All Macs In-Depth Tests
The Performance Edge: Three Macintosh Operating Systems Go Head To Head - Mac OS 9.2.1 vs Classic Mac OS 9.2.1 vs Mac OS 10.1
Thursday, November 1, 2001

From a performance standpoint, the main advantage Mac OS X has over previous versions of the Mac OS, is the ability to utilize the processor(s) more effecently. It does this two ways. The first is a better multitasking scheme, which allows you to run multiple applications, either on one processor, or across multiple processors. The other is more developed multithreading support. This allows retooled applications to spawn multiple tasks that can run concurrently on a single processors or, again, across multiple processors.

These abilities have been available in the Mac OS for some time but only in a very limited and for the most part inefficient way. Mac OS X releases these capabilities as a matter of course, as far as Multitasking goes. Multithreading becomes effective after a little programing effort on the part of developers, to make their applications take advantage of it.

This gives Mac OS X a great performance advantage, but only to a certain point. Each individual Mac has only so much processing power. Once you are utilizing it all, multitasking or no multitasking, it won't process any faster. This is really quite well demonstrated by the benchmark results below. In the Fractal test, any available processing bandwidth is being utilized by the program, under any OS. So OS X provides no real benefit here. However in the QuikTime Sorenson encode things become much more efficient when running under Mac OS 10.1. We are able to run two copies of QuickTime, with the dual processors chomping away at data at the same time. The result? A 90% efficiency improvement.

Below we compare performance when booted under Mac OS 9.2.1, to 9.2.1 running applications in the Classic environment, to straight on Mac OS 10.1.

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

Here the dual processors are under-utilized. Mac OS 9 and Classic lock up the machine until the encode is done . Mac OS 10.1 is as fluid as mercury with about half the processing power of the machine available to be utilized for something else. It is up to you to make sure this potential is not wasted.

For this test we ran two copies of QuickTime at once crunching away on two files under Mac OS 10.1. Under Classic and 9.2 we ran the QuickTime encode twice, one after the other .... because we had to.



Crunch, crunch, crunch....


Processors are totally saturated under each OS

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