[OS X TeX] 64-bit binaries in TeXLive 2010

roberto avanzi roberto.avanzi at online.de
Sun Dec 13 16:57:18 CET 2009

On Dec 4, 2009, at 21:48 , Rob Rye wrote:

> My two cents on this topic:
> I strongly disagree with the notion that it is time to abandon PowerPC support. According to MacWorld's Speedmark 5 test the top-of-the-line "old" PowerMac G5 machine gets a score of 226 versus 260 for the latest MacBook Pros (Speedmark 5 score of 260 for Mid-2009 MBP 15" 2.8 GHz). In other words, the PowerPC has aged well and would be considered worthy of continued use by many on limited budgets.
> Of course, the Nehalem 8-core Intel-based machine got a score of 343 on the Speedmark 5. One might argue that a 50% increase in performance is worth it (and the latest iMacs slightly outperform this tower). But, much of the difference in performance is in rendering huge graphics and videos, which is frankly unimportant to many scientific users. 

You are right that one should not abandon PowerPC support for TeX.

However, the new machines feel much faster.  On several computing tasks that are cache-bound and mostly integer arithmetic, the newer machines are _not_ much faster than the old PowerPC machines.  But, once you use either floating point OR your computation is handling large amounts of data, the new computers smoke the old ones.  I still use a couple of Dual 2.7 Ghz G5 PowerMacs, but they currently run mostly computational programs I did write and optimise myself for those CPUs.

Last year my wife's iBook (800 Mhz G3) broke, and shortly after that my powerbook (a 17" 1.5 Ghz) started to develop problems in the graphics card (and Apple wanted more money to fix that than for a new computer).  So we switched to a 2.1 Ghz Core 2 Duo MB (white, older style, with FW) and a 2.8 Ghz Core 2 Duo MBP (15" Alu unibody with removable battery). Some tasks are just a bit faster, some are astoundingly faster - it is not a novelty that TeX performs quite poorly on PowerPC CPUs.

So, yes, you do not *need* to upgrade, but should you have to, you will not regret it.


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