All Macs In-Depth Tests
The Performance Edge: The iBook May Be Cute And Inexpensive, But The PowerBook G4 Blows It Away - A Performance Review
Sunday, July 15, 2001

Below we present benchmarks for Apple current G4 PowerBooks compared to the new 500MHz G3 iBook. We hope to have more benchmark comparisons and a full review of iBook for you by the end of the week or early next week. In almost all of our tests the G4 PowerBooks, with their faster bus speed (100MHz) and larger backside cache, greatly outclassed the iBook, with its paltry 256K of cache and bus speed of only 66MHz. And of course in applications that take advantage of the G4, even the 400MHz PowerBook blew the iBook away.

It is clear that on some of our tests, the iBook's smaller backside cache made a great deal of difference. The file we use for the AppleWorks scroll test and the search and replace test (the tests where the iBook fell flat on its face), is about a megabyte and a half in size. Thus only a small portion of it can be held in the cache on the iBook, while much more can fit into the megabyte of cache found in the G4 PowerBooks. On smaller documents this won't be much of an issue, and the fact that the cache on the iBook runs at full processor speed, should come into play, giving you a nice speed boost.

Drive speed was also significantly faster on the PowerBooks and subjectively doing normal daily tasks on the G4 PowerBooks seemed a tad more responsive than doing similar work on the iBook.

iBook Buyer's Guide

"Real World" Tests

The tests below are from our suite of real world application tests. These tests feature a diverse selection of applications commonly used by the Mac community. The test suite was designed to render an accurate and well rounded picture of a machine's performance. All of the tests below (with the exception of the Quake III & Cinebench 2000 tests) were timed with a stopwatch. The times are then converted to percentages relative to the Blue & White G3/350 which is set to 100%. For all scores, higher numbers are better. Absolute scores for most tests can be found below this section.

Finder Tests



AppleWorks 6 Tests


Quake III Tests
These scores are relative. Actual frame rates for all machines below this section.



Photoshop 6 & Other Data Crunching Tests





Encoding/Decoding Tests



Actual Scores - In Seconds except for the Quake and CineBench 2000 scores where higher scores are better


Finder Copy

Finder Copy
(Large File)

AppleWorks 6.0.4

AppleWorks 6.0.4
Search & Replace

Analog Code Analysis

Quake III
Fastest Setting

Quake III
High Quality Setting

iBook G3/500 20.28 22.41 106.24


40.18 34.8 FPS 17.3 FPS
PowerBook G4/400 16.24 18.78 56.60


41.38 47.9 FPS 17.4 FPS
PowerBook G4/500 14.86 19.16 54.20


33.69 57.1 FPS 17.2 FPS

CineBench 2000
Ray | Shade

SoundJam 2.5.2
MP3 Encode

QuickTime 4.1.2
(Sorenson 2X CD)

StuffIt 6

Photoshop 6.0

Photoshop 6.0
AltiVec Filters

Photoshop 6.0
Non-AltiVec Filters

iBook G3/500 6.14 |4.27 79.72 851.66 20.66 19.18 98.52 241.52
PowerBook G4/400 5.24 | 4.9 58 476.51 19.24 14.03 54.52 225.31
PowerBook G4/500 6.63 | 5.78 45.16 365.78 16.84 14.33 46.84 192.77