Performance Zone - The Best Macintosh Performance News From Around The Net

Machine Comparisons

Multi- Processor Comparisons

  • The Dual Duel - Various Multi-Processor Power Mac G4's Compared - Multiple processors are cool, man. And with the help of the upgrade angels, you can make almost any respectable Power Mac into a "dualie." I decided to compare Apple's factory dual G4 models with some of the newest dual G4 upgrade offerings
  • The Multiprocessor Option - Apple has not been too strong in the multiprocessor area. Up to the launch of OS X, there was no Mac operating system with good multitasking, let alone strong multiprocessor support. A multiprocessor system can speed up individual applications if they are multithreaded, but the easiest speedup you can get from extra processors is running multitasking more effectively. OS X has the potential to turn the situation around
  • How does the Dual G4/533 compare to the Single G4/533 and Other G4's? - I still don't have test results on the G4/733 but I do have test results on the DUAL G4/533. Hopefully, this will give you something to chew for a week or so. What really blew me away was how close I came with my "guess-timates" on its performance.
  • Multi-Processing 604e upgrade vs. G3/G4 - While searching around for deals, I came across a Multi-processor 200mhz 604e upgrade card. It's price is similar to that of a 400mhz G3, and I was wondering which would offer better performance?
  • Terra Soft adds support for dual processor G4s - Terra Soft Solutions, a developer of Linux solutions for Power PC microprocessors, has announced an update to its Champion Server flavor of Yellow Dog Linux with support for new Apple hardware
  • Multi-processor support seems easier to build than Altivec
  • Two 450MHz processors are better than one... but by how much? - Macworld Lab's first results in testing Apple's new dual-processor Power Macs are in
  • AppleSeed Multiprocessing Development Page - Some Macintoshes now have multiple processors. In order to make multiprocessing easier for programmers, we have written a programming library called MacMP to simplify the use of Apple's Multiprocessing Services Library (v. 2.1)
  • AltiVec and multiprocessing in CAD/3D - The PowerPC G4 processor with the AltiVec instruction set is a superior chip architecturally for science and 3D visualization than anything coming out of Intel

Miscellaneous Hardware Comparisons

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Software Performance Comparisons

  • iCab Beats Opera as Fastest Low-end Browser - I found Opera's claims to be "the fastest Internet browser" far-fetched at best. Opera was wanting, particularly in speed -- even with images turned off. It was slow, lethargic, unresponsive. In fact, it felt as if I was driving a Porsche, equipped with a 1982 Toyota sedan engine
  • Take that! Linux beats MS in benchmark test - Linux has finally made it onto the business map in the area of database benchmarks, helping take the wind out of Microsoft's continued contention that open-source operating systems don't make good business sense
  • Is Final Cut Pro 2.0 Significantly Faster Than 1.2.5? - Apple has advertised that Final Cut Pro 2.0 is up to 70% faster than Final Cut Pro 1.0 (or 1.2.5) when used with QuickTime 5.0. But what if I use FCP 1.2.5 with QT 5.0? In other words, is the increase in speed due strictly to the QuickTime update?
  • Discontinued WordPerfect '97 Still Leaves Word '98 Eating Its Dust - I have continued to use WordPerfect 3.5 even though Corel officially stopped selling it a year ago (July '99). Tech support ceased as of October '99. I just thought you'd like to know how it compares in performance to the two most popular "currently shipping" Macintosh word-processing products
  • Nisus Writer 5.1.3 Challenges WordPerfect 3.5.4 For "Fastest Word Processing" Honors - A comparison of Nisus Writer, Corel WordPerfect, Microsoft Word, and AppleWorks using a 250 page (194,202 word) document.
  • Unofficial Bench Test Results Of The Macintosh Emulators - While bench testing does not necessarily determine the best Mac emulator for your needs, it does give you an indication of the speed to expect from whatever Mac emulator you are thinking about using
  • Can a web cache improve network throughput? - Despite the steady increase in Internet connectivity speeds, users are still seeking ways to get more out of their existing network connections. When multiple users are sharing the same connection, the performance crunch can be even more severe. One solution that many network administrators pursue is the addition of a Web cache server. Web cache servers come in all shapes and sizes, but can they really make a difference on your network?
  • Browser Performance Tips - I've recently done some research into web browser performance, and have a couple of tips that are worth passing along
  • Virtual PC and AltiVec - Will the Velocity Engine of the G4s boost the performance of Virtual PC? An answer from one of Connectix's engineers.
  • SPEC CPU95 Results for many machines running all kinds of chips and software
  • Speedy Starter-Uppers - Bare Feats conducts a comparison between Casady & Greene's Speed Startup and Marc Moini's Startup Doubler
  • Can Virtual PC software on a 500MHz G3 with a Voodoo2 board do PC games at reasonable speeds?- How does VPC work on a hopped up G3 machine
  • Review of Speed Startup which is a utility from Casady & Greene that purports to cut the amount of time your Mac takes to boot
  • Making the Web a Faster Place - 20 tips for making Web pages load faster
  • Mac Java Runtime v2.1 vs v2.0 - CaffeineMark Performance Comparisons
  • Special Report on the various options for running Windows 95 on the Mac
  • Benchmarks for the 7.6 OS Update
  • Charts with the performance results from using different hard drive formatting software

Windows vs Mac Comparisons

  • How Does A 1.8GHz Pentium 4 With Radeon 8500 Running Windows XP Compare To A Dual G4/800 Power Mac With GeForce3 Running OS X (or a Dual G4/1000 With GeForce4 MX)? - The Power Mac G4 is close competition with the Pentium 4, when both are running at similar "total" clock speeds. In other words, a 1600MHz Pentium is roughly equivalent to a Dual 800MHz G4
  • System Shootouts! - I've been doing the occassional "system shootout" for about about a year or so, and have received quite a bit of mail regarding my previous efforts in the entry-level arenas: comparisons of the new iBook and new iMac against other low-priced PC offerings. However, it wasn't until my recent higher-end PowerMac G4 system shootouts hit the web that I felt the full impact of how much fuss there has been over the latest offerings from Apple, Intel, and of course AMD
  • Apple to overtake PC's in 2002 - Progress Report - First off, we have gathered information from numerous sources, but one source in particular has shed fantastic light on the progress behind the G5 processor. Despite how Motorola may make public comments about their work and the strength of the G4, the G5 processor development has progressed beautifully over the last few months
  • OS X vs. Windows XP - C|Net's faceoff between Mac OS X and Windows XP was quite thorough, and provided plenty of fodder for dissenting opinions. In fact, that article prompted me to jot down some of my own thoughts about Apple and Microsoft's next generation operating systems
  • Face-off: Mac OS X vs. Windows XP - In the right corner, in lunar-scape attire, stands the latest champion from the Microsoft stable, Windows XP! In the opposite corner, in aqua-blue shorts, is the heavyweight death match champion, Mac OS X, coming out of retirement for the battle of its life!
  • Macs vs Windows: Is the 'Megahertz Myth'... Actually A Myth Itself? - A Dual Processor Shoot Out With G4 And Wintel Chips As The Protagonists - First, don't panic over the results below. This is only one set of benchmarks and is aimed at dual processor configurations. Also this test does not utilize the 'Velocity Engine' of the G4. It does show that in certain functions, because of their higher clock speeds, Xeon and Athlon chips can far out shine the current high-end G4s
  • Cross-Platform Benchmarking - There have been a number of articles published on Low End Mac discussing the "Megahertz Myth" and how nice it would be if there were cross-platform benchmarks that would really let the truth be told. I'm here to suggest that perhaps the Macintosh community might want to be cautious about pushing for such things, unless it's willing to accept the consequences. Although I'm not saying that this would necessarily be the case, I do think there's a distinct possibility that should some sort of industrywide standard for personal computer benchmarking be adopted, the Macintosh could lose -- possibly badly
  • PC-advocate site, despite itself, confirms "megahertz myth"... and inspires major Mac sale! - The TechTV Website, aiming to debunk what it dubbed Steve Jobs's "benchmarketing", has in fact corroborated Apple's claims that there is a "megahertz myth" in computing - that the processor clock speed is not an adequate measure of performance
  • Proof the PPC line toasts the Pentium line - While the Mac/PPC platform did not process as much as the Windows/Intel Platform, it is very evident that the PPC processes the units in less time
  • PowerBook G4 Titanium v. Wintel - The Titanium PowerBook G4 is Apple's latest and greatest and PC Pro portables have finally cracked the 1GHz barrier (up from 800MHz last year). But how much have the Wintels improved in the last 9 months? Have they caught up with the PowerBooks?
  • Mac3D: G4 vs PIII shootout yields poor Mac G4 performance and controversy - I had learned from reader David Yuguchi that the March 2001 issue of Computer Graphics World magazine contains a 3D shootout between a Power Mac G4 and a Pentium III PC box. The Pentium III box reportedly toast the G4 in just about all test by 40 - 250 percent faster
  • Power Mac G4 Dual 500 versus Pentium 4 versus Athlon - he Dual G4/500 Macintosh was fastest when running applications like Photoshop and Cinema 4D XL that are both Velocity Engine (Altivec) and Multiprocessor "aware." It beat the 1400MHz Pentium in 3 out of 5 tests
  • Photoshop 5.5 Performance: Apple G4/500 & Dual G4/450 vs Pentium III 1GHz
  • Can an Athlon 1GHz with an nVIDIA card keep up with G4/400 and Voodoo5 card at HIGH QUALITY Quake III settings?
  • After years of debate, we settle the question once and for all - It's the computer industry's very own holy war. Raging for well over 10 years, the ongoing battle between Macintosh zealots and volatile Windows devotees is not about to end
  • Eye on the iBook,: How the iBook stacks up - In this column, we check out the fiercely-competitive low-end (but not low-rent) side of the market. Yes, virtually everyone wants a Pro portable, but only around 10% of the total market can afford - or justify - one
  • Portable Wars: Pismo v. Wintel - In my latest column, we sort the wheat from the chaff and finding out what gives the biggest bang for buck: Pismo or Wintel?
  • Power Mac Bests the Gigahertz PCs - During the past 18 months, while top PC processor speeds have jumped from 450 megahertz to a gigahertz, the PowerPC chip used in Apple Macintoshes has climbed only from 400 to 500 megahertz. But the PowerPC has always been able to get more work done in each clock cycle than Intel and Advanced Micro Devices processors.
  • MacWindows - A Web site for Mac/Windows integration solutions
  • PhotoShop 5 Benchmark (PS5bench) - 21 filters are applied on a 10MB image
  • Apple's Macintosh G4/400 Sawtooth versus HP's 800MHz Single AMD Athlon versus Dell's 600MHz Dual Pentium III - Am I missing something? Why is it that you need a single Wintel processor that runs twice as fast as a G4's clock speed to meet or exceed its performance?
  • Apple to Get Toasted in Processor Speedstakes? - Mike Donahue has another friend who runs a mostly Mac graphics design shop with several G4s and one Gateway Athlon. Now here's the kicker: Mike reports that his friend believes the Athlon is noticeably faster than the G4s and that it's a joy to use Photoshop on the Athlon machine.

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Sites Where Companies Have Performance Related Products
  • Multiprocessing Enhanced ZIF Daughter-Cards for PowerPC Based Computers - This white paper describes the enhancements within an XLR8 G4 MPe ZIF card for Power PC Macintosh systems and why it can be used as a processor in a multiprocessing environment when other ZIF card designs cannot. This paper explains what additional signals need to be connected on ZIF cards to make them "MPe compliant." The Purpose of this white paper is to publish the information for manufacturers considering, or already producing PowerPC G4-based ZIF cards to make them compatible with the MPe (multiprocessing enabled ) architecture
  • CSP INC.- As an authorized Apple reseller CSPI now delivers cluster-computing solutions ranging from entry level to supercomputer performance
  • Output Enablers - sell kits to clock chip G3 machines
  • Daystar Homepage
  • XLR8 - information on their CPU upgrade cards
  • IBM - benchmarks for the PowerPC chips
  • The L2 Company - benchmarks of performance improvement from using their Cache Cards
  • PowerLogix -manufacturers of processor upgrades
  • Sonnet Technologies Inc -manufacturers of processor upgrades
  • Sonnet OS X Compatibility
Performance Related Articles And Miscellaneous Information
  • Apple Cooling Techniques - I have worked with Apple Computers for about 18 months now, as I have a part time apprenticeship at an Apple Authorised Retailer. We often do repairs on Apples, thus I have learned how they go together and how they work. When I started working, I was one of the most Anti-Apple guys you could find. Now that I have worked with them for more than a year, I have found that there are a lot of things that us PC Users could learn from Apple
  • WLANs hit 22Mbps - Buffalo Technology recently announced a range of 802.11b-based WLAN (Wireless LAN) products that allow a theoretical transfer rate of up to 22Mbps. This is twice the transfer rate of regular 11Mbps 802.11b products. The range is the first to ship based on Texas Instruments' (TI) ACX100 chipset
  • PowerMac 6100 Upgrade Guide - Contrary to popular press and opinion, the PowerMac 6100 is a very expandable and upgradeable machine! From its humble beginnings as a "beginner's" Performa, my venerable PowerMac is now a G3-powered, multimedia authoring workhorse machine with all manner of options, input devices, peripherals and cross-platform capabilities
  • Clock speed is not output - Have you ever bought a car because it had an 8,000-rpm engine? No, you haven't. So why would you ever buy a PC because it has a 2GHz CPU? n Processor clock speed measures how hard the CPU is being flogged, not how much work it does. As chips depend on ever-more-complex logic (such as Pentium 4 "hyperthreading") and as throughput depends ever more upon a PC's I/O subsystems, it's becoming ever more important to watch our speedometers instead of our tachometers
  • Motorola to link PowerPC direct to DRAM - Motorola is set to build a memory controller directly on board its high-end PowerPC chips in a bid to accelerate the processor's ability to keep itself pumped up with instructions and data
  • Hard drives get a speed boost - The new standard, Serial ATA, will allow hard drives to keep up with PCs, which speed up with every iteration of processors from the likes of Intel and AMD. This not only will improve performance, but also enable PC makers to use smaller cables inside PCs, reducing heat and allowing for smaller systems to be developed. Serial ATA ultimately will allow data to be transferred at 600MB per second. It will start at about 150MB per second
  • Workstation Battle Royale
  • PowerMac 6100 Upgrade FAQ - This page contains the FAQ for PowerMac 6100 Upgrade Page.
  • We've Had The G4 Cube; Now Meet The G4 briQ - The briQ from Terra Soft, developers of Yellow Dog and Black Dog Linux, is a small footprint, single board, PowerPC Linux network appliance computer that can be used alone or within a cluster
  • iGeek: The emerging race for faster busses - HyperTransport, which I examined last week, is emerging as the frontrunner of a future generation of technologies that will enable dramatically faster computer system bus speeds and a new way of implementing busses. This week, I'll go a little deeper into HyperTransport, and also look at two other announced technologies that some see as "competitive efforts," and expand on what each of them does.
  • Mr Software fights the megahertz myth - if you look at the professionals, they very much know that it is not just the number on the chip but the balance of the performance - the balance of the software and the hardware and the integration of the applications with the platform - the optimisations and the overall workflow performance that matter. The professionals understand that,"
  • Total Cost of Ownership: Why the price of the computer means so little - Mac users often hear the mantra from the PC community about how much cheaper Wintel machines are to purchase. There is more to the costs of owning a computer than the purchase price though. To understand the true total costs of ownership (TCO), we must also include software, infrastructure, and support costs. In the final analysis, you soon realize that the initial hardware prices mean very little in defining the overall costs of ownership
  • iGeek The HyperTransport Revolution - This is a great new technology, but most people don't understand what it is, how it works or what it will mean for Apple, Macs and computer technology in general. After reading what little public information I could find and dusting the cobwebs off my ancient hardware background, here's my take on it.
  • How to add a THIRD internal ATA hard drive to your G4 - I searched everywhere and read everything I could get my hands on or find on the web about installing additional HDs into a G4. All the instructions pertaining to ATA drives stopped right after you install one additional ATA. The rest of the information pertained to SCSI drives, or so it seemed. The problem was that, as is the case with so many manuals and instructions in the computer world, they left out a couple of very important facts - stuff that for some unfathomable reason they don't tell you - but I'm here to correct those omissions!
  • The Myth of Megahertz, part 1 - Despite the popular perception, rating computer speeds by megahertz isn't the same as comparing miles-per-hour (MPH) for automotive speed
  • Speed up your Modem - this tutorial is about Apple's modem script generator and how you can speed up your modem
  • Wall Street Hotrodding Project - I embark on a project to extend the useful life of my 233 MHz WallStreet PowerBook by enhancing its specification with the computer equivalent of automotive speed and performance equipment -- hot rodding it, if you will
  • Gigahertz Mac maker Xtrem backtracks on speed promise - Instead of shipping a 1.2GHz machine, the company will offer a Mac clocked up to 1066MHz, a drop of around 12.5 per cent.
  • Speed Up Internet Explorer - Explorer is very popular in the Mac crowd, and a few of you may want to maximize its performance. Here are tips to achieve this.
  • Ethernet 500 times faster than DSL
  • How to Upgrade Your Performa - The Performas are not great machines in terms of upgrade, but you can still do many things to boot your Performa's speed
  • 'G4 Cube upgrades' no contradiction - Upgrade vendors say enhancements would be easy enough to design -- if the market were big enough to support them.
  • Gauging the gigaflops gap - as chips from Intel Corp. and AMD breeze past the 1GHz mark, Apple execs and loyalists alike have held up the gigaflops spec as evidence that the G4 is still in the running, performance-wise, even though the clock speeds on Motorola's Web site currently max out at 500MHz.
  • Faster SCSI or Ethernet? - Which will improve performance more on a NuBus Mac: faster Ethernet or a faster SCSI card?
  • Guide to LC PDS Video Cards - Guide to 030 PDS Video Cards, and Guide to Video Cards for 68000 Macs
  • Best Video Card for a 68K Mac - Q: What's the best video card for my 68K NuBus Mac?
  • Upgraded Power Mac 7200, StarMax 3000, or iMac - Which is the best value?
  • Is It Worth Putting a G3 in an Older Mac? - If you are like most people, you want the most computer for the lowest price, and I am here to tell you not to buy a pre-G3 for upgrade
  • Accelerating Unaccelerated NuBus Video Cards - Q: I've heard some accelerated video cards can acclerate unaccelerated video cards. How does this work?
  • What's the Best NuBus Video Card? - Q: What are my options on upgrading my 8100's video? I'm currently using the PDS video (2 MB), which is fairly tame. Do I buy the memory upgrade to get it to 4 MB, or does someone make a much better PDS card?
  • NuBus Video Cards - his is a not-quite-comprehensive (but growing) guide to NuBus video cards for the Mac

Miscellaneous Links

Past Performance News & Information Page