All Macs In-Depth Tests
The Performance Edge: A Tale Of Two Macintosh Operating Systems - Classic Mac 9.2.1 Performance Compared To Standard Mac OS 9.2.1
Sunday, October 28, 2001

Classic is the application that allows you to run older Mac OS applications that cannot run directly under Mac OS X. In this it is similar to Virtual PC. The Classic layer within OS X, sets up an environment in which Mac OS 9.x can run. When you click on an application that will not run in OS X, the Classic layer responds by launching Mac OS 9.x. You will see Mac OS 9.x go through the boot process and once that is done you will have the two OS's running at the same time. Bring a Classic application to the forefront and you'll be presented with the classic Mac OS interface. Bring a OS X application to the front and you are once again dealing with the new operating system's look, feel and technology. Applications within the Classic environment cannot take advantage of the advanced technologies of Mac OS X, such as preemptive multitasking, or symmetric multiprocessing. Nor can they utilize the increased stability of Mac OS X.

Below we compare performance when booted under Mac OS 9.2.1 and when booted under Mac OS 10.1 but running applications in the Classic environment using the same Mac OS 9.2.1. Apple has done a great job of both making the experience of moving between Mac OS X and Classic Mac OS almost seamless, and in keeping the performance of the Classic layer very good - as you'll see from the benchmark results below.

All test were run on a dual processor G4/800 tower with 768 MB of RAM. Higher scores are better.

This test copies a single folder with several thousand files

This test copies a single large graphics file








This Quake test is more processor intensive. The Classic application keeps up remarkably well

Here the Quake test is almost exclusively dependent on the the graphics card


This test stress both the processor and graphics card


AltiVec is what Apple refers to as the 'Velocity Engine' of the G4 processor


Booting and Rebooting is very fast in Classic