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MathGroup Archive 1998

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Re: MacOS vs. Windows PC for Mathematica?

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg13897] Re: MacOS vs. Windows PC for Mathematica?
  • From: Josip Loncaric <josip at>
  • Date: Sun, 6 Sep 1998 02:55:34 -0400
  • Organization: ICASE
  • References: <6s5l6q$> <6s8ed9$>
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

Harald Giese wrote:
> ...
> sometimes I am also thinking about a switch, but to Linux, because
> Mathematica runs there twice as fast as on a Mac or NT: "Speed
> comparison of Mathematica on various machines":
> ...

Indeed, this speed comparison in Stefan Steinhaus' benchmark shows a
dramatic difference between Linux and NT.  For example, the overall
performance index for Pentium Pro 200 MHz machines is listed as follows
(lower is better):

Linux 2.0.33        252.110
NT 4.0              623.782

This huge 2.5:1 advantage of Linux is typical for Pentium based systems
in Stefan's tests.  HOWEVER, there is NO hint of ANY Linux advantage in
another benchmark by Karl Unterkofler (see data).  

Why this inconsistency?  The benchmarks are rather different, and
Stefan's requires more memory to run.  Could this be the main source of
NT's lackluster performance?  There is a bug fix for "Out of memory"
errors reported by Mathematica 3.0 and 3.0.1 under NT (see page). 
Were Stefan's results affected by this in any way?

I do not know if this NT performance penalty is unavoidable (I use UNIX
and Mac versions of Mathematica).  If anyone can shed some light on
this question, please do so.  

Dr. Josip Loncaric, Senior Staff Scientist ICASE, M/S 403, NASA Langley
Research Center, Hampton, VA 23681-2199 Phone: (757) 864-2192          
mailto:josip at Fax:   (757) 864-6134         

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