Mac powerbook vs PC notebook speed?

Discussion in 'NZ Computing' started by Henry Kwok, Jan 25, 2004.

  1. Henry Kwok

    Henry Kwok Guest

    Hi all

    I do not mean to start a Mac vs PC debate. I have been a PC user all my life
    but now I am contemplating buying a Mac powerbook because I really like its
    style and grace. Problem is I don't know much about Mac and certainly do not
    know how the Mac will compare to a PC in terms of speed. All I know is that
    it is not exactly 1:1 relationship with the CPU clock.

    I am interested in getting the 1GHz or 1.25GHz 15" power book. What is the
    PC equivcalent? More importantly are there objective benchmarks comparing PC
    and Mac notebook? Does anyone have experience with these powerbooks?

    Thanks

    H
     
    Henry Kwok, Jan 25, 2004
    #1
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  2. Henry Kwok

    AD. Guest

    It depends a lot on the specific software and tasks you plan on doing.

    I wouldn't really have any real knowledge but I'd imagine the G4s would
    run very roughly the same as a similarly clocked mobile P3.

    But does absolute CPU performance really matter in a laptop? Lack of heat
    and battery life would be far more important in my mind - which is why I
    like the Pentium M so much. I just wish Intel would allow a desktop market
    for Pentium Ms ;)

    Cheers
    Anton
     
    AD., Jan 25, 2004
    #2
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  3. I suspect on that score the PowerPC-based Mac laptops would compare
    quite favourably.
    So much for greater hardware choice on the Intel side, eh?
     
    Lawrence D¹Oliveiro, Jan 27, 2004
    #3
  4. Henry Kwok

    David Preece Guest

    It's actually slightly worse than that because you need to factor in
    things like the P4 doing very little work per instruction (but running
    at 3GHz+), and that G4 and upwards PowerPC's (all new Apple processors)
    contain an impressively efficient vector processing unit called AltiVec.
    I've just got a 1.25GHz, and love it. The speed thing is interesting.
    From the point of view of getting some code, compiling it, running it,
    I guess it's about on par with my home PC which is an Athlon 1800
    (1.533GHz real). However, some parts of OSX are really incredibly well
    optimised, and this makes the computer feel faster than by rights it
    really should.

    Example: Our digital camera produces movie clips that are Motion JPEG
    format, 640x480 at 30 frames per second. These things are bastards to
    decode on Windows, taking about 95% of the processor power when
    displayed in Windows media player. Winamp is about the same, but I
    suspect it's dropping frames.

    The Mac, on the other hand, does the same job for about 25% processor
    load. To add to the fun you can get the progress bar on QuickTime and
    drag it up and down for a sort of live preview thing ... but fast.
    Actually, you can do this on QuickTime on the PC too, it just eats
    processor power like there's no tomorrow. Point is that AltiVec was
    designed from the outset to do this kind of thing - chomping through
    huge quantities of data applying floating point instructions to it. Macs
    also have a very serious quantity of backing in the media industries in
    general, so they sort of have to be good.

    Interestingly the huge GT4 video that's knocking around at the moment (a
    640x480x30fps Sorensen 3) plays on both the PC and the Mac for about 50%
    load.

    I think the conclusion we can draw from this is that the peformance of a
    1.25GHz PowerBook is about equivalent to an Athlon 1800 desktop, but for
    some tasks the Macs are optimised to death. Generally it's always going
    to be "heartland" things such as video editing.

    Macs are crap for games, BTW.
    I've had mine for a week or so now and absolutely love it. Completely. I
    used an iBook for a year first to see if I wanted to be involved in this
    whole Mac thing, and based on that spent the (not inconsiderable) money
    on this PowerBook.

    It seems more picky about monitors than the iBook - my Sony 19" shows
    some shadowing, even with high quality cables, but my Viewsonic at home
    doesn't. And the battery life is really bad. About 2:30. But other than
    that it's phenomenal. A real pleasure to use which, seeing as I use it
    all day *and* in the evenings is a good thing really.

    Cheers,
    Dave

    BTW, Use Mozilla Thunderbird for usenet on OSX :)
     
    David Preece, Jan 27, 2004
    #4
  5. Henry Kwok

    AD. Guest

    The G4 laptops are way better on battery life than mobile P4s or
    celerons, but the Pentium M seems to be the current battery life champion.
    I'm not aware of any VIA cpus in laptops. Didn't the G3s get better life
    than the G4s?

    The IBM Pentium M Thinkpads apparently get the best battery life.
    For some reason they seem to have the best reputation.
    Yeah, the Pentium M has been the only Intel chip that I've liked since the
    P3. They do use the Ms in blade servers though (apparently).

    Give me a G5 or an Opteron :)

    Cheers
    Anton
     
    AD., Jan 27, 2004
    #5
  6. Henry Kwok

    madknoxie Guest

    Whats wrong with good ol' MT-NewsWatcher? :)
     
    madknoxie, Jan 28, 2004
    #6
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