The Performance Edge: The Falling Price/Performance Ratio Of The Professional PowerMacs - Things Have Never Been Better

By Mike Juhaus

The slogan is well worn - "Every year computers get cheaper and faster." Yes, but how much cheaper and faster do they become? What kind of price/ performance break are we Macintosh consumers getting with the release of each new machine upgrade? We thought we would take a look at this issue by comparing the price/performance equation of most of the high-end PowerMacs since mid 1995. To do this we took the MacBench 4.0 scores and divided the cost of the machine by each individual test result. What we then had was the cost per MacBench performance point for each test; processor, fpu, disk and graphics. You will find the detailed results on the graphics below. We also provide a table of the actual MacBench 4.0 results and the cost for each individual machine.

So how much of a price/performance advantage does the top of the line Blue and White PowerMac G3/400 have over the top of the line machine of mid 1995, the PowerMac 9500/132? The current G3/400 cost only 1/10 of what the 9500/132 cost for the same amount of processing power. However the biggest single percentage drop in the price/performance ratio between consecutive professional machines has been between the current G3/400 and its direct predecessor the 9600/350. The G3/400 cost less than 30% of what the 9600/350 cost, for similar processing power.

Of course there are other things to consider besides raw processing power, such as features and expandability. However it is undeniable that the current professional G3s provide a dramatic price/performance improvement over their predecessors.

On the graphs below, where there is a score of zero, this means that we either did not have data for that test or that the data was not sufficiently reliable to use it.

 



 

 

Machine 9500/132 9500/200 9600/200 9600/233 9600/300 9600/350 G3/400
Date
Introduced

5/95

8/96

2/97

2/97

8/97

8/97

1/99

Price When
Introduced

$5,299

$4,899

$3,699

$4,199

$4,599

$5,399

$2,999

Processor
Score

254

409

409

428

739

788

1439

Floating Point
Score

239

402

403

-

-

-

953

Disk Score

219

317

363

322

-

-

517

Graphics Score

267

442

508

553

621

659

1533

 

Question: How much of a price/performance improvement do you think the next generation of Pro PowerMacs will be over the current generation - large or small one? Let us know.

The Performance Edge Index

 

Internal Links

  • G3/400 Information Page
  • G3/350 Information Page
  • G3/300 Information Page
  • Benchmarks For Current PowerMacs
  • Specifications of PowerMacs Compared
  • External Links

  • Computer Reviews
  • All online Macintosh hardware and software reviews