Computerworld on Intel-based Macs: ‘If you want speed, get thee to a store’

“There is a debate of sorts raging these days among Macintosh fans about whether they should upgrade to the new Intel-based Apple hardware now on the market. Sure, Intel is the future for Apple Computer Inc., and there’s little doubt that within a year or so, all Apple laptops and desktops will be using its zippy chips — and most of the software Mac users need will be updated to run on them at full speed,” Ken Mingis writes for Computerworld. “But that’s next year, not now. So the question remains: Should you buy now?”

“After spending a few weeks with Apple’s new top-end iMac (and a few days with my own new MacBook Pro), I’d say the answer is a qualified yes,” Mingis writes. “With major players holding back on Universal updates, the programs you use should play a major role in any buying decisions in the short term. The opposite is also true. If you’re sitting in front of an older iMac, Mac mini or a PowerBook G4 — and you spend most of your time in Safari, iPhoto, Mail, iMovie and other consumer-oriented software from Apple — then the decision is easier. If you want speed, get thee to a store.”

To get a feel for how fast the iMac Core Duo (20-in. model with a 2-GHz Core Duo processor, 1GB RAM) really performs, Mingis compared it with his Power Mac G5 with dual 2.7-GHz processors and 2.5GB of RAM. “In most of the routine tests I ran, the iMac more than held its own, which bodes exceedingly well for whatever desktop machines Apple releases later this year,” Mingis reports. “No one would say that an iMac is “faster” than last year’s top-end Power Mac G5 in all cases. But it is at least close enough that users with older hardware should consider upgrading — and if they’re ready to upgrade, should do so happily. Because as more and more apps are made into Universal binaries in the coming months, they should run exceedingly well on Apple’s new hardware. I eventually had to send the new iMac back to Apple. But after getting a taste of Intel goodness, I also sent off the Power Mac to a new owner. And that probably explains what I was doing last week, walking out of a nearby Apple store with a newly purchased MacBook Pro under my arm.”

Full article here.

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25 Comments

  1. Wow. So I convinced my PC using friend to get a Mac Mini, and what does he do. He went out and bought an 20″ iMac core duo. So I convinced him to swith and he now has better computer than I do.
    Oh well, Macbook Pro here I come. Under the guise helping him to learn the new OS I will get good hands on time with it.

  2. the iiMac is faster than any G5 mac i’ve used on every tasks – email, surfing, etc…

    but i doubt they’ll hold up when we get Compressor as a UB… so if you’re a video geek – i’d hold off until we see some hard facts on their speed.

    the biggest problem i have with the intel Macs so far is a far more pedestrian one – none go above 2 gigs of ram. That’s pathetic. As a FCP/Motion/Photoshop/Aperture user (and usually, all of them at the same time) – anything less than 4 gigs and i can really feel the slow-down.

    i am the exception – for My Mom(tm), the new intel macs are all above and beyond their needs (so far).

  3. the other steve jobs:

    Well, the iMac is not meant for running FCP, Motion, Photoshop and Aperture all at the same time. Why don’t you wait for one of the new desktops so you can load it with gobs of memory?

    The fact that the new iMac can run those apps ad a decent clip at all is a testament to the speed of the new chips.

  4. I have the 17inch iMac coreduo and it handles photoshop 7 and studio MX quite well. Granted I am not a power user by any means but I never noticed this major slowdown that everyone is talking about. Of course I upgraded from a 1GHz G4 and what a difference it is. Things that used to take hours (such as ripping a DVD) now only takes about 45 minutes. It is amazing. Since most of us upgrade less often than PC people I would imagine many people are looking to upgrade from their G4. Go for it. It’s a great computer.

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