Linked by Rayiner Hashem on Tue 15th Nov 2005 17:44 UTC
Apple I recently bought one of the new dual core PowerMacs. Having used the machine for a couple of weeks, I thought I would share some of my observations and feelings about it. First, let me get my biases out in the open. I have, for about four years, very happily used Linux on my desktop. Doing so has made me very comfortable with the UNIX environment in general, and with GNOME specifically. During that time, I have used OS X machines on a regular basis, so I am quite comfortable in that environment as well. Since I switched to Linux, I have not used Windows for anything more than the occasional bit of software testing or lab work, and generally feel quite uncomfortable with it. Thus, this article is very much written from the perspective of someone who finds OS X and Linux pleasing on principle. I implore the reader to make his own value judgments based on my comments.
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Arun
Member since:
2005-07-07

And fans aren't part of the hardware? Hardware == the pieces you can throw at people. Fans are hardware.

Sure by some contorted logic a machine with quieter fans has vastly superior hardware to machine with ECC memory and slots for 4 times time memory.

Cearly fans are the primary decision making point when it comes to choosing between two computers!

Since your links don't load, I'll leave that bit for later.

Sure. But try this link anyway. samsung does make DIMMS and one of them is in the G5. Apple generally uses Micron, Samsung or Hynix branded DIMMS. A friends power book did come with nanya DIMMS. All name brands not generic.

http://www.samsung.com/Products/Semiconductor/DDR_DDR2/ddr2.htm#ddr...

You can guarantee this without having heard either.

I have heard both.

Well shucks. For your information, I'm not the only one that feels this way. http://forums.macnn.com/showthread.php?t=273760. Search for "Got my new DC 2.0 today." The post is by iDaver. I quote:

Here is what the same person said a week later!
iDaver:
"I've had my DC 2.0 for over a week now. It's pretty quiet and there are no problems at all. It's very fast. "

Let's see same thread other views.
jamil5454:
"Hmmm... I always thought my Rev.C Dual 2.0 was a very quiet machine, but then again, I have it sitting on a platform underneath my desk. And I really can't hear my hard drive, except when I bent down and listened for it.

Mine's a WDC WD1600JD-41HBC0.


I've got Samsung RAM originally in mine, then I added 2x512 Crucial recently and it works great. I just wish I had more slots so I don't have to pull RAM out to put more in."

hardcat1970:
"i got my new dual 2.0 and have the same hard drive. It does make noise but it is not too loud. "

Footy:
"Slim,

It's been extremely stable and very quiet. I did fork out for ECC memory but that's really just a personal preference. The 256 card is ok and it play all my games very well except Tiger Woods 2005, and that's probably more to do with the Aspry port than anything. However I would have preferred a new ATI card and as soon as they release a PCIe card I'm on it. "

Your point?


Separate point entirely. You claimed that differences of 4db would not be noticeable. I did not stipulate that the Seagate was 4db louder than the WD, only that a 4db difference would indeed be noticeable.



http://www.seagate.com/support/kb/disc/tp/acoustics.html

"Today, nearly all PCs ship with fans. A quiet fan is about 34 dB. This overwhelms most drive noise. For example, a 28 dB drive combined with a 34 dB fan will result in about 35.0 dB audible noise, while a 30 dB drive combined with the same fan will result in about 35.5 dB audible noise. This 0.5 dB is imperceptible to the user."

So unless you are listerning to the drives in isolation you can't possibly conclude one is louder than the other. You are comparing the sound of the seagate drive in the X2 chasis with the WD in tht G5 chasis. By your admission you agree that the X2 chasis is better damped. Put the seagate drive in the G5 chasis and have a listen. I bet you will find it equally loud.

I'm not saying my ears are more accurate than Western Digital's SPL meters. I'm saying that my ears are both 1m from the damn hard drives, and I can hear that the WD is louder. I have no idea how far WD's SPL meter is from the drive, and how far Seagate's is. Without those figures, the numbers cannot be compared! I could say the Seagate is 0db and the WD is 32db, if I measured them at the right distances!

There are industry standards specified for measuring acoustics. Seagate and WD, I am positive follow these standards set by ISO, ANSI and ASTM. Both publish sound power levels in the A-weighted scale.

http://zone.ni.com/devzone/nidzgloss.nsf/webmain/980606db5a9ded4486...

From the above seagate link.

"Reality Versus the Lab or Chamber
The industry-standard laboratory practice for measuring the acoustics of disc drives is to suspend the drive in a special sound-absorbing chamber (called an anechoic or hemi-anechoic chamber). The chamber eliminates or reduces reflected noise and noise from outside sources. Sound pressure measurements use a single microphone and sound power measurements use a spherical arrangement of many microphones. Prominent tones are also monitored. Results are reported using the A-weighted scale.

While this practice can accurately measure the airborne acoustic emissions from a disc drive, we all know that drives are never used while suspended in a special chamber. Rather, they are mounted in a chassis, which is in turn placed in some kind of enclosure that forms the physical system (see chassis section below).

The real question most customers want answered is, "How loud will this drive sound in my system?" Unfortunately, different drive/system combinations may yield different answers. For example, a drive that sounds quietest while suspended in an acoustic measuring chamber may actually sound louder when mounted in a system, while a drive that sounds quietest when in a system may not be the quietest when tested stand-alone. Several factors contribute to this disparity, including prominent tones, structure-borne acoustics, measuring techniques, objective measurement versus subjective hearing and so on.

Generally speaking, drives with quieter stand-alone acoustic specifications will also sound quieter in systems and vice versa. Very minor specification differences, 12 dB, might be indistinguishable or even reversed when the drive is in a system. Furthermore, differences of 12 dB are difficult for the human ear to detect. Annoying or prominent tones created by the structure-borne acoustics may also affect user perception of overall system acoustics.

Seagate follows the industry-standard process of specifying sound power acoustics (both seek and idle) for stand-alone drives. Our chamber, test methodologies and reporting all conform to the pertinent and applicable portions of various ISO, ANSI and ASTM standards. We also perform extensive subjective tests using statistically valid sample sizes to evaluate both stand-alone drives and drives inside systems. These tests are performed on both Seagate and competitors' drives in an ongoing effort to make Seagate's drives as quiet and unnoticeable as possible in users' systems."


Could you at least try following the argument? I did not acquiesce that the Seagate was louder. I only stated that even if your figures were correct, the difference between the two would be easily perceptible. This is especially true considering the high-frequency of hard-drive seek noise, which would make it stand out from the ambient background.

You try and follow the arguments. If the specs are correct the WD drive is the queiter drive. Get it.


The 200GB 7200.8 is internally different from the 250GB 7200.8. The former uses the older 100GB platters, while the latter uses the newer 133GB platters. Furthermore, do you have the 2500JS in your G5? Unless you do, your little observation isn't really relevant, is it?

Not according to seagates site the drives share the same quiet electronics the platter density shouldn't make that much difference. I do have a WD2500JS in my G5.

Edited 2005-11-16 07:41

Reply Parent Score: 1

rayiner Member since:
2005-07-06

Sure by some contorted logic a machine with quieter fans has vastly superior hardware to machine with ECC memory and slots for 4 times time memory.

I said, I quote, "superior in almost every respect". The memory support would be the reason for the "almost", as well as the extra PCI Express slots.

Clearly fans are the primary decision making point when it comes to choosing between two computers!

Given that the majority of PowerMac buyers will be running with less than 4GB of RAM and non-ECC memory, I'd say yes, the noise factor of the system is a more important concern. To me, who has only 2.5GB in the machine and has no use for ECC, the RAM factor is completely unimportant. Furthermore, I'd point out that the 4GB limit is simply the result of the motherboard I chose to use. If I had needed more than 4GB, I would've used a different motherboard. Since the X2 memory controller supports 2GB DIMMs, this wouldn't have changed the cost (or the conclusion) significantly.

Sure. But try this link anyway. samsung does make DIMMS and one of them is in the G5. Apple generally uses Micron, Samsung or Hynix branded DIMMS. A friends power book did come with nanya DIMMS. All name brands not generic.

I acquiesce that Samsung makes DIMMs. I still disagree about your usage of "name brand". Generally, "name brand" is considered something like Crucial, Corsair, Mushkin, etc. RAM from chip manufacturers like Micron, etc, usually hang at the bottom of the Pricewatch lists, and I've never heard anybody refer to them as "name brand".

You can guarantee this without having heard either.

When'd you sneak into my apartment?

Your point?

Does the fact that he changed his argument later have a bearing on his initial reaction? I'd argue that he clearly thought the machine was loud, then got used to it over time.

Your line of argument about the hard drive is really kind of silly. I have the two machines sitting inches apart. I can easily hear the WD seek, and I can barely hear the Seagate seek. You can try to convince me that I don't hear what I hear very clearly, but you're not going to get anywhere with that. You can say I'm lying, that I'm making up the problem to make the G5 look bad, but seriously: if I wanted to make the G5 look bad, couldn't I have just fudged the benchmarks?

So unless you are listerning to the drives in isolation you can't possibly conclude one is louder than the other.

34db is a quiet fan? In what alternate reality? The fans in my PC are rated at 23db running at 1000rpm. With these fans, the hard drive is the loudest thing in the system, and every bit of difference is noticeable. Again, the same thing is true for the Dell machines in here. You can easily hear every nuance of the hard drive's sonic signature.

You are comparing the sound of the seagate drive in the X2 chasis with the WD in tht G5 chasis. By your admission you agree that the X2 chasis is better damped. Put the seagate drive in the G5 chasis and have a listen. I bet you will find it equally loud.

Okay, ripped the covers off, took the Seagate off its isolation mounts. The difference at idle is not noticeable. The difference in seek is still there and still significant. I'd do a double-blind, but you wouldn't trust the results anyway! Now that the covers are back on, the difference is as significant as ever. I suppose I should simply shift some of the blame from the hard drive to the G5's case? I'm perfectly willing to do that.

Specified for measuring acoustics. Seagate and WD, I am positive follow these standards set by ISO, ANSI and ASTM.

If a number doesn't have a mark next to it saying the standard under which it was measured, it wasn't measured under any standard worth considering. Moreover, I'd point out that the standard you have listed has nothing to do with PC components, and still doesn't give distances! On top of all of that, you're expecting me to trust the numbers from a bunch of guys who think a 35db fan is quiet? That page is little more than feel-good marketing material.

You try and follow the arguments. If the specs are correct the WD drive is the queiter drive.

The specs do not list distances. Why can you not get this through your thick skull? PC components are tested under a very wide variety of circumstances, at a very wide variety of distances. Thermaltake sells fans that are rated at 18db, which are easily 28db+. Manufacturer's specs mean nothing.

Not according to seagates site the drives share the same quiet electronics the platter density shouldn't make that much difference.

What are "quiet electronics"? Most electronics are quiet. The noise is from the motor, platter, and head assembly. The difference isn't just platter density --- the platter and head are completely different generations of product. Seagate doesn't manufacturer different platter densities using the same technology --- when there are differences, it's because certain drives use the previous-generation tech.

Reply Parent Score: 1

japail Member since:
2005-06-30

How loud is your typing?

Reply Parent Score: 1

Arun Member since:
2005-07-07


Given that the majority of PowerMac buyers will be running with less than 4GB of RAM and non-ECC memory, I'd say yes, the noise factor of the system is a more important concern. To me, who has only 2.5GB in the machine and has no use for ECC, the RAM factor is completely unimportant.


I am guessing here on a limb that Apple just didn't decide and go through extra development costs and operation overhead to offer ECC support on powermacs without market demand.

Powermacs are used by Pros as well as enthusiasts. The pros seldom hangout in mac forums where you seem to gather "important marketing" data.

My guess is folks at virgina tech and all the desgin, film production studios decided to request Apple to put ECC in.

I think you are confusing the target market of the Powermac with that of the iMac G5.

Furthermore, I'd point out that the 4GB limit is simply the result of the motherboard I chose to use. If I had needed more than 4GB, I would've used a different motherboard. Since the X2 memory controller supports 2GB DIMMs, this wouldn't have changed the cost (or the conclusion) significantly.



It doesn't matter what motherboard you chose. It is in your X2 which you compared to the G5 and is clearlt inferior in most regards.

Reply Parent Score: 1

japail Member since:
2005-06-30

> Sure. But try this link anyway. samsung does make
> DIMMS and one of them is in the G5. Apple generally
> uses Micron, Samsung or Hynix branded DIMMS. A
> friends power book did come with nanya DIMMS. All
> name brands not generic.

These aren't premium brands. These are "generic" brands in as much as any random OEM will use them. These memories are given limited testing, have poor warrantied timings, don't have heat spreaders, and have little headroom.
Crucial for example is Micron memory with a different brand name to set it apart as "quality." Keep in mind that there are only a few DDR/DDR2 manufacturers in world. In picking Hynix, Samsung, or Micron branded memory you're picking from the ass-end of the spectrum.

Which doesn't necessarily mean that you'll have any problems with it, but it's also not premium hardware which is the myth typically propogated by overzealous Mac users.

Edited 2005-11-16 09:43

Reply Parent Score: 1

rayiner Member since:
2005-07-06

Just so you don't keep saying Crucial with such disdain: I was not implying that Crucial was "premium RAM" (though it's certainly name-brand). Since the G5 uses fixed RAM latencies, I see little reason to spring for the low-latency stuff. The Athlon64 likes it however (I think the memory in the X2 is Patriot CAS 2 --- I remember it was one of the few CAS 2 1GB sticks when I bought it).

Reply Parent Score: 1

Arun Member since:
2005-07-07

These aren't premium brands. These are "generic" brands in as much as any random OEM will use them. These memories are given limited testing, have poor warrantied timings, don't have heat spreaders, and have little headroom.

Bullshit. Samsung is name brand memory used by OEMS. Becuase it doesn't have heatspreaders and is overclocked doesn't make it generic.


Crucial for example is Micron memory with a different brand name to set it apart as "quality."

The DIMMS I got from curical have two sticker the original micron sticker that goes on the OEM parts and Crucial sticker on the side. They are the exact same memory.

Crucial is the consumer brand, they slap a heatsink and over clock the DIMMs and suddenly it becomes a name brand. Please!.


Keep in mind that there are only a few DDR/DDR2 manufacturers in world. In picking Hynix, Samsung, or Micron branded memory you're picking from the ass-end of the spectrum.

Unless you have been living under a rock, samsung has become one of the leading manufacturers in the world. In consumer electronics they have fast out progressed even sony.

Which doesn't necessarily mean that you'll have any problems with it, but it's also not premium hardware which is the myth typically propogated by overzealous Mac users.

Yeah right premium means a colored heatspreader. I have mushkin memory in my Athlon Xp box sorry to me that was an unheard of no name brand when I bought my PC.

The dimms gamers use aren't premium hardware they are designed to be overclocked hence the heatspreaders. No manufacurer, barring alienware would put that in a box. Micron and samsung are what most OEMS go to for DIMMS. They are name brand manufacturers.

Reply Parent Score: 1