Apple trounces Microsoft in performance showdown

Research which pitted Windows PCs against Macs found that Vista works better on a Mac.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Research which pitted Windows PCs against Macs found that Vista works better on a Mac.

The May issue of Popular Mechanics includes a comparative review of Macs running OS X Leopard with PCs running Windows Vista without SP1. The verdict: Vista PCs are slower.


While PCs were able to install some software faster than on a Mac, Apple's laptops and desktops proved to be better on overall performance than PCs, according to the reviewers.

"In our speed trials... Leopard OS trounced Vista in all-important tasks such as boot-up, shutdown, and program launch times," Glenn Derene writes in the review.

Comparing each desktop's boot times, the iMac — using a 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 1 GB DDR2 RAM with a 320 GB hard drive — booted up in 28.7 seconds compared to the PC — using a 2.0 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 3 GB DDR2 RAM with a 500 GB hard drive — which took one minute and 13 seconds.

Installing Microsoft Office on the iMac took two minutes less at four minutes 17 seconds than for the PC which took over six minutes. Testing each platform's Web browsers, Safari and Internet Explorer, also saw the Mac launch the programs twice as fast as the PC at 3.3 seconds.

The performance of Vista running on a Mac using Boot Camp was also tested, and was found to run faster on a Mac than on the PCs tested. "We ... found that both Apple computers ran Vista faster than our PCs did," Derene wrote.

However the reviewers did not test the performance of Vista with Service Pack 1. Microsoft IT pro evangelist, Michael Kleef, told ZDNet.com.au that Microsoft has improved Vista's performance with SP1.

"We worked on improving the overall system responsiveness and feel [of Vista in Service Pack 1]. Simple things like minimising windows should feel responsive, and not seem to lag or do nothing while you're expecting it to," he said.

However the improvements saw Microsoft re-employ methods used in XP, such as how the system manages memory capabilities. Microsoft removed XP's cached memory, hoping it would improve how the system writes to disk.

"That was what we called un-cached or unbuffered I/O. It wasn't as efficient as we'd hoped it to be," said Kleef of the version of Vista released to manufacturers.

"Some of those areas caused pressures in the operating system that affected responsiveness as well as throughput on the network... So we sort of came back towards XP, not completely, but we did come back a bit of a way, especially in the way of the cached I/O."

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