Monday, September 7, 2009

Speed Test

I just received a new mini mac, and before I put the old one up for sale, I thought I'd do a bit of speed testing. It would have been interesting to have done a trial with the old mini before upgrading it to Snow Leopard, but unfortunately, the idea didn't occur to me until after I'd upgraded.

Like all speed tests, I suppose this has all sorts of caveats that could and perhaps should be attached to it. But whatever. I use Excel quite a bit and I don't just make pretty tables. I do some heavy problem solving in Excel. The kind where the lights go dim as it crunches its way through millions of trials. Excel in Mac-land is a bit of a non-starter for me, because it doesn't have Solver or many other important toolsets that I use. But Excel is one of the few programs that I have on both windows and mac machines, so I thought it was worth an experiment. The speed test is simply this: fill 1,000,000 cells with a random value. Here's the results:

Mac 1.66Mhz Intel Core Duo, 1 Gig ram
Excel 2008 - 34 seconds
Open Office 3.1 - 104 seconds

Windows 7, 2.0Mhz Intel 2 Core Duo, 3 Gig ram
Excel 2008 - 3 seconds
Open office 3.1 - 38 seconds

Mac 2.00Mhz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2 Gig ram
Excel 2008: 18.5 seconds
Open Office 3.1 - 38 seconds

Clearly, if you've got some serious number crunching to do in Excel, you're better off with the Windows version than the Mac version. Unless of course, you could use the time to stretch and get another coffee. It's interesting to notice that the Open Office test had similar results for both the windows and mac 2.00Mhz machines.

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