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March 08, 2006

Intel iMac Performance

Well, I am still getting the performance question on a daily basis. Some people (listen to Dave Hamilton) seem to be happy with it but others (like tech ronin) are disappointed:

My feelings about the Intel Macs aren't what they used to be. Probably like a lot of people in the know, I'm disappointed that the claims of 2-5x faster speeds were far from true when applied to real world performance.
Technically, Apple didn't lie. Those specific benchmarks were as claimed. But, when other tests are run on the typical things we do with Macs, performance is only a little better than before in most cases and a lot worse if you aren't running universal applications.

My personal assessment has to be prefixed by the note that it really depends on your application mix. If the only thing you need is iLife then you will have no problem. If you need to use iWorks (and pay for the license because you only get a demo*) then you are still OK. If, on the other hand, you rely heavily on other software (like Microslosh Oriface), then you are SOL (Out of Luck). For my mix of work, the Intel iMac is no faster than my wife's 800MHz G4 iMac. Forget comparing it to a G5. In fact my G4 powerbook (1.5GHz) performs most things faster.
Note that this may (should) be a temporary thing. As more applications move across and as Apple tune and tweak, the situation will improve - just don't get your hopes up based on the 2x or 4x marketing claims.

[* The demo only licence of Pages is a brain-dead move - it means that people will stick with the slooooooow version of Word and whine about the terrible performance of their iMac. If Pages was bundled, they might try it instead. Having tried it, they would then start to think "how come Pages works fast and Word is so slow?" and instead of whining about the lousy iMac performance they would be whining about how lousy Microsoft is...]

Posted by Ozguru at March 8, 2006 06:00 AM