Macs do Windows with no streaks, tests show

Benchmarking by CNET shows that running Windows applications on an Intel Mac with Boot Camp is just like using any other Windows PC.

Despite Apple Computer's historic disdain for Microsoft's Windows operating system, Apple's Boot Camp software lets Windows applications run just as well on a Mac as they do on a PC, performance tests confirm.

According to tests carried out by CNET product reviewers, a MacBook Pro and iMac running Intel's Core Duo processor and Windows XP delivers equal performance to similarly configured PCs designed to run Windows. On Wednesday, Apple released a beta version of Boot Camp, an application that lets Mac users run the Windows XP operating system on their Macs.

While the results may seem obvious given that the systems had similar configurations, they help answer some of the questions raised by consumers or businesses thinking about running Windows on a Mac when Apple releases a new operating system with Boot Camp later this year.

Apple wants Windows users to fall in love with the Mac OS, and the best way to do that is to remove any objections to a dual-boot Mac, said Sam Bhavnani, an analyst at Current Analysis. If an Apple system running Windows wasn't as good as a comparable Windows system from another PC vendor, some people wouldn't want to take the plunge, he said.

CNET against a MacBook Pro. The systems had nearly identical configurations, except that the Acer notebook used slightly slower memory--DDR2 memory running at 533MHz to the MacBook's DDR2 667MHz. Performance was nearly identical for several popular applications or tasks, such as Photoshop, iTunes and DivX encoding. Similar results were recorded when an iMac running Boot Camp was tested against Dell and Hewlett-Packard desktops.

One area where the Windows Mac suffered compared with the Acer system was on tests with the "Doom 3" video game. However, the ATI graphics chip used by the Acer system had more memory dedicated to graphics than the one used by the Mac.

Game players are one group of customers thought to be interested in dual-boot Macs, because they tend to like Apple's hardware, but get frustrated by the release of hot games for Windows long before a Mac version is created.

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