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Apple MacBook Review: Part 2

The Mac OS X Operating System

You can’t talk about a Mac notebook or desktop without talking about Mac OS X. For the uninitiated, Apple has had a steady stream of operating system releases starting with 10.0 Cheetah, 10.1 Puma, 10.2 Jaguar, 10.3 Panther, 10.4 Tiger, and 10.5 Leopard. While 10.1 was a free upgrade for 10.0 users, each operating system release thereafter has required a purchase, typically $129 ($109 street) for a single user license, $199 for a 5-pack family license ($139 street), and $69 from an on-campus bookstore.

OS X 10.0 was released around the same time that Windows XP was released, and OS X 10.5 was released around the same time that Windows Vista was released. Unsurprisingly, the difference between Leopard and Cheetah are as significant as the difference between Windows Vista and Windows XP. The real difference is that OS X has had more incremental releases that can really be thought of as “service packs plus bonuses.” Not only does each “point one release” address bugs, it also added extra features and capabilities.

I would bore you if you I went over all of the nitty, gritty of the underlying technology of OS X and debate the pros and cons of the XNU kernel, the inferiority of Leopard’s Address Space Layout Randomization in comparison to Vista’s, or the differences between Xcode and Visual Studio. I won’t stress the little things like the fact that copy/paste is “command-C and command-V” as opposed to CTRL-C and CTRL-V, meaning that it feels like “ALT-C” and “ALT-V” because you’re using your thumb instead of your small finger. It takes a few days for you to adapt. 

Instead, I’ll just touch upon some of the key features that make a Mac, a Mac.

Responsiveness

When the iPhone was first launched, one of the most impressive features was the speed and responsiveness compared to other smartphones with the mobile Web at the time. Working with Mac OS X provides the same overall level of fit-and-finish as the iPhone. Opening multiple windows, navigating between them, and launching applications is simply faster in Mac OS X as compared to Windows Vista or even Linux. This wasn’t always the case with Macs. Even when the GPU-accelerated interface was introduced in OS X 10.2, Windows XP was still the faster performing operating system. As GPUs have continued to get faster and faster, however, the OS X’s full GPU-dependent interface beats the capabilities of Windows Vista.

Additional architecture improvements have been made as well. Mac OS will automatically defrag small files under 20 MB each time the file is accessed in order to provide a better-maintained filesystem. By default, a Mac will automatically delete old log files and temporary files to maintain free space. Finally, since Mac OS X adopts a Unix-like approach with preferences stored in multiple files rather than a single registry hive, as you add new software, there is less fragmentation.

  • pereira5375
    While I was wrighting the follwing on the Part 1 of this article Part 2 was posted. After reading part 2 I think what I wrote holds true. Here it is:

    I believe this is an advertisement. Whether the author knows that or not is debatable, but certainly the big whigs at Tom's HARDWARE know it.

    Apple seems to have a very good stealth advertising campaign. To expand their market they have developed a very good stealth campaign. They advertise on Rush and Fox both, but stealthily. They have to. Their very tolerant hippie base wouldn't tolerate otherwise.

    BTW this is Tom's HARDWARE. I build my own PC. If I want to read fan boy praises of Apple there are a million other sites I can go to and read that. Why am I reading it here? When I can build my own McIntosh I'll appreciate fan boy articles like this.
    Reply
  • pereira5375
    Whoops: writing.
    Reply
  • pereira5375
    Again I feel a need to point out I am a hardware enthusiast because I build my own computer. This is Tom's HARDWARE. There are three feature articles on the homepage. Usually there is a new one about each week day. Currently there are two Apple feature articles up there. Add one more and this site will officially be useless to me.
    Reply
  • Inneandar
    more or less the same sentiment here. The first article, although also heavily debated, at least tried to focus on the hardware and was informative to some extent. But this... I dont see any need to throw up endless fanboy discussions, and other than that, I fail to see anything this article will achieve. Frankly, who is interested in why os X is better because the hacked version runs the CPU slower - common.
    I extremely liked the part on 'MAC users are smarter' though. I one fell swoop you boost your ego, try to insult me, and put the amount of trustworthy information in this article on the same level as a london tabloid.
    Reply
  • BertrumPantyshield
    Myth 2 on page 2 seems completely stupid. Yes it only takes one hole for a system to be compromised, however, there are still 960 possible holes on one and 600 on the other. This reduces the chance of a hole being found, and thus, exploited. For example: a system has 1,000,000 holes the other has 1. Both are equally secure? Its far easier to find 1 hole in million, than the only hole in the system.
    Reply
  • bachok83
    @pereira5375
    OMG, you are right. I havent realized about this fact until i read your comment. Mac OS X accounts for less than 10% of users and yet 90% of the news these days are about Apple.

    I admit Apple has created so much technical advancements over the years, but they cant even display things right:
    http://www.scavey.com/index.php/should-i-migrate-to-mac-os-knowing-renderers/

    hmm.. so, let's all read about Windows 7 then.. i read it's working :)
    Reply
  • ravenware
    About 70% of Mac users have a college education whereas only 54% of Windows users have a college education according to a 2002 Nielsen study.

    A college education is only as useful as the person who obtains it.
    I work with several college educated people who don't appear to have enough intelligence or knowledge to be considered high school educated.

    Security wise, the computers operating system is only as secure as the person who uses it.

    My home machine had been uninfected for nearly 3 years, no crashes nothing. As soon as my sister starts using my machine on myspace BAM! Reformat city. :)

    Anyway, I would like to see a video review of the Mac OSX done by THG.
    There is just not enough information in this article or the one from Tuan Nguyen about the OS.

    If not I will have to hack one on to my machine, if it is even possible with an AMD CPU. I am not going to shell out an ass load of money for something that I may not even want.

    Hey apple there is an idea! You want more users to switch to your OS? Release some sort of PC capable demo OS for users to try.
    Reply
  • bachok83
    ravenwareHey apple there is an idea! You want more users to switch to your OS? Release some sort of PC capable demo OS for users to try.
    I dont think Apple cares as much as how many people are using their OS. Otherwise they wouldnt even care creating BootCamp software to run windows on Mac machines.

    The only major concern from Apple is how many people buying their hardware. Apple has been a hardware company and always has been. Little that they know that they could be a great software company.... wait...

    Nahh, they dont care about that either since they are moving pass that to a service oriented company. Does iTunes, MobileMe, Apps Store ring any bells, anyone?
    Reply
  • ravenware
    bachok83I dont think Apple cares as much as how many people are using their OS. Otherwise they wouldnt even care creating BootCamp software to run windows on Mac machines. The only major concern from Apple is how many people buying their hardware. Apple has been a hardware company and always has been. Little that they know that they could be a great software company.... wait...Nahh, they dont care about that either since they are moving pass that to a service oriented company. Does iTunes, MobileMe, Apps Store ring any bells, anyone?
    Hence the usage of the word "demo". Why would someone buy an apple computer if they didn't like their operating system?

    Release a demo on the PC to convince users to by their machine.
    Reply
  • justjc
    @Author Alan Dang: It's all good and well that you like you new toy, the Macbook, I had a simular feel when I got my ASUS notebook. Not that it was faster than my desktop, it just felt better because it was the new one. For me that feeling lasted more than two months, so perhaps it's the same thing that makes you say you'll by Apple again.

    That aside you mention the reason for switching to the Mac is that you'll be able to run Adobe Creative Suite and Microsoft Office on it. Yet here at the software part, of your article, you fail to mention how that part of the switch went.
    It's no secret that there have been compatibility issues between PC and Mac versions of the same programs in the past, have you had any?
    How does it feel to work with the usual programs in their new enviroment?
    Do you still instinctively right click to get the right click menu, or do you use Ctrl + left key?
    A couple of benchmarks on those programs wouldn't be bad either.

    Thanks for the articles, hope to see one on the needed programs as well ;)
    Reply