Impressed By Intel Macs

So I bought my first Intel Mac today. But I’m getting ahead of the story. First, I went to the Apple store and tried out a few things on an Intel MacBook Pro. It was loaded with 1.5 gigs of RAM and a dual processor. But still, I didn’t expect it to work so well when emulating a G5 with Rosetta. I started by going to our Flash games in Safari and they worked fine and fast. This caught me off guard because Safari was running in “Universal” mode — so native for Intel. The Flash plug-in should need Rosetta to run, but it didn’t.
Next, I went to some of our Shockwave games. Now these didn’t work. I expected that. Shockwave is supposed to really require Rosetta, so I switched Safari into Rosetta mode and went back. Then it worked. Not bad either. I would say comparable performance to my G4 PowerBook. I was even testing 3D.
Beyond that, I saw Microsoft Word on the machine and tested it. That worked well too, using Rosetta.
Now the real reason I was there was to get a very low-end office machine for basic administration tasks. I couldn’t see buying a G4/G5 computer at this point, so a nw Intel Mac Mini was the way to go. I decided to get the cheapest one there. I could always upgrade the memory later, and this machine would never be used for multimedia-type tasks. So I got the Intel core solo, with only 512 megs RAM. I expected the worst, but at least I’d have a good baseline machine for testing.
But when I hooked up the mini, I was pleasantly surprised. It is downright zippy. I was told by just about every review out there that I should expect a slow machine unless the RAM was maxed out. But this thing played some 3D Shockwave games just fine. Not great, but better than some low-end PCs, for sure. Plus the native universal Mac apps, like the ones with iLife, worked great. Better than on by G4 PowerBook, no doubt. All for $600. I even got AppleWorks to run on it. I love AppleWorks and thought I’ve have to go without it into the Intel world, but it runs fine under Rosetta.
So I’m pleased that I got a good machine for $600. And I’m also pleased that the Intel Macs seem to be able to run anything I’ve tried so far. This is definitely going to be an easier transition than the OS 9/X transition, or the 68X to PPC transition.
I didn’t get to try Director on the Mini. Thanks to the “activation” scheme for Macromedia/Adobe software I’d have to jump through hoops to do so. But I hear from people “in the know” that Director does work, if slowly. So I’m feeling pretty good about the new machines. Now I just need them to release a 17 inch MacBook Pro!

Posted on March 7, 2006 at 10:48 pm by Gary Rosenzweig · Permalink
In: General

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  1. Written by Bror
    on 3/11/2006 at 3:30 pm