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Bad news for Microsoft, good news for Apple and Intel

Popular Mechanics writes comparative review of a MacBook and a PC notebook running Vista. Its verdict is somewhat in line with Apple's "I'm a Mac" campaign.

The May issue of Popular Mechanics includes a comparative review, with extensive benchmarks, of Macs and PCs.

The verdict turned out to be somewhat in line with Apple's exaggerated commercials--the PC is slower (running Vista, compared to Apple's Leopard operating system) and less easy to use, and it doesn't have a clear cost advantage. Both are running Intel, so that's always good news for the chipmaker.


Following is the Popular Mechanics verdict:

Mac: In both the laptop and desktop showdowns, Apple's computers were the winners. Oddly, the big difference didn't come in our user ratings, where we expected the famously friendly Mac interface to shine.

Our respondents liked the look and feel of both operating systems but had a slight preference toward OS X. In our speed trials, however, Leopard OS trounced Vista in all-important tasks such as boot-up, shutdown, and program launch times. We even tested Vista on the Macs using Apple's platform-switching Boot Camp software--and found that both Apple computers ran Vista faster than our PCs did.

PC: Simply put, Vista proved to be a more sluggish operating system than Leopard. Our PCs installed some software faster, but in general, they were slower in our time trials. Plus, both PCs showed weaker performance on third-party benchmarks than the Macs.

Our biggest surprise, however, was that PCs were not the relative bargains we expected them to be. The Asus M51sr costs the same as a MacBook, while the Gateway One actually costs $300 more than an iMac. That means that for the price of the Gateway, you could buy an iMac, boost its hard drive to match the Gateway's, purchase a copy of Vista to boot--and still save $100.