All Macs In-Depth Tests
Deep In The Zone: Comparing 18 Current & Former Power Macs, iMacs, PowerBooks And iBooks When Running O S X - A Performance Report
Sunday, November 17, 2002

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. If you are interested in how these machines will perform when running OS 9, we have those results too.

New machines added to the list below include all the new dual processor Towers and the 800 MHz eMac.

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.

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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

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 s burn CDs slower

The test above creates and destroys 1,000 windows, indicating on screen graphics performance. See the Let1kWindowsBloom site for more info.

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 Word program. Word is part of Office X

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 iMac, turning in lower scores that 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

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

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.

Encoding/Decoding Tests

A Sorenson encode compresses a QuickTime movie for streaming on the Web.

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 wihich max out at a read speed of 24X.

As you can see by the consistancy of the numbers, this is straight processing work


QuickTime DV Encode and MP3 Encode performed at the same time. Dual Processor machines rule the day

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 definately get you there faster.

QuickTime Sorenson encode and Fractal render are both carried out at the same time. The Dual processor 1.25 GHz Power Mac is almost twice as fast as the single processor 933 MHz


Giants is tuned to take advantage of the processor. 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