May 21, 2002
Check for more information and current prices
at the following Buyer's Guides : G4
PowerBooks .... iMacs
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
Edge Index or to search
"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.
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
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
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
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
This is a combination of both processor and
graphics card performance ... no advantage to dual processors
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.