macnews.net.tc
2006-01-17
Ars looks at the iMac Core Duo
In their 8 page "first look" article, ArsTechnica finds good things to say about the new iMac. I wonder whether giving that iMac 1 GB or 2 GB instead of the built-in 512 MB of memory would've positively affected the benchmarks (I seriously guess so and don't understand why this isn't really mentioned as a problem for the "nice graphs"...), but still: It fared well.
Obviously, Rosetta can be a problem, but apparently, it's not much of a problem for everyday tasks like opening/editing the occasional Excel file in Office 2004. Even in Photoshop, it's not totally unusable, although some filters and rotations might make you wait a little longer. I wouldn't mind much – as long as the interface stays responsive. And according to the article, it's okay, to say the least.
Comments:
It fares well, huh? What everybody seems to be forgetting is that this thing has two processors in stead of one and not exactly runs circles around good ol' G5!
 
Well: The tests don't particularly test dual-processor or multithreaded tasks, and certainly, most software – even when a universal binary – is not yet optimised for the new chip.
 
I performed a performance analysis on the MacBook while at Macworld, doing real-world tasks like audio and video encoding. The results indicate that the new MacBook Pros perform well.
 
Of course the MacBook performs well. It would have been really surprising if it couldn't keep up with the ancient G4! :o)
 
Tests by MacWorld: new iMac only 25 percent faster on native applications:
http://www.macworld.com/2006/01/features/imaclabtest1/index.php

Throw non-native applications into the equation, and you got yourself a dual-processor iMac that is actually slower than its predecessor. Cool!
 
Well: I guess it really depends on what one's working with. Can't really talk much about the pure PPC apps, since those are going to vanish over time, anyway.

When I'm going intel Mac with my next notebook, I'm going to use the following applications very often: BBEdit, TextEdit, Pages, Adobe apps. BBEdit, TextEdit and Pages are native already, Adobe CS 3 will be native by Summer, I hear. So for me _personally_ it would make absolutely no sense to upgrade from my current 1.33 GHz PB G4 to an 1.67 GHz PB G4 now, because I'd win a _lot_ of performance on the MacBook Pro, and probably on the iBook's replacement as well.

The iMac... Well: I don't really think that the primary aim is to lure owners of the iMac G5, rather it should attract owners of iMac G4s as well as new Mac-users. But even _if_ we're talking about owners of the latest and greatest iMac G5 2.1 GHz, it'll only take a few months until most of the apps are certainly faster on the iMac Core Duo.

Steve never said the intel Macs would be twice or five times as fast at *every* task. He clearly mentioned the tests to be SPEC benchmarks (SPECint and SPECfp). And while those are not real-world tests, they're still important numbers. And when did you last see a 30% real-world performance gap between iMac generations? Yep: When it went from G4 to G5. So overall: You have to admit that the new iMac is still a huge step forward in only three or four months (even less actually? don't want to check now...).

But if you intend to work with non-optimised apps that run in emulation: Yeah, then I guess you're better off with a PPC. Might want to use one that also boots OS 9, just to make sure that Photoshop 5 really runs at full speed. ;)
 
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