The iMac makeover

Apple’s bombshell decision to start using Intel chips continues to reverberate all over the Mac world. In our March issue, we gave you our first take on the first Intel systems—the Intel iMac and the MacBook Pro. In April, we were able to give you more—full reviews of the first Intel iMacs, as well as the results of our extensive benchmark tests. All that coverage generated an equally extensive flood of reader e-mail messages and postings in our online forums. Here are just a few of them.

Inside knowledge

Alex Chung —I read your story about the Core Duo iMacs and their performance with different apps (“Inside the Intel iMac,” April 2006), and I have a question. I currently have a 733MHz G4 Power Mac. Even with 1GB of RAM, it runs Adobe CS a little slowly. Knowing that Rosetta tends to slow down non-native apps, I was wondering how the new 2GHz Intel iMac, running Adobe CS in Rosetta but with a full 2GB of RAM, would compare with my computer in performance?

To quote from that article: “When we compared the new 2GHz iMac Core Duo to a 700MHz iMac G4…we found that the Intel iMac executed our Rosetta application tests much faster than its four-year-old predecessor.” That said, we hope to continue testing different older systems with different memory configurations, to see how an Intel iMac running Rosetta will stack up against them.—Ed.

Bryan Harris —In “Inside the Intel iMac,” you compared an iMac G5 with the new Intel iMacs, using a variety of tests. In some of the tests, such as importing a file into iPhoto 6 and creating a Zip archive in the Finder, hard-drive input/output is a major factor in the speed of the system. But Apple hasn’t upgraded the drive I/O; it has changed the processor. You shouldn’t test the hard drives and then claim the chip speed hasn’t improved.

It’s true that hard-drive I/O affects some test results. But as we state, we test overall system speed, not just the speed of the CPU.—Ed.

A.U. Dan Daniels —A few months ago, my 15-inch iMac G4 started crashing daily. The diagnosis: some kind of main-board problem. So I took the plunge and bought a 20-inch Intel Core Duo iMac. I bought it on a Saturday because I figured it would take the weekend to transfer all my stuff from the G4 and to get my printer, FireWire drives, AirPort Base Station, and Internet connection reconnected. It turns out that the whole process took an hour. I fired up the iMac and followed the directions to transfer everything from the G4 via FireWire, and it all just worked—all of my settings, all of my wife’s settings, all the peripherals, the Internet connection, every single file, and every single program but one (SuperDuper). Rosetta is more than fine—even Microsoft Office runs perfectly well. Tell everyone to quit agonizing. Apple has pulled off another miracle.

Back in the iLife

Alexander Tressor —For several years, I asked anyone I met who knew anything about Web design to create a Web site for my company. The results always proved—how can I put this delicately?—awful. So I bought the iLife ’06 suite with iWeb (   ; April 2006). That was on Friday. By Monday I had my Web site up and running on .Mac. It really is that simple, even for a non-geek like me. iWeb is the greatest addition to iLife.

Art Gorski —In your review of Pages 2 (   ; April 2006), you said that Pages offered only a limited set of spreadsheet functions. But the functions you listed are only those found on page 187 of the manual. If you flip forward to page 195, you’ll see scads more formulas that you can use if you type them in. Maybe this program has a worthy spreadsheet feature after all?

We saw the additional functions; we just didn’t list them all in our review. We still don’t think those functions make Pages 2 a real spreadsheet program.—Ed.

Font fiasco

Randall Elwood —Thanks for the ongoing tips on OS X maintenance (“The Ultimate Mac Tune-Up,” March 2006). I may have been a bit careless, though, when following the “Font Fixes” tips. I discovered that trying to resolve a duplicate of a system font (Geneva, in my case) could cause problems. After doing so on my G4, I found that I couldn’t open Mail or Safari—and then the whole system crashed. I copied the font back into the /Library/Fonts folder and restarted, and I was back in business.

Why no Xserve?

Bill Lewington —I see lots of articles in Macworld and on Macworld.com about Apple products, but never anything about the Xserve. How come? At my design company, Windows 2003 has pushed us over the edge, and we’re thinking about migrating from the dreaded Microsoft servers to Xserve. We will probably wait for Intel in these Apple servers, but it would be nice to have a review or two to consider in the meantime.

Although we occasionally do review Xserves, we tend to leave that to folks (like our friends at our sister publication InfoWorld) who specialize in servers and other enterprise-level technologies.—Ed.

Innumeracy

Lyndon Luhmann —I read with interest your editorial in the April issue (“Feedback Loop,” From the Editor’s Desk ). Jason Snell described the confusion some Macworld readers experienced when you said that one Mac was X percent faster than another. I guess some of Macworld ’s readers need a remedial math course. Don’t they know that 200 percent is the same as “two times”? Please don’t dumb down Macworld for the people who slept through eighth-grade math.

Don’t bring the noise

Guy Dalbec —Regarding the “Noisy Power Macs” letter in the April 2006 issue’s Feedback : My son was extremely disappointed when he found out how extremely noisy his new “whisper-quiet” iMac was. The noise becomes very annoying whenever even a slight demand is placed on the machine. He wanted to use the iMac primarily for music recording and editing with ProTools, but that’s impossible because of the incessant whine. Macworld would do its readers a service if it included a noise-level indicator in its reviews of new Macs and considered noise when calculating mouse ratings.

It’s an interesting idea, but it would be difficult to implement. We’re aware of complaints about noise in several Mac models. But they appear to be isolated cases. Within any given Mac product line, it appears that some specific machines might be noisy while others might not.—Ed.

Aw, shucks

Steve Briner —I just finished reading my first Macworld editorial page, in your April edition (“Feedback Loop,”From the Editor’s Desk). You see, I am a new Mac user, having acquired a used PowerBook about two weeks ago. I found your honesty refreshing and look forward to reading the rest of the issue. I believe anyone who has enough integrity to evaluate himself and the processes he uses will probably put out a first-class publication. I just thought I would encourage you from a first-time reader’s perspective.

Jim McCauley —I do not agree with the reader who stated that “What’s Hot” is not funny ( Feedback , April 2006). Not only do I find it very funny and insightful—it’s the first thing I turn to when I get your magazine. Don’t change a thing.

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