Powering Up Power Macs

There are signs of relief from the drought in software for Apple Computer's Power Macs. Will owners of the PowerPC-based computers finally get to use some of the speed they paid for? Power Macs are notorious slowpokes running versions of computation-intensive programs, such as Microsoft's Excel spreadsheet, written for older Macs.

Some nonscientific testing hints at how big a boost is coming. I used Wolfram Research's Mathematica to plot a fractal design called a Julia set. The PowerPC version took 14 minutes on a Power Mac 6100/60, the Mac version 36 minutes on a Quadra 800. Power Mac software now shipping includes Claris' MacWrite word processor and Impact presentation graphics. Microsoft Office, including Excel for Power Mac, should be out in October.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.