Think different: Tests challenge Apple's iMac claims of superior speed

Summary:Two days before the iMac went on sale, Apple interim CEO Steve Jobs said the new system "toasts the fastest PC money can buy at any price -- the Pentium II 400."Not so fast.

Two days before the iMac went on sale, Apple interim CEO Steve Jobs said the new system "toasts the fastest PC money can buy at any price -- the Pentium II 400."
Not so fast. Tests published Friday on PC Magazine's Web site contend that that the actual performance of the iMac "fell far short of that claim."

PC Magazine found that Apple (Nasdaq:AAPL) based its claims on an older set of benchmark tests that centered on the central processor, without attaching due weight to disk and graphics performance.

"Because of these and other limitations that we eventually discovered, we were surprised that the iMac's performance was promoted so fervently by Apple," PC Magazine reported.



Does it matter that the iMac is slower than Pentium II machines. Is it fast enough? Add your comments to the bottom of this page.




When a number of commonly used software packages such as Excel, Word and Photoshop were tested, PC Magazine said that in most cases the applications ran fastest on computers powered by Pentium II chips.

"Apple's processor performance claims are clearly overstated, as you'll see when you look at our test results. For most application functions, the iMac just didn't perform as swiftly as the PCs."

Apple stands by claim
An Apple spokesman said the company will not back down from its iMac statements. "We stand by our claims," Russell Brady said.

The iMac debut has been accompanied by a $100 million advertising rollout and is a key element in Apple's comeback strategy. In the month and a half since its debut, the product has been warmly received. The spokesman said Apple was not yet ready to report specific sales figures

Indeed, despite the overhyped claims, the PC Magazine review concluded that "the iMac succeeds extremely well at being what it was intended to be: a fast, easy-to-use consumer-level machine that will remain viable long after the warranty runs out."

Topics: Apple, Hardware, PCs, Processors

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