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Strongly Considering an Apple Mac

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#76 rboe

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Posted 01 July 2003 - 12:08 AM

Bob;

Keep the logs coming, it's finally getting warm in here. This is great stuff. :jump:

Nothing on G5's yet heh?

Ron

PS: What's a boxen.

#77 Tom T

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Posted 01 July 2003 - 09:40 AM

Speed means next to nothing guys. It's all in what you can do with it. On any platform, if you can't accomplish what you need to do - it's worthless. Look toward the software availability.

Now there are certain applications that are an exception (gaming, graphics, video), but I personally stopped caring a while back about the 3 less seconds it took for excel to load on one machine vs another. I can't type that fast anyway.

While this was intended as a joke, there is a certain amount of truth to it:

http://www.redvsblue...pleswitch.shtml

Check it out.

Tom T.

#78 rboe

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Posted 01 July 2003 - 02:39 PM

Tom;

While there is a lot of truth in what you say I got the yearning for speed back in college when we were doing numerical modeling. The old 3B2 would just croak on a 1000X1000 matrix. 100X100 was usually doable. The big iron showed it a thing or two.

Then Netscape became a resource hog and I wanted speed so it would load before my coffee got cold. Of course, you always want your spell checker to be faster than looking up the word yourself. In a book. With dry fingers.

Now I want speed so my SETI units get crunched in record time. Since I'm being passed up in the ratings I considered upgrading my system for a faster, hotter more expensive unit. But hey, searching for SETI is not a personal race to see which guy or team did the most work the fastest. It's about finding Darth Vadar before he finds us. Then nuk'ing him. :roflmao:

I still want a fast machine but I want binoviewers first and...well you guys have seen the list. The abridged version anyway. :lol:

By the way, that ad is a scream. Since I don't game I guess a mac would be OK. Remember Galatic Civilizations that ran on OS/2?

Ron

#79 Bob Pasken

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Posted 01 July 2003 - 06:13 PM

While I agree with Tom, clock speed means nothing, I also
agree with Ron that execution speed is important. I currently work with multiple Doppler radars and a Mesoscale Meteorological models. I started my model with radar data ingest on Monday of last week. It looks like I am down to the last forecast hour and should get results to look at tonight. This is on a 24 node BEOWULF cluster with 3.2Ghz Pentiums. The more important question is what's a "game" :roflmao:
I am also interested in upgrading equipment. I'd like to upgrade my etx90ec to a 6" lxd55, etx125 or nexstar5 :praying:

#80 rboe

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Posted 01 July 2003 - 09:15 PM

Bob;

Well that kinda explains why weather forcasting can be so iffy. If the forcast comes out a few days after you had it the suspence is anticlimatic. :)

All fun aside, you should start a new thread about that BEOWULF cluster of yours for us Power Fanatics.

You're upgrade path seems to be conservative. Trying to stay small so you can remain portable?

Ron

#81 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 01 July 2003 - 10:04 PM

As a Apple consultant I would just suggest that you bypass the portables right now and buy a new G5 desktop with the new IBM made PowerPC 970 Power 4 derivative chip. We will probably see new portables with the G5 chip in the later half of the year. The latest machines will ship in August with 1.6-2.0ghz (dual 2.0ghz chips on the 2ghz machines) speed and up to a 1ghz FSB (per processor on the dual 2ghz) . As well the first machines to ship with Hyper-transport and PCI-X (not PCI express) As well the only machines to ship with Firewire 800, 10/100/1000 bit ethernet on the motherboard

As to some of the other posts that have comment on software. Sorry to let you know people but that Word/excel/powerpoint/internet explorer you use on your windows machine was written for, tested and used first on the Mac many years before it ever made it to the windows world. All the truly good professional image processing apps for still and film/video editing started on the Mac, Photoshop, Premiere, Final Cut Pro, Shake, Electric Image Animation System. The top selling database on both windows and Mac is Filemaker which is wholly owned by Apple computer. Microsoft Office X for Mac has been consistently reviewed as being better on the Mac than every version for windows and we still hate it! Tens of thousands of scientific institutions use Apple Macs for the real number crunching of their research.

Other trolls here about OS X stability are just that trolls. OS x is as rock solid as any UNIX based system and just as invulnerable to the endless stream of 50,000 plus windows viruses, worms and trojan horses. To date there have been 50 virus written for both OS 9 & below (50) and OS X (0). This not from the lower amount of Macs out there but because of the difficulty of writing them, there are 35 million macs in service at the moment according to Apple.

In a word go ahead and buy a Mac you won't be disappointed.

#82 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 01 July 2003 - 10:19 PM

Charles,

The Lisa was not a Mac, Apple II IIgs and II were never Macs. They were different machines altogheter. All the Apple II series machines ran the same basic OS except for some hardware specific things in the IIgs the III was a failed attempt at a better design it did not work.

As for the "fat mac" a Mac 512k ran the same OS as the original Mac 128k in fact you could run ever OS until 6 on these machines in one form or another and these machines are 19 years old!!!!!!!!! I could pull a Quadra 900 off a shelf from 1991 and put OS 8.6 on it right now! In fact I can take the latest build of OS X 10.26 and put it on a Power Macintosh 8500 with a G3 upgrade card a machine from 1996 and run it without a problem try that with XP and your pentium 75mhz :-)

BTW I am an independent and have been since the day I turned 18, 18 years ago. Politically parties have one purpose to force their ideas on you not for you to voice yours.

#83 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 01 July 2003 - 10:28 PM

Tom,

The best WWII game out there is WWII Online realtime real army multi player war between the brits french and germans. There is nothing else like it out there



#84 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 01 July 2003 - 10:32 PM

Burning CDs is built into the Mac OS now Alister just insert a CD and pick the type. Has been this way for almost 3 years now. DVD burners are standard on all the new G5 towers and with iDVD (considered the easiest program on all platforms by the reviewers) which comes free with the machines.


#85 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 01 July 2003 - 10:40 PM

Allister ,
as I ssaid in a previous message the G5s are on sale right now but wil ship in August. Go to the apple store http://store.apple.com to see them and their specs.
The G4 now coems in one configuration a 1.25ghz model at about a $1000 less than before. You can find dealers with the others all dual processors from old stock with some passing on the other price reductions. I would wait and order a G5 you will not be dissa pointed.

For those who need to see the specs here.

Technical Specifications Processing

* 1.6GHz, 1.8GHz, or dual 2GHz PowerPC G5 microprocessors
* PowerPC processor architecture with 64-bit data paths and registers
* Native support for 32-bit application code
* 512K on-chip L2 cache running at processor speed
* Parallel data structure supporting up to 215 simultaneous in-flight instructions
* Simultaneous issue of up to 10 out-of-order operations
* Dual-pipeline Velocity Engine for 128-bit single-instruction, multiple-data (SIMD) processing
* Two independent double-precision floating-point units
* Advanced three-stage branch-prediction logic
* 800MHz, 900MHz, or 1GHz 64-bit DDR frontside bus supporting up to 8-GBps data throughput; one on each processor on dual processor systems
* Point-to-point system controller


Memory

* 128-bit data paths for up to 6.4-GBps memory throughput
* 1.6GHz model
o 256MB of PC2700 (333MHz) DDR SDRAM
o Four DIMM slots supporting up to 4GB of main memory
* 1.8GHz systems and 2Ghz systems
o 512MB of PC3200 (400MHz) DDR SDRAM
o Eight DIMM slots supporting up to 8GB of main memory
* Support for the following DIMMs (in pairs):
o 128MB DIMMs (64-bit-wide, 128- or 256-Mbit)
o 256MB DIMMs (64-bit-wide, 128- or 256-Mbit)
o 512MB DIMMs (64-bit-wide, 256-Mbit)
o 1GB DIMMs (64-bit-wide, 256-Mbit)

Graphics and displays

* AGP 8X Pro graphics slot supporting up to 2-GBps data throughput, with one of the following graphics cards installed:
o NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200 Ultra with 64MB of DDR SDRAM
o ATI Radeon 9600 Pro with 64MB of DDR SDRAM
o ATI Radeon 9800 Pro with 128MB of DDR SDRAM (build-to-order option)
* Support for digital resolutions up to 1920 by 1200 pixels
* Support for analog resolutions up to 1600 by 1200 pixels
* ADC and DVI connectors; DVI to VGA adapter included
* Dual display support for extended desktop and video mirroring modes
* Support for up to two Apple flat panel displays(8)


Storage

* Two Serial ATA controllers supporting up to 150-MBps data throughput per hard drive
* Two 3.5-inch hard drive expansion bays with drive guides for a second drive
o One 80GB or 160GB 7200-rpm Serial ATA drive installed in standard configurations(5)
o Support for up to two internal Serial ATA drives; 500GB maximum system capacity(5)
o 8MB memory buffers on all hard drives
* Optical drive bay with SuperDrive (DVD-R/CD-RW) installed; writes DVD-R discs at up to 4x speed, reads DVDs at up to 8x speed, writes CD-R discs at up to16x speed, writes CD-RW discs at up to 10x speed, reads CDs at up to 32x speed


PCI expansion

* One of the following configurations:
o Three open full-length 64-bit, 33MHz PCI slots, or
o One open full-length 64-bit, 133MHz PCI-X slot and two open full-length 64-bit 100MHz PCI-X slots

Communications

* 10/100/1000BASE-T Ethernet connector (RJ-45)
* Built-in 56K V.92 modem (RJ-11) (13)
* Expansion slot for optional 54-Mbps AirPort Extreme Card (based on IEEE 802.11g specification; 802.11b Wi-Fi certified) (6)
* External AirPort Extreme antenna
* Optional Bluetooth 1.1 module and antenna


Peripherals and audio

* One FireWire 800 port and two FireWire 400 ports (one on front panel, 15W total power)
* Three USB 2.0 ports (on one front panel), two USB 1.1 ports on keyboard
* Front headphone minijack and speaker
* Optical digital audio in and out Toslink connectors
* Stereo audio in and out minijacks


Electrical and environmental requirements

* Meets ENERGY STAR requirements
* Line voltage: 100-125V AC or 200-240V AC
* Frequency: 50Hz to 60Hz, single phase
* Maximum current: 6.5A (low-voltage range) or 7.5A (high-voltage range)
* Operating temperature: 50° to 95° F (10° to 35° C)
* Storage temperature: -40° to 116° F (-40° to 47° C)
* Relative humidity: 5% to 95% noncondensing
* Maximum altitude: 10,000 feet


Size and weight

* Height: 20.1 inches (51.1 cm)
* Width: 8.1 inches (20.6 cm)
* Depth: 18.7 inches (47.5 cm)
* Weight: 39.2 pounds (17.8 kg) (14)
:tonofbricks: :tonofbricks: :tonofbricks:

#86 rboe

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Posted 01 July 2003 - 11:29 PM

Joe;

Don't hold back Joe, let us know how you really feel. :whistle:



So the G5 laptops will make it this year? :yay:

You wouldn't happen to have any toe toe crunching numbers type comparisons of the G3,4,5 to their respective Intel counter parts would you?

Any comments on why Apple is selling dual G4's for workstations while the Intel and AMD families leave these to servers?

Since you're firmly in the Apple camp, are you aware of any good Astronomy software, professional or for the home user written just for the Mac?

Many thanks for all the good stuff and jumping in here with your two cents. :waytogo:

Ron

#87 asaint

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Posted 02 July 2003 - 05:00 AM

Hey Joe,

I just checked the Apple Store and the G4's are still listed at their old prices. Should I be hunting at 3rd party stores?

One of the impressive things you left off about the new G5's is they are being touted as whisper quiet. This is of some importance to me and I'm impressed they are taking this direction with their new design.

What the heck is PCI-X? Is this the successor to PCI? Is it an industry standard that will show up on PCs too?

Thanks
Allister

#88 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 02 July 2003 - 10:04 AM

The G4 that is listed is not the same look carefully and you will see it is only a 1.25ghz in several configurations ranging in price from $1299 -3200.

PCI X is a faster standard that soem of the smaller PC clone manufacturers are just now implementing. Higher end PC will have it first in the near future. The top speed of a PCI X slot is 133mhz 4 times that of a standard PCI slot. It is a 64bit wide data path.

The whisper quiet aspect I don't consider a great feature Allister because I own the famous G4 Cube nothing can be quieter than a computer with NO fans. :-)



#89 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 02 July 2003 - 10:25 AM

No numbers on toe to toe as they are not useful on the old G3 and G4 processors. On the G5 there is only Apple SPEC benchmarks which they commissioned a lab the run. They are available on Apples website but as with any SPEC marks companies have the tests setup so that there machines look the best in most areas.
The real test of the new processors since they are not shipping yet is the "bake offs" toe to toe programs running the same files and versions on both machines.

Apple showed and you can view them online live tests of Photoshop, Luxology, Mathematica and something else I can't remember all running against the dual Xeons and beating them like they were standing still. you can watch them on the Keynote address of the WWDC that introduced them. They may be available separately.

As for the G5 laptops the 970 runs cooler than the G4, if that is really possible, so it is a natural for the portable line. In fact it is possible to put dual processors in the 15" and 17" powerbooks.

As for your dual processor comment only the 2ghz is dual processor but unlike Windows, OS X apps are really designed for dual processors like photoshop, Maya, Shake, FCp, Pro Tools, Emagic, Mathmatica and a score of other apps.

Some simply don't need two processors but others scream out for them.



#90 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 02 July 2003 - 10:30 AM

ohh I forgot Voyager and Starry night pro are the two mapping/planetarium programs that come to mind for the Mac both run your GOTO mounts too. Voyager has been around for some 12 years I think longer than any other commercial program. other software has always been shareware

#91 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 02 July 2003 - 11:19 AM

Ron,

Well -- Joe C makes me feel like a mere freshman as far as Mac advocacy is concerned! But to answer the specific question about Mac astronomy software -- there is tonnes. I even wrote a round-up for Cloudy Nights a year or so ago:

http://www.cloudynig...oftware/mac.htm

Also, go to AppleLust, to the SciTech section, and there are yet more reviews.

http://www.applelust.com/scitech

Planetarium programs for OS X include Starry Night (Pro and Backyard), Sky Chart 3, MPj Equinox, Stargazer's Delight. OS 9 (or Classic) apps include TheSky (which lacks CCD support and tools, but has the same catalogues as Windows Level 4), Voyager, Digital Universe (which comes with a really good astronomy encyclopaedia), and Observer. These are all modern apps, there are lots more that float about but haven't been updated much in years, like Hipparchus. If you're happy with the UNIX side of the Mac, then you can run KStars and XEphem easily enough. KStars gives you a free, mid-range planetarium, and XEphem a mid-priced but top-end program. There are also UNIX toys like Celestia, spacechart and starplot to play with.

Astroplanner and ScopeDriver give Mac users list-based telescope control, and there are also utilities like Night Master for casting the screen red and dark independent of running applications (great for the UNIX apps!). There are also apps for webcam image processing (Keith's Image Stacker), time conversions, cataloguing observations, etc., etc. Obviously things like Excel spreadsheets and FileMaker databases work on both platforms, as do things like Java-based applications (such as Silicon Spaceships).

As for professional astronomy applications, there are lots: fv (a FITS file viewer), DS9, IRAF, Nightfall, etc., etc.

Really the only gaps are these two: First, Megastar and SkyMap Pro are Windows only, so if you need them and don't fancy forking out a couple hundred dollars on the Virtual PC emulator, you may as well stick with your PC. Second, the range of Mac compatible CCD cameras is smaller, so again, unless you want to use emulated software, a PC is a better choice. But in all other regards Mac and Windows can both be viable, rewarding choices for the backyard astronomer, and choosing between the two comes down to which you prefer.

Cheers,

Neale

PS. The dual-processor G4s are merely a marketing gimmick. They don't add much for the average user. Maybe the speed up a few things like Photoshop, but I wouldn't buy one with the option of a G5 six weeks downline.

#92 Bob Pasken

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Posted 02 July 2003 - 12:28 PM

In reply to Joe's remarks; My intent was to demonstrate that Mac's are no more expensive than similarly equiped PC's and the Mac's are faster than the equivalent PC. A $1000 will get you a very nice iMac or G4 and only a so-so PC
In reply to Neale Monk, try running Photoshop in single processor mode AND work on a Word document on a single and dual processor boxen. The dual processor boxen is much nicer :waytogo:

For Ron, I'd love to talk about BEOWULF clusters, but cloudynights might not be the best place for it, although we could probably start it here. As for the scopes. I have a really bad Meade 10" SCT, a 10" mirror in progress (ready for polishing) an 8" Dob that is entirely home built (I ground and polished the mirror), a Quantum 4" an ETX90-EC and an ST-80. For the majority of clear nights I get at best an hour or maybe two. The Nexstar-5, ETX-125 or LXD-55 would allow me to still pickup the equipment in one hand, have the GOTO and but more aperature than the etx90ec This is the 8" Dob Posted Image

#93 asaint

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Posted 02 July 2003 - 01:13 PM

Hey Bob,

I'd also like to hear about the Beowulf cluster. It's still rare to find someone running one.

Allister

#94 Tom T

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Posted 03 July 2003 - 12:14 PM

Hey Joe,

I hear that one is pretty good, but haven't seen it. I'm mainly a BF1942 kinda guy.

Since I'm limited to POTS tho, I usually don't even bother with online and just go LAN.

How's WWII's connection with POTS? Any idea? (Like I need something else to suck my time away...)

Tom T.

#95 Tom T

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Posted 03 July 2003 - 12:17 PM

LOL!

Good attitude Bob! I just upgraded my 2.8 inch pronto to a 15" starsplitter. Unfortunatly, I seem to have lost something in portability.

:)

Tom T.

#96 asaint

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Posted 04 July 2003 - 07:31 AM

Hey guys,

Thanks for all the great advice and insights on the Apple Macs. My plan is to pick up a used Mac later this month or early next month when the prices start to slip due to the G5s. I'll put it right next to my PC and run some side by side tests using my daily apps. I'll report back the results and which one I decide to use moving forward.

In other odd news I went back to the store I purchased my blown up emachines PC at. They took it and immediately exchanged it for a brand new one. Go figure - after all my hassling with Emachines themselves the store just did an exchange. Now I have 2 new PCs sitting here. Wonder if I can get someone to trade me for a Mac :}

Allister

#97 kentak

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Posted 09 July 2003 - 01:03 PM

I can't believe my first post on this astronomy forum is a defense of Macs and not a plea for info on a Sky Window, but here goes:

I currently use 5 different computers, all Macs except for 1 Windows machine. I develop interactive cd-rom's for a living and I've been using computers for over 30 years from Burroughs mainframes, PDP's and VAX's to PC's and Macs.

If you do digital photography, iPhoto is great as well as free. If think you may do digital video iMovie (free) and Final Cut are superb. For music an iPod and iTunes (also free) are unbeatable. The main limitation is if you have to have all the latest games or very specialized software, and even then you can run Virtual PC. The best games and software get ported to the Mac anyways. Pricing is close for equivalently equipped systems and the ease of use is legendary. People often think medicine has to taste bad to work or no pain, no gain. I say why suffer needlessly?

#98 rboe

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Posted 19 August 2003 - 09:58 PM

Bob;

I've been looking at iBook Apple laptops recently. In several of the showrooms the demo had a very flaky scratch pad. Didn't want to track your finger with the cursor flying off somewhere. Since you've had your iBook for a while have you suffered any hardware failures?

I hear stories about logic boards failing too. On the Powerbook G4's I hear (and felt) very warm to hot bottoms on the laptops from the processor I presume. Any comments there?

Finally; what speed of processor is your iBook and does it seem to handle OS-X just fine?

Just itch'n for a laptop.

Ron

PS: Since Allister weasled out of buying one it looks like I may have to pick up one. If my wife lets me.

#99 Bob Pasken

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Posted 21 August 2003 - 01:39 PM

I have a 12" 600Mhz 256mb 20gb CD-RW Apple iBook running 10.2.X. I have the developers kit, X11R6, Astroplanner and Xephem installed. I use the keyspan usb/serial adaptor to drive my etx-90ec. An identical configuration is available from smalldog electronics for $849

#100 rboe

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Posted 21 August 2003 - 09:58 PM

Allister;

OK, I did it. Picked up a Powerbook G4 12" tonight. A bit in the doghouse but she is still talking to me. Tried the DVD "The Wild Bunch" and it looks great. This will be a boon on long airline flights. Need and extra battery for that though.

Primary function is to run the ToUcam so I'm off to figure that out. Intial efferts indicate I'll have to buy a commercial driver to get it to work under OS X. Came so close to getting the iBook which has drivers ready to go if you boot into 9.x.

We shall see!

Ron


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