Report: Intel Macs Significantly Slower

Developers at the 2005 Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco have submitted benchmark reports of programs running under Rosetta -- the emulation layer that will help smooth the transition between PowerPC and Intel -- and early results show that quite a bit of work is still needed to bring the software up to speed.

At his keynote Monday, Apple CEO Steve Jobs demoed Microsoft Word and Adobe Photoshop running under Rosetta. To make it work, the program converts PowerPC to Intel code as needed in the background. Jobs says on faster systems, the user will barely notice a difference in performance.

With Xbench, the systems score a 65 or 70, according to Think Secret. This is significantly lower than the 200 the fastest PowerMac G5's score. In thread tests, a dual-2.5 GHz G5 scored much higher than the Intel, a 225 compared to an 82. However, in a computational thread test, the Intel faired much better -- scoring a 110 compared to the PowerPC's 140.


With memory, the Intel actually bested the G5 with a score of 351 to 319, however overall again the Intel Mac faired poorly, scoring a 214 to the G5's 378.

One area where the Intel Mac did fair better were in graphics tests, where the Intel-based Mac either match or bested the G5 in all tests. However, it was unknown as to what graphics card was powering the Intel version.

While the Intel-based Macs are slow now, Apple and Transitive -- the company behind Rosetta -- have a year to iron out any bugs and work on performance issues. It is also expected that most major software developers, such as Microsoft and Adobe, will have universal binaries with native Intel code available by the time the first Intel Macs roll off production lines.

All Intel Macs tested were running Mac OS X 10.4.1 8B1025.

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