The Low End Mac Mailbag

Leopard DVD Player Requires 1.6 GHz CPU, Dual Processor Questions, and Dual Boot Macs

Dan Knight - 2007.10.24

Leopard DVD Player Requires 1.6 GHz CPU

From Stan Cousins:

Leopard DVD Player requirementsHey Dan, its always nice reading your columns and visiting your site! I have a quick question - will my Mac Dual G4 1.42 with 2.5 gigs of RAM work okay with the upcoming Mac OS X Leopard? I'm especially worried that the DVD software may not work so well, as they're calling for 1.6 GHz to run it. Does my dual help in that regard?

Stan

Stan,

Wow, there's another example of ridiculous hardware requirements in Leopard. The old DVD Player (through the current version) only requires a G3 or later CPU - no mention of any minimum required clock speed, so it probably works okay on 350 MHz G3 Macs, which are the slowest officially supported by Tiger.

I can't imagine why DVD Player in Leopard requires a 5x as fast CPU with AltiVec, but it's probably all part of that perceived need to make everything scalable, rotatable, translucent, and whatever other features Core Animation allows. I suspect it will work fine with a dual 1.25 GHz or faster G4.

Dan

Leopard Minimum Requirements Too High

From Anthony Hess:

Hi,

I read your article about the Leopard minimum requirements - and I agree with you.

I noted in one of your comments you said that the dual 533 should be comparable to an 867 and therefore should run Leopard. Actually I think in terms of raw CPU a single 500 might even be comparable to an 867 because of the shorter pipelines on the early G4s. I think a single 533 is in the same boat as well.

So yea, I think Apple should just warn those with a slower machine and leave it at that. Recommend - don't obsolete anything older than a few years by force.

Tony

Leopard Dual Processor Requirements

From Goh Liang Song:

Hi Dan,

I'm a reader of Low End Mac from Singapore. I have followed with some interest about the release of Leopard and the Macs that it can possibly run on.

My purpose in writing this email is with regards to the debate over whether Leopard will install and run on a dual G4 800 MHz Power Mac (I don't follow with all the various names and nicknames given to the machines). Most people seem quite angry that the G4 800 MHz processors are not supported.

However, if you look at the general requirements for Leopard, it says that you need a "Mac computer with an Intel, PowerPC G5, or PowerPC G4 (867 MHz or faster) processor." That's processor (singular), not processors (plural). My guess is that Macs with only a single G4 800 MHz may not be supported, but dual G4s may be supported. In view of providing just general requirements, a lot of details are necessarily missing, much to the chagrin of most readers. As Justin D. Morgan noted about iChat requirements, it seems that the dual G4 800 MHz machines will be able to run Leopard. We will know after October 26 as to what the case will be.

Personally, my family has two iBooks, a G3 900 MHz and a G4 1.2 GHz, so technically only one of them will support Leopard.

Liang Song

Leopard 'Eye Candy' Isn't Useless Bloat

From Fred Goff:

Dan,

I have to take exception with your criticism that Leopard's "eye candy" is useless bloat unfairly eliminating otherwise good Macs from running it.

Apple has always been about user experience, and much of the "eye candy" (as you put it) in Leopard enhances that experience. Using a computer should be enjoyable, and the visual effects Apple puts in place to provide feedback do so in a fun and enjoyable way. Switching screens in screen sharing is done with a smooth transition that you might call eye candy, but what I call superior visual feedback allowed by modern hardware and a modern operating system.

The spreading fan of icons in a stack you might call useless eye candy bloat that I call enhanced usability providing the user with a smooth feedback of what his command has done and laying the icons out in an arc that follows the natural motion of the arm.

The difference between OS X, Ubuntu, and Vista is that OS X's "eye candy" actually serves a function, usually to provide superior visual feedback and presence of space or location (the user knowing where he is in the interface). Ubuntu and Vista think it's all about theatrics, and so their stuff is useless and annoying.

One more example. In OS X Tiger, menus appear instantly, but fade gradually. This isn't theatrics, this allows for people to get feedback of the selection they have made and to intuitively grasp via that feedback that their choice is now being executed. Windows on the other hand, fades the menu in and then dismisses it immediately. Totally the opposite of what usability would dictate and, in their case, is meaningless theatrics.

I would suggest you consider the whole usability experience that OS X offers before loudly preaching the useless eye candy bloat sermon again.

Fred,

I've been using Macs since the System 6 era, and every step forward in the user interface results in a step backwards in performance. System 7 added color to the desktop; it was slower than System 6. Mac OS 8 added color to Finder windows, which had remained black & white in System 7; it was slower than System 7. Mac OS X completely rewrote the Mac's appearance, using 32-bit imaging, icon scaling, drop shadows, translucence, and more - and it was much slower than Mac OS 9.

From Mac OS X 10.0 though 10.3, Apple improved the speed of the user interface, actually making OS X more usable on older hardware than it had been. With 10.5, Apple is going in the opposite direction, adding so much in the way of cool but unnecessary visual effect that dozens upon dozens of Mac models that have run Tiger very nicely are now locked out.

In the old days, you could switch to 1-bit graphics to speed things up if System 7 or 8 seemed too sluggish. With Leopard, the only choice for those who can't run it is to stick with Tiger (and be left behind on the software front) or buy a newer Mac.

Just as Apple managed to support Macs for up to 10 years under the Classic Mac OS, Apple has been able to support Macs back to 1997 with OS X 10.0 (2001) and 1999 with 10.4 (2005), it should be able to support a lot more older Macs under Leopard. Rather than do that, it has elected to raise the bar and drop support for several years worth of Macs, something no previous version of OS X has done.

Dan

Leopard and Dual-boot Macs

From Michael Emery:

Greetings, Dan.

It is presumptuous to expect you to have a ready answer for all of the Leopard-related questions two days before it even appears on the street. Still, do you suppose that a Leopard-ready Mac which can currently dual-boot OS X 10.4 and OS 9 will continue to be dual-bootable (OS X 10.5 and OS 9) for running old-school apps?

Best regards to you and yours.

Michael Emery

Michael,

I'm pretty confident that Macs that can boot into both the classic Mac OS and OS X will continue to be able to do so with Leopard installed. That would be one way to work around the loss of Classic Mode, although not particularly convenient.

Dan

Article Update Please!

From Francisco Aleman:

I love Low End Mac and have been using it periodically for about 2 years now. Even then as now I was hoping to see an update to the Best Used Macs under the left navigation tab. The highest or newest tech you have listed is a Power Mac G3 (blue & white). I was hoping for an update on this article but could not find an author to email the request to (hope you can help by forwarding accordingly).

I think that with Leopard on its way, the article should include the the best used Macs that can utilize Tiger or at very least update by adding G4 or G5 Macs - especially with LA Computer selling an eMac G4 1.25 GHz for $250. That has to make the list of best buys or good buys.

Thanks for your time and great site,
Francisco

Francisco,

Thanks for writing. I've been giving that a lot of thought recently, as most of those articles were written a long time ago. I'll work on updating it soon.

That's quite a deal on a 1.25 GHz eMac, and many of them shipped with 7200 rpm hard drives, so with a memory upgrade, they'll make great Tiger and very good Leopard machines.

Dan

Like the New Logo

Low End Mac logoFrom Audun Bødtker:

Hi! Congratulation on the new logo. I actually like the new font. Its a little too colorful maybe, but friendly as you say.

But I sure will miss the the icon! Its the best renderision of a classic Mac there is, and if you have to let it go because of the new logo it would be a shame.

I would love to have a T-shirt with that icon!

sincerely
Audun

Audun,

Thanks. We did boost the color a bit on the original version of the logo we're currently using, and we're not going to retire the classic Mac icon. It still shows up as a "favicon" in most modern browsers, and we're going to continue to use it in the "bullet" graphic at the end of our columns.

We've had poor luck with T-shirts and other logo merchandise, so don't expect anything soon.

Dan

Don't Like the New Logo

vote against new logoFrom Ben Berry:

"Response to our new design has been generally positive, although it's divided about 50/50 over the logo."

Well heres another vote in the "It looks terrible" column.

Ben,

Voting continues at 50/50.

Dan

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Dan Knight has been publishing Low End Mac since April 1997. Mailbag columns come from email responses to his Mac Musings, Mac Daniel, Online Tech Journal, and other columns on the site.

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