image via Dong Ngo/CNET
A CNET test has shown that Mac OS 10.6 outperforms the Windows 7 RTM build in general performance, though Snow Leopard fell short in 3D image rendering. However, the tester noted that the Mac is "the only platform, for now, that can run both Windows and OS X."
Snow Leopard needed 36.4 seconds to boot up the MacBook Pro used by CNET's Dong Ngo, while Windows 7 booted in 42.7 seconds. Shutting down the Mac OS took 6.6 seconds as compared to 12.6 seconds for Windows. Battery life was 78 minutes under Windows 7 using a high-demand test, while Snow Leopard stayed alive for 111 minutes under the same conditions.
The test also measured how long it took QuickTime to convert a movie file from the MP4 format into the iPod format while at the same time having iTunes converting songs in the background. The difference between operating systems was stark: the task was done in 444.3 seconds on Snow Leopard versus 723 seconds for Windows. However, there's some wiggle in this benchmark, as QuickTime X was only available for Mac OS. It's not clear how much of the time difference is due to differences between the new version and QuickTime 7.
Windows was clearly on top in making use of the Nvidia 512MB GeForce 9600M GT card on Ngo's MacBook Pro. The test found that Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare rendered 26.3 frames per second under Windows 7, compared with just 21.3 frames per second under Snow Leopard.
Overall, Apple doesn't fare as well as one might have imagined on its "home turf." Especially for high-performance 3D graphics, Windows 7 shows impressive results while Apple's advantage seems limited to areas it can control, such as startup and shutdown, as well as native applications.
Ngo's own conclusion?
If you can get by with just software designed by Apple and... if money is not an issue--and it definitely is for most of us--you should get a Mac.