Linked by Nicholas Blachford on Wed 9th Jul 2003 16:43 UTC
Talk, Rumors, X Versus Y This article started life when I was asked to write a comparison of x86 and PowerPC CPUs for work. We produce PowerPC based systems and are often asked why we use PowerPC CPUs instead of x86 so a comparison is rather useful. While I have had an interest in CPUs for quite some time but I have never explored this issue in any detail so writing the document proved an interesting exercise. I thought my conclusions would be of interest to OSNews readers so I've done more research and written this new, rather more detailed article. This article is concerned with the technical differences between the families not the market differences.
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opinion, not fact
by GunFodder on Thu 10th Jul 2003 19:34 UTC

There are many good facts in this article but they are all in support of the opinion that the PowerPC architecture is better than x86. I have a couple of nits to pick with the implications of this article.

The author goes into great detail about power consumption and heat. The author neglects to point out why power consumption and waste heat are important. Any modern power supply can provide for even the most power hungry processor. So the only problem with high power consumption is the generated heat. If a cooling solution exists to dissipate the waste heat of the processor then there is no problem. That is currently the case for even the highest performing x86 processors.

I don't think PPC has much of an edge in the heat problem; the new G5 case is optimized for high airflow. It is an excellent example of how engineering can work around a heat problem.

The other problem I have is that the author attempts to justify the Apple benchmarks of a Dell system. He states that the optimizations achieved by the ICC are unrealistic for normal software, and that GCC is at least as suboptimal for PPC as it is for x86. The author neglects to point out that the ICC is commonly available to software developers, who would be crazy not to take advantage of the provided optimizations.

If the author wants to argue that SPEC benchmarks are not relevant because they don't compare to modern applications or that current PPC compilers aren't very good then be my guest. These are good points, which is why SPEC is looking for new benchmarks right now. But there is no defense for how Apple crippled that Dell system to get benchmark figures they liked.