Snow Leopard VS. Windows 7

Discussion in 'OS X and OS X Apps' started by Yagbolz, Sep 10, 2009.

  1. Yagbolz

    Yagbolz Well-Known Member

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    It's easier than ever to pit Windows 7 and OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard head-to-head: They're launching soon, both within a month of each other—and both are basically glorified service packs of the current OS.

    In way, they're opposites: Windows 7 uses the same core foundation as Vista while fixing issues and prettying up the outside, while Snow Leopard keeps most of the same spots while re-arranging how things work internally. But the mission is the same—to evolve their current OS—not change the whole game. And launching this fall, we can't avoid a comparison study. The stars of Redmond and Cupertino have never been so closely aligned before.


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    Price/Availability
    Snow Leopard socks Windows 7 on both counts here: It's shipping in September for just $29. Windows 7 doesn't hit until Oct. 22, and we've heard it could be pricier than Vista, though it will, on the other hand, be cheaper for people who already have Vista. Nowhere near $29, we bet, but we can dream, can't we?

    Storage Footprint
    Both Windows 7 and Snow Leopard are engineered to gobble less of your hard drive than their predecessors. Snow Leopard promises to give you back 6GB of storage—cutting out all the code for PowerPC-based Macs helped a lot there. Microsoft isn't touting how much extra space you'll have with Windows 7 vs. Vista, but an earlier version of Windows 7 used about 6GB of space, and they've been thinking about ways to make drivers take up less space.
    If it says anything though, Snow Leopard requires 5GB of free disk space, while Windows 7 has a minimum recommended requirement of 16GB for the 32-bit OS and 20GB for the 64-bit OS—Microsoft doesn't put out absolute bare minimums, though the footprint seems to be about 6-8GB for Windows 7.


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    Startup/Shutdown/Sleep
    Windows 7 smoked Vista with sub-30-second startup times, and RC1 is even faster. Shutdowns are quicker too. We had problems with sleep in the beta release, but it still seemed better than Vista, if not faster. Apple doesn't pimp a specific improvement in startup time, but promises doubletime wakeups and 1.75x faster shutdowns than Leopard.


    64-bit
    Windows 7 will come in both 32-bit and 64-bit flavors—it's up to you to pick the right one (hint: 64-bit). The majority of Windows 7 install will likely be 64-bit—since you don't have to worry about compatibility issues as much as with Vista 64, and people are starting to want 4GB or more of RAM—so we're at a tipping point there. Snow Leopard will also more or less finish up OS X's transition to 64-bit, so it's something Apple's pushing hard as well.


    Multicore Parallel Processing Powah
    Some of the tweaks that Microsoft is making to the core of Windows 7 are to improve parallel processing—in short, using multiple cores to handle more simultaneous tasks than past versions of Windows. But these multicore-optimizing tweaks don't seem as extensive as Apple's parallel processing plans in Snow Leopard, headlined by what it calls Grand Central Dispatch.
    What's key about GCD is that if it works like Apple says, it'll make easy for app developers to use multiple cores by handling threading for the programmers. The trick these says isn't the hardware, it's the software—the software tools that enable programmers to actually use multicore technology. (Just look back at our interview with Intel chair Craig Barrett, who explained why Intel hires more software engineers than hardware guys at this point.)


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    GPGPU—Processing Powah Continued
    Again, since Snow Leopard is all about the plumbing, Apple's being the loudest about how they plan to tap your graphics card for even more processing power. Using the OpenCL language, programmers can more easily tap the hundreds of cores lurking inside of your graphics card for applications that might have nothing to do with graphics. OpenCL is a big part of Snow Leopard, if you haven't noticed. Snow Leopard will also use your graphics card for H.264 video acceleration (for smoother playback without overheating the CPU), if you've got a newer Mac with an Nvidia GeForce 9400M chipset.


    Windows 7 also uses graphics cards more smartly than Vista—it has native GPU-accelerated transcoding and some other refinements in the graphics programming. But its big GPGPU push we'll see a bit later when DirectX 11 launches in July.


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    Browser: Do You Want to Explore or Go on Safari?
    Sorry guys, there's not much of a contest here: Internet Explorer 8 is by far the best browser Microsoft has ever shipped, but when you consider it needs a compatibility list for all the sites coded for IE's past ****tiness, the real modern web standards support in Safari 4 gives this one to Safari without even considering the other features. It's also wildly better than IE8 at handling JavaScript, which is pretty key in the age of web apps.


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    Networking
    Networking is waaaaaaaay better in Windows 7 than it was in Vista—you can actually get to wireless networking with fewer than seventeen clicks, and the networking UI makes more sense. It also seems to be a little smarter at finding stuff on your network, at least in our experience. We're still not totally sold on HomeGroups, but hey, Microsoft's trying. And (sorta) easy remote streaming built into the OS? Pretty good.
    Apple's not really promoting any changes to networking in Snow Leopard beyond the metric that it's 1.55 times faster at joining networks than Leopard it's got more efficient filesharing. You could argue networking in Leopard didn't need to be reworked—it was definitely better than Vista's—but really, networking is one of those things that's still not easy to understand for regular people in either OS.


    How Long's Your Battery Gonna Last?
    Windows 7 supposedly improves notebook battery life by a minimum of 11 percent. On the Snow Leopard front, well, um, all of the new Macs have much bigger batteries? Since Apple didn't drop a slide at WWDC telling the whole world, we can presume there isn't any benefit.


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    So Much Media Playing
    Windows Media Player will handle pretty much any kind of mainstream video or audio format you throw at it, be it H.264, Divx, Xvid or AAC. The UI is better too, but it still kinda sucks 'cause it's trying to do too much (kind of like iTunes nowadays). But it has a few pretty great tricks, like "Play To," that'll command any compatible device on your network and stream stuff to it by way of the newest DLNA standard. Not to mention it'll natively stream your whole library over the internets to anywhere. Oh yeah, and Windows Media Center still rocks.


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    Apple doesn't get too specific on whether or not QuickTime X can now handle a broader range of formats with its fancy new logo, just that it'll play "the latest modern media formats" like H.264 and AAC even more betterer. It's also got a pretty classy new UI and supports graphics-accelerated playback (mentioned above). But maybe the best new feature is built-in video recording and trimming.
    If all this talk of video codecs and file formats is confusing, read our (hopefully) helpful guide on the subject.


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    Backgrounds
    Have you seen Windows 7 acid-trip backgrounds? Incredible. What's Snow Leopard got? Some stupid purple star thing. Apple background designers needs more drugs, plz.

    Backup/Backup Time
    Time Machine is simply awesome because it's so incredibly easy to use and implement. It's 50 percent faster in Snow Leopard. Our only gripe is that it's still all or nothing—a few built-in scheduling and content preferences wouldn't hurt. Windows Backup and Restore is definitely improved in Windows 7, with finer control over backups and descriptions actually written in English.


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    Dock vs. Taskbar Round 3
    Oh, this is a contentious one. We think Windows 7's taskbar is pretty damn excellent and even said that it was useful than OS X's dock thanks to Aero Peek, which lets you find any window in any app smoothly and instantly. Jump lists, which give you quick access to common functions right from the taskbar icon, were also a nice touch. In short, with these features and stuff like Aero Snap, more usable previews, and Aero Peek mixing it up with Alt+Tab, Windows 7 has the best UI of any Windows yet.


    Snow Leopard's UI is mostly the same, but it manages to improve on one of its best features—Exposé—and the Dock at the same time. You can actually do a whole lot more stuff from the Dock now, so you can easily drop files in whatever app window you want to. Exposé, my "I would die without it" feature in Leopard, now arranges windows in a neat grid, rather than scattering them across whatever space is available. Stacks is actually useful now too, since they're scrollable and you can look in folders within stacks in Snow Leopard.


    Exchange Support
    Snow Leopard's got it built-in, your copy of Windows 7 doesn't. Freaky but true.

    Overall Snap Crack and Pop
    Both Windows 7 and Snow Leopard are designed to be faster, leaner, stronger and more stable than the OSes they're building on. Windows 7 is markedly more responsive, and you simply feel like you're more in control. We'll have to see with Snow Leopard, but if it lives up to Apple's promises, we're definitely looking forward to the performance prowess.
    There' s a whole lot that goes into deciding whether you're a Mac or PC, but whatever one you pick, you definitely won't go wrong upgrading your OS this fall.

    - Gizmodo.com -

    Which do you think is the best?
     
    #1 Yagbolz, Sep 10, 2009
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2009
  2. rafaelc378

    rafaelc378 Active Member

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    I don't have a reason to buy/download/use Windows 7, so I don't have a basis for comparison.
     
  3. rviadojr

    rviadojr Member

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    what's to compare? either you love one or the other!
     
  4. rbenzon

    rbenzon Super
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  5. drew03

    drew03 Member

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    ill go for win 7 kung sa style pero kung performance of course the SL
     
  6. ikenn

    ikenn Member

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  7. rafaelc378

    rafaelc378 Active Member

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    I'm still finding comparing the two a bit fallacious.

    1) If you're using a Mac, you're using OSX by default. If you need to run Windows, you can run it side by side on the Mac, along with OSX.
    2) If you're running a PC, you can't run OSX on it.

    So, for me, it's not really comparing Snow Leopard vs Windows 7, but more of Snow Leopard + Mac vs Windows 7 + Whatever PC Rig.

    And it's not like you can Upgrade Vista to Snow Leopard or Vice Versa.
     
  8. jcsantamarina

    jcsantamarina Buzz Ambassador
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    This is kinda difficult to do..
    It's like comparing "Apples" and "Lemons"...
    diba?
    ;P
     
  9. rafaelc378

    rafaelc378 Active Member

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    Gizmodo doesn't even have a stance on the issue. Their article was just an outline of their features.

    It's more of picking whatever platform/box, and the OS is only a part of the equation.

    IMHO, the Roughly Drafted article linked above by rbenzon is actually a better read than the Gizmodo article: http://www.roughlydrafted.com/2009/08/26/why-windows-7-isnt-competing-with-mac-os-x-snow-leopard/

     
  10. joy08

    joy08 Member

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    Why compare Snow leopard to windows 7?.. even the Leopard can beat windows7.
     
  11. jcsantamarina

    jcsantamarina Buzz Ambassador
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    My thoughts exactly :)
     
  12. Roman

    Roman Let's hug it out!
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    I've had Windows 7 RC installed on my Boot Camp for some time now and I must say, it's pretty impressive. Of course, coming from Windows Vista with all its flaws, it HAS to be impressive right?

    But Apple was correct in saying at the end of the day, Windows 7 is still Vista with all its registry whatevers and viruses and malwares and what have you.

    So with that, it is my humble opinion that you still cannot compare Windows 7 to Mac OS X Snow Leopard.
     
  13. Hero33

    Hero33 PhilMUG Addict Member

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    Until Nokia makes a Mac Suite with the same features as the Windows counterpart, I have to keep a windows partition.

    That being said, Snow Leopard is still simpler to use and more efficient. But since I'm using a Mac, I can have both so it doesn't matter which is better cause I can use both!
     
  14. Yagbolz

    Yagbolz Well-Known Member

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    is it possible to install Windows 7 in Boot Camp? wanna try it out..
     
  15. Roman

    Roman Let's hug it out!
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  16. Yagbolz

    Yagbolz Well-Known Member

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    ohh sorry.. lolz
     
  17. rbenzon

    rbenzon Super
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    @coqueiro: am lazy to research anything windows, so let me just ask you: does windows 7 have parental controls? thanks.
     
  18. mystavros

    mystavros Member

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    windows vista/7 has this feature
     
  19. seabournlegend

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    using both OS, i found the new windows 7 impressive compared to vista. the only problem i encountered was when i tried connecting both my mbp and laptop thru a network.

    last time when i was using xp, the shared folders (xp) automatically show up in my finder window. after windows 7, i must manually connect to server in order to gain access to my shared (win 7) folders.
     
  20. ste@lth

    [email protected] Well-Known Member

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    Down the road less taken...
    At the end of the day it will all boil down to usability of the whole system both hardware and software whether your using SL on Mac and Windows on PC, IMHO using windows on mac via whatever defeats the purpose of having the SL, if your still locked on windows due to your needs on certain functions of the OS which are not available on mac, most of us grew on a windows environment and still most of offices and office work is done on windows systems, but when it comes to your personal stuff having mac is cool though, for me as long as it provides the functionality that you need then thats it whether it be mac or windows. peace.
     

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