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GeneWorks for Mac Performance

SEGAL, DAVID JAY djs1539 at cc.utah.edu
Fri Feb 12 23:53:00 EST 1993

In article <75418 at cup.portal.com>, ctopp at cup.portal.com (Carol F Topp) writes...
{I am considering purchasing GeneWorks release 2.2 I will also need to
{purchase a computer to run it on. I am not getting anywhere with 
{Intelligenetics in determining what the "real" system requirements
{are. How much RAM is needed/optimal, is a IIcx or IIsi fast enough/
{too slow, does the program make use of color or grayscale. Is IG's 
{support/service better once you've paid your money.

Our lab uses GeneWorks 2.2 on a Quadra 700 with 20MB.  Across the hall,
another lab is also using 2.2 on a Quadra 700.  If anyone else at the
U.of Utah is using GeneWorks, I don't know what they're running it on.
My advice for you is to get the very *best* computer that you budget
will allow.  Why?  What is cutting edge today becomes bearly okay
tomorrow.  I'm sure your fully aware of how fast computers evolve
these days.  But realize this: even if you don't need all that power
today, you may need it sooner than you might expect.  Except by that
time you will have already invested a bundle in the machine you have
now.  IMHO, it is a false economy to invest in a less expensive computer.
I could tell you a hundred tales of woe.  I'm sure you could tell me some
too.  But I digress...  If you have the money, buy the BEST.

As for GeneWorks, I don't know what other comperable programs are out there
but many aspects of GeneWorks are bearly tolerable.  For example, the 
printing format for just about everything is inexcusably terrible 
(especially when you consider the price of GeneWorks!).  Pages print out
with blank lines on them just to faithfully print out the width of a
restriction enzyme table, graphic restriction maps do not wrap so they are
printed out as one thin sequence one four or five pages, you can't 
print selections, etc, etc, etc...  I some cases, you can get around
some of this, sometimes not.  Still can't work with circular DNA, 
only linears.  And even on the Quadra, some features take a surprizingly
long time to process.  For example, restriction digests take a few seconds,
whereas DNA Strider 1.1 will give you a complete digest with everything
it's got, a site usage table, a non-usage table, and fragment sizes
almost instantaneously!  If you want to search the GenBank CDs for the 
XGAL sequence, you have to manually set the search to the Xs, otherwise
it will search through every entry from A-W first.  But alas, with all 
its faults, (I think) it's may still be the most powerful DNA/protein
analysis software available for the Mac:(

It's by far the largest program running on our Quadra.  It also crashes 
the most.  I don't know much about IG's support because they usually can't 
answer our questions (usually because they are idiosyncracies of our
machine).  Does it sound like I don't like GeneWorks?  I love it for
what it can be, but not for what it is.  Its shortcomings would be
a little easier to rationalize it it weren't so *expensive*.

Anyway, this is starting to sound like a flame between me and IG.  My advice is 
to get the best machine you can afford.  Microsoft Word started out as 
a program around 300 Kb.  Now it's over 2 Meg.  As GeneWorks evolves
(as it must), it won't get any smaller either.  

If my humble expertise/opinions/bs can be of any further help, you can 
email me at:
           CarrollLab at medschool.med.utah.edu

- Dave Segal
- Biochemistry, U. of Utah

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