All Macs In-Depth Tests
Deep In The Zone: iMacs, iBooks, PowerBooks & PowerMacs - These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things - A Performance Report

Tuesday, December 11, 2001 (this page retired 3/25/02. For current Mac performance information - click here)

Below you will find performance results for most of the currently shipping machines, and a few from previous generations. This will

hopefully give you an impression of relative performances. We will be adding new machines on an on-going basis ... so check back once in a while. We are gradually moving to a testing program based on OS X, however the results below were done under either OS 9.1 or OS 9.2.1. The 500 and 600 MHz iMacs and the 500 MHz iBook are the previous incarnations of these machines. However the current models of these three machines differ little from their predecessors ... especially in the performance arena. So you can safely assume that the performance numbers below will be pretty much in-line with the current generation, running at the same clock speed. There might be some variation in drive performance but only slightly.

We have done testing on most of the current machines below, when running Mac OS X, and will be posting that information soon. In the meantime there is a lot of additional information on all these machines both here at MacSpeedZone, and over at our sister site, MacReviewZone. The best way to find all the information that is available, is to click on the search button above (which appears on every page at this site) and use our (pretty good), search engine. You can search both sites from one interface ... so it is very efficient.

Note: In some of the scores you will see what may appear as an abnormally low score for the Quicksilver Power Mac G4/733. For example the Power Mac G4/533 beats it in some test. This is due, in most cases, to the fact that it lacks a L3 backside cache.

"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 MHz Power Mac which is set to 100%. For all scores (except the "Burn CD), higher numbers are better.

Finder Tests

The test above copies a folder containing thousands of files. Although the drive is the main factor here processing power plays significant part as well

Processor performance is less of a factor here and the drive performance is more important. One caveat: Apple has been known to change drive vendors mid-stream

AppleWorks 6 Tests

The graphics sub-system and processor influence the scores above. The drive is not a factor

The machines without a L3 backside cache are really hurt in this test (all the machines with low scores). This will be true in any processor intensive tasks in large documents or databases. If you work in mainly smaller documents you will note see this kind of performance difference

Quake III Tests
These scores are relative.

At 'fastest' setting the processor plays a bigger role (the 867 achieved 112 fps)

Most, if not all, the processing is being done by the graphics card in this test. The speed difference more or less disappears in machines that have the same graphics card. (the 867 achieved 54 fps)

Photoshop 6 & Other Data Crunching Tests

Drive and processing power are both important

OK, this is why graphics professionals need a G4 machine

The performance advantage of the G4 is erased when the software is not written (or cannot be written) to utilize the chip's unique performance abilities


This is pure, raw data crunching. Program does not utilize dual processors, nor does it take advantage of the G4

But this one does. If adjusted for clock speed the dual processor machine would be almost twice as fast.

This is a combination of both processor and graphics card performance ... no advantage to dual processors here.

Encoding/Decoding Tests

Again another Multimedia program that really takes full advantage of the G4 - probably the best example we have come across

Another App tuned to the G4's capabilities. However CD drive speed is also a factor

Kind of a mixed bag since some machines were running OS 9.1 and others 9.2.1 ... don't take this result too seriously

As stated previously, for these results a lower number is better. Main factor here is the burn rate of the CD drive