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The Performance Edge: iMac G4/800 vs iMac G4/700 - How Much Difference Does 100 MHz And A SuperDrive Make? - A Performance Report

Tuesday, April 16, 2002

On average the 700 MHz G4 iMac was about 10% slower than its faster sibling. If you choose to buy the faster machine what you get, aside from the better performance, is 20 more gigs of hard drive space and the ability to burn DVDs. If you want to burn DVDs the 800 MHz iMac is a bargain, because to get an external DVD-R drive will run you $300 - $500.

If you are wondering how the low-end iMac, the one that only has the CD-RW drive, will perform, it should perform about the same at the 700 MHz iMac presented below. It should write CDs faster and its hard drive performance might be slightly different (although it does have the same size drive). But in all other respects it is the same machine at the iMac with the Combo drive, and can be assumed to perform on par with it.

Bought an G4 iMac? What did you buy and why? Let us know

Difference and similarities in processor, and memory & graphics systems of each machine

  iMac G4/700 iMac G4/800

Additional Resources

Check prices at:

 

Processors G4/700 G4/800
L2 Cache 256k @ 700 MHz 256k @ 800 MHz
L3 Cache None None
Memory 768 MB PC 133 768 MB PC 133
Graphics Card NVIDIA GeForce2 MX with 32 MB of DDR RAM in a 2x AGP slot NVIDIA GeForce2 MX with 32 MB of DDR RAM in a 2x AGP slot
Drive 40GB Ultra ATA 60GB Ultra ATA
Operating System 10.1.2 10.1.2
Price $1,599 $1,899


"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 iMac G4/700, which is set to 100%. For all scores, higher numbers are better.


Desktop Tests

 

Actual time: iMac G4/700 : 53.44 sec .... iMac G4/800: 48.13 sec

 

Actual time: iMac G4/700 : 40.62 sec Processor usage: 75% .... iMac G4/800: 41.24 sec Processor usage: 75%

Interesting that Classic booted slightly faster on the 700 MHz machine ... but really this is within the margin of error

Actual time: iMac G4/700 : 18.90 sec Processor usage: 35% .... iMac G4/800: 20.25 sec Processor usage: 35%

Actual time: iMac G4/700 : 13.20 sec Processor usage: 20% .... iMac G4/800: 10.71 sec Processor usage: 20%

Although we ran the test several times we got the same result on the Copy Folder test you see above. Drives are notoriously difficult to pin down exactly when you are trying to ascertain their performance, often giving different results each time you run a test. However test results are usually in the 'ballpark'. Keep that in mind when assessing the results above.



Actual time: iMac G4/700 : 95.31 sec Processor usage: 15% .... iMac G4/800: 120.15 sec Processor usage: 15%

No surprise here. The SuperDrive of the 800 MHz machine burns CDs at 8x and the 700 MHz iMac's Combo Drive writes at 12x

Actual time: iMac G4/700 : 54.51 sec Processor usage: 100% .... iMac G4/800: 52.79 sec Processor usage: 100%

Both iMacs have the NVIDIA GeForce2 MX with 32 MB of DDR RAM in a 2x AGP slot. Pretty much a tie here. The test above creates and destroys 1,000 windows. See the Let1kWindowsBloom site for more info.

Actual time: iMac G4/700 : 26.32 sec Processor usage: 55% .... iMac G4/800: 26.09 sec Processor usage: 50%

Large document is scrolled from one end to the other using Classic OS 9.2.2 when booted in OS 10.


Large Document & Database Type Tests

Actual time: iMac G4/700 : 131.51 sec , Processor usage: 100% .... iMac G4/800: 116.91 sec Processor usage: 100%

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

Actual time: iMac G4/700 : 85.74 sec , Processor usage: 100%. .... iMac G4/800:78.93 sec Processor usage: 100%

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

Actual time: iMac G4/700 : 35.27 sec , Processor usage: 100% .... iMac G4/800: 33.63 sec Processor usage: 100%

This test takes place in a large AppleWorks document.

Actual time: iMac G4/700 : 74.07 sec Processor usage: 90% .... iMac G4/800: 67.56 sec Processor usage: 95%

Large folder is indexed by Apple's search application


Number Crunching & Rendering Tests

Actual time: iMac G4/700 : 244.83 sec Processor usage: 100% .... iMac G4/800: 234.16 sec Processor usage: 100%

A Ripple Effect is applied to an iMovie

Actual time: iMac G4/700 : 76.63 sec Processor usage: 100% .... iMac G4/800: 67.09 sec Processor usage: 100%

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 power of each machine

 

Encoding/Decoding Tests

Actual time: iMac G4/700 : 297.84 sec Processor usage: 100% .... iMac G4/800: 272.76 sec Processor usage: 100%

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

Actual time: iMac G4/700 : 182.31 sec Processor usage: 100% .... iMac G4/800: 173.94 sec Processor usage: 100%

Converting QuickTime movies to DV allows you to import them into iMovie

Actual time: iMac G4/700 : 165.56 sec Processor usage: 100% .... iMac G4/800: 151.45 sec Processor usage: 100%

The 700 MHz iMac reads CDs at 32x and the 800 MHz iMac at 24x so the difference is made up by the 800 MHz higher processing capability

Actual time: iMac G4/700 : 14.63 sec Processor usage: 100% .... iMac G4/800: 13.31 sec Processor usage: 100%


Multitasking

Actual time: iMac G4/700 : 255.75 sec Processor usage: 100% .... iMac G4/800: 224.14 sec Processor usage: 100%

An MP3 encode, Search & Replace in AppleWorks and Folder Copy are all carried out at the same time

Actual time: iMac G4/700 : 641.08 sec Processor usage: 100% .... iMac G4/800: 579.7618 sec Processor usage: 100%

Two Sorenson encodes are performed at the same time


Gaming

Actual fps: iMac G4/700 : 13.7 fps .... iMac G4/800: 14.5 fps

 

Actual fps: iMac G4/700 : 14.9 fps .... iMac G4/800: 16.1 fps

Both of the iMacs have the same graphics card, but 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.


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