Dual-processor Power Mac G5 models include separate frontside buses to each G5 processor; this gives them an extra speed advantage over dual-processor Intel computers, which force both processors to share a single bus. However, you can make your software run even faster by simply recompiling it. If you take further optimization steps described later in this article , you may be able to get your software to run several times faster on a Power Mac G5 computer than it does on previous Power Mac computers.
The software suite you absolutely must have is the Xcode Tools , the new development tools package from Apple that includes everything from the integrated development environment where you write, build and debug your applications, to human interface design tools, to performance optimization and debugging tools. The gcc 3.
The performance analysis tools that come with Xcode fall into two categories: software-only, non-invasive tools, both command-line and graphical, that operate at the process level; and the Computer Hardware Understanding Development CHUD tools, which rely upon dedicated hardware features to operate. Here are the highlights of a couple of them.
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For a starting point, investigate Sampler. Sampler displays the functions that were most frequently seen while sampling was taking place. This information can help you locate those functions and sections of your code that are consuming large chunks of CPU time, as well as functions in your applications where excessive memory allocations are occurring. Sampler is one of the non-invasive tools that operates at the process level and has features which allow you to understand overall running behavior and application state over time, with no modification to your application code.
This is an extremely valuable tool that also does time-based sampling of the computer running your software, telling you where the computer spends its time. The difference is that Shark can delve deep into the details of function usage, due to its measurement being linked directly to the hardware. It enables you to find the specific routines that will benefit the most from optimization. In many cases, Shark will also suggest what you might try to increase performance. Shark can also display the assembly-language code associated with your source code and show you execution details for example, instruction groupings and processor stalls that you can use to make assembly-level optimizations.
Note: An earlier version of Shark was named Shikari. Shark has been substantially upgraded specifically for use with the Power Macintosh G5 platform. That provides a starting point for optimization tools. You should become familiar with Sampler and Shark as well as all the other performance analysis tools so that you can incorporate them into your standard development, debugging and quality assurance process. There are some general optimization-related guidelines that you should consider first when deciding which level of optimization applies to you.
This is necessary because the very same code changes that maximize performance on one processor may interact adversely with another processor. Using vecLib multiplies the benefits resulting from your effort:. If you are willing and able to write your own code for Velocity Engine, see the Velocity Engine web page for more information. When optimizing, remember that Power Mac G5 computers are very hungry, very fast, and very sequential. This means that they consume very large amounts of data at one time, that they process it very quickly, and that nonsequential instructions and data accesses cause significant performance penalties.
Many of the optimizations described below and in other Apple-supplied documentation cater to these characteristics. You should keep them in mind when you look for opportunities to optimize your software.
Optimization does not happen in a vacuum; it produces side effects that may affect your program in other, unacceptable ways. For example, a program optimized for speed alone may be too large on disk, or its larger size may cause additional disk accesses that negate the speed increase of the code itself.
The Xcode Tools enable you to add compiler flags on a per-module or per-file basis, thus giving you the ability to control how the compiler optimizes your program. Achieving the best possible performance for your program involves more than just optimizing it for the Power Mac G5 platform. You must also optimize the program itself, including such program optimizations as:. See the Performance section under For Further Information at the end of this article for resources to help you with this task.
Profile your code for hot spots, evaluating the effects of optimization not just on time alone but on the benefit that the user will perceive from it. Because every technical task exists within larger technical and business contexts, only you can decide which optimizations you should perform on your software.
Your decision will include such factors as what your software does, technical expertise, and what benefits you expect to see from the optimization process. There are four levels of optimization for you to consider, starting with the easiest and working up to the most complex. In general, the lower the level, the more likely you are to implement the optimizations in that level. Examine your code for opportunities to consolidate multiple operations on small amounts of data into one operation on one large amount of contiguous data.
It may make sense to preload larger amounts of data from remote sources for example, reading an entire file into memory in one operation rather than line by line or to use larger buffers. Converting data from one type to another for example, from string to integer is even more resource intensive on the G5 as opposed to earlier processors. Look for opportunities to minimize the amount of type conversion that your software does.
Type conversions that can be done without memory accesses are significantly faster. Recompile your software using the flags as appropriate that implement G5-specific optimizations. Also look for opportunities to improve performance by rewriting the appropriate source code to be more efficient. Depending on your situation, this simple, fast change may give your software a noticeable boost with virtually no effort involved. Profile your running application using Shark and follow its recommendations for improving the performance of hot spots.
The G5 processor is more sensitive than previous processors to misaligned instructions. The G5 processor is negatively affected by certain key addresses when they are not aligned to byte block boundaries. Because such optimizations increase the size of the resulting binary code, you must apply them sparingly and monitor their overall effect on the size of your software. If you have previously optimized your software for the G3 or G4 processors, remember to take your original processor-independent code and optimize it for the G5 processor.
These optimizations provide the maximum performance increase, but they require significant technical knowledge about the behavior of the G5 processor. In most cases, they also involve a significant programming effort. For the appropriate numeric operations, you will achieve the highest possible performance by writing custom code for the built-in Velocity Engine.
Power Mac G5 - Technical Specifications
This can be a demanding process, and also a processor-dependent one that must be revisited for each G5 processor you plan on supporting. Remember that you can get most of the benefits of the Velocity Engine with only a small fraction of the effort by using the vecLib framework. Code that has been optimized for the G5 by simple re-compilation will run without penalty on a G4. Continuing in the tradition Apple have established since the G3-based Power Macs were introduced, the Power Mac G5 will be available in three different configurations, using a G5 processor at three different clock speeds: single 1.
These clock speeds represent a pretty significant jump for Apple, and are actually in line with the clock speeds of other bit processors from competing manufacturers, such as AMD and Intel. From the outside, the profile view doesn't look so different to that of a G4, if a little less rounded Will your existing peripherals be compatible? PCI-X is basically an advanced protocol for dealing with expansion cards that demand more bandwidth. Whereas a typical PCI slot operates at 33MHz, providing a maximum bandwidth of MB-per-second of bandwidth enough, theoretically, for several thousand mono, CD-quality audio tracks, by the way!
While the bandwidth of your existing PCI slots should really be enough as it is, PCI doesn't always operate as efficiently as it should, and this issue has also been addressed in the PCI-X specification, which should really benefit high-bandwidth devices such as audio and DSP cards. Although most existing PCI cards should work in the newer PCI-X slots since backwards compatibility was one of the design goals, percent compatibility cannot be guaranteed, so it will be worth checking with your audio or DSP card's manufacturer about this issue when Power Mac G5s become available.
One immediate benefit of these independent busses is that it will now be possible to see some serious performance enhancements when striping the two internal drives using Mac OS X's software RAID features, which was found to be ineffective in last month's SOS feature on current Parallel ATA-based Macs. He didn't need their answer, though, and a new, sleek and beautiful aluminium enclosure — designed in the way only Apple can — was unveiled, which retains the the easy access and carrying handles of the previous design.
Photo: Apple One of the biggest criticisms of the later Power Mac G4 models, especially the 'wind tunnel' — sorry, I mean 'mirror door' — models was the sheer noise they made when switched on. They claim an ambient noise level for the G5 of 35dBA. Part of this design means that the inside of the enclosure is divided into four separate areas, and Mac OS X is able to monitor the temperature of the internal components and dynamically adjust the fans as necessary.
While everyone would like a quieter computer, musicians are a group of people whose lives will be made easier by this new and quieter case — especially if you find yourself needing to record in the same room as your subject — and only Apple could design something this intelligent that didn't require you to butcher your computer with a lining of acoustic foam.
The front panel mercifully features USB 2. There's the usual 3.
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When slaved to an external clock, 32, And musicians aren't the only group of users who will benefit from having a digital audio output on their Mac, since this port can also be used to drive 5. While sceptics might suggest that this is the true reason for Apple including a digital audio output on the new Power Mac, if that were true there would be little need to include a digital input as well, not to mention that Apple show a definite focus towards professional musicians in all of the product's technical literature.
After demonstrating how a Power Mac G5 fared against a dual-Xeon PC by means of the kind of tests that have traditionally formed the mainstay of Apple keynotes for example running Photoshop on both machines and comparing the time required for plug-in processing , Jobs broke with the past and invited his new colleague, Gerhard Lengeling, co-founder of Emagic, onto the stage to evangelise about what the G5 will mean for musicians and music-software developers alike. To begin with, Lengeling reported that the G5 presumably the dual 2GHz model was capable of playing back over stereo bit voices, and that bands of EQ used only 25 percent of the machine's resources, which has certainly impressed some of the musicians I know.
On the face of it, these are pretty amazing figures and could mean that it will be possible for a Power Mac G5 running Logic to replace an entire rack of 12 GigaStudio-based computers, for example, although it's important to bear a couple of things in mind. A high voice count is easier to obtain when the sampler's audio data is stored only in memory, as opposed to being streamed from disk, which is a method most musicians rely on to use today's most advanced libraries, such as the Vienna Symphonic Library.
To get voices streamed from a disk without using all 8GB of the Power Mac's memory would be quite unlikely with most modern disk drives, using up all the available bandwidth of a Serial ATA channel, although Apple do have a potential answer with their XRaid storage system. After the figures had been discussed, Apple's VP of Worldwide Product Marketing, Phil Schiller, conducted a demonstration that was almost certainly designed to send two fingers in the direction of another group of German music-software developers.
In order to show the G5's alleged superiority for running music software, and given that the latest version of Logic isn't available for Windows, an optimised version of Logic v6 running on a G5 was pitted against Cubase SX v1. The test material was a track Brian Transeau had produced for a Matrix Reloaded trailer, and while the Windows machine attempted to play the song back, it didn't take too long for everything to stutter and grind to a halt as the CPU performance meter, which Apple were only to happy to illustrate, was showing enough red lights to make it more useful for developing photos than playing back music.
Schiller dryly commented that "I don't think that's how BT meant for it to sound.
And if this wasn't enough, just to rub salt in the wounds, the Logic song had been configured so that when it got to the point where the Windows machine tripped over its own shoelaces, a higher horizontal zoom factor was chosen, causing the Arrange window objects to gracefully fly past with little dent to CPU performance.
While this made for a great theatrical display, and I confess to laughing, being taken back and impressed by what I was seeing, ultimately you have to take the technical point of such a comparison with a pinch of salt.
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At the time, there was no mention of what plug-in effects and instruments were being used, and how many tracks were playing back, plus it would be too easy to handicap the PC by using plug-ins that were known to adversely affect CPU usage, while sticking to Logic's lean-and-mean effects on the Mac. But it was a good show, it proved a point, and running Logic on a G5 is obviously going to provide a very powerful music production environment.
Among the many new features, one of the main highlights will be fast user-switching, which Steve Jobs confessed Microsoft had beaten them to implementing.
This facility, already in Windows XP, allows users to instantly switch between accounts, keeping everyone's applications and documents open; and Apple have worked their visual magic so that the 'switch' is displayed by the desktop turning into a rotating cube — "because we can" said Jobs. Mac OS Panther also features an improved and redesigned Finder, giving you better access to the most commonly used parts of the system, and there's an intriguing new Window management feature called Expose.
This allows all the windows on screen to be miniaturised into tiles and spread all over the desktop at the touch of a button, enabling you to select the window you want at the front, and restoring all the other windows to their original positions. Although this sounds like a bit of a gimmick when described, it becomes apparent how useful Expose could be if you get chance to see it in action, and I think anyone who juggles a large number of windows, such as any Mac musician who uses a sequencer, will find themselves unable to live without Expose once they've tried it.
Other Until then, it's only available to Apple developers.