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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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  • AMD (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Eightyford ( 893696 ) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @02:16PM (#14981819) Homepage
    It would be nice if they tested AMD notebooks.
  • fastest in one test (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gEvil (beta) ( 945888 ) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @02:18PM (#14981827)
    Fastest WinXP notebook for the Photoshop test. It doesn't look like it fared so well in the Windows Media encode test.
  • Re:AMD (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 23, 2006 @02:18PM (#14981833)
    AMD doesn't have anything that competes with this.

    Intel wins battery life, hands down, also.
  • by tpgp ( 48001 ) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @02:19PM (#14981846) Homepage
    Fastest at running certain photoshop plugins :-/

    Still - yet another reason to not dismiss windows-on-mac-hardware efforts.
  • Re:AMD (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hawkbug ( 94280 ) <psx AT fimble DOT com> on Thursday March 23, 2006 @02:21PM (#14981864) Homepage
    Yeah, you're right. I only build AMD systems because they run cooler, faster, etc, etc - when compared to the Pentium 4 that is. With this new Intel CPU, things have changed. AMD needs to respond quickly with a good dual core notebook product. Unfortunately, they still haven't mastered the 65 nm process yet - so it will be a while. My question is, is the CoreDuo 64 bit? If not, it seems rather stupid to buy one of these right now.
  • Why photoshop? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Locke2005 ( 849178 ) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @02:21PM (#14981874)
    Because photoshop is one of the few applications out there that is actually designed to take advantage of multiple CPUs by splitting up the work.
  • Re:Ummm... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MustardMan ( 52102 ) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @02:24PM (#14981906)
    Ya know, I'm pretty much an apple zealot... but the biggest thing they do to piss me off is include far too little ram in their systems. I bought a powermac dual g5 that came standard with 512 megs of ram. This is supposedly a top of the line powerhorse, and I paid a price premium for it. The LEAST they could do is throw in a couple sticks of ram to get the thing up to par. Applications on an imac launched every bit as fast as those on my top end dual processor beast. After I threw an extra gig in there, the machine started really smoking - like it should have off the factory floor.
  • by Enrique1218 ( 603187 ) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @02:30PM (#14981957) Journal
    I have been shopping around for a notebook for a family member. I found that Lenovo and Apple have the highest price dual core. Dell is of course the lowest. But looking at the specs, the lower price ones tend to have GMA or ATI Hypermemory GPU, slower memory, and are pretty bulky. Apple does put in the best stuff available at the launch. I would even venture to guess that the Macbooks are gaming quality.
  • by bunratty ( 545641 ) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @02:43PM (#14982075)
    Differences in cache size, cache speed, disk access time, and disk throughput, among other things, would cause two computers with exactly the same CPU, RAM, and bus to run at different speeds. This is part of the MHz myth -- there's more to how fast a computer is than the speed of its individual parts.
  • Re:Ummm... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ceoyoyo ( 59147 ) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @02:45PM (#14982089)
    That's GOOD. Nothing like ordering a G5 with 256 MB, throwing that away and putting in 8 GB or whatever from a commodity memory place. Oh, and saving $1000 while you're at it. I think Apple puts the base configs on their workstation machines really low on purpose because they don't want to be bothered running a big memory business (no profit) so they're tacitly encouraging you to go buy your own memory.

  • Currently (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Upaut ( 670171 ) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @02:53PM (#14982149) Homepage Journal
    The solution of many problems, by having a Windows partition on ones Macbook, does have a few issues that will both effect preformance, and ones comfort. With the GPU not having any drivers yet, the CPU is doing all the work. So slower animations, more heat (massive amounts) being generated, and an inability to play any games. Now, I am still glad that I have this partition, so I can use a lkot of "Windows only" software my work/school wants me to be able to run, but until the graphics chip is running, I don't think most benchmarkes will be really reliable. That and while running Windows, until a driver is written, I really recomend that you don't have the machine in your lap, unless its a really cold day...

    Other issues that are less important are:
    *Trackpad does not work
    *That little camera doesn't work
  • Adoption (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Truman Starr ( 949802 ) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @02:55PM (#14982166)
    Ok, I am all for the Mac - my first 'puter was a II-GS back when I was 6 or so. But I haven't been following the hardware "jam XP into a Mac" soap opera like some have, so I'm not sure of the complexity of getting both OSes to share one living space (Talk about "The Odd Couple").

    I am, interested, however, in hearing about it as it pertains to adoption by non-techies. I read /. but I've never had a dual-boot system myself. I have a Powerbook, an Ubuntu box, and my company thinkpad, so I've never needed to. Each box does its particular tasks, and does them pretty well (with the exception of the T23 my company insists is SOTA).

    However, the specs from this article look quite promising. Like many of you, I salivate at the thought of running not only WoW on my MacBook, but games from developers who don't touch OSX. I'm not foolish enough to presume I'm in any kind of majority on that, but I think it has ramifications beyond the hardcore. I think when the new intel iBooks come out, they will be the perfect computer for just about any non-technical person; i.e. students, moms, grandmoms, whomever. If you can give them something familiar, adoption is going to be 1000 times easier. I'm not asking that Apple blow away other OEM's while running windows. The fact that it comes close (in all of the tests so far) is good enough for me. And grandma too.

  • by saschasegan ( 963148 ) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @03:03PM (#14982245)
    Apple has a tendency to heavily customize their machines, and one of their selling points is a tight coupling between hardware and software (namely, OS X.) So we wanted to make sure there was nothing in the Macs that would have prevented XP from running to the limits of the performance of the hardware, and to prove that a dual-boot solution could be both viable and desirable. I'll personally wait for the video drivers to call it "desirable," but we're safely within the realm of viable.

    Running these benchmarks also allowed a direct comparison between Apple hardware and other manufacturers' that always used to be cloaked a little by the difference in OSes. Now of course you can argue that the driver situation may have affected our results, but I hope this will be only the first of many data points. It's a start.

  • Photoshop Test (Score:4, Interesting)

    by chowhound ( 136628 ) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @03:05PM (#14982269) Homepage
    I've always felt the photoshop tests were an absurd measure of a computer's speed. I run Photoshop CS1 on my G4/400 1GB at home. The only time I ran into a problem was attempting to work on a backlit movie poster for a theatre - 3x5 foot by 300 dpi, with layers, effects & filters. But that is an absurdly huge file. As a designer for 10 years, I never encountered a file that big.

    The point is that today's computers are overpowered. The now-deprecated Quad 2.7 G5 is vastly more powerful than any Photoshop jockey needs. Unless you're rastering 3D shiz or crunching a full length DVD-quality movie (neither of which requires Photoshop) it's just gonna be an issue for most users.
  • Re:Photoshop Test (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 23, 2006 @04:13PM (#14982817)
    haha! As a professional retoucher, I heartily disagree with your comment. Firstly, I regularly work with files much larger than the one you discribe. The project I am working with now involves one image that is about 3.5 gigs on disk and larger in RAM, and that's by no means the biggest I've run into. I can ALWAYS use a faster, more capable computer.
    Second, you are thinking small with regard to PS. You aren't thinking in terms of what it "could" do, as opposed to what it has historically done. Off the top of my head, I can imagine a number of features that photoshop doesn't currently have that would only be feasible with more powerful machines, like "live" filter layers that render in real-time, Liquify and (the useless) Extract Image as tools, rather than separate panes (which is done because they are too processor-intensive to run in real time), etc. Plus lots of other features that I can't even imagine, because no one has even considered them possible before.
    Bottom line -- give a creative programmer capacity and he/she will find a way to use it.
  • by megabeck42 ( 45659 ) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @05:11PM (#14983376)
    1, How is supporting Mach and FreeBSD system calls an advantage? Apps should not be making direct system calls and instead invoke the appropriate c library wrapper. This doesn't seem like a feature, it sounds like a bad design decision. What was the reasoning by basing OSX on Mach in the first place? What is the justification for this excessive, per system call overhead?

    How many Mach messages per second does my conventional UNIX benchmark at? None. It can't. Does this preclude me from doing anything I need to do? No.

    2, The 4/4 memory split only applies to 32 bit environments. Haven't the G3/G4/G5 been 64 bit? I know the current Core Duo's are 32 bit, but the next generation are supposed to support AMD's x86-64 (called EM64T in Intel language.). There's no advantage to seperate virtual address spaces when you have 64 bit architectures. Even on 32bit architectures, a 2/2 or 3/1 split is only a problem if you have more than two or three gigabytes of physical ram or if your application wants to memory map more than two or three gigs of virtual address space. If you need to do that, then get an architecture that supports it. Most people still have less than 2 gigs of ram in their computers, why optimize for those that do when the computers people will be buying when four gigs of ram or more is common will already be 64 bit.

    3, Are you suggesting that FreeBSD, Linux, Windows, or any other modern operating system doesn't use dynamic libraries? What is so special about OSX's dynamic loader that Benchmarks need to take it into account?

    1, Agreed.

    2, What? Please. 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, but in most cases, it's not worth the trouble. Bypassing the buffer cache spares you the cost of a copy, but if you ever need the block again, you are at a clear advantage if it could have been read out of the buffer cache.

    3. Don't know anything about it, but it's quite possible.
  • by SilentChris ( 452960 ) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @05:35PM (#14983593) Homepage
    One should also note that the machines they compared didn't even have the same hardware. The Mac is a dual-core 2.16 GHz machine while the PCs were 2.0 GHz. Not to mention discrepancies with hard drive speeds, video cards (including the non-existant XP drivers on the Mac), etc. It's just not a good comparison by any stretch of the imagination.

    A more valid comparison would be SPEC tests between the MacBook and other machines. What you'd likely see is, given the same hardware, they perform exactly the same -- which is the point.

    As someone pointed out, most geeks would be interested in a box that runs both XP and Mac OS equally well. Apple is in a big transition year: with Vista delayed and the switch to Intel, they finally have means to court a massive number of geeks to their platform. Some random people claiming the MacBook is somehow "faster" than PCs with different hardware damages this. Geeks will look at the specs and know it's not a valid comparison. Mac fans just need to sit tight and let the benchmarks speak for themselves.
  • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 ) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @06:46PM (#14984118)
    Does Carbon port as well as Cocoa? I know it runs fine, but I had the impression Carbon allowed a little more leeway in how you did things... leeway that wouldn't necessarily port quite correctly.

    I wonder if Adobe was quite as fanatical about doing SSE optimizations on their code on Intel as they were with Altivec on PPC. As others point out, Apple always used them as a benchmark so their code was definitely optimized. I wonder if they did that to the same extent on Windows, where they got considerably less attention (though possibly more sales).

    You're probably right though, copy and paste job. How come it's taking so long? ;)
  • by drhamad ( 868567 ) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @07:57PM (#14984521)
    Laptops have reached a point where they're fast enough for most anything. Heck, if you look at Apple's current offerings, their desktops and laptops use basically the same hardware! (of course, the PowerMac excepted)

    Some people such as myself need Photoshop on the go. Others, also like myself, only have 1 license. Third, I have two systems: a Mac mini (G4) and a Thinkpad T40 (1.3 GHz Centrino, I believe). Should I therefore not use Photoshop, since both are (basically - the Mac mini is an iBook) laptops? Should people with iMac's not use Photoshop either, since those systems use Core Duo's?

    Low end systems and laptops both passed the point years ago where they were fast enough for almost anything. Sure, Photoshop is faster on a high end G5 or P4 or whatever system, but it's very useable on any modern laptop or low end system.
  • Mac? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by brjndr ( 313083 ) on Thursday March 23, 2006 @09:39PM (#14985032)
    Ok, I am probably not the first to think of this, but it just hit me...

    Powerbooks have PowerPC processors. MacBook's have Intel processors.

    So when the PowerMac's are switched to Intel, are they called MacMac's??
  • Battery life (Score:2, Interesting)

    by solarbob ( 959948 ) on Friday March 24, 2006 @02:56AM (#14986198) Homepage
    Whilst its all very nice having these great process which make for desktop replacements I still can't feel there is a market for a 1Ghz laptop, 512Mb RAM, 40GB storage and a good 12 hours of battery life in a relativly slimline case. The Sony TX1's come pretty close with 6 hours but a full 12 hours would mean you could just not have to charge up during a normal working day
  • by saschasegan ( 963148 ) on Friday March 24, 2006 @03:27PM (#14989993)
    The conclusion we came to was that Apple makes fast Windows machines, that compete well in several tests with a range of other consumer purchaseable, recently released PCs.

    That's very interesting, because it tells folks that they have a good chance of buying machines that will dual-boot the two OSes, getting market-competitive performance in both.

    That's never been the case before, and even once Apple went to Intel there were murmurings that either Apple or Microsoft would do something to hurt Windows performance on the new Macs. Our results go some distance towards disproving that.

    How is that conclusion invalid?

Exceptions prove the rule, and wreck the budget. -- Miller