The Apple Mac runs Windows Vista better than a PC, according to a shootout conducted by Popular Mechanics magazine.
The publication tested two all-in-one desktops and notebooks, one Mac and one PC in each category, using a panel of testers ranging from experts to the I-just-want-it-to-work type of consumer. The results were published in the magazine's May issue.
The testers assembled the machines right out of the box and then rated their experiences in performing everyday tasks, such as Web surfing, document creation, uploading photos, downloading Adobe Acrobat files and playing music and movies. The magazine created its own suite of tests to measure the speeds in which the machines handled these tasks.
While there were some differences, the Gateway desktop and Asus notebook were evenly matched with their Mac counterparts -- an iMac and MacBook, respectively.
"In both the laptop and desktop showdowns, Apple's computers were the winners," the magazine said.
Surprisingly to the magazine, Apple's user interface for its OS X Leopard didn't outshine Vista among the testers, who liked the look and feel of both operating systems, but showed a slight preference toward OS X. The real differences were in the speed trials, where Leopard "trounced" Vista in important tasks such as boot-up, shutdown and program-launch times.
"We even tested Vista on the Macs using Apple's platform-switching Boot Camp software -- and found that both Apple computers ran Vista faster than our PCs did," the magazine said. "Simply put, Vista proved to be a more sluggish operating system than Leopard."
Another surprise was the price of the systems. While the Apple Mac is often seen as more expensive than the PC, Popular Mechanics found that the Asus M51sr cost the same as the MacBook, and the Gateway One cost $300 more than an iMac.
"That means for the price of the Gateway you could buy an iMac, boost its hard drive to match the Gateway's, purchase a copy of Vista to boot -- and still save $100," the magazine said.
Detailed benchmarks are available on the magazine's Web site.