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The SpeedZone: How Fast Are The New Power Mac Towers At Playing Games? This Fast .... A Performance Report

Thursday, October 10, 2002

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by David Engstrom

Below we take a look at performance of three different games when running on each of the new Dual Processor Towers.

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

Most of 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.

Quake was run under OS 9.2.2. The other two games are modern ones that will run within OS X and that take advantage of both the operating system & dual processors, as well as the graphics card.

One test we ran, who's results are not listed below, was to run 4x4 EV02 and a QuickTime movie render at the same time. The QuickTime render ran in the background. Both programs ran great, and at the same time without problems. The frame rates of EVO were the same whether the QuickTime render was going on or not ... Wicked!

EVO, when running solo, only used around 50% of the processing capacity of the the 1.25 GHz Tower, leaving plenty of processing power for other tasks.

On the gaming front, not surprisingly, the top of the line Dual G4/1.25 GHz Tower is king. It turned in, on average, 40 - 50% better frame rates over the 867 MHz machine. However when EVO was set to high-quality, the 1.25 GHz leaped ahead of the 867 by 71%.

Giants and EVO are demanding games and it is only with the arrival these Towers that we are beginning to see acceptable game play when the game is set to its high-quality setting. If you are a hardcore gamer, and you have the cash burning a hole in your pocket, you are going to want to go with the high-end Tower ... you'll need its muscle. Don't even think about getting an iMac! For those of you on a limited budget ... there is always a graphics card upgrade

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

Power Mac Dual G4/1.25 GHz

Processors G4/867 G4/1000 G4/1.25 GHz
L2 Cache 256k @ 867 MHz 256k @ 1000 MHz 256k @ 1.25 GHz
L3 Cache 1MB DDR SRAM per processor 1MB DDR SRAM per processor 2MB DDR SRAM per processor
Bus Speed 133 MHz 167 MHz 167 MHz
Memory 1 GB PC2100 266MHz DDR SDRAM 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 ATI Radeon 9000 Pro with 64MB of DDR SDRAM
Drive 60GB Ultra ATA/100; 7200 rpm 80GB Ultra ATA/100; 7200 rpm 120 GB Ultra ATA/100; 7200 rpm
CD Drive 8x 16x10x 32x SuperDrive SuperDrive
Operating System 10.2 10.2 10.2
Price $1,699 $2,499 $3,299

"Real World" Tests

For the graphs below frame rates were converted to percentages, relative to the Power Mac Dual G4/867, which is set to 100%. For all scores, higher numbers are better.

Quake III Tests

The Quake test were run when booted into OS 9.2.2. At the 'High Quality' setting Quake relies almost exclusively on the graphics card. In fastest mode the processor plays a big part.

Machine 867 1 GHz 1.25 GHz
Actual Frame Rates 94.3 104.3 128.9


Machine 867 1 GHz 1.25 GHz
Actually Frame Rates 93.5 105.6 130.4


Machine 867 1 GHz 1.25 GHz
Actually Frame Rates 102.8 118.2 147.4

The Giants & EVO tests were run under 10.2. Both games take advantage of dual processors


Machine 867 1 GHz 1.25 GHz
Actually Frame Rates 95 114 137


Machine 867 1 GHz 1.25 GHz
Actually Frame Rates 38 45 55


Machine 867 1 GHz 1.25 GHz
Actually Frame Rates 16.9 21 26.1


Machine 867 1 GHz 1.25 GHz
Actually Frame Rates 17


Machine 867 1 GHz 1.25 GHz
Actually Frame Rates 27 33 42


Machine 867 1 GHz 1.25 GHz
Actually Frame Rates 38 47 58

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