Home > computer, hackintosh, linux, macintosh, windows > Leopard vs XP vs Vista vs Linux part 1

Leopard vs XP vs Vista vs Linux part 1

operating systems challengeI’ve wanted to compare different operating systems on the same hardware for several months, to see how much of an impact the OS has. Now that I have been using my hackintosh daily for over a month with no major issues I felt it was time to start doing some comparisons. One of the benefits of using generic hardware to run Mac OS is that it will happily run any other x86 operating system you care to try. The difficult bit seems to be getting them to co-exist without conflicting.

There are many reports of difficulties using Apple’s Boot Camp to run more than one other operating system, so the method I settled on was installing my other operating systems on a second hard drive. Using a 120Gb Maxtor SATA drive I started by installing Windows XP on a 38Gb partition, then added Windows Vista on another 38Gb partition. XP installed without any fuss, but Vista repeatedly hung until I updated the P35-DS3R motherboard from Bios F9 to F11. Finally I added Linux Mint in the remaining space as I have been waiting to try this distribution for a while.

This setup enabled me to choose in the Bios between booting the 500Gb Leopard drive, or the 120Gb Windows/Linux one. The second option then displayed the Linux boot options to pick XP, Vista or Mint. It may be possible to add Leopard as an option to the boot menu but I haven’t gone that far yet.

The hardware platform is a Core 2 Quad 6600 overclocked to 3.0Ghz, 2Gb DDR2 800, a Gigabyte GA-P35DS3R and an Nvidia 7300GT 256Mb. For testing I tried where possible to stick to the tests I used for the recent Virtualbox/VMware/Parallels comparisons. The tests are listed here with notes on modifications to try to keep the tests as unbiased as possible.

  1. Run Geekbench to get a processor and memory benchmark. This should highlight efficient use of multiple processors. Geekbench is available in native Mac, Windows and Linux versions.
  2. Create a 5,000 x 5,000 pixel image in Photoshop CS3 trial and fill with the first pattern. Record the time for the Radial Blur at 100% filter to run.
  3. Use the same image and time a Charcoal filter.
  4. Use the same image and time a Water Paper filter.
  5. Use VLC to convert a 720p video file to Divx3 3072Kbit video, MP3 192Kbit audio. The native version of VLC was used for each OS.
  6. Copy the Photoshop CS3 trial executable from my NAS drive to the desktop and record the time to complete. To keep this fair I ran the test using Leopard before installing Linux, and formatted the Linux space on the Maxtor drive as a Mac OS Extended volume. This ensured each operating system was copying the file to the Maxtor drive so the 500Gb drive couldn’t influence the results.

Tests 2,3 and 4 couldn’t be run on Linux Mint, since there is no native version of Photoshop CS3. I installed the CS2 trial version of Photoshop using Wine which is the latest version currently working. It’s not comparing like for like but it’s the best I can currently do. Here are the results from the six tests.

Mac OS 10.5.2
Windows XP SP2
Windows Vista
Windows Vista SP1
Linux Mint
11 9 12

So what stands out from the results? I didn’t bother listing which tests used single and multiple processors, since the results were the same on all operating systems. Mac OS runs the Photoshop charcoal filter a little faster than Windows and Linux, and the Water Paper filter a little slower. Linux Mint shaved a couple of seconds off the VLC conversion time, so that would make for quite a saving on a long video conversion. Geekbench results were interesting, with Mac OS beating Linux which beat Windows. This suggests that the Mac OS is more efficient using multiple processors, since Geekbench tests this. The other interesting result was in the times taken to copy the 464Mb Photoshop installer to the desktop. I wanted to try this having read how slow Windows Vista was at file operations, and it didn’t do anything to prove otherwise. Installing Service Pack 1 made a huge difference here and let Vista beat XP. The real surprise was Linux Mint, which took over twice as long as Mac OS. I don’t know why, but the test was run on a fresh install of Linux Mint V4 with no tweaks.

For part 2 I will find some more tests that can be run on all the operating systems to get a better idea of how they compare.

  1. March 23, 2008 at 2:35 am

    I’m very interested in your Wine problems.
    Did you follow the instructions in
    i.e. Before installing Photoshop, do ‘wget http://kegel.com/wine/winetricks; sh winetricks corefonts vcrun6′ ?

  2. basshead
    March 23, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    Thanks for the help Dan. I had followed the instructions at


    and updated the version of wine to the latest following the instructions at


    since the Ubuntu version of wine was something like 0.9.46, current is 0.9.58.

    I removed and re-installed the latest version of wine and followed your advice, so I now have Photoshop CS2 working under Linux Mint. I have run the trials in photoshop and amended the original article with the test results.

  3. April 24, 2008 at 4:03 pm

    Windows XP Service Pack 3

    We have been getting mixed feedback from users that have installed the Windows XP SP3. One of the biggest complaints is Microsoft did not include Direct X 10. The service pack employs many features of Vista and seems to turn your current version of XP into a steppingstone for purchasing a full copy of Vista. Please be sure your current computer programs will be able to handle the transition to SP3 or you may not be able to use them anymore.

  4. January 15, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    I found this article fascinating. I’ve been playing around with Snow Leopard recently, which seems to be even more efficient.

    Vista may be more efficient is some respects although I’ll always be a fan of XP. It was a legendary operating system.


  1. August 8, 2009 at 6:54 pm

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