Hot-rodding my G5 - storage performance

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ClassicHasClass
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Re: Hot-rodding my G5 - storage performance

Unread postby ClassicHasClass » Thu Sep 07, 2017 10:15 am

Except for the POWER5+ Intellistation, which is still a hot-running system but has really nice comparative performance thanks to a decent SMT-2 implementation, my reservations still apply to the 970-based Intellistations. But in this case, because of its close relationship to the POWER4 the 970 is more appropriate in a workstation primarily meant to run AIX than in a Power Mac. The POWER4, and thus the 970, was a logical follow-on to the POWER3 with many improvements and could be seen as an appropriate evolution. The G5, however, had many discontinuities from the G3 and G4 and was less suitable for the consumer role Apple wanted to use it in. If I were going to buy an Intellistation, I would probably choose the POWER5-based 285, but mostly because it's beefier and not from any especial objection I have to the G5 (or for that matter the POWER4) in that particular application.

I don't think the 970 is a poor implementation per se, I just think it's a lot less than it could have been as a Power Mac. Most of the 970's improvements over the G4 came from its bandwidth (which, admittedly, was truly prodigious) and the clock speed. As proof, with the exception of applications that were badly bandwidth constrained, the first generation of Power Mac G5s with the original 970 were not massively faster than the MDD G4 systems they replaced. The 970FX improved this, but primarily by stretching out the pipeline further and adding a couple functional units, so it was again mostly boosts in clock speed that were responsible. This doesn't really apply to the Intellistation which instead competed against the "big POWER" workstations that preceded it.
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Re: Hot-rodding my G5 - storage performance

Unread postby Shiunbird » Fri Sep 08, 2017 12:42 am

ClassicHasClass wrote:If I were going to buy an Intellistation, I would probably choose the POWER5-based 285, but mostly because it's beefier and not from any especial objection I have to the G5 (or for that matter the POWER4) in that particular application.


I happily own both a 285 and a Quad, and I guess I can help 1byte make a decision.

I don't think there's a market for REAL workstations anymore: systems that were designed to be super reliable and run 24/7, or, at least, be maintained without interrupting your work.
The 285 is more of a POWER5 server with sound dampening properties (it is surprisingly quiet). I find it more pleasant than the G5 to sit next to it. I rarely hear the 285 rev-up its fans, and it's a lower, dampened sound. The G5 has some annoying sound interference between the Quadro fan and the processor fans that generate a bizarre, hard to describe sound - much like when musicians are playing out of tune and you hear the anomaly caused by almost similar frequencies.

The 285 is a true workhorse, you get:
- hot swap storage
- hot swap PCI cards (really)
- there's an option for redundant power supplies
- it is incredibly easy to take apart
- one of the most beautiful boards I've seen: the survivable processor that can be used to power on and off the machine remotely, change boot partition, check logs, etc, even if the system is powered down. Sad side: it eats 40-50W on standby.

Linux works just fine on it. I installed IBM's official audio card and a LTO 2 tape drive for backup, and it works great. I dual-boot AIX and Linux on it.

Performance-wise, against the Quad G5 (I don't own a single processor or dual processor G5, never worked with one)... the Quad G5 almost always wins, just because you go 4 cores against 1 or two, and you have a higher clock rate. An important note is... the POWER5 doesn't have Altivec, so the G5 seems to handle a few multimedia tasks better as well, even if I disable 3 cores.

As ClassicHasClass mentioned, you get deeper pipelines and a higher clock rate: 2.5GHz, whereas the 285 is 1.9 or 2.1, single or dual core, with "hyperthreading" possibilities: Linux will see a single core POWER5 as two logical processors.

I ran some benchmarks two years ago, and the G5 wins almost all of them, just because..... cores!
Later on I did some further testing, and found out that the 285 wins almost anything memory-related, just because of its 36MB of L3 cache (the G5 is severely cache-deprived).

If I had to get rid of all my machines and keep only one, that would be the 285. I'd get all the U320 storage I could get my hands on, get a Radeon 9200 PCI, 32GB of RAM, load Linux on it and live happily ever after: it would be my server, my workstation, my love, my lust, my everything. I've also learned a lot about operating systems and computers in general by fighting with AIX.

However, my main driver is the G5.
The 285 doesn't sleep, and it takes 5ever to boot, so turning it off to save electricity every time you leave your desk is not really an option.
The G5 gives you access to a wide-range of available Mac OS software, including games for when you want to have some fun. The IO options are excellent: optical audio, firewire, etc., and you have more options of highly-performing graphics cards available.
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Re: Hot-rodding my G5 - storage performance

Unread postby ClassicHasClass » Fri Sep 08, 2017 9:03 am

Apple always criminally undercached their designs. It reached its nadir during the G5 days, but even the MDD G4 was pretty starved.

hot swap PCI cards (really)


This is one of the things I really love about these high end boxes. I took the side panel off my POWER6 and told AIX I was going to put in a serial port PCI card, and it told me where to do it (and put the LED light on so I knew), and then configured it. All while it was up and serving its usual workload.
smit happens.

:Fuel: bigred, 900MHz R16K, 4GB RAM, V12 DCD, 6.5.30
:Indy: indy, 150MHz R4400SC, 256MB RAM, XL24, 6.5.10
:Indigo2IMP: purplehaze, 175MHz R10000, Solid IMPACT
probably posted from Image bruce, Quad 2.5GHz PowerPC 970MP, 16GB RAM, Mac OS X 10.4.11
plus IBM POWER6 p520 * Apple Network Server 500 * RDI PrecisionBook * BeBox * Solbourne S3000 * Commodore 128 * many more...

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Re: Hot-rodding my G5 - storage performance

Unread postby Shiunbird » Sat Sep 09, 2017 11:36 am

ClassicHasClass wrote:This is one of the things I really love about these high end boxes. I took the side panel off my POWER6 and told AIX I was going to put in a serial port PCI card, and it told me where to do it (and put the LED light on so I knew), and then configured it. All while it was up and serving its usual workload.


The LED light thing is a very nice touch. I also love the codes that come up at each part of the boot process. You can know exactly what goes wrong if something is odd. The only challenge is to find what you need in the IBM documentation. Last year, my CMOS battery went bad, but I didn't notice because the system was on. I googled the code that came up on the front panel, and that was it. On a normal computer, you would never know your battery is bad unless you would disconnect it from the power outlet.

I thought how this could be doable in a new machine, but it would be a dongle nightmare.

You could have two thunderbolt drives in RAID1 as boot devices, connect your video card also via thunderbolt using one of the PCIe-to-thunderbolt cages and have the same for network and etc.. In case things break, you could replace with the computer running. You would not have redundant PSU, though. It should work, in theory, with the newest Mac OS and the trashcan Mac Pro.

In regards to the cache, Apple was not always like that. I remember when I got my Pismo G3 my friends were impressed I had 1MB of half-speed L2 whereas the Pentium IIIs had 512kb of half speed or 256 of full speed cache. The Celerons had nothing... 64kb I think.
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Re: Hot-rodding my G5 - storage performance

Unread postby guardian452 » Sun Sep 10, 2017 8:39 am

Shiunbird wrote:You would not have redundant PSU, though.

On a laptop you would :P

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Re: Hot-rodding my G5 - storage performance

Unread postby Shiunbird » Sun Sep 10, 2017 11:40 am

guardian452 wrote:
Shiunbird wrote:You would not have redundant PSU, though.

On a laptop you would :P


ECC would be gone.
Although there are mobile Xeon chipsets with ECC nowadays. Yes, with a bunch of dongles and lots of work you could build a system with similar functionality. =)
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Re: Hot-rodding my G5 - storage performance

Unread postby Irinikus » Sun Sep 10, 2017 11:44 am

Shiunbird wrote:Yes, with a bunch of dongles and lots of work you could build a system with similar functionality. =)


I like that touch, lately apple have indeed become rather dongle obsessed! :lol:
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Image Image; Image........... Image; Image... ImageImage Image.... Here they are: :arrow:


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