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The SpeedZone: The New G4/1GHz PowerBook Compared To 11 Current & Previous PowerBooks & iBooks

12/31/02

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


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"Real World" Tests

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 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 here

Desktop Tests


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 Type Tests

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

This test takes place in a large AppleWorks document. Machines with larger chip caches do better in this test

Jaguar's new File Search function relies on both processor and drive performance


Number Crunching & Rendering Tests
 

BareFeats 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

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. 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.


Encoding/Decoding Tests

A Sorenson 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 version does

Converting QuickTime 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


Multitasking

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.


Gaming

The PowerBook G4/867 turned in 21.6 fps, the G4/800 24.2 fps and the Dual Processor Tower 45 fps (Giants)

4x4 EVO2 is a demanding racing game. The PowerBook G4/867 turned in 27 fps, the iBook G3/800 16 fps and the Dual Processor Tower 30 fps

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