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  Daily Column, August 13th 
  Aug 13, 2001, 03:00pm EDT 
By: Sander Sassen

Donít you ever grow tired of the whole clockspeed battle? Well, if you think you heard it all, Apple seems to have a fresh new take on it. They realized that a few hundred MHz extra seems to buy a customerís assurance that he, or she, has the fastest machine currently available. But now Apple is suggesting that higher clockspeed doesnít always equal better performance, isnít that something? I guess they havenít been keeping check with what has been going on in the computer industry for the past year or so. Just look at AMDís Athlon, although the Athlonís clockspeed is a few hundered MHz lower than that of Intelís Pentium 4, it still manages to hold its own and even surpass it in a large number of benchmarks.

The question however is whether someone told Apple. As Apple seems to, not surprisingly, have a hard time selling its G4s and thus started persuading itís customers that clockspeed isnít everything. Although it isnít a bad thing to educate your customers, if it rather funny to see that the very same company that was bragging about itís clockspeed lead a few years ago is now turning things around. I guess they did learn a few things along the way, one of which is that clockspeed doesnít always equate to performance, but to think that people will buy into some marketing scheme where a G4 outperforms a P4 in applying Photoshop filters is a different matter.

Iím sure Photoshop users will be thrilled to learn that a G4 Mac will render their images just a few percent faster than on a Pentium 4, but in reality weíll have a new speed grade of Pentium 4, or AMDís Athlon, in the next month or so thatíll even the odds again. And quite frankly, is that all a Mac can do? Run Photoshop? Oh no, I must have forgotten, thereís six or seven other applications that run on a Mac, theyíre all proprietary and cost an arm and a leg. I guess Apple must have conveniently forgotten that objective comparisons have benchmarks of more than one application before they draw any conclusions about whoís faster.

I think it is time for Apple, like IBM and many other industry giants did previously, to face the fact that their costumerís wonít just buy into some marketing ploy and proprietary software, and actually want to do other things with their machines than just run the pre-installed software. Some may favor some Linux distro, others may want to run a Microsoft OS. For now Apple seems to be compatible with Apple only, which makes them a rather hard computer to sell as besides Mac OS, and only the compatible version, there isnít really anything you can run on them. In reality Apple needs to either up the clockspeed to match Intels/AMDs or open up to 3rd party software to run on their systems. That could spark some interest among end-users as anything else wonít amount to much as the Mac currently just isnít competitive any more.

Sander Sassen


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