How fast is this computer compared to my ibook?


How fast would this be compared to my 300mhz ibook, or a 1ghz desktop computer? I realise speed does not equal processing power, but a rough comparison?

What are gigaflops:ghz anyway?

FLOPS is short for Floating Point Operations per Second. This a a somewhat dubious measurement of speed as it focuses on the speed of the FPU unit of a microprocessor which is only one piece of a whole. Depending on what you are using the computer to do this number may be less or more meaningful. For a computer doing scientific calculations (e.g. calculatin pi to a zillion decimal places) this number would be useful. If you’re using a word processor this number is less useful (although how fast does a word processor really need to run anyway?). A Gigaflop is 1 billion floating point operations per second.

Ghz is a measurment of how fast a processor spinns its wheels and is also a somewhat dubious measurement of the overall horsepower of a CPU. Think of Ghz like the RPM measurment in a car or a metronome. Each ‘click’ moves the calculations in the processor ahead one step. A Ghz is 1 billion cycles per second. The problem with this measurement is some processors can do more in 1 cycle than other processors. For example a P-III 250 Mhz processor (if it ever existed which it doesn’t) might outperform a P-II 400 Mhz processor. Currently an AMD Athlon CPU seems to outperform an Intel P-IV processor clocked several hundred megahertz higher.

As to the Power Mac G4 being the first ‘supercomputer’ on a chip I remember a few funny ads for it. The US government restricts sale of supercomputers overseas so they had a picture of a G4 surrounded by tanks to protect it.