It's worth noting that network performance is noticeably worse when running Windows XP on a Boot Camp partition or VM than under OS X. To show you the performance difference, I ran some makeshift network benchmarks, copying a 1.96GB file from a fileserver on a GigE switch to the MacBook Pro. I tested both wired and wireless connections, the results are below:

Wired Network Performance

Wireless Network Performance

The latest beta of Parallels' Workstation 2.1 improves network performance tremendously, but in the case of using the wired Ethernet port on the MacBook Pro Boot Camp is still noitceably quicker.

The final thing to note is that using Boot Camp, the MacBook Pro actually posts some not so great numbers for a Core Duo notebook. The charts below will put its performance into perspective for you:

General Performance - Business Winstone 2004

General Performance - MMCC Winstone 2004

While the Dell Inspiron E1705 performs pretty poorly given its CPU speed, the MacBook Pro is actually even worse. The E1705 holds about an 8% performance advantage over the MacBook Pro with an 8% faster CPU; however, neither Winstone test scales 1:1 with CPU speed increases so Dell's faster CPU is most likely only buying it another 3% performance advantage here. Obviously neither notebook comes anywhere close to the performance of the ASUS offerings, which continue to be the fastest I've ever encountered in a Core Duo notebook.

I don't really have a good explanation for the MacBook Pro's disappointing Windows XP performance, because all of its hardware is built out of the same major components that ASUS and Dell use for their notebooks. The only thing I can think of is that out of all these companies, ASUS is far more experienced with tweaking and tuning their motherboards for every last ounce of performance while honestly, Apple has never had to really care. Given that ASUS actually manufactures some of Apple's machines, it may be time to enlist its help in performance optimization as well.

Rosetta vs. Boot Camp vs. VT Problems in Mac-land
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  • Calin - Friday, April 14, 2006 - link

    To nitpick, it would be at the center of the hard drive, not at the outer edge :) (ok, based on sector numbers, which starts at the edge).
    Near the "end" of the hard drive, the transfer speed is reduced (there are fewer bytes on a full circle).
    Reply
  • jimmy43 - Thursday, April 13, 2006 - link

    Excellent Review. This may be my first laptop purchase, seems to have everything I could possibly want. Reply
  • monsoon - Thursday, April 13, 2006 - link

    Hello Anand,

    ...i'm waiting for Parallels to finalize their VT release and maybe Merom Macs too...

    I was wondering if the ONE CORE only VT tech is to be the final result of their virtualization software or just a middle-step.

    Seems to me it's rather poor a solution ( ok, it's the best out there for now ) to use a dual-core computer to run both OS on a single core

    =/

    Better would be smart distribution of tasks to the CPU depending on which OS is actually under load...

    ...any thoughts / info on that ?

    Thanks for your nice review !=)
    Reply
  • plinden - Thursday, April 13, 2006 - link

    quote:

    Better would be smart distribution of tasks to the CPU depending on which OS is actually under load...


    Looking at CPU load while running Parallels VM, I see the load spread evenly over both processors (usually < 10% total CPU except at boot, when it reaches 150% CPU). It's just that the VM itself sees itself as running on a single processor.
    Reply
  • shuttleboi - Thursday, April 13, 2006 - link

    I've read that the ATI X1600 in the Mac can run games well, but only IF you overclock the GPU. I can't imagine the Mac getting any hotter than it already supposedly is, and the idea of overclocking an already hot laptop is not appealing. Reply
  • JoKeRr - Thursday, April 13, 2006 - link

    Overall I enjoyed it.

    Would have been nice to see a comparison of screen brightness, as apple claimed 67% brighter!

    And also, the slowness in windows, could it be related to chipset driver stuff?? And what's the gaming experience so far like?? Would it be similar to a desktop 6600 or 6600gt??

    Thank you.
    Reply
  • rolls - Friday, April 14, 2006 - link

    Very interesting numbers all round.

    35% improvement in iTunes when comparing a single core 1.5GHz 7447 with the old slow bus etc, and a new 33% faster dual core intel CPU. 50% improvement in H.264 encoding etc. These numbers suggest that had Apple stuck with Freescale and moved to e600 core based systems, performance figures could have been off the scale. If only...

    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, April 13, 2006 - link

    On paper the X1600 Pro desktop cards actually look pretty decent. 12 pipelines at 500 MHz, with 800 MHz RAM. I would have thought they would at least give the 6600GT a run for the money, given how X1800 compares to 7800. Amazingly (to me), the X1600 gets completely stomped by the 6600GT. What's worse, the cards I have can't even overclock worth a darn on the memory side - 800 is stock, and they get unstable at even minor changes. (Could be an issue with the overclocking tool, though?)

    Anyway, for now I would say X1600 Mobility is going to be somewhere in the realm of 6600 (non-GT) performance, maybe slightly faster. That means gaming is definitely possible, but you will want low-to-medium detail levels for any recent titles. Just a guess, of course, and Anand will have to run benches to get any final confirmation. Really, though, this laptop isn't intended as anything more than a light gaming solution.
    Reply

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