How does a Hackintosh netbook compare to the iBook?

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The MSI Wind continues to top out the charts as the most Macintoshable netbook around, but what’s real life performance like, non-anecdotally?

The guys at Apple Different did some good old fashion benchmarks, and discovered that an Atom N270 at 1.66Ghz and 1GB of RAM churned and cogitated Leopard better than a late 2004 iBook with a Power PC 1.33 GHz processor and 768MB of RAM, with a boot up time of around 48 seconds to the iBook’s agonizing minute.

That’s not exactly what most of us would call lickety split, and if you don’t care about boot up, the Atom fares even worse, unzipping files and converting albums slower than the iBook.

It’s food for thought. An MSI Wind continues to be appealing for being an almost out-of-the-box Mac hackable netbook, but I’m not sure I could stomach those performance sacrifices when I could just run XP or something like Ubuntu Netbook Remix.

Leo in the Sky With Diamonds [Apple Different]

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14 Responses to How does a Hackintosh netbook compare to the iBook?

  1. echonomist says:

    I’d like to see the same test run under 10.4 or just the iBook running 10.4.

  2. John Brownlee says:

    “I’d rather see a mac lappie compared to a Dell DL620 (or to the ultra-expensive ultra-lightweight Panasonic toughbook, or the VAIO VGN-TX670P) running Ubuntu LTS, personally. Seems more likely to help in purchase decisions.”

    But we’re talking about how Leopard runs on netbooks, here, not a laptop / OS showdown.

  3. Nur says:

    That’s pretty interesting actually. I’ve always liked the iBook series, the whole range was a nice change from “this is what you use for business” laptop – pretty groundbreaking at the time. The discrete graphics card etc are all nice touches too.

    I think the issue of depreciation is worth having a look at too – although the iBook ORIGINALLY went on sale for three to four times what a netbook costs right now, actually, when you buy a used one it’s suddenly scraping £100 making the iBook three to four times cheaper than a new netbook. Complete turnaround.

    It’s 4 years old now but it’s still holding its own against modern competition? Sounds pretty impressive actually. Clearly it’s blown out of the water by a full laptop that costs $1200 now but it’s apparently fine compared to the Atom.

    And remember: What’s greener than buying a new computer? Recycling an old one.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I have a 1.2 GHz iBook, and I’m just putting the finishing touches on a black MSI Wind, 1.5 GB RAM, and running 10.5.6. I wouldn’t even compare the two, as the Atom is MUCH faster than any G4 computer I’ve ever used to run Leopard. I’m still not sure how useful the Wind is going to be for me at this point, but it’s getting better every day with fewer unsupported bits remaining.

    I’d be much more interested in benching the Wind against a 1.6 Ghz MacBook Air.

    @#7 Boot time != wake from sleep time. The Wind is also instant on from sleep because it supports sleep under OS X really well. I’ve only had it a couple weeks, but it hasn’t crashed once. The screen is 10″ and 1024×600. You’re not losing that many pixels compared to the iBook. The main annoyances so far are the very small track pad (pretty much all netbooks have that), and extremely minute clicker, which can be hard to find. Battery life for the 6-cell unit is between 4-5 hours, so its up there. The new EEE 1000 is supposed to have a 9.5 hr battery life. Real life maybe 6.5? that’s not bad.

  5. Anonymous says:

    My iBook replies: 1024×768, digital video out, dvd/cdr. Boot time? This iBook is pretty much instant on if you just close the screen. Current uptime is 53 days. Not running Leopard though.

    Netbooks will be more interesting to me when they get a little bit bigger screens and longer battery life.

  6. Ito Kagehisa says:

    Ah, yes, I see your point Mr. Brownlee!

    The ibook is just a yardstick, with the hope that someone in the market for a hackintosh netbook would have some general idea what the “feel” of the old G4s was like.

    Carry on, sorry for the distraction… I’m not building any systems that void Apple’s EULA until the legality of such actions gets cleared up anyway.

  7. Joel Johnson says:

    I doubt your choice of OS is really going to affect performance on things like unzipping files or converting albums. Not to any appreciable degree.

  8. John Brownlee says:

    Album convert is significant: 130 seconds per album, or about 50% longer. You’re right on zip, though, which is something like 5 or 10.

    Either way, even the iBook doesn’t run Leopard very well, so it’s not a good solution.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the benchmark test! I have been thinking about selling my 14″ 1.42GHZ iBook (the last iBook Apple made)for a netbook. The iBook is so heavy making it a pain for portability. Has anyone run iMove on a netbook? Just curious as to how it performed? Thanks!

  10. pewma says:

    so where are the macbook results.

    Hey look, I can beat up this old man!

  11. batu b says:

    a quick look at CL shows ibook g4s going for about $3-400 (or more). interesting that the price in a very different market is similar too!

  12. Ito Kagehisa says:

    Um, aren’t they comparing a 2004 computer with a 2007 computer and expressing surprise at the results?

    I’d rather see a mac lappie compared to a Dell DL620 (or to the ultra-expensive ultra-lightweight Panasonic toughbook, or the VAIO VGN-TX670P) running Ubuntu LTS, personally. Seems more likely to help in purchase decisions.

  13. Egypt Urnash says:

    Oddly enough, some of the charts in the full article bring in a first-gen Macbook Air – which trounces everything except the newer Dell laptop with a faster CPU.

    The real upshot of this article is that “this netbook pretty much exactly matches the performance of this five-year-old iBook”. Disc read is faster (not surprising, especially if the netbooks have SSDs) but everything else is about the same.

    Which would be pretty decent for a purse-sized machine, really.

  14. shadowKFC says:

    Anecdotally I can say that I switched from a 1 Ghz, 1,25 Gb Ram iBook G4 to a MSI Wind with 2 Gb now running OS X.
    I dont like XP and Linux wont run my software (and I’m to stupid for it)

    For me it is plenty fast enough and in day-to-day work I see no noticable difference to my G5 tower at work.

    Additionaly the Wind is able to emulate a Nintendo 64 (for MarioKart) which the iBook struggeld mightily to do, so some things are faster (a lot).

    For me it is a very good solution.

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