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MAIN INDEX of latest speed tests

Windows XP Pro versus Mac OS X
both on the MacBook Pro

Posted April 12th, 2006, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist
Updated April 12th, 2006, with latest CineBench 9.5 (April 7, 2006) results
Updated April 13th, 2006, with both DirectX and OpenGL results for UT2004
Updated April 28th, 2006 with corrected Doom 3 results for Windows XP

By now you all know about "Boot Camp" on Intel Macs which enables you to create a separate partition for Windows XP, install it, and boot it up. Just like you, we wanted to know how well apps ran under Windows XP compared to running the same apps under Mac OS X "Tiger" -- all on the same machine.

This task was a little frustrating since the apps must run under both Mac OS and Windows, and, in the case of Mac OS X, must be Universal Binary (UB) versions -- for a fair fight.

Windows XP -- A MacBook Pro with 2.0GHz Core Duo, 2GB of 667MHz memory and Radeon X1600 Mobility GPU running Windows XP Professional
Mac OS X -- Apple's MacBook Pro with 2.0GHz Core Duo, 2GB of 667MHz memory and Radeon X1600 Mobility GPU running Mac OS X "Tiger" (10.4.6)
(X) = Direct X Rendering
(O) = OpenGL Rendering



NOTE: Originally we showed the Windows XP version of Doom 3 running at 30fps but we discovered our config file had shadows OFF, even though we set them to ON in the interactive mode. For some reason the config file was overriding the in program setup.

Notice the "O" and "X" in the graphs below.
"O" = OpenGL Render Engine, "X" = DirectX Render Engine

Though it may not be seen as fair, we feel it's instructive to see how applications like Photoshop CS2 and Halo do when forced to run under Rosetta. How do they stand up against the Windows versions running native on the same computer under Windows XP?

Anyone familiar with Virtual PC is not tripped out to see Windows XP running on a Mac. But to see it running so well is very trippy.

The test results we posted were weighted heavily toward 3D games because those developers have been able to convert their applications more quickly to Universal Binary than many of the producers of productivity or professional apps. It also helped that there already existed editions for both Windows and Mac OS.

My 3 year old grandson, who plays chess, checkers, and backgammon on his own iMac G4 Flat Panel, has a saying: "Sometimes I win, sometimes it wins. That's the game." That's true about comparing 3D graphics apps in this test session: Windows XP "Boot Camp" won two (Doom 3 and UT2004) and OS X "UB" apps won two (CineBench HW OpenGL animation and Quake 3).

Isn't it interesting that Mac OS X excelled in the two CPU intensive tests (iTunes and Cinebench CPU Render)? Hopefully we can expand that part of our testing to include more CPU intensive tasks like Mathematica and others. (We tried to do some encoding of video with QuickTime Pro 7 Windows edition but QT Player quit every time we selected the Export function.)

The applications that do NOT run "native" (yet) on the Intel Macs (Photoshop CS2 and Halo) get blown away by the native Windows version. If you own an Intel Mac, your Mac edition of Photoshop CS2 will run very sluggishly. After seeing our test results, you're going to be tempted to obtain a Windows edition to run while you are waiting for Adobe to finish their Universal Binary version of the Mac edition.

The main downside having both Windows XP and Mac OS X on the same Mac? It's a little schizoid having to reboot to use one OS or the other. When I want to get some real work done, I'll be using Mac OS X. When I want to play a game that isn't available or optimized for Mac OS, I'll now be able to slither over to Windows XP.

We plan to try running Windows XP using Parallels Workstation VMM Beta and will post the results soon on this page. Keep in mind that it only allows you to use one core on the Intel Core Duo Macs. And since it runs simultaneously with Mac OS X, it's going to gobble up its share of memory. You best have 2GB in your Intel Mac if you go this route. If you plan on running 3D Games, you are in for a major letdown since, just like with Virtual PC, all graphics are rendered in software usng only the CPU - one CPU. There's no hardware acceleration using the graphics processor (Radeon X1600).

Until we have a chance to fully test it, enjoy Anandtech's report on Boot Camp versus Parallel's Workstation.

There's a debate going on as to whether anybody will bother to develop games for the Mac now that you can run Windows. InsideMacGames posted some interesting comments by Ryan Gordon and by the folks at Blizzard on this issue.


How fast does the Universal Binary version of Final Cut Pro and Motion run on the Mac Book Pro compared to a Dual G5/2.0 Power Mac? We hope to find out soon when our upgrade arrives but Creative Mac has the answer already.

Apple Store


Small Dog Electronics -- New MacBook Pros; New and Refurbished PowerBooks; They accept custom orders; Also have memory and drive upgrades.

PowerMax -- New MacBooks Pros; New and Refurbished PowerBooks

Apple Online Store -- New MacBook Pros; New and Refurbished PowerBooks


FirmTek -- SATA Cardbus (and soon SATA ExpressCard); SATA enclosures

OWC -- MacBook and PowerBook memory upgrades; hard drive upgrades

TransIntl -- MacBook and PowerBook memory and drive upgrades

Wiebetech -- SATA and FireWire drive enclosures

MaxUpgrades -- PowerBook Sleeves and Briefcases; SATA and FireWire drive enclosures

FWDepot -- FireWire and SATA Cardbus cards; external FireWire and SATA drive enclosures

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2006 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
Email , the webmaster and mad scientist