Who Should Not Upgrade to QuarkXPress 7.01

September 14, 2006 - 1:00am ||| 0 Comments | Add new

Quark released QuarkXPress 7.01 a few weeks ago, a free update to version 7.0 that came out in the spring:
http://www.quark.com/products/xpress/701update.html

Careful reading of that update page, though, shows that it's not actually an update. It's simply the Macintosh "universal binary" version of QuarkXPress 7.0. There are no new features or fixed glitches.

A universal binary program is a Macintosh program that runs natively on both the newer Intel-based Macs and the older PowerPC-based Macs (those dusty, old school "normal" Macs, like the G5 towers you spent thousands of dollars on last December. Soooo 2005).

You can run PowerPC-only Mac programs (that is, non-universal binary ones) on the newer Intel-based Macs, but they run in emulation mode, meaning more slowly than in PowerPC-based Macs. All programs in the Adobe Creative Suite fall into this group, no universal binary versions have been released yet.

So, QuarkXPress 7.01 is a Mac OS X-only program, obviously, and since there are no new features in it, there's no Windows version of 7.01. They probably should have called it 7.0UB or something.

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7.01 on PowerPC-based Macs?
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If you click the QuarkXPress 7.01 System Requirements link on that 7.01 upgrade page I linked to above, you're brought to the same page as the QuarkXPress 7.0 system requirements: Macs require OS X Tiger (10.4x) and a G4 or later. But since Windows requirements are listed here as well (and Windows can't run 7.01), perhaps the task of creating a new page for 7.01 requirements just slipped through the cracks. Easy to do.

Still, since a universal binary program is supposed to run natively on PowerPC-based Macs, just like non-universal ones, as a Mac user of an "older" PowerPC-based Mac you might be tempted to download and install the free 7.01 update on your G4. I know I was about to do so on my iMac G5, until I read Galen Gruman's recent article on the topic at Macworld.com.

Galen said that based on his tests, running 7.01 on an late-model Intel-based Mac "nearly doubled its performance on computation-intensive activities" as compared to running 7.0 on the same Mac Pro. But running 7.01 on a PowerPC-based Mac, like my iMac G5, actually slowed things down, way down. He said his tests showed "about a 31 percent performance hit with XPress 7.01, compared to XPress 7.0 [on a Power Mac G5]."

Yikes! Guess I'll stay with v7.0 until Santa Claus brings my Mac Book. You can read Galen's full article here:
http://www.macworld.com/2006/09/reviews/quarkboost/index.php

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