All Macs In-Depth Tests
The Performance Edge: The Power Mac Single Processor G4/533MHz, Skunks The New Quicksilver 733 MHz Power Mac, In Most Tests - The 'Megahertz Myth' Bites Apple

Additional Related Resources

Monday, August 13, 2001

This is our first look at the performance of the new Quicksilver Power Macs announced at Macworld NY in July. Below we compare the new 733 MHz machine to some of the currently selling Macs, and a few machines from the last round of PowerMacs. In most of the tests below, the single processor 533 MHz from the previous family of Power Macs, turned in better scores than the new 733 MHz machine. In many of the other tests they were evenly matched.

Other than the MHz difference what divides these two machines? They both have G4 processors. They both have the NVIDIA GeForce2 MX graphics cards with 32MB of SDRAM in 4x AGP slot. Both have Ultra ATA/66 drives. The drive on the new machine rotates somewhat slower, but other than that they are quite similar - the bus speed is the same and they both take the same speed RAM.

The difference between these two machines is, that the new 733 MHz Mac has a 256K on chip cache running at full processor speed...and that is it. The, now discontinued, 533 MHz machine has a full MB of backside cache running at half the processor speed. The other difference is that the 533 MHz machine was running System 9.1 and the 733 MHz, System 9.2 - although I don't believe that this would effect performance much We plan to test this assumption soon.

The 733 MHz Power Mac is Apple's 'budget' professional machine and items were cut to get it in at a price of $1,700 - $500 less than the old 533 MHz machine when it was in production. The 733 MHz machine is fine for those that aren't in the most demanding situations. For those that are, you might want to see if you can get a bargain on one of the discontinued 733 MHz models or even the dual processor 533 MHz from the last generation. The next step up from the current Quicksilver 733 MHz is the 867 MHz Power Mac. It not only has the on chip cache but also two full MB of Backside cache. However this machine will leave your wallet $800 lighter.

Note: This is our first look at the performance of the new Quicksilver towers. We will be running more tests and hope to have a full review of all the new Power Macs in the next few weeks.

Additional resources:

"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.

Finder Tests



AppleWorks 6 Tests


Quake III Tests
These scores are relative.



Photoshop 6 & Other Data Crunching Tests





Encoding/Decoding Tests