Macworld Challenges Intel iMac Speed Claims

macworld-3Apple Computer made a lot of press earlier this month by introducing Intel-powered iMacs and the new MacBook Pro notebook earlier this month at Macworld Expo, touting performance of the new iMac with the new Intel Core Duo CPU as being up to twice as fast as it PowerPC G5-based predecessor. However, in tests, Macworld Labs finds the speed gains in the Intel-based systems far less substantial, and, for software which hasn’t been recompiled for Intel systems, performance is more like one-half that of the previous model.

Instead of focussing on processor specifications, Macworld Labs conducted real-world tests with real applications Mac users are likely to use, reasoning that the overall user experience of a computer’s performance is more relevant to productivity and efficiency than theoretical computational capability.

Macworld focussed on two types of applications: so-called Universal Applications, which can run natively on either the new Intel-based Macintoshes or existing PowerPC-based systems, and existing PowerPC software, most of which can run flawlessly on Intel-based Macs thanks to Rosetta, a low-level technology which enables PowerPC code to run on Intel chips. Right now, most Universal applications are from Apple itself (including iLife ’06 stalwarts like iMovie, iPhoto, and iDVD) although third-party developers are also quickly releasing Universal Applications.

Macworld found that Universal Applications almost always outperform their PowerPC equivalents on Apple’s new Intel-based Macs, but are typically only 1.1 to 1.3 times as fast, rather than the double-time speed improvements Apple implies. However, the most sobering numbers come from Macworld Labs’ tests of existing PowerPC applications running on Intel Macs under Rosetta, where real-world performance was often less than half that of previous PowerPC-based Macs.

The results may make early adopters of Apple’s new Intel-based Macs take pause: although Universal Applications are indeed faster on the new architecture, comparatively few Universal binaries are currently available, and major productivity applications (like Microsoft Office) haven’t even announced a timetable for converting to Universal binaries, meaning many everyday applications would have to be used

Computing

Looking for a new laptop? These 5 notebooks are on sale through Presidents’ Day

If you're ready to ditch your aging notebook, you can score some fantastic Presidents' Day savings right now on Microsoft's Surface Pro 6, Dell's XPS 13, HP's Spectre x360, Lenovo's Yoga C930, and Dell's G5 15 Gaming laptops.
Computing

A new Mac Pro is supposedly coming in 2019, but what will it be like?

Our Mac Pro 2019 rumor roundup covers all the top news, leaks, and rumors about the new Mac Pro set to be announced sometime in 2019. Here's what Apple has said, what the experts think, and what's likely to show up with the new Mac Pro.
Computing

These 30 useful apps are absolutely essential for Mac lovers

There are literally hundreds of thousands of great software programs compatible with MacOS, but which should you download? Look no further than our list of the best Mac apps you can find.
Computing

If Core i5 CPUs are great for most people, do you really need a Core i7?

This guide is designed to help you decide whether you need the extra technological enhancements provided by the i7 core, or if the more affordable Core i5 will suit your needs. In the i5 vs. i7 battle, which is best for you?
Computing

AMD or Intel? We take a look at the pros and cons of both processors

When it comes to selecting a CPU for your PC, there's no shortage of chips for you to choose from. With Ryzen, Threadripper, and Core i9 CPUs though, the AMD vs. Intel argument is muddier than ever.
Virtual Reality

Getting into VR is spendy. Which headset is truly worth your hard-earned cash?

Virtual reality has finally gone mainstream, but how do you find the best VR headset for you? Check out a few of our favorites, whether you want the best of the best or a budget alternative for your mobile device.
Computing

Windows is getting a face-lift in 2020, but you can get a sneak peek right now

Microsoft is increasing the lead time for an upcoming major update to Windows 10, giving Windows Insiders the ability to test it right now, even though it's not set for release until 2020.
Computing

These Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts will take your skills to a new level

Windows 10 has many new features, and they come flanked with useful new keyboard shortcuts. Check out some of the new Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts to improve your user experience and save more time!
Computing

What is Wi-Fi 6? Here's a look at the next evolution of the wireless standard

We're exploring the new naming convention for wireless standards, how it affects the devices you buy, and what the upcoming Wi-Fi generation is changing for the better.
Emerging Tech

A.I.-powered website creates freakishly lifelike faces of people who don’t exist

No, this isn't a picture of a missing person. It's a face generated by a new artificial intelligence on the website ThisPersonDoesNotExist.com. Here's how the impressive A.I. works.
Deals

The best Presidents’ Day sales 2019: Amazon, Walmart, Dell, and more

Presidents' Day sales are a great chance to score electronics, clothing, home and office stuff, and other goodies at a discount. We’ve smoked out a large handful of the best of these Presidents' Day deals, from tech to bedding, to help…
Deals

Keep your MacBook safe and dry with an Under Armour backpack for under $50

Under Armour is having a huge sale this weekend to help you on your quest for a better backpack. The UA Outlet Exclusive sale is going on now through Monday, February 18th, offering great discounts on stormproof backpacks.
Deals

Walmart Presidents’ Day sale: Instant Pot, Google Home, and 4K TV deals

Presidents' Day weekend is one of the best times of the year to find deep discounts on 4K TVs, laptops, Instant Pots, clothes, mattresses, and furniture. And Walmart is offering deals on all of those things and more.
Computing

The HoloLens 2 will be announced at MWC. Here's what we know about it so far

The HoloLens 2 is ripe for an announcement. Here's what Microsoft has revealed so far, what's likely in store for the next generation HoloLens, and everything that we know about this mixed reality headset.