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Article:
  Apple's High-Water Mark?
Subject:   Missing the point about Core Duo
Date:   2006-04-03 11:04:36
From:   nolaMatt
One thing about the new MacIntels that seems to be ignored here is the staggering number of Photoshop users who are still running old G4 Macs. It is an absolute fact that most Mac users upgrade their machines far less frequently than PC users (this also helps contribute to the Mac's "low market share"). "Set it, and forget it!" indeed.


I recently upgraded from a 1.25GHZ G4 eMac to a 2.0 GHZ MacBook Pro. Quite honestly, while I haven't bothered to waste my time sitting around with a stopwatch benchmarking my Photoshop performance, it "feels" like Photoshop runs approximately equal to or somewhat better than my old machine.


Meanwhile, almost all of the other apps I use on a regular basis have already been updated to Universal Binaries. So for me, other than Photoshop and MS Word, I am experiencing a STUNNING increase in performance with the MacBook. When the Universal version of Photoshop is released (which apparently will be part of Adobe CS 3), I'll upgrade. MS Office runs fine. A little laggy on the scrolling, but no big deal. For now, it's OK with me.


If I had been using a dual or quad G5, then I suspect I'd be disappointed with the MacBook's Photoshop performance. Then again, I would have been disappointed with the PowerBook G4's performance as well!


Basically, if you're currently using a top-of-the-line (or close to it) PowerPC Mac, and you are a heavy user of Adobe apps, stick with your current machine until Adobe gets around to updating the software.


If you're using an older Mac, and/or you're more of a "casual" or occasional Photoshop user, go ahead and upgrade to an Intel Mac now. You won't notice much if any of a performance hit on the Adobe apps (if your current Mac is old enough, you may well see a performance *increase*), and you'll LOVE the performance increase you'll get on everything else.


The best part of the Intel switch is that it ends the "megahertz wars" once and for all. No longer will Mac users have to suffer all of the ill-informed "dOOd, Mac sux. Mac has only 1.25 GHZ? My P4 has 3 GHZ!!! LOLOLOLOL!!!!" garbage. Now Apple has access to the same processors as the PC guys. Intel upgrades the processor? Great! Order some and send them over to the factory in China!


The worst part of the Intel switch is that never again will Jobs be able to get on stage and say "Check out our new processor...this absolutely CRUSHES the Intel PC". FWIW, *sometimes* this was true when the PPC chip made a particular breakthrough. Unfortunately, Intel would usually catch up and surpass the PPC chip pretty quickly, but the "party line" out of Apple would keep up the "Pentium-Crushing Performance" blather, even if it was no longer true.


As far as the Cell chip goes...there is one and only one question that has any bearing on whether or not Apple will need to worry about and/or begin using the chip in its computers:


"Does it run Windows?"


As long as the answer to that question is "NO", then Apple has nothing to worry about from the competition. Apple will continue to have access to the fastest processors used in the general PC market, and that will be Good Enough™.


If the Cell ends up being "all that," and Apple decides to use it in order to crush their enemies, see them driven before them, and hear the lamentations of their women, it appears to me that they will have a much easier time of switching to the Cell processor than Microsoft, since they already seem to be moving towards a processor-independent development environment.

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  • Missing the point about Core Duo
    2006-04-04 14:51:03  AdrienLamothe [View]

    "... it appears to me that they will have a much easier time of switching to the Cell processor than Microsoft, since they already seem to be moving towards a processor-independent development environment."

    -- Absolutely. Any Unix-based operating system, Mac OS X included, will be easier to port to Cell than MS Windows.

    "As far as the Cell chip goes...there is one and only one question that has any bearing on whether or not Apple will need to worry about and/or begin using the chip in its computers:

    "Does it run Windows?" "

    -- Not necessarily. The Cell appears to offer video performance vastly superior to anything else, and the new Nvidia GPU isn't even available for it yet. Photoshop power-users can definitely benefit from such video performance. For the casual Photoshop user, it shouldn't make much of a difference.

    "The best part of the Intel switch is that it ends the "megahertz wars" once and for all. No longer will Mac users have to suffer all of the ill-informed "dOOd, Mac sux. Mac has only 1.25 GHZ? My P4 has 3 GHZ!!!"

    -- Definitely. The PowerMac-Intel comparisons were not very useful anyway, because Power is a RISC architecture and Intel is CISC. AMD was the first company to work at educating the public about the fallacy of MHz comparisons.

    Cheers.