Though PC World magazine's main focus is the Wintel world (IBM-compatible computers running Microsoft Windows software), when it does industry-wide comparisons, it includes Apple and the Mac OS. So it's no faint praise when the February 1996 issue of PC World (page 145) rated the Mac OS as the best 32-bit operating system--over Windows 95, Windows NT, and IBM OS/2 Warp.

PC World conducted tests that asked eight "typical users" to do a variety of common tasks, then rate the operating system used on a scale of 1 to 5. The rating categories used were disk and file management, desktop customization, hardware and driver installation and use, and on-screen help. The composite scores were:

Mac OS 7.5.2 3.6
Windows 953.4
Windows NT / Workstation 3.512.9
OS/2 Warp 3.02.8

Apple's biggest win was in the on-screen help category, where it bested Windows 95 by a score of 4.6 to 3.4. According to the article, Apple Guide "received particularly glowing reviews from most of our testers."

In its overall recommendations, PC World said, "Even with the long strides Windows 95 has made in usability, our testers gave the Mac OS 7.5.2 a slight edge in overall usability. The Mac also aced our graphics speed tests, one of many strengths prized by artistic users. These virtues aren't so compelling that you should scrap your PC, but they're reason enough to consider a Mac (or Mac clone) when you shop for a computer." (PC World went on to say that the 100 MHz Power Macintosh 7500 completed the assigned graphics tasks "in well under half the time of any other 32-bit OS.")

You can find the article on the Web at: http://www.pcworld.com

Click the "Site Search" button, and search on the keywords Mac, OS/2, and Windows.