch with all of the PC version's MRT/ multiple render-to-texture fun. Apple game test pages have referred to 1.4 shaders in the past. C'mon, MacSoft (I expect they're loathe to sacrifice FSAA at this point until more chips/ cards support AAing MRTs than the ATi X1000s not currently available on Macs, unless OpenGL offers ways around that somehow. Ken Cobb, are you out there? :) )

#16 cfranz

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Posted 22 December 2005 - 03:22 PM

Tesseract, on December 22nd 2005, 10:37 AM, said:

Which shader settings did you use? I assume that Shiny was using "NV Shaders" (which was rolled into the "Pixel + Vertex Shaders" setting in later patches) while Ultimate can use "Advanced Pixel Shaders".

View Post


I originally used 'Vertex Shaders Only', while on the last test ("everything") I indeed used 'Advanced Pixel Shaders'. The difference is stunning, to say the least. The blurry sight, the force shields, everything looks really, really cool.

-ch

#17 Lucian

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Posted 22 December 2005 - 05:14 PM

I'm not clear on the methodology you used in your benchmarking (I just skimmed the article), but for the results to have any meaning at all, the settings need to be _identical_.
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