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The SpeedZone: The New iBooks And Game Performance - How Much Difference Does The New Graphics Card Make? .... A Performance Report

12/4/02

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Performance article index

by David Engstrom

Below we take a look at performance of two different games when running on each of the new iBooks. We have also included some scores from the previous generation of iBooks

The two games holding these computer's feet to the fire are, drum roll please, Giants: Citizen Kabuto, and 4x4 EVO2.

The games were run at  3 different settings. The exception was Giants who's fame rates didn't seem to vary much from setting to setting, and which really only looked great at the default setting. So that is where we left it, recording the highest, lowest and average frame rates.

Giants and EVO are demanding games and none of the iBooks is really any match for them  when the games are left at the default, high-quality settings. You have to really dial back the quality of the game, if you want to get acceptable game play.

Of course less demanding games will perform better. But popular games are becoming more demanding not less, and will continue to do so as we move forward. So if you are looking for a gaming platform, the iBook is not going to give you the muscle you need. If you hunt around you should be able to pick up one of the last generation PowerBooks at a discount, which should perform much better.

One thing that might be holding the iBooks back from better performance is the fact that the Radeon 7500 found in the new iBooks, sit in a 2x AGP connection. This same graphics cards is found in the last generation of PowerBooks, but performs much better in them. In the PowerBook the graphics card is installed in a 4x AGP slot.

Have questions? Comments? Give us your feedback on these performance numbers

Difference and similarities of each machine

iBook G3/600 (Spring 02)

iBook G3/600 (Spring 02) iBook G3/700 (Spring 02) iBook G3/700 (Winter 2002) iBook G3/800
Processors G3/600 G3/700 G3/700 G3/800
L2 Cache 512K @ 600 MHz 512K @ 700 MHz 512K @ 700 MHz 512K @ 800 MHz
L3 Cache none none none none
Bus Speed 100 MHz 100 MHz 100 MHz 100 MHz
Memory 640 MB 640 MB 640 MB 640 MB
Graphics Card 16 MB ATI Mobility Radeon 2x AGP 16 MB ATI Mobility Radeon 2x AGP ATI Mobility Radeon 7500 16MB
2x AGP
ATI Mobility Radeon 7500 32MB
2x AGP
Drive 20 GB Ultra ATA 30 GB Ultra ATA 20 GB Ultra ATA 30 GB Ultra ATA
CD Drive 24x 8x 8x8x 24x 24x 16x 8x8x 24x
Operating System 10.2 10.2 10.2 10.2
Screen
12.1-inch (diagonal) TFT XGA active-matrix
1024x768
800x600
640x480
resolutions with millions of colors
14.1-inch (diagonal) TFT XGA active-matrix
1024x768
800x600
640x480
resolutions with millions of colors
12.1-inch (diagonal) TFT XGA active-matrix
1024x768
800x600
640x480
resolutions with millions of colors
14.1-inch (diagonal) TFT XGA active-matrix
1024x768
800x600
640x480
resolutions with millions of colors
Price $1,199 $1,799 $999 $1599

"Real World" Tests

For the graphs below frame rates were converted to percentages, relative to the iBook G3/600, which is set to 100%. For all scores, higher numbers are better.


The Giants & EVO tests were run under 10.2.

 

Machine

iBook G3/600 (Spring 02)

iBook G3/700 (Spring 02) iBook G3/700 (Winter 2002) iBook G3/800
Actually Frame Rates

28

28 31 31

 

Machine

iBook G3/600 (Spring 02)

iBook G3/700 (Spring 02) iBook G3/700 (Winter 2002) iBook G3/800
Actually Frame Rates 11.6 11.6 15.3 14.7

 

Machine

iBook G3/600 (Spring 02)

iBook G3/700 (Spring 02) iBook G3/700 (Winter 2002) iBook G3/800
Actually Frame Rates 5.5 5.3 7.3 7.7




**Note: We find the abnormally high score of the 800 MHz iBook suspicious. However it was the score we had marked down. Unfortunately we do not have the iBook still around so that we can recheck the score. We opted to leave the score in, even though we find the result questionable, with the hopes that someone could either confirm or shoot down this result.  The faster iBook has 32 MB of graphics memory, the 700 MHz iBook only 16 MB. Perhaps this accounts for better performance when the game is on its highest settings.

Machine

iBook G3/600 (Spring 02)

iBook G3/700 (Spring 02) iBook G3/700 (Winter 2002) iBook G3/800
Actually Frame Rates 5.1 n/a 6.7 10.6

 

Machine

iBook G3/600 (Spring 02)

iBook G3/700 (Spring 02) iBook G3/700 (Winter 2002) iBook G3/800
Actually Frame Rates 11.5 n/a 16 16

 

Machine

iBook G3/600 (Spring 02)

iBook G3/700 (Spring 02) iBook G3/700 (Winter 2002) iBook G3/800
Actually Frame Rates 16.8 n/a 23 23

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