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The SpeedZone: It Costs $800 More Than The Power Mac Dual Processor 867, Just How Much Faster Is The Dual GHz Machine? - A Performance Report

Tuesday, September 24, 2002

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by David Engstrom

Below we have a performance comparison between the new Power Mac dual G4/867 and the new Dual Processor G4/1000. The GHz machine costs $800 more than the 867 MHz. From a performance standpoint, is it worth the extra money?

From a pure clock-speed standpoint, the GHz machine is just about 15% faster. When we look at the results below, we indeed see that in many of the tests that stress processor performance, the GHz Power Mac comes out just about 15% faster.

In other tests, the higher -clocked machine turns in anywhere from 22% faster (multi-tasking test), to 32% slower (CD burning).

In our Scroll Test, inexplicably, the GHz machine, with the Radeon 9000 Pro graphics card, turned in a poorer performance than the 867 with the NVIDIA GeForce4 MX.

In our game testing, on cue, the GHz machine turned in a 18% improvement over the 867.

So is a average 15% speed improvement, a SuperDrive and 20 GB of extra hard drive space, worth the extra 800 bucks? We'll let you decide that. Bear in mind that going from the Dual GHz machine to the Dual 1.25 GHz, (which is shipping from most outlets now), will be a bigger performance step up than going from the 867 to the GHz.

We will be ordering a 1.25 GHz machine shortly, and so should be able to provide you with more detailed performance information on this machine in the very near future.

Difference and similarities of each machine
  Power Mac Dual G4/867 Power Mac Dual G4/1000

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Processors G4/867 G4/1000
L2 Cache 256k @ 867 MHz 256k @ 1000 MHz
L3 Cache 1MB DDR SRAM per processor 1MB DDR SRAM per processor
Bus Speed 133 MHz 167 MHz
Memory 1 GB PC2100 266MHz DDR SDRAM 1 GB PC2100 266MHz DDR SDRAM
Graphics Card NVIDIA GeForce4 MX with 32MB of DDR SDRAM ATI Radeon 9000 Pro with 64MB of DDR SDRAM
Drive 60GB Ultra ATA/100; 7200 rpm 80GB Ultra ATA/100; 7200 rpm
CD Drive 8x 16x10x 32x SuperDrive
Operating System 10.2 10.2
Price $1,699 $2,499

"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, except for the game tests, were timed with a stopwatch. The times were then converted to percentages, relative to the Power Mac Dual G4/867, which is set to 100%. For all scores, higher numbers are better.

Desktop Tests


Slightly better performance on booting ... but nothing to write home about

The Faster processor is probably the prime factor in the GHz machine's better showing

In reading and writing large documents to the hard drive both machines are pretty evenly matched

Combo drive trumps SuperDrive in basic CD burning (16x vs 8x)

Slightly better performance in this 2D graphics test . Let 1K Windows Bloom is a simple carbon application that opens and closes 1,000 windows.

Large document is scrolled from one end to the other using Classic OS 9.2.2 when booted in OS 10. Test shows the performance of on-screen graphics. Don't understand this result. Not only is the GHz machine faster, but it is also suppose to have a better graphics card. Take this result with a grain of salt, unless it is confirmed elsewhere.

Two folders with many items are searched using OS X new search function. The faster processors are no advantage here. To carry out this function only 10% of the processing power of each machine was utilized. So the bottle neck is not at the processor level.

Large Document & Database Type Tests

A Macro (series of complex actions) was run in Microsoft's Word program, which is part of Office X

A Macro (series of complex actions) was run in Microsoft's Excel program, which is part of Office X

Stresses the processing & memory systems of the machine. This test takes place in a large AppleWorks document. This is a raw processing power test.

Number Crunching & Rendering Tests

The Fractal program has been highly tuned to take advantage of the G4 and is precisely the type of work that the G4 was made for. It will also gobble up whatever processing capability is present. This is a good test for assessing the fundamental processing potential of each machine.

A Ripple Effect is applied to an iMovie

A QuickTime export is imported into iMovie. Drive performance is an important factor

Encoding/Decoding Tests

A Sorenson encode compresses a QuickTime movie for streaming on the Web


Preps QuickTime Movie for import into iMovie


A Sorenson encode and fractal render are performed at the same time

MP3 Encode, AppleWorks search & replace and folder copy are all carried out at the same time


Aside from the graphics card, Giants is also tuned to take advantage of the processor as well. Indeed, when run on a dual processor machine, you will see Giants fly ahead of the same game running on a single processor machine. Frame rates here are 38 fps for the 867 MHz machine and 45 fps for the GHz machine.

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