The benchmark wars resume; CNET predicts ‘underhanded behavior’ from Apple

“Intel, Apple Computer, Advanced Micro Devices and others will promote tests over the next few months purporting to show that their products are vastly superior to those from the competition–though the tests are often for tasks no sane person would consider,” reports Michael Kanellos for CNET News.com. “Apple has new Power Mac G5 desktops coming out in August, while AMD plans to release its Athlon64 chip for desktops in September. Intel, meanwhile, is expected to introduce Madison, the third version of its Itanium processor, next week and to launch Prescott, a Pentium 4 with a face-lift, in the second half of the year.”

“Apple CEO Steve Jobs kicked off the benchmark season by claiming that the new G5s, which come with chips from IBM that can run 32-bit and 64-bit software, leave Intel-based PCs in the dust,” writes Kanellos.

“Did Apple lie? No, it probably got the results it said it did on the Dell machine, but the system was probably submerged in maple syrup or powered by a humidifier. Everyone manipulates benchmarks and performance claims. Business Applications Performance Corporation (BAPCo), an independent benchmarking organization, once maintained its headquarters at Intel,” writes Kanellos. “Then there was the time that Apple claimed its G4 Cube desktop was a supercomputer. What it failed to mention is that it was a supercomputer in the view of U.S. government regulations concerning exports to Pakistan and other budding nuclear nations. Those export regulations have since changed.”

“This year, the underhanded behavior should be in full throttle. Apple and AMD are faced with declining market share. Both companies, however, have come out with products that will rival Intel’s. Any advantage they can obtain–test results, customer wins–will suffice,” writes Kanellos.

Full article here.

47 Comments

  1. This losing article doesn’t even apologize for rampant speculation.

    The objective writer would have said: This is what has happened in the past, and I predict more of the same.

  2. I am already completely sick of hearing this: “Apple and AMD will play up the fact that their products run 64-bit software but neglect to point out that there will be very little software that can take advantage of that feature”

    Why do they NEED to say there is little software, I think it’s implied when one says “the first 64 bit chip for desktop computing.” Obviously companies haven’t been designing software to fit technology that didn’t exist to this point on the desktop. Jesus Christ… the point is software companies can now make 64 bit apps!

  3. This article was written by a moron. He implies that Apple’s terrible for making a factual claim (that the G4 was a supercomputer by US governement regulations). What are they supposed to do? Stop advertising?

    Then he says Apple didn’t lie-but accuses them of falsifying results, anyway.

    THEN, he throw out the usual “Apple’s market share is declining so they’re a no good bunch of liars” crap.

    CNET should be ashamed to have such a dolt writing for them.

  4. The best defence is to ignore these types of articles. They’re blatant flame bait in order to get increased view rates of ads on the articles, mostly from enraged Mac and AMD users who are simply feeding the hand that bites them.

    They have nothing to do with journalism and everything to do with getting user views. Money talks, so buy a mac, use it well, and show others why it’s better. End of rant.

  5. Benchmarks are used mostly by marketing departments. If you are really serious you do your own for your tasks. Most of the technical press is driven by press releases and a serious cluelessness when it comes to engineering — it reminds one of the days when the number of transistors sold radios, watts and THD sold stereos, cupholder number sold cars and MHz sold computers..

    A note on 64 bit software. In the “creative” world Photoshop can and will take advantage of it around the release date (and that will be a big thing — leading edge types are limited by the 4GB limit — and the 2GB limit in most machines is killing them), Mathematica will make great use of it, there is quite a bit of talk about affordable/easy to maintain 64 bit clusters apps like Renderman and Maya can take great advantage of 64 bit and folklore has it that the trial port of Renderman is 64 bit…

  6. Lost in all this bullsh*t is the fact that a couple of weeks ago there was no debate what was faster any more. It wasn’t close. Apple’s really saying “hey, we’re cooler, we’re better, and oh yeah, we’re faster.”

    Even if it’s a draw, Macs are still the preferred platform. When everyone was hammering them for being slower and more expensive (neither appearing true with the G5) it was hard to defend a Mac among geeks with an agenda…now it’s at least a toss-up, if not better.

  7. “What it failed to mention is that it was a supercomputer in the view of U.S. government regulations concerning exports to Pakistan and other budding nuclear nations. “

    Actually Apple clearly stated that it was based on government regulation in its TV commercials. Remember the tank commercial?

  8. actually, I expected the article to be worse, as ZDnet is famous for underhanded journalising (is that a word?). But really, the fact is that the top end for all the machines kick some serious buttola (just go with it, ok?), and The Mac hands down has the highest quality OS, and hardware around. The fact that now the top end is actually more afforrdable than Dells top end is downright amazing.

  9. Don’t forget that Intel has a vested interest in CNet. I would take such commentary with a grain of salt on either side.

    I’m sure the new G5 will prove to be an amazing machine and value. How it compares to the competition will have to wait until product hits the streets and will undoubtably fuel many more benchmark wars and debates.

  10. The Wintel (and AMD) crowd are in denial that the G5 could be the “fastest” personal computer, Until these Macs get into the hands of testers who run the important applications that can use this next generation platform the benchmark FUD will reign supreme.

    None of this matters to those in the market for the G5 class of Apple Macintosh.

  11. Re: “I am already completely sick of hearing this: “Apple and AMD …… neglect to point out that there will be very little software that can take advantage of that feature” … …I think it’s implied when one says “the first 64 bit chip for desktop computing.” Obviously companies haven’t been designing software to fit technology that didn’t exist to this point on the desktop. Jesus Christ… the point is software companies can now make 64 bit apps!”
    —————

    I think the reason they mention it is that most consumers (myself included) would not have known that applications have to be rewritten specifically to take advantage of this new breed of processor.

    Telling me a processor is a 64-bit device is no more informative to me than telling me it now runs at twice the megahertz. I’d probably assume it was faster but I wouldn’t automatically know the implications (if any) of either statement.

    I’d be pretty pissed if I wasn’t told beforehand that my new 64-bit computer was only capable of running my current apps at the same speed as my old 32-bit one.

    It’s a refreshing bit of transparency then, even if it’s only done to offset the inevitable uproar after such an omission is made.

    I generally despise condescension but I do appreciate timely information on bits of minutiae that I (as the average computer user) am not likely to be well versed in.

    won

  12. Yeah, Kanellos, there’s no way an “Apple” could be faster than a Dell, right? Perhaps you should go run a diner since you’re obviously bred better for that than for writing and analysis. And stick an olive or two where the sun don’t shine while you’re at it, greaseball.

  13. Any press is good press for Apple right now. Before this, nobody would even think of Apple when it comes to speed. By shaking things up a bit, now they are in the race or probably in the lead. It really doesn’t matter if G5 is faster or slower than Intel or AMD, it is unfair anyway to compare chips from different architecture. The fact is that Apple is creating a stir that gets people talking, Steve is making people stop and take notice of G5. Either way Apple wins.

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