All Macs In-Depth Tests

Startup Doublers: Do They Live Up To Their Name?

A while back we did some benchmarks on a sharware program called Startup Doubler which claims to speed up the loading of extensions and control panels at startup. Click Here to see the scores for version 1.0, otherwise suffice it to say the results didn't live up to the software's name. Since then version 2.0 of Startup Doubler has been released along with a commercial competitor from Casady & Greene called Speed Startup. Startup Doubler is pretty much a one trick pony whereas Speed Startup also accelerates the finder's "window zoom" animation for a snappier feel opening and closing windows. Speed Startup's control panel also lets you bypass memory tests which can be time consuming on Macs with an abundance of RAM. While convenient, you can also access this option when opening the memory control panel by holding the command and option keys. Below you will find our test results for each program

For our tests we used a Power Mac 9500, souped up with XLR8's MACh Carrier G3/400 upgrade card. For all the tests, with the exception of the "OS 8.6 base set" test, we ran with all system extensions on plus those required by the XLR8 card and the software being tested. The boot drive was the stock 2 gig that came in the 9500. Reboot time was clocked with a stopwatch from the "Welcome to Mac OS" screen to the appearance of hard drive on the desktop. The first reboot after install was ignored and the following three reboots times were averaged. Within each test reboot times were remarkably consistent. We also tested SpeedDoubler 8 from Connectix but noted no performance gains or losses. This was true using Speed Doubler 8 alone or in tandem with Startup Doubler/Speed Startup.

Test Results With 512k Disk Cache


Test Results With 2MB Disk Cache
For this test run we added in a pared down extension set.


Actual Reboot Times



I was hoping for more impressive results when I set out to benchmark these two programs. A savings of 5-8 seconds is nothing to get excited about and definitely doesn't qualify as anything close to doubling your startup time. Perhaps savings become more impressive with larger extension sets. It is interesting to note that with a larger disk cache the Mac OS closes the gap even further. It may pay to take a peek in your memory control panel and try a few different settings. If you have a system loaded with third party extensions and control panels you might as well try downloading the shareware Startup Doubler and running a few tests of your own. Unfortunately, there is no demo version of C&G's Speed Startup. Both programs run $20. Trimming down your extension set is the cheapest way to boost your boot time and may have the added bonus of making your system more stable. For the definitive guide to extension check out Casady & Greene's highly rated Conflict Catcher 8 or the shareware Extension Overload.


Internal Links
  • System 7.6 to 8.6 Benchmarked - A comprehensive suite of tests including boot time.
  • Older OS Version Results
  • A performance comparison of 8.0 and 8.1
  • External Links
  • Casady & Greene
  • Startup Doubler Home
  • Online reviews of Mac operating systems and system enhancing software
  • MacOSPlanet - A much more flattering review of Startup Doubler
  • BareFeats - Benchmarks for both products
  • Extension Overload - Helps you identify unnecessary extensions.