Annals of Science

June 14th, 2006  |  Published in etc  |  1 Comment

One question I’ve been dying to answer since bringing the Intel iMac home a few months ago: How much of a difference is there between two different programs when launching and performing tasks they both have in common, mostly?

When people ask me what I do for a living, I usually give them the easy answer, which is “work for the interwebs.” The real answer should be a rousing “work for the interwebs and do science during lunch,” because that’s what happened today.

The subject of my experiment: A three way smackdown between Photoshop CS2 on an iMac booted into Windows XP, Photoshop Elements 4 in OS X, and Photoshop CS2 on an iMac booted into OS X but running under Parallels Workstation.


  • Parallels Test: Load Parallels, feel the iMac to make sure the hard drive isn’t working anymore. Load Photoshop CS 2. Do some stuff. Time it with a stopwatch.

  • Elements 4 Test: Load Elements 4. Dandle my great-grandchildren on my knee. Do some stuff. Time it with the stopwatch the one world government implanted in all our brains back in ’09.

  • Windows Test: Boot into Windows. Close down all the crap it loads, like Messenger, the Quicktime Media Pwnage Consolerator. Tell it to ignore the USB stuff it’s just now figuring out is there for the eighth time. Load Photoshop CS 2. Do some stuff. Time it with a stopwatch.

This is all, by the way, on a 1.83GHz iMac Core Duo, with 1GB of RAM. The OS X testing was done on a machine that’s been sitting around doing stuff all day long and has a bunch of apps like Firefox, OmniOutliner and Adium open.



  • = So fast it was done rendering and applying the effect before the preview window closed, though probably a little faster under native Windows.


Elements 4 under Rosetta is so slow that it hurts me to even think about launching it. CS 2 under Parallels is pretty fast once it gets launched. CS 2 running under native Windows is just plain fast.

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