questions? Comments? Give us your feedback on these performance
Below you will find performance results for most of the currently
shipping portable 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. All the machines below were tested
when running OS X and the scores are relative to the Dual
G4/1GHz Tower released in the Winter of 2002.
"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 game tests) were timed with a stopwatch. The times were
then converted to percentages relative to the Dual
G4/1GHz Power Mac, which is set to 100%. For all scores
higher numbers are better. For our testing philosophyclick
The copy folder test not only stresses drive
performance but also takes advantage of faster processing
capability & caching schemes.
In the single file test the the processor &
caching capability of the machine is less of a factor. As
you can see, one area where portables have a lot of ground
to make up, when compared to desktop computers, is in the
area of drive performance
In this test only 55% of the processing power
of the Dual GHz Tower was being used, while 100% of the PowerBook
G4/1GHz processor was saturated with data. This is good news
if you want to do other chores with your Tower while you import
that 50 GB movie. It is bad new if you don't. There
is some bottleneck in the process that keeps the dual processor
machine from performing up to its potential .. wasting valuable
processing capacity. Perhaps the drive is not feeding data
quickly enough to the processor or there is some limiting
factor in the software itself.
Only those machines with CD burning capability
could be tested. CD burning only uses a fraction of the processor
to get the work done. In the case of the PowerBook G4/1GHz,
only 5% of the processor was being utilized. The iBook G3/800
has a 16X burn speed (the PowerBooks are 8X), but it took
three times the processing effort on the iBooks part to get
the disc burned
Large document is scrolled from one end to the
other using Classic OS 9 when booted in OS 10. This test gauges
on-screen graphics performance
Large Document & Database
A Macro (series of complex actions) was run
in Microsoft's Excel spreadsheet program. Excel is part of
This test takes place in a large AppleWorks
document. Machines with larger chip caches do better in this
Jaguar's new File Search function relies on
both processor and drive performance
Number Crunching & Rendering Tests
Photoshop Test Suite - mimics a production type workflow in
Photoshop. GHz PowerBook can't keep up with dual processors
A Ripple Effect
is applied to an iMovie. This function appears to respond
well to the G4 processor. It also utilizes dual processors,
but again 40% of the processing power of the dual machine
was left on the table. You need to plan your work so that
you can soak up that extra power
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. Really highlights the processing
advantage of a dual processor machine, and the G4
processor. Specialty applications that can be written
to take advantage of these attributes will really shine.
encode compresses a QuickTime movie for streaming on the Web.
The version of Sorenson which is incorporated into QuickTime
does not take advantage of dual processors, though it is our
understanding the the professional
movies to DV allows you to import them into iMovie. Dual processors
shine here. The PowerBooks also turn in a respectable numbers
During the encode 65% of the processing capacity of the dual
processor machine was used. In the G4/1GHz PowerBook 100%
was used. Both machines read CDs at up to 24X
MP3 Encode, AppleWorks search & replace
and folder copy are all carried out at the same time. In a
production type environment the Dual Processor Towers make
a lot of sense ... if you do some planning.
QuickTime Sorenson encode and Fractal render
are both carried out at the same time.
The PowerBook G4/867 turned in 21.6 fps, the
G4/800 24.2 fps and the Dual Processor Tower 45 fps (Giants)
is a demanding racing game. The PowerBook G4/867 turned in
27 fps, the iBook G3/800 16 fps and the Dual Processor Tower