March 29, 2006

Speed Racer

Posted in Commentary at 7:27 pm by Michael Sweeney Media

I’ve spent the last couple of days installing and testing various pieces of software on my Intel/OSX Dell. I have to say the more I use it, the more impressed I am with the Intel version of OSX. If Apple would ever sell OSX as a OS to use on your own Intel, they would make killing. This is sweet stuff. My Dell is about 3-4 years old and certainly not state of the art but using XBench to run a set of benchmarks, it shows some impressive numbers for being “old” hardware. Take a look at these numbers which compares my 2.8Ghz P4 Dellvs. a G5 2.0 Ghz PowerMac:

  • CPU = 60.47 Dell vs. 100.00 for G5
  • Floating Point Basic = 1.46 Gflop/sec Dell vs. 2.38Gflop/sec G5
  • Floating Point Library = 11.61 Mops/sec Dell vs. 17.41 Mops/sec G5
  • Computation = 1.89Mops/sec/4 threads Dell vs. 2.03 mops/sec/4 threads G5
  • Memory Allocate = 250.90 Kalloc/sec Dell vs. 367.23 Kalloc/sec G5
  • Fill = 3399.64 Mb/sec Dell vs. 4862.23 Mb/sec G5
  • Copy = 1685.60 Mb/sec Dell vs. 1571.73 Mb/sec G5
  • Uncached Write = 25.34 Mb/sec 4K blocks Dell vs. 61.40 Mb/sec 4K blocks G5
  • Uncached Read = 27.45 Mb/sec Dell 4K blocks vs. 29.27 Mb/sec 4 blocks G5
  • Random Uncached Write = 28.87 Mb/sec 256K blocks Dell vs. 32.01 Mb/sec 256K blocks G5

As you can see, the creaky Dell is not too far off from the PowerMac G5. A newer motherboard with fast memory, faster processor and a serial disk drive, the numbers would be alot different to the Dell’s advantage. This shows the wisdom of Apple’s choice in moving to Intel vs. the PowerPC chip. Even old chips can rip pretty well on OSX and a simple ungrade of a faster drive would really breath some speed into the old bones.

I installed iDVD, iPhoto and iMovie to see how the native intel binaries would work. And they are speedy. They open noticable faster then my iMac G5 and just the general overall feel is snappier. Carbon copy cloner worked even though it was working using Rosetta. I’ve tried two different shells and SSH clients all of which worked fine.

I gotta get me a new system with new hardware and run the benchmarks. From what I’ve seen so far, Microsoft had better be afraid, very afraid of what OSX is bringing to the world of Intel. Even more so when you can boot to Windows, run a app and then dual boot to OSX on the exact same hardware and run the same app for back to back comparisions. I think there will be many surprised people who will be asking “why do I want to run Windows?”



  1. Anonymous said,


    I’ve recently come into posession of a nice new dell laptop that seems to have a lot of the same components as a the mac powerbooks. I’ve been looking around, trying to find out if I can put a copy of OSX on it. (I’ve got a couple of G5’s at work, I love the OSX os.)

    Anyhoo, if you could point me in the general direction to do this, I’de be gratefull.


    mike dot frijole at gmail

  2. hackamac said,

    It will work but more often than not, the video card will not work correctly. Only the Intel graphics card is really supported so far but some have hacked drivers to work and on occasion, the card is seen and used. The issue is the screen resolution. If the card is not supported, 1024 is the only thing you will get the screen refresh may not work right.

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