Concerning Apple and Intel

I felt something, a disturbance in the network, as if a million Mac zealots cried out in horror and were suddenly silenced.
I guess that sort of thing is bound to happen when Apple Computer Inc. switches from the PPC to the x86 platform. But, the big question for users like me and you is "What does it all mean for me?"

I ask that question because many of my friends, and I myself, intended to buy Macs when we went to college. And so, I'll tell you why we can't do that anymore, without pondering. No, the products that we intended to buy haven't changed one byte, but their prospects for the future have.

PowerPC G5 vs Intel - Part I

Only last month did Apple show off its 2.7GHz Dual-Processor Power Macs beating 3.4GHz Dual Processor Xeon PCs in head-to-head benchmark combats. What Apple failed to reveal in the WWDC05 keynote was how that 3.6GHz Pentium 4 PC, which Steve Jobs demoed, performs in comparison to the latest and greatest Power Mac G5, and, unless some developer who buys the $999 switch kit posts benchmarks, that is something that remains to be seen.

PowerPC G5 vs Intel - Part II

OK, performance aside, which is actually the better architecture? For years uncounted (actually, 11), Apple has been touting the advantages of the PowerPC platform - RISC better than CISC, lower power consumption, Velocity Engine - and now it suddenly says that it’s going to switch from the superior 64-bit G5 to the 32-bit Pentium 4? PPC to x86? (Not even x86-64). The explanation for all this is again something that remains to be found.

For those of us who are college bound

Most of my friends will be going to college this year and a lot of them will be buying new computers. I should also say that a lot of them were going to buy Macs because of obvious reasons that need not be repeated here. Now, with Apple's recent announcements, I should say that a lot of them are reconsidering their options, and if they're not, then they ought to, or at the least, they should cast a glance at the details of this transition. I don't have a problem myself because I have a Windows laptop which will last me at least one year through college, if not more, and I can do the ideal thing, which is "Wait and Watch, and see what comes out of it all". However, most of my friends don't have this advantage, and they're supposed to home in on the computer of their choice by, say, September.

The Portables
Even though a lot of my friends are quite taken by the Apple portable line, I seriously advise against buying an iBook or a PowerBook as of June 2005. Their abysmal 167MHz Front Line Bus is just too outdated, even if they gave suitable (actually, pretty fast) performance. Apple has also made it clear that the processor of choice, the PowerPC G5, which powers the iMac and Power Mac lines, will not make it to the iBook and Power Book lines due to heat dissipation problems and such. This, coupled with the fact that IBM is being agonizingly slow about pumping up the G5 to 3GHz and beyond, has led Apple to switch to x86. 3GHz was supposed to be out by end of 2003 and now it's mid-2005, so you get the picture. In short: You're better off buying that Vaio S-Series.

The Final Word
As far as my opinion goes, I think the G5 is a superior processor to the Pentium 4, and if I were to buy a computer TODAY, I would most definitely buy the iMac G5 17" 2.0GHz model. It's been the computer of choice for me for quite some time and that position it retains. 

Comments (2) Posted on at  

  • » os x on intel proccies... woo hooo

    i'll pass on downloading 2.2gigs tho... still a gig/3.3gb to go on suse 9.3
  • » Well Apple has a history of successful switchovers.. surely they have thought it out well before switching this time round.