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Mac multi-core vs PC multi-core

David Collins
Enthusiast
Does anyone know if there is there a fundamental difference in the way a Mac computer uses multiple cores, as opposed to Intel PC, which will dramatically affect processing times? My computer guy seems to think so and is keen to have me make the switch, but I'm wondering if the extra zero at the end of his upgrade proposal for the Mac might not have something to do with it...
David Collins

Win10 64bit Intel i7 6700 3.40 Ghz, 32 Gb RAM, GeForce RTX 3070
AC 27.0 (4001 INT FULL)
14 REPLIES 14
TomWaltz
Participant
Considering that they are both using Intel processors now, I would think any difference would be on the Operating System end.

I can't say that I've heard of any differences, but if anyone out there has, my money on is Karl O.
Tom Waltz
Ben Cohen
Enthusiast
Hi David

I can't answer the question with the technical know-how of Karl, but I have done some testing of ArchiCAD on my new 8-Core MacPro, and the results are very interesting.
I also run Windows on the Mac in two different modes - Bootcamp: which is basically running the Mac as a PC and requires a restart, and Parallels: which runs Windows inside the Mac OS (emulation/Virtual Machine). Because of this you would expect Parallels to run ArchiCAD slower than bootcamp because the computer has to load the Mac OS before it loads windows...........not so in my test.
OK the test..
File is a 100 meg monster. I opened the slowest section contained in the file (file saved as a PLA).
Computer : MacPro 8 core 2.8Ghz Xeons, 4 gig of ram - 1TB of HD, 512 Graphics card. OS 10.5.4 Leopard and XP PRO 32bit

V11 - In Bootcamp (native XP) - 1.09 Mins
v11 - In Parallels (emulator inside the Mac) - .33 Min!!

Interestingly opening the file in the MacOS ArchiCAD - 1.08 secs... marginally faster than with native - XP but still slower than Parallels!!. This may have something to do with the fact that the file was saved on a PC?? (also re-opening the Section after making some changes - 2 secs!)

My only guess is that being a virtual machine - a lot of the system over-head is handled by Parallels. In any case I think it's a positive for the power of the MacOS.

Incidentally - The same file on my everyday Laptop.. HP 2.4Ghz, 3 gig of ram, 256 Video and Vista - 4.53 mins !!! Please don't get me started on Vista......and sorry for all the !!!!
Ben Cohen
Mac and PC
Archicad (Latest Version) aus
www.4DLibrary.com.au
Ralph Wessel
Mentor
David wrote:
Does anyone know if there is there a fundamental difference in the way a Mac computer uses multiple cores, as opposed to Intel PC, which will dramatically affect processing times?
Apple is using the same processors as other hardware manufacturers. This is evident by the fact that is possible to hack the Mac OS to make it run on any PC, and also that Windows can be installed on Macs.

There are differences in the way the OS leverages the processor power, but making comparisons is a minefield. Vista seems to be a relatively poor performer in some respects, but both are quite capable of harnessing multi-core processors. Apple has also stated that its primary goal for the next major OS release is to optimise performance (including threading), not to add new features. Not exciting, but essential housekeeping that MS seem to have avoided for a very long time.

There should not be a big price difference between a Mac and alternative PCs. It is not uncommon for macs to be cheaper than comparable alternatives. It is possible to buy a cheaper PC, but usually only because the hardware spec is lower or the product support is awful (or both), i.e. you get what you pay for.
Ralph Wessel BArch
Anonymous
Not applicable
Mac Pro: $2949 2.8GHz dual-quad core (Harpertown) 2GB RAM, 320GB HD, Nvidia 512MB GeForce 8800GT

Dell Precision Worstation T7400: $3998* same as above except; Nvidia 256MB Quadro FX570†

*This is the price after the "Instant Savings" which always seems to be knocked off the price. The equivalent HP is about the same as the Dell before the instant savings.

†The GeForce is not available on the Dell and adding $2700 to the Mac and $2500 to the Dell for matching Quadro FX5600 cards seems a bit distorting.

The Dell also does not (AFAIK) include Firewire, and certainly doesn't have anywhere near as cool a case.

I assume that performance is comparable running Windows on both machines. I have read that the Mac has a slight edge but only really visible in benchmarks, hardly enough to notice in ordinary use. The Mac OS seems clearly the better performer on my machine, and as Ralph points out this is due to get even better with Snow Leopard.
David Collins
Enthusiast
Thanks for the input, gentlemen.

I suspect the grain of truth behind my computer guy's pitch has to due with minor differences in the way the operating systems address the cores. But looking also at the low RAM ceiling in Windows systems, it does seem to me that the Apple is much more dedicated to the serious professional use of computers, as opposed to Windows which seems more and more to be optimized for, well, .... idiots.

As for the comparative costs, we're not starting from scratch here. It's one thing to wheel in just a new PC CPU and plug it into the existing system, and another thing altogether to completely switch over to a new Mac.

And geez, how could I ever give up the Windows Messenger service?
David Collins

Win10 64bit Intel i7 6700 3.40 Ghz, 32 Gb RAM, GeForce RTX 3070
AC 27.0 (4001 INT FULL)
Ben Cohen
Enthusiast
Microsoft have a windows messenger client for mac... Now there is no excuse
Ben Cohen
Mac and PC
Archicad (Latest Version) aus
www.4DLibrary.com.au
henrypootel
Graphisoft Partner
Graphisoft Partner
I don't want to jump into the old Mac vs. PC thing here, but if your IT guy is suggesting that you make a platform jump(which is a very big deal) on the basis of a theoretical, unproven, tiny(if it even exists) performance difference, then I think you really need to start shopping around for a new computer guy, not a new computer.
Josh Osborne - Central Innovation

HP Zbook Studio G4 - Windows 10 Pro, Intel i7 7820HQ, 32Gb RAM, Quadro M1200
Eduardo Rolon
Moderator
David wrote:
…As for the comparative costs, we're not starting from scratch here. It's one thing to wheel in just a new PC CPU and plug it into the existing system, and another thing altogether to completely switch over to a new Mac
Actually it should not be that different, IME it is almost easier to add a new Mac than to reconfigure or add a new WinPc into an exiting system.
Eduardo Rolón AIA NCARB
AC27 US/INT -> AC08

Macbook Pro M1 Max 64GB ram, OS X 10.XX latest
another Moderator

Ralph Wessel
Mentor
henrypootel wrote:
I don't want to jump into the old Mac vs. PC thing here, but if your IT guy is suggesting that you make a platform jump(which is a very big deal)
The jump can be as big or little as you like. You could, for example, take the Windows license from the old PC and migrate it to the Mac (with all your existing software). I'd suggest using something like Parallels or VMware Fusion so you can run both simultaneously. You will then have a new machine that does everything the old one did (but quicker). Then, as fast or slow as you please, begin to migrate your workflow into the Mac OS. You'll eventually get to the point where you never want to start Windows.
Ralph Wessel BArch

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