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From The Power Mac G3/266 To The Power Mac Dual G4/1000 - A Performance Review

This Page Retired: Thursday, July 25, 2002 ... Current Page

By David Engstrom

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Below you will find performance results for most of the currently shipping Power Mac machines, and a some 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. If you would like to see test results for most of the machines below, when running OS X click here. If you would like to review the raw data upon which these graphs are based check out this page.

The results below show the G4/733 Power Mac being beaten often by lower clocked machines. We believe that this is due to the fact that this is the 733 model without a L3 cache.

Individual 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 higher numbers are better

Additional Resources

Power Mac Buyer's Guide
Power Mac InfoZone
Power Mac Specifications & Features
iMac/eMac Performance
PowerBook /iBook Performance
Performance of All Macintoshes

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. This is a test where we feel that the 733 is being hurt by the lack of a L3 cache. The Power Mac G4/800 also does not have a L3 cache. It also has a different graphics card than most of the Power Macs listed here.


The machines without a L3 backside cache are really hurt in this test (all the machines with low relative 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 Dual G4/1000 Power Mac achieved 130 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 Dual G4/1000 Power Mac achieved 115 fps. The Power Mac G4/800 has a Radeon 7500 instead of the NVIDIA GeForce4 MX.



Photoshop 6 & Other Data Crunching Tests


OK, this is why graphics professionals need a G4 machine and a dual processor one ... preferably !

No advantage to dual processors if the software is not written to take advantage of it

This is pure, raw data crunching. Program does not take special advantage of the G4 or dual processors

This program loves dual processors

This is a combination of both processor and graphics card performance

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. The 733's CD drive speed is 32X its contemporaries 24X

Again in this test we can only assume that the 733 is hurt by the lack of a L3 cache

Main factor here is the burn rate of the CD drive. For These results the Power Mac G4/1000 is set to 100%


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