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Is there some reason we dont see macs benchmarked?

Last response: in Tom's Guide
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May 6, 2009 7:34:45 PM

There are lots of mac articles now, and inevitably they invite fanboys from both sides ranting about how shiny or overpriced macs are.

My question is why not benchmark the things and give us some evidence to consider? this is toms right? the place to go for unbiased performance comparisons and reviews? The only mac "data" we seem to see here is anecdotal "i used to have a pc but i like macs cause they're good!"

The system builder marathon mid range pc is often compared to an equal priced dell, ibuypower, and gateway - why not toss an imac in there? Run it through the same paces every other computer is put through.

It comes with a screen? give it an additional $250 for 20" $350 for 24" in the budget.
cant run the games? bootcamp it. I mean, we have to test the things on the apps the consumer wants to run.

Am I missing something? is there some reason this can't happen? it just seems to me like an insanely obvious benchmark to run given the heated pc vs mac debate on just about any mac article that ever shows up.
May 7, 2009 1:41:49 PM

I would be really interested in seeing a comparisom of this sort.

Essentially take a reasonable budget (say $2K for a desktop) and try at least 3 options with it: (1) A Windows Vista system (2) A Mac OS X system and (3) a Linux based system (probably Ubuntu right now).

My first cut says that the Linux system SHOULD have the advantage since the entire $2K would be spent on hardware. $2K should get a pretty respectable system!

The Windows system would need about $800 for Vista Home Premium, MS Office 2007, and the various support and backup packages that you need for the system. This would only leave about $1200 for hardware. Not bad, but hardly "high end".

I really don't know how the Mac would end up, the basic hardware and OS X are easy, but there is still an unknown amount of support software needed.

This just MIGHT get away from the "mine is bigger" emoting that is all you seem to see on this topic.

This is not just idle speculation, I have budgeted $2K for a system upgrade later in the year.

Can anyone supply some real data here?
September 16, 2009 6:52:54 PM

This seemed like an interesting subject, so here's my 2 cents.

If we start with the cheapest iMac (with no added software like MS office), the specs are:

Mac OSX
2GB Ram
320GB hard drive
Wired mouse and keyboard
8x CD/DVD drive
Geforce 9400M graphics
Core 2 Duo E6750 @ 2.66 Ghz
20" screen

Now, here's some parts that I picked that were at least as good as the ones in the Mac:

-Athlon II X2 245 $66.00
-Foxconn A76ML-K AM3 Ready Motherboard $54.99
-ASUS 9600 GSO 512MB $54.99
-G.SKILL 2GB DDR2 800 RAM $32.99
-Western Digital WD6400AAKS 640GB hard drive $69.99
-LITE-ON 24X CD/DVD Burner $31.99
-Cooler Master CAC-T05-UW case $49.99
-Antec 380W PSU $49.99
-Microsoft comfort curve keyboard and mouse $21.99
-Acer 22" screen $149.99
-Vista Home Premium with a Windows 7 upgrade coupon $109.99


According to Newegg, with tax and shipping, this would cost $785.69. That's a whole $414.31 less than what the Mac was, and this has twice the hard drive space, a better processor, a way better video card, a 2" bigger screen, and it's much more customizable; e.g. you can add PCI cards, overclock it, etc.

In fact, if we throw in Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007 (Licensed for 3 PCs), the total is $904.72. Keep in mind that the $1199.99 Mac price didn't include shipping or tax.

I don't think benchmarking it would really be necessary. It's obvious who the winner is.
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September 17, 2009 4:56:06 PM

sciencectn said:
This seemed like an interesting subject, so here's my 2 cents.

...
In fact, if we throw in Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007 (Licensed for 3 PCs), the total is $904.72. Keep in mind that the $1199.99 Mac price didn't include shipping or tax.

I don't think benchmarking it would really be necessary. It's obvious who the winner is.


Don't forget almost $100 for the various support and security apps that a Windows system needs.

This is definitely a complicated problem with as many solutions as there are people looking for solutions!

Since I wrote the original post I went a little different route, I found that a core I7-920 with the MSI X58M motherboard would add only about $150 to the price! Even with the extra RAM (6Gb) I ended up with a really high powered machine for less than a Mac.

I have been running spot benchmarks using eFrontier's Poser 7 rendering a complex scene with raytracing.

I find the Core I7 almost 6X faster than my old Athlon 6000+ dual processor and not quite 2X faster than the top end Athlon.

The Linux/Ubuntu numbers are clearly the best, a "gamer optimised" XP ("Superior" XP64) is about 20% slower than Linux, my MSDN supplied XP with all the virus checkers and everything else that normally runs with windows is about 30% slower than the Linux.

I have not installed Vista on this machine, but running this check on other machines shows yet another 20% hit for Vista. In essence the Core I7 under Vista is giving about the same performance as my 3 year old Athlon 6000+ under Linux/Ubuntu.

I still dual boot the XP for highly interactive games since the Linux Video drivers are not as good as those for XP.

Of course any Linux enthusiast will tell you that Ubuntu is far from the fastest Linux, but I have only used Linux since April 09 and I am not yet ready to explore the "real hacker's" distros :-)

I do have a 10+ year old Pentium 4 that is running DSL ("Damn Small Linux") for small jobs like Peer-to-peer. It gives a limited capability, but runs quite well on that old machine. As well as that class of machine ran "back in the day".

Bottom line to me is that there is a spectrum of options available ranging from the "coolness" oriented fully packaged Macs to a totally DIY oriented high performance Linux box.

Pay your money and take your choice.
October 20, 2009 6:19:10 AM

pearl298 said:


The Windows system would need about $800 for Vista Home Premium, MS Office 2007, and the various support and backup packages that you need for the system. This would only leave about $1200 for hardware. Not bad, but hardly "high end".


I am a bit confused - i paid $50 for win 7, nothing for an office style solution (plenty available for free), antivirus, etc..... My box works. So I guess the question is: what $800 are you referring to? What "various support and backup packages" necessitate $750?
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