ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

86 Mac Plus Vs. 07 AMD DualCore. You Won't Believe Who Wins

Updated on March 20, 2011

The Most Outlandish Computer Comparison Ever!

Bloat. If you think that Americans are getting fatter, take one good look at the operating system (OS) your computer is running right now. It gets larger and more weighed down with every update. We are in the third decade of global personal computing, and have we really progressed that far?

Let's go back to the dawn of personal computing and grab an old sentimental favorite, the Apple Macintosh Plus. The Mac Plus is an icon of the '80s along with padded shoulders, big hair and Devo. It seems that we all had a little Mac, either in our college dorm room, in the upstairs bedroom, or on our office desk at some time. With its tiny 9-inch black & white screen and all-in-one packaging, the Mac Plus is a computing relic in the days of widescreen LCD monitors and dual- and quad-core systems.

Nobody's ever been crazy enough to do this!
Nobody's ever been crazy enough to do this!
The vintage Mac Plus sitting on its external hard drive.
The vintage Mac Plus sitting on its external hard drive.
The insides of the Mac Plus, 1980s technology at its finest.
The insides of the Mac Plus, 1980s technology at its finest.
The innards of a modern computer. It helps when you don't have to fit a CRT into the case!
The innards of a modern computer. It helps when you don't have to fit a CRT into the case!
A Hitachi 21" CRT Monitor. The old black & white external Mac Ikegami 24" were even bigger!
A Hitachi 21" CRT Monitor. The old black & white external Mac Ikegami 24" were even bigger!
OK, so it's not very big or colourful. But it gets the job done!
OK, so it's not very big or colourful. But it gets the job done!
Windows XP's desktop takes you to tropical "Vistas".
Windows XP's desktop takes you to tropical "Vistas".

However, to run these state-of-the-art PCs, we need to install one of the latest OSs. And that's where we run into trouble. Most people today have either Windows XP or Vista on their PCs. These OSs are modern, possess virtually infinite capacities and can run any of the most modern software. With the greater functionality comes size.

The Comparison

The generally recommended configuration for a Mac Plus is System 6.0.8. This is an OS that needs a legitimate minimum of 1 megabyte of RAM to be able to multitask, connect to a network, print, display WYSIWYG in millions of colours (on modular Macs), as well as run a reasonable GUI. Those are functions that usually require at least 500 times more memory under Windows XP and 1,000 times more memory under Windows Vista.

When we look at OS hard disk requirements, we find similar discrepancies. System 6.0.8 requires 1MB, Windows XP requires 1.5GB and Windows Vista 15GB. Yes, Vista needs 15,000 times the hard disk space as System 6.0.8. In simple text format, you can write 175,000 words in one megabyte which is the size of System 6.0.8. That works out to about two full-length novels. Windows Vista demands enough real estate on your hard drive that you could easily fit 30,000 full-length novels into it.

System 6.0.8 is not only a lot more compact since it has far fewer (mostly useless) features and therefore less code to process, but also because it was written in assembly code instead of the higher level language C. The lower the level of the code language, the less processing cycles are required to get something done.

The Mac Plus has a Motorola 68000 CPU running at 8MHz. The AMD has an Athlon 64 X2 4800+ with two cores, each running at 2.4GHz. In absolute computing power exclusively measured in processor speed, AMD's combined 4.8GHz is 600 times faster than the Motorola. However, the AMD is a far more advanced processor, thus performs in conventional benchmarks much faster than the old 68000 per Mhz. So it's very safe to say that the AMD is at least 1,000 times faster than the Mac Plus.

We decided to splurge and fit the maximum possible 4MB RAM into the old Plus. After all it was going up against AMD with its 2x512MB RAM for a total of 1,024MB or 1GB. That's about 250 times more memory than the Mac.

The Mac was fitted with an external SCSI 40MB Hard Drive. The AMD had an internal IDE 120GB Hard Drive with a 3,000 times greater data capacity. Both drives were under 10% filled.

The Tests

In order to keep the hoots and hollers of "unfair comparison" at a minimum, we designed the tests to be as fair and equitable as possible. There was no point running PCMark or Sandra Sisoft-type benchmarks on the two computers as the AMD would have the Mac for lunch. We focussed on running tests that reflect how the user perceives the computing experience. After all, most users don't know or care whether their computer has a 65nm dual-core CPU or a tiny midget wizard squatting in their cases. All they care about is how it works and how quickly it does the tasks we most often ask it to do. And no, we didn't include processing-heavy modern software like Photoshop or Crysis! We selected very basic everyday functions that were performed equally by the 1980s and the 2007 Microsoft applications.

Since the tests involve both different computers and different versions of software, it was important to design the tests to have as much consistency as possible.

1) Test timings were performed by a single person.

2) All of the tests were performed on the latest and most effective OS configuration. For the Mac Plus, that was System 6.0.8. For the AMD that was Windows XP Professional SP2.

3) All of the tests were performed with a generally recommended amount of RAM for the OS configuration. For the Mac Plus, that was 4MB. For the AMD that was 1GB.

4) All of the tests were done on original spec systems, therefore the hard disks were freshly formatted, the OSs just installed and no third party software beyond the standard Apple and Microsoft installations.

5) All of the tests were performed with only that single application open. Nothing but background and OS tasks that are part of a standard install of either OSs were running. The computers were not connected to the Internet or a LAN.

6) All of the tests were measured to within 0.1 second.

7) Each tests was performed at least three times per test per machine and the times averaged out.

The tests themselves went off flawlessly. Neither computer crashed or misbehaved in any way. They just did what they were asked, regardless of the technolgical advancements (or lack thereof) inside the case.

We didn't try any Web Surfing since the only browsers that are supposed to work well on the Mac Plus are Mozilla 1.2.1, Mozilla 1.3.1 and early versions of WannaBe and iCab. We thought that surfing the net on a b&w 9” screen would be a bit of a bummer, so we skipped it. However, there are some die-hard enthusiasts that are doing just that!

Then again there were various ways, including the Power R Video Driver Cable and various external dongles, which would let you connect all sorts of large external monitors to the Mac Plus. I remember lugging huge 80 lb. Ikegami 24” b&w monitors up and down stairs as they were the preferred screens for the later compact Macs like the SEs an SE/30s of publishing art departments around 1990. The photo of the monitor here is of a Hitachi 21” which was the biggest one I could find. Just picture that the Ikegamis were much bigger even than this monster! I guess that's why I still have a bad back!

We ran a variety of tests on two major software applications. The AMD got Word and Excel from Microsoft Office 2007. The Mac Plus got Word 3.01 and Excel 1.5. Yes, we know that these software versions were released one and two years respectively after the 1986 Mac Plus. But we just couldn't bring ourselves to run the earlier and hopelessly buggy versions.

Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word is the single software application most often used by people around the world. The tests that hold the greatest relevance to everyday office and personal use of Word are the most basic ones: Application Launch, Find & Replace, Open File, Pasting, Saving, Scrolling, Typing and Word Count.

Microsoft Excel

With Excel, we concentrated again on the most repetitive and common tasks. We chose: Application Launch, Arrange Windows, Autoformat, Fill Range, In-Cell Editing, Scroll Vertical, Subtotals and Zoom Out. Most users use relatively small spreadsheets so we used a 640 filled-cell format.

Time To Boot

Just for fun, we thought we'd throw in a Boot timing as well, just to see how long the OS takes from the time the button is pushed until the desktop is ready to use.

Conclusion

Check out the results! For the functions that people use most often, the 1986 vintage Mac Plus beats the 2007 AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+: 9 tests to 8! Out of the 17 tests, the antique Mac won 53% of the time! Including a jaw-dropping 52 second whipping of the AMD from the time the Power button is pushed to the time the Desktop is up and useable.

We also didn't want to overly embarrass the AMD by comparing the time it takes to install the OS vs. the old Mac. The Mac's average of about a minute is dwarfed by the approximately one hour install time of Windows XP Pro.

Is this to say that the Mac Plus is a better computer than the AMD? Of course not. The technological advancements of 21 years have placed modern PCs in a completely different league of varied capacities. But the "User Experience" has not changed much in two decades. Due to bloated code that has to incorporate hundreds of functions that average users don't even know exist, let alone ever utilize, the software companies have weighed down our PCs to effectively neutralize their vast speed advantages. When we compare strictly common, everyday, basic user tasks between the Mac Plus and the AMD we find remarkable similarities in overall speed, thus it can be stated that for the majority of simple office uses, the massive advances in technology in the past two decades have brought zero advance in productivity.

And that's just plain crazy.

 

Check out hundreds of Hal's PC Technology articles in these categories:

Comments

Submit a Comment

  • profile image

    needpcrepair 6 years ago

    And this is why I'M SURE anybody in their right mind would rather have the MacPlus, rather than the more modern machine. As I'm sure you do, right?

    All tests done with no other tasks open?

    Because, surely nobody would open a word document AT THE SAME TIME they're working on a spreadsheet, right? If you want get really crazy, maybe have your email open during all this... Yeah, I know. No point, because nobody ever does this, right?

    http://www.needpcrepair.co.uk

  • hitendramandaliya profile image

    hitendramandaliya 6 years ago

    Thanks man, this was really amaizing.

    http://www.bestptcsite.com

  • Hal Licino profile image
    Author

    Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto

    Yup, and I was up to my a$$ in alligators trying to fend off the comments that were coming in every minute! I needed a week in the intensive care ward after that! :)

  • nicomp profile image

    nicomp really 7 years ago from Ohio, USA

    This hub drew 130K page views in one day? Kewl!

  • profile image

    Lucidica 7 years ago

    What you want to do is take the test to the next level and pit the PC against an BBC Micro http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BBC_Micro !!

    Not sure how you'd test Word though, or Excel, or maybe anything...

    There must be a test waiting out there to be performed of the best computer ever made, though considering the die hard Amiga and Atari fans it may come to blood

    http://www.lucidica.com

  • adorababy profile image

    adorababy 7 years ago from Syracuse, NY

    Overall, the results of the 1.8Ghz SSD are as expected. The 1.8GHz processor gives a small boost in CPU performance. The SSD option, however, gives the most dramatic speed increases in non-sequential file reading since there is no physical drive head to move. As expected, the SSD is slightly slower at sequential file writing, but the low seek time makes up for this when performing non-sequential writes.

  • secretscp profile image

    secretscp 7 years ago

    That's a pretty amazing comparison. That old Mac Plus is pretty fast! I have a new Mac and love it.

  • profile image

    sysfix 7 years ago

    The more technology evolves, the more is crammed into little devices. Simple fact is there is more to go wrong and a higher price to fix it. I'm not a fan of macs but am a fan of the way the mac software is free unlike windows PCs. There is obviously a lot of interest in articles like this.

    http://www.sysfix.co.uk

  • Hal Licino profile image
    Author

    Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto

    You're very welcome! :)

  • Iberkenbosch profile image

    Iberkenbosch 7 years ago from Amsterdam, Netherlands

    Now advanced technology is using by all the hardware manufacturers,so here AMD is good in it,but still people love Apple's product.

    I must suggest that what's good for now we must follow that.Thanks to you for researching a lot before publishing this article.

  • Hal Licino profile image
    Author

    Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto

    Ya it was pretty wild. It's still my top drawing Hub at well over a quarter million pageviews! :) I don't even have a Mac Plus anymore... sad to say... I loved the compact Macs... I did soooooooooo many great things on them... oh well... nostalgia... :(

  • drbj profile image

    drbj and sherry 7 years ago from south Florida

    Wow, what a firestorm you created with this hub, Hal. Unbelievable.

    I loved my very old, teeny Mac but use Windows today. Which do you use most often today, Hal - the Mac or the WIN PC?

  • Hal Licino profile image
    Author

    Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto

    YAAAAAAAA Mac Plus RULES! (I say on my Core i7, 12 GB RAM, Velociraptor, RAID... heheheheh)

  • profile image

    model4tees 7 years ago

    Proves my suspicion that next time I need to go type a few pages of text I should just go and boot up the MacPlus (as I have little doubt that these numbers are also true for OpenOffice.org).

    Data Recovery at http://www.easyrecovery.ie/

  • Hal Licino profile image
    Author

    Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto

    Mike Rogers: Thanks! Ah, for the good old days! :)

    AlanSwenson: Thanks! It's still my top drawing Hub of all time, well over quarter million pageviews and still going!

    RockFixer: iPad is a profoundly flawed unit. I'm waiting for v2.0.

  • profile image

    RockFixer 7 years ago

    Now enter the iPad.

    Boot time 0 (as it is supposed to be running 24/7).

    Time to get on the internet (or running any application) a MAXIMUM of 2-3 seconds.

    THIS is why the iPad will be such a game changer. The first major change since the birth of the personal computer. Combine that with the fact, that now you won´t have to "speak computer" in order to use one.

  • AlanSwenson profile image

    AlanSwenson 7 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

    This was the coolest idea for an article ever

  • Mike Rogers profile image

    Mike Rogers 7 years ago

    Fantastic hub! Takes me back to the "good old days" of computing when knowledge was hard to come by and completely "hands on" training was all there was.

  • Hal Licino profile image
    Author

    Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto

    You're welcome!

  • profile image

    debtspecialist 7 years ago

    Certainly an informative article. Thanks for sharing!

    Regards

  • Hal Licino profile image
    Author

    Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto

    Amazing that a machine that is older than many computer users these days can still do everything that most people need to do every day!

  • Joel McDonald profile image

    Joel McDonald 7 years ago from Denver, Colorado

    You know what they say...

    Once you go Mac, you never go back. Thanks for sharing your observations!

  • Hal Licino profile image
    Author

    Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto

    Thanks!

  • profile image

    anderbee 7 years ago

    this is an amazing hub, great job.

  • Hal Licino profile image
    Author

    Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto

    The early DOS versions (actually all DOS versions) were the worst crimes against personal computers ever foisted! They retarded the adoption of personal computing by the masses by at least a decade. Who the heck could figure that out! And there was NO excuse as PARC was around in the Early 70s! Sheesh!

  • nicomp profile image

    nicomp really 7 years ago from Ohio, USA

    We all need to spend 1 day with DOS 2.0. Then we'd appreciate what we have. Even a Commodore 64 would look good.

  • Hal Licino profile image
    Author

    Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto

    My pleasure!

  • tonyhubb profile image

    tonyhubb 7 years ago

    Thanks for comparison. Great article.

  • Hal Licino profile image
    Author

    Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

    I'd love to be running my Core i7 on Windows 98 SE. It would SMOKE! But I doubt that even if it would boot I could do much with it. Dang. :(

  • ajparker profile image

    ajparker 8 years ago from North Carolina

    This is one of the things that has frustrated me about computing over the last 2-3 decades. I think part of it is that the big companies are caught in the cycle of trying to sell the new hardware, so the software they write is bigger, slower and NEEDS the new hardware.

    There was an old saying that the new version of windows was designed to make your new computer just as slow as the old one ran the last release. I wish they could take some time to stop adding bells, whistles and shiny gizmos to take the time to optimize and lean down.

  • Hal Licino profile image
    Author

    Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

    W7 does feature various implementations from the kernel level on up to maximize the speed of almost every function, well above the abysmal level of Vista. Even with SP1, it's pretty slow in disk copies. Before it was unusable.

  • satellite_dish profile image

    satellite_dish 8 years ago

    i just installed windows 7 and i've got to tell you: it took a little more than windows xp!

    it took more than 3.0 Gb of my harddrive, but it looks like i have an increased download speed (by 50%)

    this is my observation, until now.

    joel ziare

    http://www.centruldepresa.com

  • Avare profile image

    Avare 8 years ago

    Wow! What a great discussion! This war between Mac and PC will never ends I hope. And computers will progress faster.

  • Hal Licino profile image
    Author

    Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

    That's great. You can follow my lead of trading in my Core i7 920 for a PCjr! :)

  • profile image

    chessknught 8 years ago

    I'm thinking about trading in my Core 2 DUO laptop in for a Commodore Pet...

    Ted Neustaedter

    http://slow-pc.com

  • Hal Licino profile image
    Author

    Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

    Thanks! Much appreciated!

  • karelia profile image

    karelia 8 years ago from California

    Very informative comparison. Let's hear it for the classics. Nice hub.

  • Hal Licino profile image
    Author

    Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

    Hi, Erick! Thanks for the comments! I'll check your Hubs out! :)

  • profile image

    Erick Smart 8 years ago

    Great Hub, is very informative. It's good to know how advanced is the technology in these days, but like you saythe "User Experience" has not changed much in two decades. Due to bloated code that has to incorporate hundreds of functions that average users don't even know exist.We have on our computers a lot stuff that we don't use.

    I'll be glad if you read my hubs, I hope you like.

  • Hal Licino profile image
    Author

    Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

    removda, thanks for the kind words and the bestowing of geekery upon my humble shoulders! :)

    Bruce Elkin: Ah, what you could do with 512K RAM that you can do just about as well with my current 4GB RAM...

    metalman123: Keep in mind that we're comparing computers that are two decades apart.

  • profile image

    metalman123 8 years ago

    Well I use apple since nearly 20 years and sometimes I have to use Windows (98/2000/xp) and can only say that both have its benefits. Nowadays I prefer the Apple more because it really works and the problem with virus nearly doesn´t exist. Comparing windows and Mac is like camparing Mercedes and BMW. Sometimes BMW is one step ahead and sometimes ... Greetings, Niki

  • Bruce Elkin profile image

    Bruce Elkin 8 years ago from Victoria, BC Canada

    I had an 86 "Fat Mac". loved it. Wish i had it now. Still a Mac user though. Thanks!

  • profile image

    removda 8 years ago

    "For the functions that people use most often, the 1986 vintage Mac Plus beats the 2007 AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+: 9 tests to 8! "

    H-o-l-y SH*T!

    "We also didn't want to overly embarrass the AMD by comparing the time it takes to install the OS vs. the old Mac. The Mac's average of about a minute is dwarfed by the approximately one hour install time of Windows XP Pro."

    Oh, wow.

    "...the "User Experience" has not changed much in two decades. Due to bloated code that has to incorporate hundreds of functions that average users don't even know exist, let alone ever utilize, the software companies have weighed down our PCs to effectively neutralize their vast speed advantages"

    Someone should go to prison for this, LOL.

    This is a very interesting hub.

    And you are a geek, lol :)

    Ah. One day I will change to the Mac. Great hub.

  • Hal Licino profile image
    Author

    Hal Licino 9 years ago from Toronto

    You're welcome! :)

  • funwithtrains profile image

    funwithtrains 9 years ago from USA

    This is a very cool hub -- thanks!

  • Hal Licino profile image
    Author

    Hal Licino 9 years ago from Toronto

    Yes, Niki, but note that this comparison was showing that a computer over two decades old actually beat a brand new state of the art computer. That's the basic point of it. It was never intended to be a Mac vs. PC article.

  • profile image

    Niki_Buchen 9 years ago

    Well I use apple since nearly 20 years and sometimes I have to use Windows (98/2000/xp) and can only say that both have its benefits. Nowadays I prefer the Apple more because it really works and the problem with virus nearly doesn´t exist. Comparing windows and Mac is like camparing Mercedes and BMW. Sometimes BMW is one step ahead and sometimes ... Greetings, Niki

  • Hal Licino profile image
    Author

    Hal Licino 9 years ago from Toronto

    Hey wgsu007, I wasn't aware of that! Thanks!!! I could write a book about how to get to the top of Google, however, here is my top secret code and I'll let you have it for free: WRITE QUALITY CONTENT! :)

  • profile image

    wgsu007 9 years ago

    Mac FTW!

    Oh by the way, when you search hubpages on Google this Hub is the second result right after the HubPage Homepage.

  • guidebaba profile image

    guidebaba 9 years ago from India

    Excellent.

  • Hal Licino profile image
    Author

    Hal Licino 9 years ago from Toronto

    I'm working on some shootouts that will make this look like a Sunday School Picnic! Tune into this Haltime and Halchannel. Hal's back... and watch out! :)

  • ProCW profile image

    ProCW 9 years ago from South Carolina

    It was very interesting to read about how they compare. Would love to see more odd comparisons!

  • profile image

    VinceSamios 9 years ago from Australia

    This is a seriously excellent test! But to be honest I'm not surprised - the mac OS was so slim back then!

  • outdoorjunkie profile image

    outdoorjunkie 9 years ago from California

    The problem is how much more code is stuffed into the newer versions of Word, Excel, etc.

  • JonnyBRock profile image

    JonnyBRock 9 years ago from New York City

    Great Hub. It reminds me of the old days as an 86 Mac was actually the first computer I ever played with as a kid.

    I'm running VISTA now and it's amazing what a pain in the ass it is when considering how powerful my computer is. It should run better than it does, if you know what I mean... and clearly you do.

  • jezzbb profile image

    Jess Ba-ad 9 years ago from Philippines

    Surprising results considering the newer technology.

  • Dish Network Dude profile image

    Dish Network Dude 9 years ago

    What a fun test! I have an old Mac in the basement - I think I'll pull it out and take a tour down memory lane...

    Thanks

  • profile image

    Jeruselem 9 years ago

    The modern computer is very different beast to that Mac in it's time. The Mac did not have overhead of a modern OS. I mean, the Mac did not need to deal with firewalls, anti-virus, anti-spyware, and software we need these days. The demands on a modern computer have changed and if you placed the same modern demands on a 1986 Mac, it would not cope. Also, in the early days - the OS was coded specially for that machine type. These days, they don't do that due to the amound of different hardware around.

  • profile image

    Steve 9 years ago

    What they do not tell you or take into consideration, is that the installation of Windows covers several hundred motherboards, 20 graphics cards and so on. Compatability comes with a price...speed. If you want to compare Apples to "Apples" you need to compare a properly embedded version of Windows that is dedicated to one set of hardware. It is easy to bash Microsoft when you don't have to compete on IBM clone hardware.

  • profile image

    what the 9 years ago

    yeah rock on - less is more for basic functionality!

  • beta1070 profile image

    beta1070 9 years ago from UK

    Linux would make a difference but the fact that the world's most used OS is so bloated is losing every single country millions of man hours of productivity every year! And impeding our progress.

  • profile image

    Dan 9 years ago

    What an absurd, brilliant comparison! The absurdity is acknowledged all the way through your description of the test. And THAT'S the point! A comparison this absurd should not have yielded the real-life, user-experience results you found. I am only commenting because I am so impressed by the fact that you did this and provided such a vivid illustration of a point that many of us have suspected all along. A classic! Brilliant!

  • profile image

    background-check 9 years ago

    Jake is on the money, most people never use all the capacity their existing systems have.

  • badback profile image

    badback 9 years ago from United States

    wow, what an eye opener!

  • profile image

    Jake 9 years ago

    I believe that most computer users need just the very basic software to get the job done... now the main reason people need upgrades is for compatibility. For instance, I've seen some companies have to upgrade their entire network's computers simply to run new versions of Office. If that weren't the case, a mac Plus would work for the average office or school... heck I wouldn't mind using one myself, but I'd load Linux on mine.

  • profile image

    peoplesearch 9 years ago

    A 1000 times slower or not, I'll still take the Mac :)

  • profile image

    Anonymous 9 years ago

    Great article. Programmers really need to start making more efficient operating systems and software. However, if people weren't convinced to keep thinking they need faster computers, they wouldn't keep buying them every few years, and Microsoft wouldn't make as much money on software bundled with new computers. It sure would be nice if they would do something about boot time as well; I have a laptop with Windows that takes over ten times as long to boot up than my old 286 with DeskMate.

  • profile image

    RymdApan 9 years ago

    Ha ha. nice. I remember the plus with sys 6. The one assigned to our room had no harddrive so network shares loaded at startup to access databases, saving space and software. Knowing computers from early 80s and on I say that the mac plus vs. modern PC is a good comparison. If we go PC at the same time the work paradigm is different. While the mac was fully windowed the PC wasn't so yet. There was something called MS word for the PC but it was not the same at all. (Lotus 123 was the standard PC spreadsheet and it did not use point and click) Macintosh (with MS apps mind you) set the standards then. Windows sets the standards now. And sadly, as pointed out, nothing much has happened to improve the user interface.

  • profile image

    Myron 9 years ago

    There was a lot of debate in days gone by of GUI vs TUI. I worked on a mainframe and some of the simple text-based apps were quite fast especially compared to GUIs but so much less usable because screen real estate was at a premium.

    The one thing this proves is that word processors, spreadsheets, etc. back in the days of that '86 Mac were simple applications that did their core functions very well. Modern word processors are bloated POS' that barely do basic word processing well and have hundreds of functions most people will never use. The standard in the PC industry is you do not sell patches, you sell new functionality. To sell word processors you have to add new functions that one percent of the people will use or redesign it so that nobody can figure out what happened to the commands they used to use.

    Computers back then were also simple machines. You bought a machine built from the ground up using standard parts and got an actual copy of the OS to install. Now you buy a machine with vendor-specific parts and get a recovery partition from which you can burn one or more recovery CDs or DVDs if you wish. That "basic OS" on your brand new Windows machine has a lot of trial versions of programs you don't want, trial versions of anti-virus software that slow your machine down to a crawl, programs running in memory to update the OS and those other programs you don't want, adware, etc. that are almost impossible to install, web browsers with toolbars from Yahoo, Google, etc. and hundreds of useless bookmarks. Its no wonder they are so slow out of the box!

    Thankfully Linux is still at the basic OS stage. No adware, no bloatware, no antivirus machines. It is fast because it is just a basic fully functional OS and I get to choose what I want to run on it not some vendor who is paid for those extra programs they preload.

  • profile image

    danbrew 9 years ago

    Interesting (and fun) article, yet a huge premise is that "the most common tasks" won't evolve over time. If new ideas (and advancements in hardware/software) aren't adopted and help people to do things better, faster, smarter, etc., then why are we using computers? Couldn't a typewriter do the same thing as Word circa 1984? Pretty much.

  • profile image

    Stefan Olsson 9 years ago

    Hi

    I like this test becosue the everyday work is not that depened on the process power, more of the size of the screen etc. and the test remind us of that.

    However, try to compare the experience between a 3D game on the two platforms, then it will be dramatic difference (I hope so, otherwise no new computer for me ).

    Regards

  • profile image

    BRmusicLuver 9 years ago

    Well I read most of the post and if you think an old computer will beat a new one you are definitely mistaken. I have been building and repairing computers for seven years and started out with a 633 mhz celeron and now have a 3.2 Pentium with 512 x2 ram(2 512 ram cards) and now ready to go up to a dual or better a quad core for production.For a PC, what I have now is outstanding for more than avarage use. With the advancement of web graphics if you have less that a 1000 mhz pc with less than 512 mb ram you will probobly get very frustrated if you like the graphical websites with all the videos, moving pictures ie flash presentations ect. I agree if you run BASIC office apps and view basic web pages an old PC is fine except the life expentance but cheap to repair though. So in a nut shell its about what you need to do with it. As far as the Mac PC battle I came here to find out what would be a better route for a computer to do media as well as other basic and advanced applications and would not have compatibility issues.

    My question is:

    What would be better. An custom built PC with Athlon quad core or I Mac for media as well as other basic and advanced applications and would not have compatibility issues?

  • profile image

    Analyst 9 years ago

    should i throw away my AMD pc and buy MAC Plus? I don't know now....HaHa.. Make sure no AMD workers reading your article

  • MrMarmalade profile image

    MrMarmalade 9 years ago from Sydney

    I will be buying new Desktop in the near future.

    Maybe I should look into the Mac. I have resisted up to now, as I new some of the original people with Apple and i was not impressed. You have changed my mind considerably.

    I do agree with the truck and car analogy.

    Thank you

  • profile image

    Dansgalaxy 9 years ago

    I think if microsft did its OS free it would be fine but its because they feel they have to protect it theres alot of that clogging it up.

    and its just because they have to go with the majority and unfortunatly the majority is half brain twits who dont have a clue so the system has to come preconfigured and "ready to go"

    personally i would be quite happy to get 2 hours of endless option screens on first install and just do it that way but because most users would hate that they cant

  • profile image

    Michael 9 years ago

    Some of us who know computer hardware have always hoped that the software writers would not slow the computer down. To many features get in the way. The lack of skill in actual programming requires more memory and faster processors.

  • profile image

    Education Articles 9 years ago

    What a fantastic test,... is this for real? I have both a PC and iMac and do feel the Mac is faster at most things, (in particular graphical stuff, but that's well known), but if that's what XP & Vista are doing to the processor speed, what's the point?

    Great test, thanks for sharing. - Paul

  • Misha profile image

    Misha 9 years ago from DC Area

    This is sooo wrong... and so funny at the same time... Thanks, Hal!

  • profile image

    memoryman1 9 years ago

    Untill this last year I did not like macs. I still use a PC most of the time but I like the Macs design and how simple everything is to use. That and they are not bloated with trial ware when you purchase one.

  • profile image

    munroenet 10 years ago

    Check out this hub:

    http://hubpages.com/hub/Why-Microsoft-PCs-Run-So-S...

    This gives you the reason why Microsoft OC run so slow.

  • profile image

    munroenet 10 years ago

    This was very interesting, Good presentation!!! Great work. Wish it was my hub! But the main problem is microsoft makes there OS for robots the space shuttle, lunar landers, servers, satelites and so much more that they have to have all these services that main PC users don't need. That is the problem. Well great job on the hub

    Munroenet

  • profile image

    thebinaryman 10 years ago

    its all due to damn microsoft. horrible software. running linux that amd would be much faster. if you were running os 6 in a virtual machine on the amd, it would boot in less than two seconds. i've done it. microsoft is to blame for the amd's slow response in these tests.

  • prathi profile image

    prathi 10 years ago

    yes I do enjoy these sort of articles, as they remind us of the essential nature of the user experience and computers. More Gee-Whiz is fine, but productivity definitely takes a hit. I'm a total Apple activist, but even I would be interested in seeing this comparison run again with a new Mac Pro / iMac / MacMini just for the heck of it.

  • prathi profile image

    prathi 10 years ago

    yes I do enjoy these sort of articles, as they remind us of the essential nature of the user experience and computers. More Gee-Whiz is fine, but productivity definitely takes a hit. I'm a total Apple activist, but even I would be interested in seeing this comparison run again with a new Mac Pro / iMac / MacMini just for the heck of it.

  • red23 profile image

    red23 10 years ago

    You receive a DIGG, my friend. You are my hero!! Death to indows!!!

  • profile image

    J. P. Gilliver 10 years ago

    Yes, I "got" the article - and agree: for a lot of the word-processing a lot of us do a lot of the time, there is little difference between a computer - with the recommended software at the time, by most dealers - then and now. (I do agree with the person who mentioned on-the-fly typing-checking though.)

    If you leave off the GUI aspect, then earlier machines were even faster, because they booted from ROM (though they lost when it came to saving, as they went to floppy). My machine of choice was a BBC Master; it might under slightly different circumstances have been one of the (floppy) disc-based Amstrads.

    <> I think the worst aspect of modern software - OS and applications - is the lack of optionality; I think if it were possible to turn off the facilities one did not want - or, ideally, just turn them on when you wanted them - modern OSs/software would be much faster, and I do mean the main one, i. e. Windows; I know (well, suspect) that the *x and others are indeed configurable in that way, but I'm talking about what the general person buys and uses.

    <> (Finally, although the article was most definitely NOT a Mac-vs-PC one, I must take - light-heartedly - issue with one person who said the Mac still rules in the world of freeware: I can't actually speak for the Mac not being a user, but there's still plenty out there for the PC. And it can be small - the latest IrfanView main core, from http://irfanview.tuwien.ac.at/iview400_setup.exe, is still 1.1M, i. e. would fit on a floppy! [Even a 5.25" one! {I keep such adrive in my system, for archaeological purposes.}] And there are plenty of others, though not so many on the small side - I still haven't seen anything to beat the 453 bytes of flame.com for some while.)

  • ervinGPD profile image

    ervinGPD 10 years ago

    All that is just a prove that we as humans had fairly missed a point and 'healthy common sense' in using our resources and marking our development. Obviously, an artificial mind will correct huge lack of common sense in our intellectual work or the next big catastrophe will wipe out this 'rubbish producing' and 'energy wasting' civilisation, till next one will arrive. p.s. It was really so exciting making programmes in Assembler for M68000 or Z80. (Sinclair Spectrum, QL, Atari, Commodore 64,128 and Amiga), but VAX VMS operating system was the king!

  • profile image

    Dansgalaxy 10 years ago

    I would point out here, that yea the ram hdd space and everything else has increased hugly since then but really, the hardware has grown with the software, and then the new software its programed to make use of the new tech!

    And for nerds like me the extra functions are often used, and alot of stuff like that can be disabled to increase sys preformance,... then again you have to be a geek to know how..

  • profile image

    Gideon Brett 10 years ago

    XP beaten by a 21 year old piece of crap? that is just crazy but then again macs are better than windows. kudos to mac for being a great os! now lets kill xp so fast they can explode!

  • profile image

    blah blah 10 years ago

    what about computing before the 80's, I would love to see a study about that maybe using a DEC machine, or maybe a VAX machine, last year I installed windows 3.1 on a DEC and IT BOOTED (and I'm no m$ fan, quite the contrary), see what I hate about mac cult is that you just ignore everything that's existed before "home appliances" to justify the meaningfullness of being "cool", at the hype of, surfing the electric era or WTF you think of.

    BSD boots, hey, an OS from _this_century, a MICROVAX

    http://www.mcmanis.com/chuck/computers/vaxen/

    can "home appliances" plug a disk into that, it thrills me, can MAC 86 beat a Microvax.??

  • Hal Licino profile image
    Author

    Hal Licino 10 years ago from Toronto

    My goodness... The barrage of comments on this thread certainly have been enlightening! I doubt that there is one nook or cranny of the pro - con spectrum that hasn't been elaborated ad infinitum. I guess there is little left for me to add other than to thank all the contributors so far, all the way from the enthusiastic supporters to the ones who want to take Mafia contracts out on my head! :)

  • profile image

    Nicholaspaul 10 years ago

    relax, oh ye nay sayers. The idea of the article was to have some fun, not point out the futility of new technology. Nobody in their right mind would purposefully use a ten year old computer INSTEAD of a new one. Everyone wants everything done NOW, if not before.

    And the author DID mention that comparing OS6 with OS X would give the same results. It's funny how PC users (which is actually practically everyone...) are the first to get upset when someone mentions Macs and PCs in the same sentence.

    Sigh!

    Still, a very 'fun' article, insightful and food for thought. Nicely done!

  • profile image

    elixir 10 years ago

    Hey, hand the compters to REAL office goers today..., you will have the REAL results

  • profile image

    Nick 10 years ago

    "You have to reboot to clear all the "junk" out and start fresh. Again, this is 1970s thinking in the 21st century. There has to be a better way than that!"

    I know this is from very far back. But I just wanted to say that we haved moved forward in computing and largely thanks to generally nice people making simple, low level tools, for free. One of these is MaxMem, which will free system resources that are not in use, and are generally leftovers from programs like CS3, AutoCad, etc. It is a simple one click interface that sits in your taskbar on modern windows machines. Other modern marvels include BitTorrent, and VLC, and OmegaDrivers.net still pumps out amazing video drivers tweaks. There is still hope for computing yet.

  • profile image

    mj 10 years ago

    So I get (and agree) with the basic premise - it is great food for thought. I remember using WordStar on my old first gen IBM PC. As you suggest, computers don't really seem faster for basic tasks.

    However I point out the following (regarding productivity). As I type (whether it be with Firefox or Office 2007), the programs now do spell checking (and more) on the fly, and in some cases with auto-correction. I remember the old days where spell check would take minutes on a large document (and was a function that you manually kicked off ... and as another poster suggested.. you went and got a drink ;-). The creation of documents, presentations, and spreadsheets is much faster today. Gosh - what about LaTeX? (is that wysiwyg today?) A type setting language that required a "compiler" - and the hours I'd spend trying to get the text to flow nicely from page to page.

    Granted I'm still not getting rid of my 800Mhz XP computer anytime soon - it serves my needs.

    oh yeah, I challenge you to write better assembly code than today's compilers can generate (esp w/ strength reduction). Once RISC, pipelines, and shadow registers came out... I gave up ;-)

    Fun article. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    -Mike

  • Jyle Dupuis profile image

    Jyle Dupuis 10 years ago from Henrico, Virginia

    Great research! I'm going to have to rethink Dell.

  • profile image

    Jules 10 years ago

    Mike is right: Windows is not PC, and we sure can put another OS on it that works better.

    Furthermore, I can't believe we can compare a high-tech AMD Athlon with a Mac Plus. Last time I used one was to make a drum beat (which was veeery simple). On my AMD Athlon 1700+, which isn't recent at all, it's like 5 years old), I listen to 192 kbs mp3 music. Would a Mac Plus do the job? I doubt it.

    I also heard that Office 2007 stuff isn't compatible with older Office softwares. This is wrong. Yes, some functionnalities won't work, like some 2007 Power Point animations, but overall, it works on 2000s.

    Now, what about USB ports, CD-R and RW burning, etc. Floppies on Mac would carry mayber 10, 15 hi res. picture? USB keys can now carry 40 go...

    Can a Mac Plus run AutoCAD 2007? SolidWorks 2006? Catia? The first would maybe open, the second would burn it to ashes and the third would simply blow it up. I'm not even sure if 1998 Starcraft or Age of Empires 2 would run on it.

    Finally, please, don't buy Vista until it REALLY works properly, except if you want to patent everything yourself. Vista isn't even compatible with XP stuff (maybe it has recently changed, but still). One of my mech. tech. student collegue wasn't even able to make AutoCAD 2007 run on Vista!

    So, in my light, leave Mac Plus rest in Peace, and enjoy actual technologies, even 5 years old stuff like my cumputer can surprise you.

  • profile image

    mike 10 years ago

    although the mac performed better in some tests, if you ran many of the same task on the pc, it would outperform the mac. this shows how modern computers are much more scalable.

    modern oses have much more code because of the additional functionality they perform, it isn't all just bloat. (although much of it does exist) but it isn't necissarily from the os. much is from the programs written for it. programs use more and more libraries which using other libraries, etc. processors continue to have enhanced security features which oses use for stability which also takes up more hd space.

    the following languages have not contributed to speedy software either: c++/java/c#/vb/j++/whatever else microsoft has

    the pro to all this extra code is much quicker production of applications. (time to market, bla bla bla)

    if you can take the time to optimize your c code it can make all the difference inside loops

    ps: i hate how pc's are always associated with windows, i mean the names are basically used interchangably. that's the reason why i hate those mac v. pc commercials

  • profile image

    Stephen Sobchuk 10 years ago

    It's funny. When I need to type out something really quick, I'll fire up the 386 notbook. It was upgraded in 1991 to 24Mhz. Quoted as being the fastest processer around...as fast as the human brain and nothing will get faster than that. My how times have changed. Compare that to my desktop replacement notbook, and yes, my HP Zd8080us will connect to a tv, record tv, play games, connect wirelesssly and do a million other cool things. But the 386 boots up scarey fast. I think around 10 seconds or less and I'm in Windows 3.11 clicking away. Battery life is much better, at least double. Screen size is halfed almost, along with no colour. No sound, no frills, no gimmicks. I can connect a monitor and get 16 bit colour to play Wolfenstien 3D or BlakeStone II with midi sound. It's been dropepd down the stairs (seen the battery and floppy drive eject), operae in hot, dusty and poor conditions. It keeps working though. I still haev our old Coleco and Oddessy II Microprocessr machines, but the Impulse 386SX notebook is what the salesman said. Nothing will get faster than this. Not for the basics anyways. Maybe more complex and advanced (which can lead to frustration and stress), but for playing solitaire, hearts and using notepad, I'll take the 386 every time.

  • profile image

    Ken Thomas 10 years ago

    Several years ago-- on September 11th, in fact-- my 1.1G Sony PIII was stolen from my van in Berkeley.

    Roger Gregory loaned me a PI IBM ThinkPad from 1996, complete Win 3.something and 1996 versions of Word, Navigator, Excel and so forth.

    Guess what? The '96 ThinkPad was much, much snappier than my "new" Sony.

    The lesson was not lost to me: put five-year-old apps on the AMD above and you will find that it certainly outperforms the Mac Plus.

    Every server I admin is based on this simple principle, "avoid bloat(ware)," never uprade until necessary, make apps zip when you can.