TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Office 2008 Benchmarks Preview

Volume Number: 23
Issue Number: 02
Column Tag: MacTech Labs

Office 2008 Benchmarks Preview

How well does Office 2008 run compared to Office 2004?

By Neil Ticktin, Editor-in-Chief

The Big Question

If you are a Microsoft Office user on the Mac, there's likely a question on your mind about the new version ... Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac. As you may remember, MacTech did extensive benchmarking on Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac, running under Rosetta, when the Intel Macs first came out. See http://www.mactech.com/articles/mactech/Vol.22/22.05/Office2004Benchmark/ to see that full article.

But Office 2008 is "Universal," meaning that it's designed to take advantage of the Intel processor, while still being compatible with PowerPC based machines. The big question, therefore, is "How fast is the new Office 2008?"

To answer that question, we put Office 2008 through its paces on both Tiger and Leopard (Mac OS X 10.4.11 and Mac OS X 10.5.1 to be specific). With over 2500 tests, we looked at Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Entourage as well as the graphics library resources that are shared across all of Microsoft Office for Mac.

We're going to give you a preview here, and the full results will be published in print in the March 2008 issue of MacTech Magazine, available starting in late February.

Overview

We won't keep you in suspense. In general, Office 2008 is faster than Office 2004 when run on Intel Macs. And, on the PowerPC (represented by our PowerBook G4), it certainly runs "well enough" albeit marginally slower.

In the over 2500 real world tests comparing Office 2004 with 2008, the vast majority were faster ... with many features being 2-3x faster in the new version. On average, Office 2008 running on Intel was 28% faster than 2004 for those items we tested.

For PowerPC users, the issue of whether to upgrade should come down to whether you want the new features, or new file format supported integrated into the application.

Clearly, however, for Intel users, there's not only the benefits of new features and a more straightforward user interface, but many major speed improvements as well.

In Figure 1, you can see how Office 2008 ran compared to Office 2004. The PowerPC machines (blue) and Intel machines (green) represent Office 2008 on those machines, and the Office 2004 on the same installs is there as a comparison (red and purple).


Figure 1: Office 2008 vs. Office 2004
(shorter is faster)


To determine this, MacTech ran tests across five models of Macs: PowerBook G4, MacBook, MacBook Pro, Intel iMac, and Mac Pro. Real world tests such as:

  • successive launch
  • scrolling
  • find and replace
  • opening files
  • pasting
  • printing
  • zooming
  • subtotals
  • auto formatting
  • applying templates
  • IMAP account synch
  • Searching
  • Inserting and importing graphics

were run to make these determinations.

Furthermore, for most users when running Office 2008 on Intel, it's usually slightly faster on Leopard than it is on Tiger. The only exceptions were PowerPoint and Entourage which ran just a bit slower. See Figure 2.


Figure 2: Intel Tiger vs. Intel Leopard
(shorter is faster)


Application Specific

We ran tests in each of the four main Office 2008 apps, plus the graphics engine. What we found for each of them was as follows.

For Intel Mac users, on average:

  • Word 2008 ran 37% faster than Word 2004
  • Excel 2008 ran 22% faster than Excel 2004
  • PowerPoint 2008 ran 40% faster than PowerPoint 2004
  • Entourage 2008 ran 28% faster than Entourage 2004
  • Graphics (common to all the applications) in Office 2008 ran 60% faster than Office 2004

To make this even more clear, when something says "30"% faster," that means that if it took 10 seconds on 2004, it took 7 seconds on 2008. This tends to understate "faster" when compared to perception.

While we already had thousands of tests to perform, we thought it important to include a PowerPC machine in the mix. We chose the PowerBook G4 as a reasonable representation of PowerPC. Obviously, our tests needed to focus on machines shipping in the last couple of years, and that's Intel based Macs. But, if you are looking to deploy 2008 on PowerPC based Macs, either because you want consistency, the new file formats, or the new features, 2008's speed on PowerPC is very usable, and the slower stopwatch tests shouldn't stop you.

For PowerPC Mac users, represented by our PowerBook G4 testing, on average:

  • Word 2008 ran 35% slower than Word 2004
  • Excel 2008 ran 65% slower than Excel 2004
  • PowerPoint 2008 ran 9% slower than PowerPoint 2004
  • Entourage 2008 ran 22% slower than Entourage 2004
  • Graphics in Office 2008 ran 30% faster than Office 2004

Some Speed You Can't Stopwatch

MacTech's tests are primarily done using a stopwatch, and as such, they are timing things that are done solely by the computer. This is a good judge of the difference between Office 2004 running under Rosetta vs. Office 2008 running as a Universal application, native on Intel.

But, what Office 2008 does more than just be Universal is to bring some concrete advancements in creating work, as well as the level of quality that a "normal" person can accomplish. This is done through Document Elements, SmartArt, Ledger Sheets, Charts, and other devices. Clearly these are strongest in Word and Excel.

What these features do for the human being is make it easier to get there -- we'll call this "user speed." For example, charts can be created in one click, without having to go through dialog box after dialog box in a wizard. Or, building a formula ... far easier than it has been in a long time.

From a quality of work product, Word and Excel in particular have new features that really raise the bar. For example, the quality of a "newsletter" or a "flyer" is vastly enhanced by the templates provided. And, SmartArt ... wow ... I can't even imagine any student or business user even thinking of doing this in any Office product before.

All of these items give users a great deal more "user speed" ... and those are not the type of things that can be measured with a stopwatch.

Conclusion

As we stated at the beginning of this article, on Intel machines, Office 2008 runs faster for most things than 2004 does. And, for PowerPC based machines, 2008 works "well enough"; in fact, we don't think you'll notice much of a speed difference from 2004 on PowerPC.

For those that work in areas affected by the "user speed" enhancements, and we have to believe that's the majority of users, you'll see substantive improvements. Add to it the new features, and you have an application suite that allows you produce higher quality work, in far less time ... either because it's Universal and faster, or because of what the new user interface and templates bring you.


About the author...

Neil is the Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of MacTech Magazine. Neil has been in the Mac industry since 1985, has developed software, written documentation, been heading up the magazine since 1992. When Neil writes a review, he likes to put solutions into a real-life scenario and then write about that experience from the user point of view. That said, Neil has a reputation around the office for pushing software to its limits and crashing software/finding bugs. Drop him a line at publisher@mactech.com

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

WhiteCap 6.7 - Visual plug-in for iTunes...
WhiteCap is a sleek and sophisticated music visualizer and screensaver that features futuristic, wireframe mesh visuals with dynamic backgrounds and colors. WhiteCap contains thousands of visual... Read more
Dropbox 24.4.16 - Cloud backup and synch...
Dropbox is an application that creates a special Finder folder that automatically syncs online and between your computers. It allows you to both backup files and keep them up-to-date between systems... Read more
Amazon Chime 4.2.5645 - Amazon-based com...
Amazon Chime is a communications service that transforms online meetings with a secure, easy-to-use application that you can trust. Amazon Chime works seamlessly across your devices so that you can... Read more
Notion 0.1.8 - A unified workspace for m...
Notion is the unified workspace for modern teams. Features: Integration with Slack Documents Wikis Tasks Note: This application contains in-app and/or external module purchases. Version 0.1.8:... Read more
Google Chrome 58.0.3029.81 - Modern and...
Google Chrome is a Web browser by Google, created to be a modern platform for Web pages and applications. It utilizes very fast loading of Web pages and has a V8 engine, which is a custom built... Read more
Notion 0.1.8 - A unified workspace for m...
Notion is the unified workspace for modern teams. Features: Integration with Slack Documents Wikis Tasks Note: This application contains in-app and/or external module purchases. Version 0.1.8:... Read more
WhiteCap 6.7 - Visual plug-in for iTunes...
WhiteCap is a sleek and sophisticated music visualizer and screensaver that features futuristic, wireframe mesh visuals with dynamic backgrounds and colors. WhiteCap contains thousands of visual... Read more
Dropbox 24.4.16 - Cloud backup and synch...
Dropbox is an application that creates a special Finder folder that automatically syncs online and between your computers. It allows you to both backup files and keep them up-to-date between systems... Read more
Google Chrome 58.0.3029.81 - Modern and...
Google Chrome is a Web browser by Google, created to be a modern platform for Web pages and applications. It utilizes very fast loading of Web pages and has a V8 engine, which is a custom built... Read more
Amazon Chime 4.2.5645 - Amazon-based com...
Amazon Chime is a communications service that transforms online meetings with a secure, easy-to-use application that you can trust. Amazon Chime works seamlessly across your devices so that you can... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

ChordFlow (Music)
ChordFlow 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Music Price: $6.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: ChordFlow is a chord sequencer with a unique 4-track polyphonic arpeggiator, extensive chord library, MIDI out and Ableton Link... | Read more »
The Walking Dead: A New Frontier is out...
The newest season of Telltale Games'The Walking Dead is well underway. After the release of the third episode, "Above the Law" about a month ago, episode four, "Thicker Than Water" is hot and ready for more zombies and gut-wrenching emotional... | Read more »
Best games we played this week
Another week, another new wave of mobile games do dive into. We've dug through the list of apps that came out this week to tell you which apps are worth your sweet time. And while there weren't too many games this week, there were some big ones.... | Read more »
Vignettes (Games)
Vignettes 1.0.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0.1 (iTunes) Description: Vignettes is a casual but unique exploration game without text or characters, where objects shapeshift as you spin them around... | Read more »
Get Me Outta Here is an 80s retro shoote...
Are you ready to fight some aliens? Because Crescent Moon Games has released the retro shooter Get Me Outta Here on iOS devices today. [Read more] | Read more »
Get a bunch of Apple productivity apps f...
If you're an Apple Mac owner, you're probably aware of the host of Apple productivity apps the company includes in all new Mac purchases. Apps like iMovie, Keynote, and of course, GarageBand. While you used to be able to also buy these apps... | Read more »
Terra Mystica (Games)
Terra Mystica 1.03 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $9.99, Version: 1.03 (iTunes) Description: Short Summary:≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈ | Read more »
Ms. Spell (Games)
Ms. Spell 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Cast spells and battle monsters in this turn based game, that has you delving into ever the changing Dreadwood to retrieve the lost... | Read more »
Invert - A Minimal Puzzle Game (Games)
Invert - A Minimal Puzzle Game 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Invert is a minimalist puzzle game for fans of brain teasers, logic puzzles, and Rubik's Cube fiddlers. | Read more »
Evergrow: Paper Forest (Games)
Evergrow: Paper Forest 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Solve puzzles in the handcrafted forests of Evergrow through the eyes of an imaginative child and his parents. Discover... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

15-inch 2.7GHz Touch Bar MacBook Pros on sale...
Amazon has 2016 15″ 2.7GHz Apple Touch Bar MacBook Pros in stock today and on sale for $150-$200 off MSRP. Shipping is free: - 15″ 2.7GHz Touch Bar MacBook Pro Space Gray (sku MLH42LL/A): $2599 $200... Read more
Apple now offering Certified Refurbished 13-i...
Apple is now offering Certified Refurbished 2016 13″ Touch Bar MacBook Pros for $270-$300 off original MSRP. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: - 13″ 2.9GHz... Read more
MyGiHealth Digestive Symptom Tracker Version...
My Total Health, Inc. has announced the release of MyGiHealth 2.1, an important update to their digestive symptom tracker developed exclusively for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices. MyGiHealth is... Read more
Galaxy S8 Materials Costs Highest by Far Comp...
The new Samsung Galaxy S8 equipped with 64 gigabytes (GB) of NAND flash memory carries a bill of materials (BOM) cost that comes out to US$301.60, much higher than for previous versions of the... Read more
iCarMode 4.0 Car Dashboard App For iOS Integr...
Indie developer Diego Resnik has announced the release of iCarMode 4.0, an update to his productivity app developed for iOS devices. iCarMode has positioned itself as a true car dashboard app,... Read more
How to save $150+ on Apple’s 13-inch 2.0GHz n...
Apple Authorized Reseller B&H Photo has non-Touch Bar 13″ 2.0GHz MacBook Pros on sale for $150 off MSRP for a limited time. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 13″ 2.0GHz... Read more
15-inch 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro, Apple refu...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2015 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pros available for $1699. That’s $300 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for a 15″ MacBook Pro. An Apple one-year warranty is... Read more
Apple Certified Refurbished iMacs available f...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2015 21″ & 27″ iMacs available for up to $350 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free. The following models are available: - 21″ 3.... Read more
Save up to $160 with Apple refurbished 9-inch...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 9″ and 12″ Apple iPad Pros available for up to $160 off the cost of new iPads. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: - 32GB 9″... Read more
27-inch Apple iMacs on sale for $200 off MSRP
Amazon has 27″ iMacs on sale for $200-$201 off MSRP, each including free shipping: - 27″ 3.3GHz iMac 5K: $2099.99 $200 off MSRP - 27″ 3.2GHz/1TB Fusion iMac 5K: $1798 $201 off MSRP - 27″ 3.2GHz/1TB... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Mobile Master - Best Buy (United Sta...
**493714BR** **Job Title:** Apple Mobile Master **Location Number:** 001024-Weatherford-Store **Job Description:** **What does a Best Buy Apple Mobile Master Read more
Best Buy *Apple* Computing Master - Best Bu...
**496963BR** **Job Title:** Best Buy Apple Computing Master **Location Number:** 001061-Marina-Store **Job Description:** **What does a Best Buy Apple Computing Read more
*Apple* Mobile Master - Best Buy (United Sta...
What does a Best Buy Apple Mobile Master do? At Best Buy, our mission is to leverage the unique talents and passions of our employees to inspire, delight, and enrich Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Mac Computer Technician - GeekHampto...
…complex computer issues over the phone and in person? GeekHampton, Long Island's Apple Premium Service Provider, is looking for you! Come work with our crew Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.