XP-running Macs give PCs a run for their money
You’ll forgive me if I seem a little confused these days. Despite the fact that I work in a lab full of Macs, I spend more of my time lately staring at Windows XP than at Mac OS X.
It’s not that I’m mulling over a platform switch—rather, this XP overload is part of Macworld Lab’s efforts to see how Microsoft’s operating system performs on Apple hardware now that software exists that enables you to boot into XP on an Intel-based Mac. With the help from our sister publication, PC World, we’ve been running the WorldBench 5 real-word benchmark suite on all of our Intel systems to gauge cross-platform performance.
Our testing efforts began shortly after hackers came up with a way to get Intel-based Macs to run Windows XP. The hacked method takes a lot of effort install and configure—and just as much effort to run benchmark tests, as it turns out. WorldBench automatically restarts the computer many, many times during the testing process, forcing us to manually select which OS—XP or OS X—to boot into after each restart.
That’s why we greeted last week’s arrival of Boot Camp with a mixture of relief and sadness. Developed by Apple to let Intel-based Macs run Windows XP, Boot Camp allows you to set Windows as the default startup system; that meant we no longer had to babysit the machines during testing. At the same time, we were also a little peeved about how many hours and days we had wasted benchmarking the hacked method.
Even with Boot Camp, it still takes a couple of hours to set these systems up. But once running, they’ve been very stable. Here are some WorldBench 5 results, compared to three computers recently tested by PC World.