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Speed of Apple Intel dev systems impress developers


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jram

 
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The speed of Mac OS X running on Intel hardware is impressing some developers who've been privy to one of Apple's first Intel-based developer transition systems.

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The systems started shipping to Mac OS X developers three weeks ago, each equipped with a 3.6 GHz Intel Pentium 4 processor with 2 MB L2 Cache, 800MHz front-side bus, 1GB of 533MHz DDR2 Dual Channel SDRAM, and an Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 900.

Developers are renting the $999 hardware from Apple for a period of 18 months in order to get a head start in porting their applications to run on the Intel version of Mac OS X.

"It's fast," said one developer source of Mac OS X running on Intel's Pentium processors. "Faster than [Mac OS X] on my Dual 2GHz Power Mac G5." In addition to booting Windows XP at blazing speeds, the included version of Mac OS X for Intel takes "as little as 10 seconds" to boot to the Desktop from when the Apple logo first displays on screen.

Included with the Mac OS X for Intel distribution is an Applications folder stocked with a mixture of PowerPC and Intel-native applications. Applications that are compiled only for PowerPC processors are of filetype "Application (PowerPC)" whereas Intel-native binaries are labeled of standard type "Application".

Developers sources say the early version of Rosetta, a dynamic binary translator that is designed to run unaltered PowerPC applications on Intel Macs, is also impressive. "Rosetta is completely 100 percent seamless and nothing like the Classic environment used to run older Mac OS 8 and 9 applications under Mac OS X," one source told AppleInsider.

"With the exception of the "PowerPC" denotation and the presence of "Open in Rosetta" checkbox in the application info boxes, you can't tell which applications are universal and which are PowerPC-only unless you examine package contents," the source explained.

Since the developer version of Mac OS X for Intel offers users the option of running any application under Rosetta, developers have been able to perform rudimentary speed comparisons between native Intel Mac applications and those that must first filter through the Rosetta binary translator.

"Taking a universal binary and timing its startup in Intel native speed versus its startup when opened via Rosetta results in a slowdown, but not as much as one would think," said another source. "The apps run at about 65 to 70 percent of their normal speed."

However, some PowerPC-native applications realize little to no speed reductions while running under Rosetta. A source told AppleInsider the current PowerPC version of the popular Firefox web browser loads just as fast under Mac OS X Intel as it does on a high-end dual processor Power Mac G5.

If reports are accurate, Mac users have a lot to look forward to in regards to web browsing under Mac OS X for Intel. According to sources, web browsing in general is much faster under Mac OS X for Intel than it is under the shipping version of Mac OS X for PowerPC. Web pages snap to the screen, the same way they do in Internet Explorer running on a new Pentium system, they say.

The first Mac systems to sport Intel processors are expected to hit the market around the middle of next year according to statements made by Apple, though recent mumblings indicate that the company may be striving to beat those estimates by several months.
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Sounds good, but i wish the FSB was a little faster(more like 1.25 ghz)

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Quote:
Originally Posted by macEfan
Sounds good, but i wish the FSB was a little faster(more like 1.25 ghz)
Give them time.... These are just the developer system specs. I'm sure we have much to look forward to when they start cranking the real production models out.

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"The first Mac systems to sport Intel processors are expected to hit the market around the middle of next year according to statements made by Apple, though recent mumblings indicate that the company may be striving to beat those estimates by several months."
Kind of make you want to be first in line dontit!

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thats good to hear, I wonder what the high end Mactel is going to be like, since dual P4 systems don't exist.
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Originally Posted by mynameis
thats good to hear, I wonder what the high end Mactel is going to be like, since dual P4 systems don't exist.
Before the dual G5s a a Dual G5 system did not exist either Leave it to apple to really leave all the other computer companies behind in what ever they do.

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One big reason for better FF performance is that a lot of the FF Graphics code is integer which favors x86 chips over Power.

I'm a bit surprised when they say that that particular chip is fast. Imagine what you could do with an X2.
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My thing is battery life, with Intel coming into the picture, the PB will get up to 6 hours .. I have Toshiba 2.4 GHz M, it gets over 5:45 , it sits there collecting dust.. The funny thing is if I do a speed test, the pc wins.. But the PB opens programs faster and I can surf faster, plus it just has that nice feel the pc doesn't have.. I'm a PB person, have a pc desktop, but love the freedom of the PB, nothing like sitting in the yard surfing and listening to iTunes.
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erm... dual P4 systems do exist... the xeon P4s...
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As far as I know, Apple is using Pentium M chips so it's
odd to be quoting P4 results but that's probably all that
they have available right now.

There are dual-core Pentium Ds that are shipping right now from Dell and HP.

Of course if you really want x86 horsepower, you'd go
with Opterons Dual-Core chips.
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It would make more sense for them to use P4's in the PowerMac range and PentiumM's in the iMac, Mini, Pwerbood and iBook machines...i'd have thought.
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The P4 is a dead end.
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CONS:
1.) I wasn't all that impressed by a 10 second boot to the desktop from when the apple logo first appears. My computer does that already.

2.) 800Mhz FSB would be a step backward for anyone with a 2 Ghz G5 or better. Sure, proc speeds would be faster, but slower bus speeds *might* slow down peripheral parts of the system.

PROS:
1.) Faster web browsing sounds cool- I am happy with the speed of Safari, but if the mactels are faster, I won't complain!

2.) Better portability and a good emulator should keep Power PC users like me in the loop for years. Good for Apple.


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Does anyone know if OS9 programs will run in the new intel macs?
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lil
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The answer is no.

Unless you can get a full blown emulator fired up, OS X only apps.

Vicky
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