All Macs In-Depth Tests
Deep In The Zone: The New G4 iMacs Compared To 17 Previous And Current Macs - A Performance Report

Tuesday, May 21, 2002

Check for more information and current prices at the following Buyer's Guides : G4 PowerBooks .... iMacs ... iBooks ... Power Mac

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 or 9.2.2. 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 you can find it elsewhere on this site. The best way to find it is to go to our Performance Edge Index or to search the site.

"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 were 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.

Overall Scores

The ZoneBench Processor Score is an average of certain of our test which stress only the processor and memory system. It includes normal processing, AltiVec processing and tests which take advantage of dual processors. You can see how the machines without a backside cache (L3 cache), such as the new 800 MHz Power Mac, are hurt. Though the 933 MHz is clocked only 17% faster, it turns in 35% better performance

These are an average of most of the scores below, and should be thought of as an overall picture of each machine's performance

Finder Tests

The test above copies a folder containing thousands of files. This type of copying requires more processing overhead than a single, large file duplication


Processor performance is less of a factor here and the drive performance is more important.

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 G4/800 iMac achieved 75 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 G4/800 iMac achieved 64 fps. The G4/700 iMac 59 fps.

Photoshop 6 & Other Data Crunching Tests


OK, this is why graphics professionals need a G4 machine, and perhaps a Dual processor one at that

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.

The BareFeat's Photoshop Suite was designed by the editor of the BareFeat's Web Site, to mimic the workflow of a typical graphics artist working in a production type environment. The other two Photoshop test above mainly stress the raw processing power of each machine.

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

But this one does ... dual processors that is

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. But this version of Sorenson (built into QuickTime) does not utilized an additional processor if it is present

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



As stated previously, for these results a lower number is better. Main factor here is the burn rate of the CD drive. The SuperDrive of the G4/800 iMac burns CDs at 8x and the G4/700 iMac burns them at 12x.