TechTV Runs New Mac Vs. PC (G4 Vs. P4) Shootout

TechTV is doing a Mac Vs. PC shootout that is being broadcast throughout the day on Tech Live. Tech Live is a day-long news broadcast that focuses on technology and financial news related to the tech industry. A companion article that was published on the TechTV Web site is roughly a transcription of the broadcast story:

On one side is software firm Microsoft and chipmaker Intel, which make up the Wintel platform installed on 95 percent of computers worldwide. On the other is hardware and software maker Apple, whose proprietary platform is now relegated to a mostly niche market -- less than 5 percent of the personal computer market. 

In 1999, for example, Intelis Pentium 3 chip reached 500 MHz, compared with the Apple G3is 400 MHz. Today the performance gap is even wider, with Intelis Pentium 4 chip running at 2 GHz, compared with the Apple G4is 876 MHz.

But the disparity in chip speed doesnit necessarily translate into better performance for Wintel machines. In fact, the latest Macs are faster than the higher-megahertz PCs when it comes to such tasks as compression and running multimedia software, due to Appleis chip architecture.

Unfortunately for Apple, the consumer hasnit always understood this difference, and according to Eric Ross, an analyst with Thomas Weisel partners, the megahertz benchmark has hurt Appleis sales and kept the company from gaining market share.

"Itis very easy for a consumer to understand," Ross said. "To the uneducated consumer that sounds like, iOh, [the Pentiumis] twice as fast,i when itis really not at all."

After this story, Brett Larson, the Mac guru who has long been a part of Macworld Magazineis family, and a PC person whose name we didnit catch, ran some benchmarks for a 2 GHz P4 and an 867 MHz G4. Those tests showed that some Photoshop tests as being about 20-30% faster on the G4. Their tests also showed an RGB to CMYK conversion with the G4 stomping the P4. The time savings for this one test more than outpaced the time savings for the other tests, something which Apple capitalized on in the MACWORLD shootout.

The tests did not use the dual-800 MHz PowerMacs, nor did they use a dual-processor P4. Brett Larson and the PC person both concluded that clearly MHz ratings do not matter.

On the down side, after the shootout, TechTV included a segment with someone who was not well versed in the PC. That segment focused on Appleis chance in the corporate environment, with the interviewee saying that "Mac" wouldnit really gain any market share in this space.

Check out the article for more information.