Every new release of Mac OS X makes old hardware faster; the opposite is true of Windows

“We’ve been waiting over five years already for the successor to Windows XP, so we might as well wait a few more months for Microsoft to ship a secure, reliable operating system. The problem isn’t trying to meet the January 2007 release date. The problem is that after such a long delay, Microsoft must absolutely make sure Vista works. There’s nothing worse than taking five years, only to release a buggy operating system that just offers marginal improvements over Windows XP,” Wallace Wang writes for CNET.

“Rather than try to yank out more features to insure Vista ships on time, Microsoft should work on optimizing Vista. Every new release of Mac OS X from version 10.1 to 10.2 to 10.3 to 10.4 actually added new features while making my ancient G3 iBook faster at the same time. With Mac OS X, it’s a no-brainer to upgrade the operating system since you speed up an old computer while getting new features at the same time,” Wang writes.

“With Windows, the opposite is true. Each succeeding version of Windows needs more hardware and still runs sluggishly. Don’t even think about running Vista on a machine originally designed for Windows 98 or even one designed for Windows XP. Ultimately, no matter how long Microsoft takes to ship Vista, the fact that it won’t run on existing machines already means Vista is a failure,” Wang writes.

Wallace Wang is a freelance computer journalist and author whose books include “Microsoft Office for Dummies” and “Steal This Computer Book.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Macintosh. The truth shall set you free.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Ballmer analyzes Microsoft’s One Big Mistake, Vista… er, ‘One Big’ Vista Mistake – August 02, 2006
a href=”http://www.macdailynews.com/index.php/weblog/comments/leopard_attack_on_vista_apple_taunts_microsoft/”>Leopard attack on Vista: Apple taunts Microsoft with much faster operating system launches – July 05, 2006
What Microsoft has chopped from Windows Vista, and when – June 27, 2006


  1. What’s wrong with this picture from a strategy standpoint? Since Apple sells hardware, and Microsoft makes more money on an upgrade than on a system bundled with a new piece of hardware, you’d expect Apple to degrade existing systems, and Microsoft to speed them up so they can sell upgrades.

    Doesn’t anybody study marketing strategy anymore?


  2. Dude,

    The speed gain from 10.3 to 10.4 was pretty drastic, too. In contrast, MSFT has had years to “refine” their dog shit OS and all that happens is it gets more bloated and incomprehensible with each iteration. They want to keep the hardware box assemblers pimping Windows. The way to do this is to force new hardware on everybody.

    The ultimate truth: No one person at Microsoft knows what’s in Windows. In fact, no MSFT group does, either. That’s why they can’t get a coherent OS together.

  3. Personally, my first experience with X was on my (currently) defunct 15″ TiBook (screen hinge, before you ask).

    With 768MB of RAM, there was no speed decrease when moving to X, which I first did with 10.1. Each version thereafter improved that system until my somewhat clumsy colleague juggled it to death during its Panther incarnation.

    However, Wallace Wang is correct and I made this very point in another thread several days ago. The response from the visiting Windows trolls was “what was the obsession with running on slow, outdated hardware”. There are two observations here: a) if we can get Panther running on an underspec Bondi Rev. A iMac, then – by implication – that hardware is not outdated and b) why are Windows users obsessed with running on insecure, outdated operating systems.

  4. Preach it, Brother Wang!!!

    My Cube is going strong because of this very thing. I’m not even thinking of buying a new desktop yet (unless it goes kaput).

    I plan on upgrading when my Cube is 8 years old – summer 2008.

  5. I question the notion of OS X making the older Apple hardware faster.

    I have 2 Powerbook G3 (500Mhz and 400Mhz) notebooks. Each version of OS X that I install on them only makes them slower. Boot times gets worse. Applications take their sweet time starting up.

    I’ve done the permission repair procedure at least twice a day. I’ve also used many cache cleaners for OS X but they are still slow.

    I have upgraded the ram to the max (1GB) and installed a faster hard drive on both. I know there is a processor upgrade available for the Pismos but I’ll just wait for a new MacBook Pro.

    I maybe the only one having the problem. They are still usable so I’m happy.

  6. More Truth,
    You are 100% correct. But, Tiger is definitely faster than Pather on my machine, and I’m sure Leopard will be even faster. Let’s see how Vista runs on a 3 year old machine, let alone a 6 year old machine.

  7. The article is absolute correct. Even an ancient first gen blue iMac at 233-MHz and 512 MB RAM can run Mac OS X 10.3 (Panther) and be very useable. It can even run (though officially unsupported) 10.4 (Tiger), if you use another newer Mac to install 10.4 on its harddrive. Each successive “0.1” incremental Mac OS X release was better optimized until 10.3. 10.4 seemed to be a “more features” release, and I did not notice any better performance on the older barely supported hardware. I expect 10.5 (Leopard) to be a release to optimize for Intel, so I do not expect the older PPC hardware to see significant performance improvements.

  8. RE: Cheeky Git

    I saw increases in performance with every release on my iBook G3 – though I must confess that I stopped using it before tiger came out (I installed it and lent it to a friend who still uses it). I am not sure why you would have seen a slowdown. I did notice that the system ran slow initially till spotlight had built it’s initial indexes but then the speed came back.

    With windows EVERY new release slows down the computer. My old 33 MHz Win 3.11 system felt more responsive than any of my current XP systems. The Vista beta makes my AMD 3500+ system crawl (though I am sure it will improve some before final release, I expect the same kind of decrease in performance I saw from Win3.11 to Win95).

    As for the marketing angle. MS built it’s empire on OEM contracts so they probably driving a new hardware cycle does more for them than do the upgrades, even though they do make 5 times as much on each upgrade. As they deal with a shrinking market share for the first time ever, they may rethink things before Vista’s successor comes out (sometime in the latter half of this century).

    Let’s Just hope that apple’s resurgence eventually eliminates the relevance of Microsoft and stops this insanity.

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