The Macintel Report

Intel Core Duo vs. PowerPC G5, Time to Buy Macintel? Adobe Apps Coming to Intel Late, and More

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2006.02.09

This Week's Macintel News

We have several comparisons of the G5 and Core Duo this week, and it all boils down to this: Core Duo is faster for software compiled for Intel, and G5 is faster for PowerPC code.

Other News

Are You Ready to Buy a Macintel?

Gene Steinberg, the Mac Night Owl, writes:

"Consider this: Your old computer, Mac or Windows, has seen better days, and you have decided you need something new. A trip to the Apple Store or that controversial ad announcing the presence of Intel chips on Macs has tempted you, so you start to read the reviews and see whether to consider a new iMac, or place an order for the forthcoming MacBook Pro."

Switching to Intel

Apple X Net's Trent Lapinski says:

"I was born a Mac user, my Father was in the music industry and it was simply what everyone used. I have never personally owned a PC, and I have been online and active in the Mac community since the 4th grade. I spent countless hours in AOL chat-rooms defending the PowerPC architecture against the x86 masses, I reveled in the Think Different campaign, I was part of the Mac elite. For years I've lived in this 90's Mac bubble. As of yesterday, the bubble has been broken.

"It was of course a shock to find out Apple was moving to Intel and I had to go with them. I was in denial at first, but I'm over it. I now look forward to the new Intel Macs and I can't wait to see what they come up with. On the other hand, I have had to rethink all of my previous notions about Intel and x86 hardware. I admit I was swayed by Jobs to believe that PowerPC simply was better than x86, and in some instances it actually is, but in 2006 it really isn't much of an issue from a user stand point. They are both fast enough. The debate has boiled down to mere seconds and minutes to complete tasks, nothing really worthy of actually caring about. So here I am with the idea that maybe x86 isn't so bad."

Core Duo Performance Revisited

On his blog, Mike McHargue says:

"I've read two interesting articles about the Core Duo that have reinforced some of my thoughts and educated me in others. One is over at AnandTech and the other is on TG Daily. I'm sure most really hardcore users in the Mac community have read and digested this information, but I still get a lot of emails from people who want to know more about the performance delta between the Core Duo and the G5. So, I'm going to do my best to provide a summary here."

iMac G5 vs. iMac Core Duo

AnandTech's Anand Lal Shimpi says:

"It seemed so far away when, in June last year, Apple announced their two-year transition to Intel architectures; it also didn't exactly add up. At their World Wide Developer Conference, Apple let the world know that every version of Mac OS X since 10.0 has been compiled and running on x86 hardware, so the OS was ready. Apple's iLife and iWork suites are a great supporting cast to the OS, and those applications were either ready or very close to being ready. Yet, Apple was telling everyone that they would start the transition by June of 2006 and be done with it a year later....

"When Apple announced at this year's Macworld San Francisco that they were ahead of schedule with the move, it was most likely more of a nice spin to put on things than truly being ahead of schedule. ....

"Now that Intel's Core Duo has finally been launched, Apple could go ahead with their PowerPC to x86 transition, but there's another problem. A very smart man at Intel once told me that you should never launch a new microarchitecture alongside a new manufacturing process...."

Macworld's Lab Tests and Analysis: Core Duo vs. G5

Macworld's Jason Snell reports:

"Since the publication of Macworld's first lab tests of the Intel-based iMac and our subsequent review, there's been a massive amount of discussion about our results. There's also been a lot of confusion and plenty of heated discussion. All the while, we've continued to test the new Intel Macs, including adding some new tests as new Universal applications arrive on the scene.

"So as the Intel transition moves into the second month of 2006, here's an update on what we've learned so far about how Intel-based Macs perform."

Adobe Software for Intel Mac: Not Until 2007?

Publish's Daniel Drew Turner reports:

"Although Adobe Systems has touted its "consistent track record" of releasing "significant updates" to its products every 18 to 24 months, sources have indicated to Publish that Intel-native versions of the company's professional graphics applications might not see the light of day until the spring of 2007."

Intel Tweaks Chips for Power Efficiency

xtremeTech's Mark Hachman reports:

"Having converted to the gospel of low power, Intel researchers continue to preach it with heartfelt fervor.

"Although many of the papers the company is presenting at the International Solid State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) in San Francisco this week mention clock speed, the subjects Intel highlighted in a press briefing with reporters Monday afternoon emphasized power.

"Of note: Intel's 'Tulsa' Xeon processor, which increases frequency but reduces power dissipation from the previous processor; papers on minimizing power at the register and cache level, in part by integrating voltage regulation into the processor die; and a third paper, which bolted two Wi-Fi chips together for greater bandwidth."

Apple Ads Make Things Awkward for Intel

CNN/Money's Amanda Cantrell reports:

"In its ad blitz announcing the first ever Intel-based Macs, Apple skewers PCs - which happen to be Intel's biggest customers.

"While Apple is known for controversial ads, the newest spot puts Intel in a potentially uncomfortable spot. Clearly, Intel is happy that its newest customer - one that's especially rich on cultural cachet at the moment - wants to celebrate the partnership, and gets some free advertising to boot. But the commercial also takes a swing at Intel-based PCs, which some analysts believe could alienate Intel's other customers."

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