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Apple MacBook Pro 'Fastest Windows XP Notebook'? 360

rgraham writes "The Register has a great opening line in a recent article, "Want the fastest Windows XP Core Duo notebook? Then buy a Mac. According to benchmarks carried out by website GearLog, Apple's MacBook Pro running Windows XP is a better Adobe Photoshop rig than any other Core Duo laptop on the market." GearLog ran the same tests that were run by PC Magazine with the Mac coming out on top."
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Apple MacBook Pro 'Fastest Windows XP Notebook'?

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  • by networkBoy ( 774728 ) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @02:16PM (#14981816) Journal
    Now all I want to know is which is faster: Photoshop on XP or OSX?
  • by ( 960072 ) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @02:21PM (#14981871)
    Now that the Mac is showing off it's quality hardware and such, as the Intel models become commonplace, I wouldn't be surprised to see a couple of commercial offerings for dual boot between Mac and Windows.

    There's an opportunity for business to finally transition to a quality hardware platform/OS, and I hope someone steps up to the plate to make a formal solution in this area (not that I don't appreciate the current hacks offered).

    -- Jim []
  • by ZachPruckowski ( 918562 ) <> on Thursday March 23, 2006 @02:24PM (#14981902)
    Well, it didn't have a working video card. It was a slightly (.16 GHz) faster processor, but didn't have a working video card driver. So anything that would have otherwise been put on the graphics card processor landed on the CPU
  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Thursday March 23, 2006 @02:28PM (#14981940) Homepage Journal
    The graphics card isn't involved in media encoding. Well, there ARE schemes that involve it, but it's not normal. Of course, if they were actually displaying the clip while they encoded it, that could possibly do it - but that's a silly thing to do unless you're doing a very short clip and you want to see what the compression artifacting looks like as-you-go.
  • Re:Apple no happy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Midnight Thunder ( 17205 ) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @02:33PM (#14981986) Homepage Journal
    I bet Apple is PISSED right now. They're handing all their technology over to Microsoft.

    But Apple is get paid $$ for the hardware, so they can't be that annoyed.
  • Why would you pay for an ipod when you can build your own MP3 player with a altoids can and some electronics parts. Geez Doesn't sounds like a a great buisness plan to me.

    Thats really not a fair comparison I know. But people will pay a premium for a preconfigured system with good support. Hell I quit building my own machines are work because I just have the time to support them, and just order from dell (work for a university grant, so dell sees us as the university which means we get top tier support)
  • by gEvil (beta) ( 945888 ) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @02:48PM (#14982107)
    And please tell us what portions of the video encoding task are handled by the GPU.
  • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF ( 813746 ) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @02:51PM (#14982135)

    Why should the MacBook be any faster then any other DuoCore notebook out there.

    Because each laptop uses slightly different hardware. They use different brands, with different specs, and in different configurations. For any given test, one will win. If you read the article you'd know Macbook Pros scored about the same as the best other Duo Core notebooks out there. Sure they took first in a given photoshop test, but not by a really significant margin. They did worse in some other tests. There are no conspiracies here.

    People willfully misinterpreting this test should be ashamed of the FUD they are spreading. This does not prove MacBooks are the "fastest" laptop. It proves they are (aside from the non-existant video drivers) as good as anything else out there for running Windows. This is good news for people who plan to dual boot. This is a good sign for those interested in emulating/VMing Windows. It is just trivia to anyone else.

  • Re:AMD (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Eightyford ( 893696 ) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @02:53PM (#14982152) Homepage
    AMD doesn't make any dual-core notebook chips...

    That doesn't make comparisons impossible. Who cares how many cores there is. People want speed.
  • by Rob Y. ( 110975 ) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @02:59PM (#14982212)
    Ultimately, a Windows vs. Mac CPU benchmark on the same hardware would amount to a comparison of the code generated by the respective compilers.

    Don't know how fast the code generated by the Visual C++ compiler is, but I've read that the proprietary Intel compiler generates much faster code than gcc, which (I think) is the default compiler for OS/X apps these days. Does that bode poorly for the Mac in any benchmark wars?
  • by greg1104 ( 461138 ) <> on Thursday March 23, 2006 @03:05PM (#14982261) Homepage
    It's been widely noted that the basic hardware in the MacBook pro is nearly identical to that in the Acer model mentioned in TFA; see faq/technical_performance_2.html [] for a rundown. So it's no wonder the run-time is the same.

    The appropriate conclusion here is "Macbook Pro runs XP as fast as the fastest PC with the same CPU and chipset", to which I would say, duh!
  • Why a laptop? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cloudmaster ( 10662 ) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @03:41PM (#14982538) Homepage Journal
    So I'm curious, why does Photoshop being faster on one laptop than another mean anything? Surely if you care about all-out photoshop performance, you'll have a desktop machine with a real power supply to drive real processors, room for real memory, and a real display? This laptop's slower for almost everything else, and not appropriate for the onething it's faster at.

    Yay benchmarks. :( I'd be more imperssed if they laid the laptops out on a table at a college library and timed which one got stolen fastest. That'd test the *real* value of each laptop...
  • Re:Ummm... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by temojen ( 678985 ) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @03:50PM (#14982608) Journal
    oh good god. a 8MP image can be printed at 20X30 and look better than 35mm film.

    And a 35mm image can be printed at 20x30 and look better than an 8MPixel digital sensor image. Untill you specify the specific cameras, lenses, tripods, subject, lighting, scanner, scanner software, raw converter, film, processing lab, camera settings, postprocessing steps, printing technology, and intended use, it is you that's trolling. In the mean time I'll continue using what works for me.

    Most pro photographers do not shoot at more than 6MP because THERE IS NO USE for higher res right now.

    It really depends on the intended use of their photos. Newspaper and portrait photographers shoot low-rez because that suits their needs. You can be sure though that PlayBoy's feature photographers are shooting full-frame digital at least (although I suspect medium-format Kodak Portra NC judging by the contrast, tonality, and colour balance).

    I often choose 35mm Print film because it gives me resolution slightly better than I'd get with a 1Ds, but much nicer exposure lattitude. Plus I get smaller depth of field than with a sub-frame digital, without having to shell out $20,000 for a 1Ds and a bunch of new lenses.

    Pros are not rushing out to buy new digitals they are getting FANTASTIC results with 6mp right now.

    You seem to be confusing newspaper photographers with all pro photographers. It depends on their intended use. Fashion photographers are just starting to go digital (from MF) with the introduction of full-frame digitals and digital backs for MF.

    you weenies that think that megapixels are everything are getting on my nerves.

    People who think that how they use their camera is how everyone uses their camera, and what they expect from prints is what everyone expects from prints get on my nerves.

  • Re:Apple no happy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Gilmoure ( 18428 ) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @03:54PM (#14982640) Journal
    Apple just wants to sell boxes. Whether they're little music players or laptops or a Jonathon Ives designed toaster, they get happy when people buy their stuff. What you do with it afterwards is your concern.
  • by rizzo320 ( 911761 ) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @04:06PM (#14982755)
    You are correct. The iMac G3 was the first to have only USB ports. The Blue & White Power Mac G3 was the second, followed by the "Lombard" PowerBook G3.

    Although Apple may not have been the first to use USB, they were the first to remove the legacy ports to force peripheral and accessory manufacturers to introduce USB based devices. They were also one of the first computer manufacturers to encourage the ports use. I remember installing multiple labs of Dell Optiplex Gn+ and GXi workstations with USB disabled by default in the BIOS. It was until a year or two later that USB was enabled by default on all of their Optiplex models. Plus, Microsoft's OS USB support really didn't work well until Windows 98 (for DOS based) and Windows 2000 (NT based OS) were released.

  • by soft_guy ( 534437 ) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @04:10PM (#14982789)
    Yeah, the Mac only got PCI what...12 years ago? (PowerMac 9500 was the first PCI Mac.) Prior to that, they had NuBus which was basically the same thing, but it lost out to the PCI standard.

    Apple was the vendor that really caused USB to take off...8 or 9 years ago.

    And let's lump Intel in there with protected memory.
  • Re:Why a laptop? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 23, 2006 @04:10PM (#14982793)
    And the Apple product would be stolen first. Why? Because their resale value is rediculously higher than a PC.

    The fact here is that it's doing something quite well that it wasn't designed to do, run a windows app "faster" than machines made for windows. And I don't believe you read the article, because there were other computers besides a MacBook Pro mentioned. Maybe next time check out what's said before you comment.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 23, 2006 @04:10PM (#14982799)
    "Don't [let] the door hit you on the way out" - IBM

    Nah, IBM was more, "What? You're leaving? Oh. Um... Weren't we supposed to be selling CPU chips to you? I mean, the leftovers after we had filled our important customer's orders? I swear we could remember saying we'd promised you nice fast chips... They're almost ready! "
  • by ivoras ( 455934 ) <ivoras.fer@hr> on Thursday March 23, 2006 @04:21PM (#14982878) Homepage
    This is actually a nice indication of a (now not so) subtle shift in the industry. Ten years ago a company that produced a unix-like OS with so much lag in a core system would be loughed down and burn. Now, people don't even notice (for the most part). You can make a system with wicked clever algorithms, and still it wouldn't matter because what people are drawn to are pretty colors of the hardware and the UI.
  • by Kadin2048 ( 468275 ) <> on Thursday March 23, 2006 @04:54PM (#14983200) Homepage Journal
    True; tests of the OS for server-type tasks have already been done, at least on the PPC side -- people have compared database performance on the Apple XServe when running OS X Server versus Linux, with the same pieces of software and (I think) the same test data, the only thing that was changed between the two was the OS. Result was ... Linux wins, although I've never heard a really conclusive explanation as to why. It apparently has something to do with process scheduling, I've heard.

    I suppose you could do the same thing with Apache or MySQL on a Mactel, in order to compare OS X versus Windows, but I'm not sure how useful or interesting a comparison it would be, since those machines (consumer laptops) aren't really used for those kinds of tasks very often.

    Frankly I think the best measures of desktop performance are ones having to do with UI latency: I don't care how fast a system crunches numbers, if I have to use it and it takes more than a tenth of a second for it to register that I've pressed the mouse button, it's too slow. Program launch times, UI latency, window scrolling and resizing ... these are all far more important to real desktop users than how many simultaneous threads it can handle in Apache, or how many queries it can process in a MySQL DB.
  • by Breakfast Pants ( 323698 ) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @05:01PM (#14983268) Journal
    Is there a similar switch to turn off VM caching on a per descriptor basis in linux? Right now I have an ugly script for some things which sets "swapiness" to a very low value, does all of the job (right now I just use this for updatedb), and then sets swapiness back. If I code could do this on a descriptor level that would rock (think extracting a large tar, etc.).
  • by rsborg ( 111459 ) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @05:47PM (#14983697) Homepage
    You can make a system with wicked clever algorithms, and still it wouldn't matter because what people are drawn to are pretty colors of the hardware and the UI.

    Isn't it a bit deceptive to label "Good UI" as "pretty colors"? It's been proven that the OSX UI guidelines, look and feel, is MUCH better than both Windows and especially Linux.

    It doesn't matter a damn that a computer or program is 50% faster, as most of the time the process waits on user input... it's making the users more productive and happy that really makes a computer/program solution *faster*... if that means "pretty colors" or "good UI guidelines" or "system stability" makes this possible, then those should really be what matters in benchmarking.

  • by quakeroatz ( 242632 ) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @06:28PM (#14984003) Journal
    Apparently I am blind:x

    The Macbook pro w/ 2.16ghz Duo ran a photoshop script in 1:10
    The Acer Duo w/ 2.0ghz Duo ran a photoshop script in 1:11

    The Mac Duo laptop with a 8% higher clocked CPU ran a benchmark 1.4% faster than the Acer Duo.
    If anything, this looks bad for the Mac Duo.
    Why is it seeing such a tiny improvement when it is 160mhz faster?
  • by pammon ( 831694 ) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @06:31PM (#14984031)
    How is supporting Mach and FreeBSD system calls an advantage?

    There's a lot of historical decisions of dubious validity in retrospect, but there's also an excellent technical defense that can be made for Mach. In short, Mach is really cool. Mach IPC makes signals, sockets, pipes, shared memory, SysV IPC, etc. look positively clumsy. What's FreeBSD's answer to the Mach Inteface Generator? CORBA?

    So OS X gets a lot of mileage out of Mach messaging - AppleEvents, distributed notifications, run loops, etc. If OS X processes seem good at talking to one another - think VoiceOver, Spotlight, the window server, iLife's media sharing, even copy and paste - it's due in part to the fast, flexible IPC mechanisms enabled by Mach.

    The 4/4 memory split only applies to 32 bit environments. Haven't the G3/G4/G5 been 64 bit?

    In principle, yes; in practice, OS X has a 32 bit kernel even on 64 bit machines, not least of all for driver binary compatibility. You want to know the win here - take a look at the binary compatibility driver story on 64 bit Linux or 64 bit Windows. Apple allows 64 bit processes on Tiger without breaking everyone's hardware.

    (Incidentally, only the G5 is 64 bit.)

    Are you suggesting that FreeBSD, Linux, Windows, or any other modern operating system doesn't use dynamic libraries?

    Yes. Benchmarks typically compare statically linked libraries on Linux (because they're faster) to dynamically linked binaries on OS X (because that's all Apple ships).

    Yes, there is an advantage to not using the buffer cache in some cases, something you can do in linux with the O_DIRECT filedescriptor flag

    Thanks, I wasn't familiar with that flag on Linux. From googling, it looks like it does somewhat different things [], in particular, not speeding up sequential file access.

    In any case, I'll certainly agree that there Linux-specific filesystem optimizations; I was just commenting on a technique I found to give a substantial boost to OS X programs with sequential access patterns.

  • by localman ( 111171 ) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @06:57PM (#14984185) Homepage
    It's not pretty colors, it's total utility. That rarely correlates with raw speed or cleverness of the algorithm. My guess is that most slow bits in the system were conscious choices where the benefits outweighed the costs. I'm sure there's a thousand things they could improve, still, but overall it's the most productive system I've worked on.

    And don't hate it just because it's beautiful :)

  • by quakeroatz ( 242632 ) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @08:44PM (#14984779) Journal
    Apple was the vendor that really caused USB to take off...8 or 9 years ago.
    WTF are you talking about? Mac touted firewire as the hot swap connector of choice, they only introduced USB reluctantly after computer hardware makers said collectively "FUCK YOU APPLE, WERE ONLY MAKING PERIPHERALS IN USB".
    Then and only then did Macs come with USB, long after it was standard PC issue.

    To this day it's hard to find any use for firewire aside from external storage and DV transfers.
  • by Kalak ( 260968 ) on Friday March 24, 2006 @10:08AM (#14987406) Homepage Journal
    time to market is probably correct, as OS X is a continuation of NextStep, not a write from scratch. Now NextStep chose Mach for different reasons than time to market I suspect, but in speaking strictly of OSX you have to remember its original origins (part of the reasson Intel compatability is a simple issue for the OS, since the dual life is quite historical for NextStep).
  • Re:Photoshop Test (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MacBoy ( 30701 ) on Friday March 24, 2006 @10:39AM (#14987574)
    I completely agree.
    Photoshop used to be a great benchmark, because computers used to be sllllooowwwwww. Remember when Photoshop power users could drop a few thousand on a fancy DSP card for their Mac? In fact a couple of Macs (the Centris 660Av and the Quadra 810AV ca. 1992 or so) came equipped with a 25/33 MHz DSP on-board to handle certain realtime stuff, like softmodem. Adobe didn't waste any time supporting this DSP to accelerate Photoshop, with a pretty sizable improvement. The point is, people used to waste so much time waiting for Photoshop, that anything, absolutely anything, that could improve its performance was a godsend.

    These days, modern CPUs are real powerhouses. I have an older Mac (Dual 866 MHz G4, 1 GB RAM), and I have never cursed at it while waiting for it to complete a PS operation. I have never had to wait. Today, any CPU is pretty much fast enough for PS work... It's the RAM you have to worry about. The instant PS starts hitting the disk during an operation, you might as well have a P100 in there.

Today is a good day for information-gathering. Read someone else's mail file.