All Macs In-Depth Tests

Deep In The Zone: New GHz & 867 MHz PowerBooks vs 20 Current & Former Power Macs, iMacs, PowerBooks And iBooks, All Running O S X - A Performance Report


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Below you will find performance results for most of the currently shipping machines, and some from previous generations. This will, hopefully, give you an feel for the relative performances of these machines when running OS X. We will be adding new machines on an on-going basis ... so check back once in a while.

New machines added to the list below include the new  GHz & 867 MHz PowerBooks

It should be noted that, although all the machines below were running a version of OS X, not all were running 10.2, or Jaguar. However the scores below are relative ones, so we are fairly confident that most of the performance relationships should hold up despite the change in OS system version. There may be some variations that we have not completely considered ... so travel with care. See our testing philosophy for more info

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"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, except for the game tests, were timed with a stopwatch. The times were then converted to percentages, relative to the Power Mac Dual G4/1GHz, which is set to 100%. For all scores, higher numbers are better.

Desktop Tests

The copy folder test not only stresses drive performance but also takes advantage of faster processing capability & caching schemes. Though the new PowerBook's drives are faster than their predecessors, they are still no match for a Tower machine

In the single file test the the processor & caching capability of the machine is less of a factor

Drive performance appears to be the prime mover here

Only those machines with CD burning capability could be tested. No surprise here. Machines with the SuperDrive burn CDs slower. Both of the new PowerBooks burn CD-R at  8X

Large document is scrolled from one end to the other using Classic OS 9 when booted in OS 10. This test gauges on-screen graphics performance 

Large Document & Database Type Tests

A Macro (series of complex actions) was run in Microsoft's Excel spreadsheet program. Excel is part of Office X

This test takes place in a large AppleWorks document. Here you see certain machines, such as the G4/800 iMac, turning in lower scores than slower clocked machines, such as the PowerBook G4/667. This is due to the lack of a L3 backside cache in the poorer performing machines and/or a smaller on-chip L2 cache

Jaguar's new File Search function relies on both processor and drive performance

Number Crunching & Rendering Tests

A Ripple Effect is applied to an iMovie. This function appears to respond well to the G4 processor

The Fractal program has been highly tuned to take advantage of the G4 and is precisely the type of work that the G4 was made for. It will also gobble up whatever processing capability is present. This is a good test for assessing the fundamental processing potential of each machine. Really highlights the processing advantage of a dual processor machine, and the G4 processor, when applications are tuned to take advantage of these features

Encoding/Decoding Tests

A Sorenson encode compresses a QuickTime movie for streaming on the Web. The version of Sorenson which is incorporated into QuickTime does not take advantage of dual processors

Converting QuickTime movies to DV allows you to import them into iMovie. Dual processors shine here

CD-ROM drive speed and CPU processing power are the factors influencing the scores above. Our assumption is that the CD drive speed is the bottleneck in the top of the line Power Macs above. The top four machines have the SuperDrive, which max out at a read speed of 24X. Only 65% of the 1.25 GHz machine's processing capability was being utilized, meaning the processors were not being fed data fast enough to saturate them. Still the dual processor machines tore through this test almost twice as fast as the top end PowerBook


MP3 Encode, AppleWorks search & replace and folder copy are all carried out at the same time. If you need to have your computer carry out multiple activities at the same time, a dual processor machine will definitely get you there faster. Size of L2 & L3 cache are factors in the scores above

QuickTime Sorenson encode and Fractal render are both carried out at the same time. The new PowerBooks do a fairly good job of keeping up, even though they are single processor machines


Giants is tuned to take advantage of the processor(s). Indeed, when run on a dual processor machine, you will see Giants fly ahead of the same game running on a single processor machine. It  also helps to have a better graphics card. The 1.25 GHz machine turned in 55 frames per second,. the GHz PowerBook 24.8 and the 867 MHz PowerBook 21.6 fps.

4x4 EVO2 is a demanding racing game. The top of the line Tower turned in 42 fps, the GHz PowerBook 29 fps and the 867 MHz PowerBook 27 fps