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I have a PowerMac G4 from around the year 2000. It's a serviceable Unix machine but I don't do much with it since I have plenty of Pentium 4 machines around with Linux on them. I was wondering if the PowerPC based machine is capable of handling certain tasks faster or "better" than Intel based machines, or is it just another computer to use. I have OSX 10.4 Tiger for it, and I don't mind installing Yellow Dog Linux or UbuntuPPC if that will make it more useable.

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At the time, the G4's big advantage was that it had AltiVec, which enabled some kinds of application to run much faster than on x86 (which at the time had a much inferior SIMD implementation). For non-SIMD code though it's in the same ball park performance-wise as an x86 CPU of the same era.

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Well, there must be SOME cases where PowerPC offers advantages, or why would the Xbox 360 use it?

Now, to address your actual scenario: your G4 might possibly be able to run PowerPC applications more efficiently than an Intel-based Mac (but don't count on it).

It would also presumably be useful for testing the PowerPC ports of various operating systems (such as ReactOS if the PPC port has gotten anywhere).

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My old powerbook G4 used to run some einstein@home processing tasks almost twice as fast per CPU MHz as a similar generation Intel desktop I had at work, and the G4 was a bit faster (again per CPU MHz) on some of my physics codes (not a factor of two, alas).

On the other hand it sucked badly running the OpenOffice spreadsheet. You win some, you lose some.


I would suggest installing the Developers Tools disk and using fink rather than installing a linux on it. That's what I use (still! It's my second machine to this very day) on my G4 (also with 10.4).

Mind you, fink uses APT underneath rather than RPM, but a package manager is a package manager. I made the transition very smoothly.

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