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  1. #1
    Lounger
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    Excel for Mac--Incredibly Slow? (2004)

    I almost made the switch from PC to Mac yesterday, but first I ran a few benchmarks on typical things I do in Excel, the application that I use 6 hours a day. Shockingly, my 2-year old Pentium IV / 2.9 Ghz ran my benchmarks much faster than anything Apple has for sale.

    In Seconds for a compute-bound, in-memory set of tasks:
    101 for Pentium IV 3.9 Ghz (on Excel 2003 under Win XP)
    266 for iMac 2.0 Ghz (on Excel 2004 under Mac OS 10.4, not under Boot Camp or Parallels, but the supposedly native Office 2004 for Mac)
    241 for iMac 2.4 Ghz (same)
    235 for MacBook Pro 2.4 Ghz (same)
    210 for Mac Pro 3.0 Ghz (same)
    (smaller numbers are better, of course)

    The Mac Pro was a quad-core, and I'm pretty sure the other Mac's were dual core. All units had either 2 or 3 GB of main memory.

    These results, which I ran twice to be sure I wasn't misreading anything, give me shock and awe. Is Office 2004 for Mac some kind of emulation, maybe? Is it that it runs on only one core at a time? Has anybody else experienced this sort of discrepancy? The guy at the Apple store said that maybe Mac OS 10.5 (Leopard) would allow more multi-threading and so make his hardware more competitive, but I dunno.

    If they are legitimate, then any PC more modern than mine will really blow away the complete Mac lineup.

  2. #2
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Excel for Mac--Incredibly Slow? (2004)

    A factor 2 (taking processor speeds into account) is not too bad. You have to keep in mind that Excel is primarily developed for Windows, then ported to Mac OS. No doubt the team that does the port has a limited budget, so they have to concentrate on getting things working, and can't spend much time on optimizing speed, unlike the team that does the Windows development.

  3. #3
    2 Star Lounger
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    Re: Excel for Mac--Incredibly Slow? (2004)

    Office for Mac is always behind the Windows versions. One critical area is VBA for Office 2004, which is based on VB 5 the same as used for XL 97. And with 2008, there will not be any VBA at all. While I use Excel 2003 on Windows all day, I have Office 2004 on the Mac at home, I seldom use it. My primary work at home involves word processing and DTP - and for my purposes Mellel is far superior to Word 2004 for Mac. Word for Mac does not handle RTL correctly (but the Windows version has for years), whereas it is flawless with Mellel.

    However, if you have the Intel Mac you can run Office 2003/2007 natively (same as Windows) on the Mac in Boot Camp. The results I have seen is that the Mac performance is at least equal to Windows and in some tests faster than Windows.

  4. #4
    Lounger
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    Re: Excel for Mac--Incredibly Slow? (2004)

    Thanks, guys. It all makes sense. But it adds up to sticking with Windows machines for my business use. If all I really wanna do is run Excel, there's not much point in getting a Mac and then installing Windows on it, just to get back to the same point (Excel under Windows, with all the support issues I was trying to avoid). But I do appreciate the good explanations of the speed differential.

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