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Test Shows Snow Leopard is Faster Than Win 7

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 215 comments

Can Windows' underpinnings beat out OS X's BSD heritage?

By this time next week, both the PC and Mac camps will have new operating systems set for the foreseeable future. Apple's Snow Leopard has been here since late August, but it won't really meet its match until October 22 when Windows 7 releases.

While most users won't be confused as to which operating system he or she wishes to run on a Mac or PC, it's interesting to see how each operating system performs on identical hardware.

CNet's Dong Ngo took a late-2008 model 15-inch MacBook Pro and used it to compare Snow Leopard 10.6.1 and Windows 7 64-bit RTM (with native drivers from Boot Camp 3.0). The machine was equipped with a 2.5GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4GB of RAM, and a 512MB Nvidia GeForce 9600M GT video card – things that you could also find in a PC notebook.

Ngo found that Snow Leopard outperformed Windows 7 in nearly all areas except for graphics (likely due to better drivers from Nvidia). Some results are:

- Snow Leopard booted and shut down around six seconds faster than Windows 7.

- Snow Leopard took 149.9 seconds to convert 17 songs from the MP3 format to the AAC format. Windows needed 12 seconds more for the same job.

- Snow Leopard took 444.3 seconds vs. Windows 7's 723 seconds to convert a movie file from the MP4 format into the iPod format while having iTunes converting songs in the background the job (versions of QuickTime were different, however).

- In a battery test, Windows 7 lasted 78 minutes, while Snow Leopard managed to stay on for 111 minutes.

- Windows 7's Cinebench R10 score was 5,777 vs. 5,437 for the OS X.

- Windows 7 in Call of Duty 4 scored 26.3 frames per second while Snow Leopard got only 21.2 fps.

Although this may be as fair a test we have yet with identical hardware, drivers clearly play a noticeable role here. Snow Leopard also has to contend with fewer system configurations than Windows 7 does, so Apple has the advantage in optimizations. Apple is also behind the Boot Camp 3.0 drivers, which can also be a source for conspiracy theories.

In the end, most MacBook Pro owners will have bought their machines to run OS X, not Windows 7, but it's still an interesting test nonetheless. Now if only Apple would allow official installs of OS X to PCs – then we'd be able to test from the other side.

Discuss
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Top Comments
  • 58 Hide
    kyeana , October 16, 2009 5:33 PM
    yea... but i could spend an extra 100$ for a better processor with Windows 7, outperform Snow Leopard, and still save tons on money!
  • 55 Hide
    godwhomismike , October 16, 2009 5:46 PM
    Dear Tom's Hardware,

    Please start writing more computer hardware articles, which are not related to or contain a speculative Apple spin. How about some articles on Windows 7, Core i7 Mobile CPU comparison (720QM vs 820QM), or Office 2010.
    Your readers are growing tired of this site turning into an Apple rumor site. We want news and articles written about hardware/software technology NEWS, and not about some nonsense rumors about Apple vaporware.

    Sincerely,

    Tom's Hardware Readers
  • 54 Hide
    godwhomismike , October 16, 2009 5:37 PM
    So iTunes, which is written by Apple, runs faster on a Mac? Who would've guessed that? /sarcasm
Other Comments
  • 39 Hide
    Yoder54 , October 16, 2009 5:31 PM
    Let the flame wars begin.
  • 58 Hide
    kyeana , October 16, 2009 5:33 PM
    yea... but i could spend an extra 100$ for a better processor with Windows 7, outperform Snow Leopard, and still save tons on money!
  • 40 Hide
    kyeana , October 16, 2009 5:35 PM
    Quote:
    Now if only Apple would allow official installs of OS X to PCs – then we'd be able to test from the other side.


    If this ever happened (which we all know it wont) i would gladly give OSX a shot. The only reason that i will never buy or use a Mac is because you are paying hundreds more for the exact same hardware. It's the Apple tax hard at work.
  • 12 Hide
    Gin Fushicho , October 16, 2009 5:35 PM
    10.6 is still practically the same OS X , Windows 7 was an upgrade. =p so people cant handle the few extra seconds? Buy fucking SSD.
  • 54 Hide
    godwhomismike , October 16, 2009 5:37 PM
    So iTunes, which is written by Apple, runs faster on a Mac? Who would've guessed that? /sarcasm
  • 37 Hide
    Anonymous , October 16, 2009 5:38 PM
    oh come on, its obvious that boot camp drivers will slow down windows, this is a ridiculous comparison
  • 30 Hide
    Dyseman , October 16, 2009 5:39 PM
    There's GOT to be a way to Filter out Mac stuff on this sight.

    MacOS won't play mah games. MacOS won't let me run my own Motherboard and equipment. Screw MacOS already. Jeeebus.

    Can it play Crysis...or about 10,000 other games / software w/o having some slowed down windows emulator.

    Look, Macs or ok if you are in the Printing / Music / Graphics industry or didn't know any better because Apple donated Thousands of computers to schools to brainwash kids into wanting them... but dumbfounded when the kids played PC's at home and chose PC's overall.
  • 0 Hide
    beayn , October 16, 2009 5:39 PM
    But.. isn't this only benchmarking the conversion programs within each OS? This really has nothing to do with the speed of the OS, just the media programs used on them. Bootup and Shutdown time are the only things you might want to look at here.

    The title of this should read Apple iMovie is faster than Windows Movie Maker or whatever the apps are they used. Not the OS.
  • 29 Hide
    pbrigido , October 16, 2009 5:40 PM
    Just give me Win7 already. I could care less about Snow Leopard...
  • 10 Hide
    Kithzaru , October 16, 2009 5:41 PM
    I would love to see Toms do a similar test, though after Win 7 has been out for a bit, giving drivers time to catch up.
  • 16 Hide
    rajaton , October 16, 2009 5:41 PM
    Gin Fushicho10.6 is still practically the same OS X , Windows 7 was an upgrade. =p so people cant handle the few extra seconds? Buy fucking SSD.


    I agree, for less than the price difference of going to a mac you could buy a SSD, better processor, and more ram. Then it would perform BETTER than a mac, be CHEAPER than a mac, be more COMPATIBLE than a mac...etc etc etc
  • 18 Hide
    tayb , October 16, 2009 5:44 PM
    That's funny I actually own a late 2008 model Macbook Pro and the Windows Vista drivers, which is what is on boot camp 3.0, completely suck A-S-S. This isn't a fair comparison, at all.

    Here, how about this. Compare a final release of Windows 7 after a couple of updates with a hackintosh dual booting on the same machine? I wonder how different the numbers will look.
  • 55 Hide
    godwhomismike , October 16, 2009 5:46 PM
    Dear Tom's Hardware,

    Please start writing more computer hardware articles, which are not related to or contain a speculative Apple spin. How about some articles on Windows 7, Core i7 Mobile CPU comparison (720QM vs 820QM), or Office 2010.
    Your readers are growing tired of this site turning into an Apple rumor site. We want news and articles written about hardware/software technology NEWS, and not about some nonsense rumors about Apple vaporware.

    Sincerely,

    Tom's Hardware Readers
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , October 16, 2009 5:46 PM
    i can wait 10 more seconds and keep an extra battery.
  • -6 Hide
    duckmanx88 , October 16, 2009 5:47 PM
    test seems legit. now lets see the price of those same components in a mac and in a random brand PC.
  • 11 Hide
    dman3k , October 16, 2009 5:49 PM
    Yeah, Windows 7 on Apple's Bootcamp benchmarks is a good indicator of how it will run on other PCs. My Zotac ION nettop with Windows 7 takes 12 seconds to start up while the Apple Minis take 26. Yeah, which one is a more fair comparison?
  • 1 Hide
    jasperjones , October 16, 2009 5:49 PM
    whoohoo a mac a couple of % faster in a few benches than win 7.

    but what if 5% more performance doesn't cut it for me and i need 50% more performance? oh too bad that apple doesn't sell quad-cores in its consumer lines. so what am i supposed then? buy a mac pro? yo, it comes with fast nehalems. only then, the problem is that snow leopard doesn't support NUMA...
  • 2 Hide
    godwhomismike , October 16, 2009 5:49 PM
    beaynBut.. isn't this only benchmarking the conversion programs within each OS? This really has nothing to do with the speed of the OS, just the media programs used on them. Bootup and Shutdown time are the only things you might want to look at here. The title of this should read Apple iMovie is faster than Windows Movie Maker or whatever the apps are they used. Not the OS.



    How about Handbrake? That's written by a 3rd party group for both platforms.
  • 11 Hide
    descendency , October 16, 2009 5:50 PM
    And how long would it take the average lifetime PC user to find said program and run them? There is always a learning curve that isn't always worth scaling. A few seconds isn't worth it when you have to go and learn an entirely different OS to use the computer.

    If it were just that easy, everyone would use Linux because it's free.
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