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

 
AAPL
$118.30
Apple Inc.
+1.83
MSFT
$47.80
Microsoft Corpora
-0.18
GOOG
$539.36
Google Inc.
+1.86

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

ForeverSave 2.1.3 - Universal auto-save...
ForeverSave auto-saves all documents you're working on while simultaneously doing backup versioning in the background. Lost data can be quickly restored at any time. Losing data, caused by... Read more
Voila 3.8.1 - Capture, annotate, organiz...
Voila is a screen-capture, recording, and annotation tool that is a full-featured replacement for Mac's screen-capture and screen-recording capabilities. It has a large and robust set of editing,... Read more
SyncTwoFolders 2.0.6 - Syncs two user-sp...
SyncTwoFolders simply synchronizes two folders. It supports synchronization across mounted network drives and it is a possibility to run a simulation showing in a log what will be done. Please visit... Read more
Duplicate Annihilator 5.1.1 - Find and d...
Duplicate Annihilator takes on the time-consuming task of comparing the images in your iPhoto library using effective algorithms to make sure that no duplicate escapes. Duplicate Annihilator detects... Read more
Cobook 3.0.7 - Intelligent address book....
Cobook Contacts is an intuitive, engaging address book. Solve the problem of contact management with Cobook Contacts and its simple interface and powerful syncing and integration possibilities.... Read more
StatsBar 1.9 - Monitor system processes...
StatsBar gives you a comprehensive and detailed analysis of the following areas of your Mac: CPU usage Memory usage Disk usage Network and bandwidth usage Battery power and health (MacBooks only)... Read more
Cyberduck 4.6 - FTP and SFTP browser. (F...
Cyberduck is a robust FTP/FTP-TLS/SFTP browser for the Mac whose lack of visual clutter and cleverly intuitive features make it easy to use. Support for external editors and system technologies such... Read more
Maya 2015 - Professional 3D modeling and...
Maya is an award-winning software and powerful, integrated 3D modeling, animation, visual effects, and rendering solution. Because Maya is based on an open architecture, all your work can be scripted... Read more
Evernote 6.0.1 - Create searchable notes...
Evernote allows you to easily capture information in any environment using whatever device or platform you find most convenient, and makes this information accessible and searchable at anytime, from... Read more
calibre 2.11 - Complete e-library manage...
Calibre is a complete e-book library manager. Organize your collection, convert your books to multiple formats, and sync with all of your devices. Let Calibre be your multi-tasking digital... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

RuPaul’s Drag Race: Dragopolis 2.0 is C...
RuPaul’s Drag Race: Dragopolis 2.0 is Coming to iOS December 4th Posted by Jessica Fisher on November 24th, 2014 [ permalink ] So Much Drama | Read more »
The Sandbox EDU Review
The Sandbox EDU Review By Nadia Oxford on November 24th, 2014 Our Rating: :: COME PLAY IN THE SANDBOX AGAINUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Like its predecessor, The Sandbox EDU offers lots for players to see, do, and... | Read more »
Taichi Panda Hits iOS in December
Taichi Panda Hits iOS in December Posted by Jessica Fisher on November 24th, 2014 [ permalink ] Snail Games has released the first official game play trailer for  | Read more »
Five Apps to Make Your Thanksgiving Plan...
Thanksgiving is nearly upon us! You know what that means? Eating too much turkey, watching the Big Game, and spending time with family (whether you like it or not). Oh, and that scary Black Friday thing, but we won’t talk about that here. For those... | Read more »
Kingdom Rush Origins HD Review
Kingdom Rush Origins HD Review By Jennifer Allen on November 24th, 2014 Our Rating: :: JUST AS GOOD AS BEFOREiPad Only App - Designed for the iPad It’s more of the same again, but that’s really no bad thing at all.   | Read more »
Skylanders, Show Off How You Fight Kaos...
Skylanders, Show Off How You Fight Kaos to Win Cool Prizes Posted by Jessica Fisher on November 24th, 2014 [ permalink ] iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad | Read more »
Mark of the Dragon – Tips, Tricks, and S...
Calling All Dragon Riders: | Read more »
Playdek has Annouced a Delicious Thanksg...
Playdek has Annouced a Delicious Thanksgiving Sale Posted by Jessica Fisher on November 24th, 2014 [ permalink ] Playdek, makers of | Read more »
Pair Solitaire Review
Pair Solitaire Review By Jennifer Allen on November 24th, 2014 Our Rating: :: ADDICTIVE. SO ADDICTIVEUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Welcome to your new ‘five more minutes, oh no, why is it dark outside’ addiction.   | Read more »
DryGin Studios Release a Free-to-Play Ve...
DryGin Studios Release a Free-to-Play Version of Bio Inc Posted by Ellis Spice on November 24th, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Jumptuit Launches One-Tap Windows 8.1 iTunes...
Jumptuit has launched Windows 8.1 support for One-Tap iTunes Sync. with which Windows 8.1 users can now easily sync their iTunes libraries with Microsoft OneDrive. Jumptuit provides easy access from... Read more
CEA Study Finds More People Recycling Electro...
A new study by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) finds that electronics recycling receives the continued and growing support of consumers. According to the CEA,s Recycling and Reuse Study,... Read more
15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for $17...
 B&H Photo has the 2014 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale today for $1749. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only. B&H will also include free copies of Parallels Desktop... Read more
27-inch 3.5GHz 5K iMac in stock today and on...
 B&H Photo has the new 27″ 3.5GHz 5K iMac in stock today and on sale for $2299 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $200 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available... Read more
21-inch 1.4GHz iMac on sale for $979, save $1...
B&H Photo has the new 21″ 1.4GHz iMac on sale for $979.99 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $120 off MSRP. B&H will also include free copies of Parallels Desktop... Read more
13-inch 1.4GHz/256GB MacBook Air on sale for...
B&H Photo has lowered their price on the 13″ 1.4GHz/256GB MacBook Air to $1059.99 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $140 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price for this... Read more
Save up to $400 with Apple refurbished 2014 1...
The Apple Store has restocked Apple Certified Refurbished 2014 15″ Retina MacBook Pros for up to $400 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping... Read more
New 13-inch 1.4GHz MacBook Air on sale for $8...
 Adorama has the 2014 13″ 1.4GHz/128GB MacBook Air on sale for $899.99 including free shipping plus NY & NJ tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP. B&H Photo has the 13″ 1.4GHz/128GB MacBook... Read more
Apple Expected to Reverse Nine-Month Tablet S...
Apple and Samsung combined accounted for 62 percent of the nearly 36 million branded tablets shipped in 3Q 2014, according to early vendor shipment share estimates from market intelligence firm ABI... Read more
Stratos: 30 Percent of US Smartphone Owners t...
Stratos, Inc., creator of the Bluetooth Connected Card Platform, has announced results from its 2014 Holiday Mobile Payments Survey. The consumer survey found that nearly one out of three (30 percent... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC) - Apple (...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC)- Retail S...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple Read more
Project Manager, *Apple* Financial Services...
**Job Summary** Apple Financial Services (AFS) offers consumers, businesses and educational institutions ways to finance Apple purchases. We work with national and Read more
*Apple* Store Leader Program - College Gradu...
Job Description: Job Summary As an Apple Store Leader Program agent, you can continue your education as you major in the art of leadership at the Apple Store. You'll Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.