Performance showdown: OSX Snow Leopard beats Windows 7

d0b33

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In time-based tests, Snow Leopard consistently outdid Windows 7. It took only 36.4 seconds to boot up, while Windows took 42.7 seconds. In a shutdown test, Snow Leopard took only 6.6 seconds, while Windows needed twice the amount of time: 12.6 seconds. Both computers, however, took just about 1 second to return from sleeping. For this reason, I didn't actually test the wake-up time as it was too short in both operating systems to produce meaningful numbers or even allow me to measure the difference.

In an iTunes conversion test, where I timed how long it took iTunes to convert 17 songs from the MP3 format to the AAC format, Snow Leopard took 149.9 seconds to get the job done. Windows needed 12 seconds more for the same job.

The last time-based test was the multimedia multitasking test, where I measured how long it took QuickTime to convert a movie file from the MP4 format into the iPod format while having iTunes converting songs in the background. This is sort of an unfair test as I had to use QuickTime 7 for Windows 7 and QuickTime X (which Apple claims to have much improved performance over the previous version) for Snow Leopard. The result: Snow Leopard beat Windows big time, taking just 444.3 seconds to do the job while Windows 7 dragged with 723 seconds.

So Snow Leopard took the lead in booting up, shutting down, and running Apple's software. It was a different story, however, with other third-party benchmarking software.

Cinebench R10 showed that Windows 7 was noticeably better than Snow Leopard in 3D image rendering--with a score of 5,777 vs. 5,437 for the OS X (higher is better). In gaming, Windows 7 also offered higher frame rates. In our Call of Duty 4 test, Windows 7 scored 26.3 frames per second while Snow Leopard got only 21.2fps. Joseph tested the game with a few different maps and we picked one that registered the highest scores for both operating systems to report. Consistently, Snow Leopard was always 5fps to 7fps slower than Windows 7.

The last test--which took the most time and probably will prove the most controversial--measured battery life. In a blog a while ago, I said that Windows 7 offered about the same battery life on the MacBook Pro as Snow Leopard. Well, I was wrong. While it was indeed better compared with what it was with Boot Camp 2.1, Windows 7 on the MacBook Pro still has a significantly shorter battery life than Snow Leopard.

As I needed to fully charge the battery before each test to make the tests go faster, I decided to test the battery life with the same settings as the performance tests, which drain the battery much more quickly than in normal usage. These settings include the computer's screen, as well as the keyboard illumination, being set at their brightest; the speakers being turned all the way up; and the Wi-Fi connection being turned on. After that, I made the computer play a high-def movie clip on loop and in full-screen mode until the computer died.

The results? Windows 7 lasted 78 minutes, while Snow Leopard managed to stay on for 111 minutes. These numbers are, of course, the worst case scenario--in real life, you'll get much longer battery life for each OS with regular usage. Personally, I could easily get about 3 hours with Windows 7 when running the MacBook Pro using the operating system's recommended "Balanced" power management scheme. Nonetheless, it's obvious that Windows 7's battery life is just about two-thirds of Snow Leopard's on the MacBook Pro.

By now, more than anything, I believe drivers are the culprit for this discrepancy, as with Boot Camp 2.1, I was able to get just around an hour and a half with Windows 7 with general usage on the same machine. I've also seen many PC laptops where Windows 7 also offers much longer battery life.

The conclusion? First all of all, you'll get much better battery life running OS X on Mac laptops than running Windows. Secondly, performance-wise, Windows 7 is probably a better choice if you are a gamer (there are more games developed for Windows, anyway), even on Mac hardware.

Third, if you can get by with just software designed by Apple and if money is not a big issue, you will be happy with a Mac. Examples of these software choices are iTunes, iLife, QuickTime, Safari, iChat, and so on (and you probably won't need much more than those for daily entertainment and communication needs). Finally, if money is not an issue--and it definitely is for most of us--you should get a Mac anyway. It's the only platform, for now, that can run both Windows and OS X.

Note that this article touched the two operating systems only from the performance point of view. (Mac is also really pretty and Windows offers a lot more options and compatibility.)

It's also worth keeping in mind that both operating systems were tested in their "clean" state (fresh and with a minimum number of apps installed) and using Mac hardware, which is naturally optimized for Snow Leopard. As you use them, the performance will change, most likely for worse because of software clutters gathered over time. It's hard to measure which one gets more affected by this than the other. However, when Apple allows installing OS X on PC hardware, I'll for sure run the same tests again.

http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-31012_7-10319612-10355804.html
 

Adenoid Hynkel

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What laptop (specs) where used for WIN7? Or did they run WIN7 on a macbook?

Edit.
It's also worth keeping in mind that both operating systems were tested in their "clean" state (fresh and with a minimum number of apps installed) and using Mac hardware
 

Necuno

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and what now ?

Tried some ubuntu over the past 3 days must say for linux distro its really nice.
 

MadMailMan

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What a useless article. Who cares how well Windows 7 runs on Mac hardware? Nobody buys an overpriced Mac just to retard it with a Microsoft OS. It's nice to have the option but if you have a Mac run a Mac OS. :p

That is the problem with the Interwebs, any idiot can write something crap and call it jouralism. :eek:
 

killadoob

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So the mac OS beat the windows OS running on mac and the mac OS is optimized for the mac hardware.

What kinda stupid test is this, why not take the amount they paid for said mac, go buy a pc for the same amount and run the tests. I would have expected this from peter not you aqua :eek:

I wonder how hackintosh would perform on a pc, pretty sure windows would smash it silly. Again why would you compare the 2.
 
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MadMailMan

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So the mac OS beat the windows OS running on mac and the mac OS is optimized for the mac hardware.

What kinda stupid test is this, why not take the amount they paid for said mac, go buy a pc for the same amount and run the tests. I would have expected this from peter not you aqua :eek:

I wonder how hackintosh would perform on a pc, pretty sure windows would smash it silly. Again why would you compare the 2.

Egg-Zachary!
 

d0b33

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So this test clearly proves that 7 is overrated, bloated and a failure, it will never take off.

/my attempt at a peterchism
 

PeterCH

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So this test clearly proves that 7 is overrated, bloated and a failure, it will never take off.

/my attempt at a peterchism

Which I never said.

Please quote where I said that. LOL.

Anyway even in the past:
MacBook Pro Is the Fastest Windows Vista Notebook - Apple - Gizmodo

Guys don't get sore that you can't afford a Mac. No-one judges you by that. I certainly don't. If you can't afford a Beemer either - so what. ;) There are always more affluent people. Let's stop this Mac bashing because Mac 'is more expensive' - while in reality the total cost of ownership is less. Take iWork Office Suite which is compatible with MS Office - the full version is R800 in the iStore, how much does the full version of Ms Office for home and small business cost again? Yeah.

And I never said Win 7 would never take off, it's less bloated than Vista but I'll be asking for XP for as long as it's possible and at present I'm happy with my Leopard. Nice to know that SL is faster. :)

Unlike you lot, I don't force people to buy Win 7 or Mac. Buy what you will but don't force me to buy stuff which offers no significant advantages - ie Win 7 over XP.
 
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killadoob

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At least my OS upgrade will only cost me R329, and yours what R2000 for Ultimate? I'll spend the extra cash on something nice. ;)

Yea but my pc never cost 20k, so wait a second you still spent more than me :D.

Come next one peter and make it harder please.

q9550
9800gx2
g.skill sdd
vista
windows 7

Still cheaper than a mac :D, i also did not have to spend 20k and get a 9500gt :D. I also did not spend 20k and then still need to spend 3k on a vga card. I can assure you my 9800gx2 handles games far better than 9500gt :D.

So 2k for an OS is all good with me, i can understand mac users would be pissed if their OS cost 2k ontop of the expensive mac they just bought :p
 
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Necuno

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At least my OS upgrade will only cost me R329, and yours what R2000 for Ultimate? I'll spend the extra cash on something nice. ;)

well my win7 ul was R0, since i have to have it to be able to work also at home its on work's bill; I'll spend the extra cash on something nice. :D

but nonetheless after ubuntu tryouts its mac osx time.
 

Abe

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Guys don't get sore that you can't afford a Mac. No-one judges you by that. I certainly don't.

Ah, but I can afford it, I just don't see the point in throwing money into Apple's $5 odd billion profit per year so that I can have a gizmo and be part of the in crowd. But hey, you are welcome to do that.
 

PeterCH

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well my win7 ul was R0, since i have to have it to be able to work also at home its on work's bill; I'll spend the extra cash on something nice. :D

To be fair, there are people who run Macs who could also have claimed the R329 back. ;)
 

Abe

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At least my OS upgrade will only cost me R329, and yours what R2000 for Ultimate? I'll spend the extra cash on something nice. ;)

Actually, my OS upgrade was free. Maybe i will spend the R329 on something nice ;)
 

bwana

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Got to laugh - time and time again I hear people bemoaning Mac hardware for being generic PC hardware in a fancy case and now someone uses the same hardware to compare both OSes and the tests are bogus?

True bootcamp hasnt been optimised for W7, yet, and this test was therefore a little premature but since Apple fully supported XP and Vista in bootcamp I doubt that update is far off.

As far as I can see the best way to continue to make these comparisons is by using identical hardware and this is the best way to do that natively.

BTW - I'd be saying the same thing if W7 had smoked SL. ;)
 
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PeterCH

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Ah, but I can afford it, I just don't see the point in throwing money into Apple's $5 odd billion profit per year so that I can have a gizmo and be part of the in crowd. But hey, you are welcome to do that.

I was a PC user too. I ran Adobe Premiere Pro on a P4 system with high grade components with Win XP and with a Matrox RTX Extreme card - with an ATI Radeon 9800Pro - back when that was top of the range card. Yes it would crash often. Yes Adobe Premiere Pro was nice to use but it would crash with and without the card. Yes I tested the components. Yes I even chucked out RAM. Yes I had Matrox help me. In the end it was usuable but it had lots of issues. Switched to Mac. FCP on Mac cost less than Adobe Production Suite Premium. It even legally allows me to install it on two machines - a notebook and a laptop. Yes it's rated as a more professional and powerful app than Premiere. Yes it had no serious issues. Overall it's not perfect but it's better than what I had with Premiere. Premiere had some nice things going for it too, but I can always buy the Mac version of Premiere - although its more expensive than FCP. FCP works.

That's my story.
 
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