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The Performance Edge: The 10.1 OS X Upgrade Put Through Its Paces Additional Benchmarks On The (mostly) Free Upgrade
Updated: Friday, July 28, 2001

Those of us lucky enough to attend yesterday's Seybold keynote by Steve and Phil (and a host of others) walked away with a fresh copy of the OS X 10.1 update CD. If you weren't lucky enough to attend, and believe me attendance was down, Apple will be releasing it to the public this Saturday. Apple is offering the update through the Apple store for $20 but through the end of October, you can also pick up a free copy at a participating retailer. Click here for details.

New: General Notes & Observations: We are all aware by now of the 10.1 improvements noted at the Seybold keynote, shorter application launch times, faster Aqua menus etc. These are mostly born out by our tests below. There are a lot of usability improvements worth noting as well. Previously, when a Classic application put up an alert (to notify you about new mail or a connection failure for example) there was no feedback provided in the OS X environment. Now, the Classic application's icon bounces in the dock until you click on it. PowerBook users will be pleased to hear that the volume and brightness keys work properly, eliminating the need for a trip to the associated preference panels. The on-screen feedback for both adjustments sports a new translucent look that fits the Aqua interface better as well. I have not run my PowerBook off the battery enough to see if there is still a drain during sleep mode, but I did hear my drive spinning quietly at one point in sleep mode when it should have been spun down. The bug that left bits of smoke on the screen when removing an item from the dock seems to have been fixed. Moving a OS X window quickly over a Classic one, however, still leaves a path of white screen in its wake. This might not be an issue on faster machines, but it is an annoyance.

New: G4/867 Test Information: - Our initial tests were run on a G3/266 PowerBook, not exactly a cutting edge machine any more. We have added results from a QuickSilver G4/867, and will consider doing the Dual Processor G4/800 if there is enough interest. For this second round of benchmarking we added a couple of new tests. One is a small application called Let1kWindowsBloom. This application, available in Carbon and "classic" versions, opens and closes 1,000 windows, recording the time to complete the task. We also added a Sherlock index test, clocking the time needed to index our 60 MB (1,100 item) copy test folder. The QuickSilver G4 was equipped with 256 MB RAM, probably the practical minimum for running OS X on this machine. More, of course, would be optimal.

We plan on doing a full suite of benchmark tests pitting OS 9.2.1 against 10.1 in the near future, most likely on a QuickSilver Power Mac. We welcome your suggestions for additional tests. Send them to Don.

QuickSilver G4/867 Performance Scores

Test OS X - 10.0.4 Time OS X - 10.1 Time Difference
Reboot OS X 62.99 38.77 1.62x
Launch "Classic" 43.92 37.37 1.18x
Launch Internet Explorer 5.1 5.43 2.92 1.86x
Launch QuickTime player 2.82 1.47 1.92x
Duplicate 20 MB file 3.05 2.63 1.16x
Duplicate 60 MB folder with 1,100 items 16.34 17.88 .91x
Let1kWindowsBloom Time 48 33 1.45x
Sherlock Index of 60 MB folder above 7.06 6.59 1.07x

Original G3/266 PowerBook test information - This is just a quick look at the performance difference between 10.0.4 and 10.1, testing Apple's claims of speed improvements. Apple stated at the keynote that applications should launch 2-3 times faster under 10.1 and our initial testing indicates that Apple isn't blowing smoke in this department. The two tests Apple used at the Keynote revealed just under the 2-3 x performance increase promised. I threw in a few extra tests out of curiosity. I didn't anticipate any improvements in the Classic launch tests as the version of classic, 9.2.1 was unchanged between tests. I was impressed by the improvement in OS X reboot time and somewhat puzzled by the drop in performance when copying the large folder. I welcome your thoughts on this as well as the other tests.

All of the tests below were run on a PowerBook G3/266 with 320 MB RAM and upgraded with a 20 GB Travelstar drive. We will be conducting further tests on one of the new Quicksilver machines.

PowerBook G3/266 Performance Scores

Test OS X - 10.0.4 Time OS X - 10.1 Time Difference
Reboot OS X 113.47 76.51 1.48x
Launch "Classic" 79.82 73.59 1.08x
Launch Internet Explorer 5.1 14.66 5.29 2.77x
Launch QuickTime player 6.79 3.74 1.82x
Duplicate 20 MB file 8.37 5.56 1.51x
Duplicate 60 MB folder with 1,100 items 28.34 36.74 .77x

For additional extensive information on OS X visit the X-Files

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