The guys over at Macworld magazine in the US are generally considered to be a reliable, independent source of information on the latest happenings in the Apple sector. They've managed to get their hands on a new iMac with the Intel Core Duo processor, and have been running some tests to find out if the new machine really is as fast as Apple claims - with 2-3x the performance of the iMac with a PowerPC G5 processor.
What they appear to have found are some incredible performance increases in some places, but no performance increase - or a performance loss - in others. There appears to be little consistency between what applications of parts of applications get sped up and which parts don't. All in all, it looks like the claims that Steve Jobs made at Macworld were a little on the optimistic side.
Here's a quick quote from the article to give you some context:
"In tests with two iLife ’06 applications—iMovie and iPhoto—we found remarkably different performance depending on what features of the programs we tried. For example, the act of applying one iMovie effect to a video clip resulted in a remarkable speed improvement of 1.8 times. But a different effect showed only half the improvement, and yet another showed no speed improvement at all.
Similarly, importing 100 photos into iPhoto 6 took 35 percent less time on the Intel-based iMac, and exporting from iPhoto to a QuickTime movie took 25 percent less time. But exporting iPhoto images to a Web page took only 8 percent less time. And exporting those images to files actually took 9 percent more time on the Intel-based Macs."
Gah. It all looks rather bleak for users who were getting excited about moving to a tremendously fast Apple platform. Coupled with what looks like fairly uninspiring performance under the emulation tool, Rosetta, it appears that professionals using Macs might well be better off waiting for the next generation of machines - or, at least, waiting for Photoshop to run natively in OSX on x86 chips.
Go and check out the performance numbers
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with other disappointed Mac fans!