PC or Mac Notebook ?

Hi, i’m about to buy a notebook to run blender on while away from my main machine.
I’m very interesting in getting a 12 inches 1Ghz G4 ibook, but wonders about the performance.

For the same price, i could get a 2.66Ghz P4 TOSHIBA Satellite A30 - 901 (Radeon 9000) .
I don’t realize the equivalent between PPC and P4 horsepower. Also, the 2 GPUs are slightly different.

Which one of these 2 solutions would work best for blender ? I had a bad experience with the previous 800Mhz 12 inches ibook i tried blender on.
Compared to my Shuttle running on a 2100+ Athlon XP it was slow as hell. (but again, what’s the intel equivalent of a G4 ?)

More generally, for the same price, what would you choose ? Which would be more powerfull ?

Thanks, i really can’t make up my mind

I’ll go with the Toshiba if I were you. I’ve personnaly never had problem with mine and I’ve never heard of anyone having problem with theirs. The ATI card will probably make you some trouble for Blender, but AFAIK, Macs ships with ATIs too so I’d guess it’s even on that point. The only problem with toshiba is that they’re not much linux support for their newer models for laptop functions (Fn keys, hibernation, suspend, …).

Hope that was helpfull.


your previous ibook was a G3, this a G4. that makes a fair difference.

It is very difficult to compare PPC and P4, and the P4 speed depends of its motherboard. both olution will run blender well.

Now we are speaking of low end computers. The Ibook is a sleek machine well balanced, but apple has not the reputation of being really good on the entry market. In perf terms only, the toshiba should be better even with an inferior graphic card.

But check how long the battery last, the screen quality etc… I don’t know this particular computer, but there is many chances a catcher (bad component) is present. and XP is not really the best of the Oses for a laptop. The ibook is an all-around good comp but that doesn’t shine per its perfs

I’m a 15 years Apple user, but I says always I dont choose it because of the hardware but the software. Os X is really the added value of the ibook

If the only thing you will be doing on the computer is Blender, get the PC, it will be faster, the OS doesn’t matter so much if you’re just using it to start Blender. If you’re doing anything else though, the user experience on a Mac laptop is outstanding, IMO especially if you work with graphics/media. I do most of my (professional and hobby) Blender work on a 1.25GHz G4 Powerbook these days, however the performance of an iBook would probably not be all that hot. I’m sure if you went in to an Apple store, they’d let you try Blender on an iBook to see how it goes, and most probably a PC laptop dealer too. Give them both a try.

I have several computers, both Macs and PCs. You must choose the solution that meets your personal needs. I am proficient with Macs, PCs, and Linux.

That said, I will never buy a Windows laptop again. My Mac iBooks and Powerbooks are all running flawlessly. One iBook is over 3 years old, yet it still runs most things (albeit slowly). Even being so old, it is still a useful computer that gets used on a regular basis… and with no problems.

I cannot say anything so positive about my ownership of PC laptops, including Sony, Dell, and Gateway. On the other hand, my ownership of desktop PCs has been very positive.

Once again, you must choose the solution that meets your personal needs. These days they are all comparable with performance, it is much more important what software you already own because updating software will end up costing more than the computer…

I respectfully agree fully with Akator. Now, I have several of both types of computers… the x86’s running only Linux “of course”… so I think I can be un-biased here.

If you have a preference, then by all means follow it. You’ll find people who share your preference no matter what it is. If you have history of using Macintosh and are wondering how things are on the “other” side of the fence… stay where you are, you’re spoiled. :smiley:

In terms of computational ability, all of the computers on the market today are extremely powerful and they will all, given enough RAM (and “chips are cheap!”), be able to handle Blender well. But I think that you’ll find that Apple is decidedly superior in handling and delivering multimedia output… one of their major corporate customers is the film and media industry. Their computers may not be cheaper, but they might well be a better value. That is, if what you are actually going to do with Blender is “professional enough” where those distinctions become important! …

… And I actually don’t mean to sound “insufferably snobby” here. :-? Apple sells to the pre-press production market, for example, where producers and directors are making final decisions about a press-job based solely on video previews. They put hardware in all their machines with particular emphasis on graphics. “Joe PC Laptop Maker” might not, because “Joe PC Laptop User” is probably going to spend most of his laptop time playing Solitaire on an airplane.

So if you have a preference, fire away. If you have a need, do your research … then go with Apple. You won’t regret it.

I think you’re being condescending in your oversimplification, but you’re allowed to have your opinion.

I’ll second what broken suggested. Ask the dealer if you can test run the machines and if you have time, try to look up on hardware forums for potential problems before buying anything (though that applies more to lower end laptops than the ones you were mentioning).


Thank you so much for the quick reply.

In fact, i owned a 800Mhz G4 not the G3 for two weeks and found it slow for anything blender or realtime video encoding (i also do streaming) related.
Bu t wanted to try somerthing else, i fact, i got it for OSX. I wasn’t a Mac user before.
Some vendors tried to convince me that The 800Mhz G4 was as quick as a 2Ghz+ P4.
Well, i was rather under the impression of having the equivalent of a 800Mhz celeron. Still, it was beautifull. For exemple,i could only encode in MPEG 4 at 320x240 25fps realtime.

By the way, does Blender make use of altivec ?

Thanks again.

As far as I know Blender does not use AltiVec.

I’ll third on the Mac; I have a 1Ghz iBook G4 with a 32MB ATI card and the interface and rendering is not slow at all, and is in fact quite snappy. Not quite as snappy as my 1Ghz flat-panel iMac with an nVidia card, but pretty darn close.

I use an ibook 700 MHz and I get along ok because my scenes aren’t complex. One of the issues with it is that they only use 2x AGP ports whereas the G4 has 4x - this makes a huge difference in real-time rendering so there will be a big speed up in the 3D window as well as because of the faster card.

However, one thing I’ve noticed with PC laptops is they sometimes give displays that go up to higher resolutions. My friend (loose term - after all, he did own a PC :slight_smile: ) had one that went up to 1600x1200 or something - it was, however the size of a desktop, hardly portable but even Apple’s 17-inch will only do 1400x900. The 12-inch is still just 1024x768. This gets awkward when using lots of scripts and in general many panels.

Speed-wise, GHz isn’t the only thing you should consider, but general throughput too. A 2GHz G5 with 1GHz DDR Ram can outperform a 3.06GHz P4 with 800MHz DDR Ram. Having said that, computer manufacturers tend to build the systems configured so that the components match fairly well. Thus Apple laptops are slower than PC laptops. But as people have pointed out correctly, the strong point about Macs is they just work better than PCs do.

Honestly in my 10 years using Macs I have spent nearly zero time on troubleshooting and the few times I did it was on OS 9. Read the name - osxrules. :slight_smile: . At university, they had all PCs with Redhat Linux and Windows. Linux rarely worked right and Windows had to be reinstalled twice during the year. Needless to say they have refurbished the whole place with the new imacs (after I left, though, :frowning: ).

As always, it depends on what you do. If you are heavily into multimedia, Apple is definitely the best bet - media people all over the globe will tell you that (graphics designers swear by them) and it’s running on a unix base so no virus or general hacker worries. If you want raw performance, PC laptops are better. What you could do is try and get a complex scene for Blender and see how it behaves in both versions if you are able to try out the machines.

The thing is, you will mostly be interested in real-time speed because, although rendering is processor intensive, you can do it at night. So if the PC was even twice as fast as the Mac processor-wise, you just render over 2 nights instead of one. I do it all the time. If the graphics cards match then you have free choice - check also whether the PC gives an 8x AGP slot because this will push it’s performance lead even higher.

One final note, Macs also give you sex appeal. In a magazine article I read ages ago, this french girl said she wouldn’t date any PC users because they were to boring, fitting into the Beige bland middle classes. I have first hand experience of it too - a hot girl at university saw my shiny new white ibook and actually complimented me on owning it. I even saw her staring at it sometimes, practically drooling, her body aching to get close to it (ahem, I have to take a break now). :wink:

PS if you need Altivec, you could compile it yourself with the Altivec options turned on.

Is it hard to do? Has anyone tried that? What´s the amount of speed up?

Is it hard to do? Has anyone tried that? What´s the amount of speed up?[/quote]

turning altivec on only will have no effect.

you need to change the code to get benefit from it. And it’s far from easy.

One friend got 300x faster code in one particular fragment but it’s very variable.

The reason Altivec is faster is that it does vector math directly.


Is it hard to do? Has anyone tried that? What´s the amount of speed up?[/quote]

turning altivec on only will have no effect.

you need to change the code to get benefit from it. And it’s far from easy.

One friend got 300x faster code in one particular fragment but it’s very variable.

The reason Altivec is faster is that it does vector math directly.[/quote]

You’re right, I thought maybe turning on processor specific compilation did some function inlining or something. Anyways, I found this link:
It gives links with info on Altivec and automatic ways to vectorize C code. Maybe someone could run it on some of the Blender source and see what difference it makes.

It also has ways to get code to use dual processors. Overall it says:

simply using these tools and you’re running your code 4-10 times faster!

So it’s probably worth a try, especially for those prospective G4 laptop owners. :wink:

I have used non-Mac machines for years, but recently switched over. I had a Toshiba 2.8 GhZ P4, which was horridly unreliable, crashed all the time, killed my dog, and stole my girlfriend. Er. Okay. It wasn’t that bad, but it wasn’t in any way, shape or form reliable, and the tech support has been moved to god knows where (I’m thinking Bangladesh), and any tech support call I made (“Right, your computer broke, and I want you to send me this part to replace it…”) inevitably ended in agonized screams after spending hours wresting with an automated voice system,

“Alright! I’m Sally, and I’m here to direct your call today! For tech support, say, ‘support’”.


“Alright! Did you say, ‘customer service’?”


“Oh! I’m sorry! For tech support, say, ‘support’”.


“Alright! Did you say, ‘bulk ordering department’”?

“No, you idiot, I said support!”

“Alright! Now transferring…” [Long silence]

“You have reached the bulk ordering department of Toshiba international. We actually don’t have real people in the office, so we’re going to play Musak until you scream, hang up, call again, and get in another fight with Sally the wondervoice.”

I can picture Sally. I know just what she looks like. She’s short, and blond, and when she isn’t getting her sadistic side out making phone systems, she is a personal trainer. Can’t you just hear her?

“Alright! Now, left, right, left, right!”

So similar to…

“Alright! Now for tech support…”

In short…I love my Mac. Rendertimes are just fine. OS X is great, it will certainly improve your workflow. And their reps are in this country.

Oh. And my 1 GhZ G4 fries my 2.8GhZ P4.

I’d go with the mac. They may be a bit more expensive to start off with. But in the long run, you will end up spending quite a bit less then you would for a pc laptop. Simply because of the cost of keeping your pc from getting contaminated with viruses. And pc’s tend to have a higher rate of hardware failure.
But this is just my experience.

again, i think both machines are for different use.
i dont own a pc laptop but an “old” ibook g3 800 on which i run blender.
of course i am sure pc’s are faster, but then blender is not the only thing i do with the mac, i create things with it, so i use plenty of softwares… yes it runs slower than pc (read rendering time), but the time i loose, i get it back by not having any maintenance on the os or whatever.
i dont play games with computer, i work on it, so i made my choice…oh yes games are one point you must never forget when choosing pc or mac hehe you will never get vast choice of titles on mac :slight_smile:

in short pc’s are faster, but a car is not only horsepower and speed, its also autoradio, ABS, aircon, leather seats etc… will you buy a F1 car to take your family on vacation in the mountains ?
every need has a perfect computer that fit to it, i hope you will find yours :slight_smile:
good luck

i dont play games with computer, i work on it, so i made my choice…oh yes games are one point you must never forget when choosing pc or mac hehe you will never get vast choice of titles on mac :slight_smile:

Aw but that’s changing incrediably fast my friend :wink:

I don’t see why keeping a PC laptop free from virusses is costing a lot of money. There are very good antivirus programs available for free (avast4home) and even commercial ones cost you only about 25 dollars a year (f-prot, which is by far one of the best).

direct money, perhaps not. Except if you pay for telephone while downloading the updates of the antivirus.
But time definitively. I use PC at work and it’s on average 1 day/month just to keep the bloody thing running (W2000) while I use only a restricted set of apps.

The mac at home, on which I do much more (including programming blender :wink: ) almost never need maintenance, it just work, always. And no virus hassle at all.