updated 05:05 pm EDT, Fri April 21, 2006
Office \'04 benchmarks
MacTech today released an extensive benchmark study of Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac running on Apple's latest Intel Macs, in an attempt to see how well Office applications perform under Rosetta. The large suite of over 1,000 tests was performed comparing the PowerBook G4, MacBook Pro, and Intel-based iMac. "In this case, we wanted to help people decide if they should wait, or could they proceed with their Intel-based Mac purchases," Neil Ticktin said, Publisher/Editor-in-Chief at MacTech Magazine. The results are, in general, that Office 2004 under Rosetta works "well enough" to "very well," and in some cases, it's "even faster than on the PowerPC machine."
The study tested the four major Office applications -- Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Entourage -- in addition to a suite of general graphics tests. Of the four major titles, PowerPoint ran slowest under Rosetta, while Entourage actually performed in almost every aspect, with the exception of launching the application.
Another unexpected difference in speed came when testers discovered that the Intel iMac repeatedly outperformed the MacBook Pro, despite the fact that the iMac had less memory installed and featured the same front side bus speed.
"The iMac has some pretty serious sub-systems [designed] to make it a screaming machine."
Since the tests were selected specifically to provide a real-world view of what Microsoft Office 2004 is like to run, MacTech eliminated tests that were too fast to create statistically significant results, or that had unperceivable differences.
"What was interesting is that even on those tests that were slow, they were still acceptable," MacTech wrote. "How often do users insert large JPEGs in a single sitting? And, when they do, does it matter when that something takes 10 seconds more?"
The tests concluded that Office users needn't anxiously wait for Universal Binary versions to appear on the market from Microsoft, and that for most tasks Office runs adequately under Rosetta.
"Mac users wishing to dive into Intel-based Macs now can rest assured in knowing they can move forward and be patient for the Universal version."