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Mac OS X 10.6.3 vs. Windows 7 vs. Ubuntu 10.04 Benchmarks

Michael Larabel

Published on 9 May 2010
Written by Michael Larabel
Page 1 of 5 - 72 Comments

Last week we delivered the first of our Windows 7 vs. Ubuntu 10.04 benchmarks to much anticipation, but now we have the results for Apple's Mac OS X 10.6.3 operating system to tack in too. In the first part of that Windows 7 vs. Ubuntu Linux performance examination, we looked closely at the OpenGL gaming performance across six different systems and a whole slew of tests. More articles are on the way looking at the performance and later in the week we already delivered some initial disk benchmarks. However, now it is time to see how Microsoft Windows 7 Professional x64, Ubuntu 10.04 LTS, and Apple Mac OS X 10.6.3 compete with one another.

In our Windows 7 vs. Ubuntu 10.04 testing we used six test systems and could have just as easily turned that into a dozen or two dozen systems, but unfortunately with Mac OS X testing we don't have that luxury. For this testing with Mac OS X in the mix we just had two systems -- both were Mac Mini computers but of different generations. The older Mac Mini had Intel graphics while the newer one ran with the NVIDIA GeForce graphics. AMD was going to be submitting a Mac with ATI graphics for this comparison, but it had not arrived.

The NVIDIA Mac Mini specifications are listed below.

Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo CPU P7350 @ 2.00GHz (Total Cores: 2), Motherboard: Apple Mac-F22C86C8, Chipset: nVidia MCP79, Memory: 1 x 1 GB DDR3-1067MHz, Disk: 120GB FUJITSU MHZ2120B, Graphics: nVidia C79 [GeForce 9400] 512MB (450MHz), Audio: Realtek ALC889A, Monitor: DELL S2409W

The Intel Mac Mini specifications are listed below.

Processor: Intel Core 2 CPU T5600 @ 1.83GHz (Total Cores: 2), Motherboard: Apple Mac-F4208EAA, Chipset: Intel Mobile 945GM/PM/GMS + ICH7-M, Memory: 2 x 512 MB DDR2-667MHz, Disk: 80GB Hitachi HTS54258, Graphics: Intel Mobile 945GM/GMS 943/940GML Express (Intel GMA 950) IGP 256MB, Audio: SigmaTel STAC9221 A1, Monitor: DELL S2409W

Unfortunately in the case of the Intel Mac Mini we were only able to compare the performance of Mac OS X to Ubuntu Linux, as there were EFI issues with the older Mac Mini and being able to load Windows 7 x64 (the infamous "Select CD-ROM Boot Type" problem). On the Mac OS X side each system had a clean install of Mac OS X 10.6.3 with the 10.3.0 kernel, X.Org Server 1.4.2-apple53, OpenGL 1.4 (Intel) / 2.1 (NVIDIA), and a Journaled HFS+ file-system. Like our testing from last week and in nearly every other Phoronix article, all OS settings were left at their defaults and testing was done in a clean environment. When it comes to proprietary drivers for Windows and Ubuntu, we were using the same packages as last week's testing. Like all of our testing, to make these results reproducible and to facilitate a fully automated testing process, all of the benchmarks were run via the Phoronix Test Suite.

The games that we benchmarked across the three operating systems where there is native compatibility and comparable support is OpenArena, Urban Terror, Nexuiz, Warsow, and X-Plane. With each of the games we ran them full-screen at 800 x 600, 1024 x 768, 1280 x 1024, 1400 x 1050, 1680 x 1050, and 1920 x 1080.

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