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While browsing at Billy Bob’s computer store, you overhear a customer asking Billy Bob what is the fastest computer in the store that he can buy. Billy Bob replies,“You’re looking at our Macintoshes.The fastest Mac we have runs at a clock speed of 1.2 gigahertz. If you really want the fastest machine, you should buy our 2.4-gigahertz Intel Pentium IV instead.” Is Billy Bob correct? What would you say to help this customer?

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Even though the Intel machine may have a faster clock speed (2.4 GHz vs. 1.2 GHz), that does not necessarily mean the system will perform faster. Different systems are not comparable on clock speed. Other factors such as the system components (memory, buses, architecture) and the instruction sets must also be taken into account. A more accurate measure is to run both systems on a benchmark. Benchmark programs exist for certain tasks, such as running office applications, performing floating-point operations, graphics operations, and so on. The systems can be compared to each other on how long they take to complete these tasks. According to Apple Computer, the G4 is comparable or better than a higher-clock speed Pentium on many benchmarks

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