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The Performance Edge: Is Apple's Top Of The Line Dual Processor Gigahertz Tower Too Fast, Too Powerful? Perhaps - The Dual Processor G4/1GHz vs The G4/933, A Performance Report

Sunday, February 24, 2002

We spent the weekend benchmarking the new single processor G4/933 Tower. Below you will find some of the results of our work, and a comparison between the 933 and the dual GHz G4. All the test below we done using OS X - results when running OS 9 will be posted to the Net later on this week.
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Some might be disappointed by the performance of the dual GHz machine. In many of the tests it showed only slightly better performance, and in others, almost the same output. However this doesn't tell the whole story. In most of the single application tests run on the 933 machine, the processor was fully utilized throughout the test. In other words the single processor was kept continually saturated with data to crunch. When the same single application tests were run on the dual processor machine, the processing capability of the machine was not fully utilized. In many of the tests up to 50% of processors potential was left idle. Obviously many of the common applications that Mac users run, need to get-up-to speed to take advantage of the power of Apple's top of the line machine. Be sure to check out the Fractal results below to see what a well written custom application can do when unleashed on a high-performance dual processor setup. This application takes advantage of the GHz machine beautifully, fully saturating both processors, and turning in a whopping 2.15 times performance over the 933 MHz single processor machine. Yum!

The other advantage of the dual processor machine over the 933, is that you can get more work done if you are intensively using multiple applications. We ran some multiple application tests and the GHz machine turned in about a 50% performance improvement over the the 933. We even had some headroom to spare on a couple of the multitasking tests..

The top of the line machine is certainly not for everyone.

There are always those that will want the fastest machine possible, if for no other reason than for bragging rights. However for most of us, unless we are running heavy duty data crunching applications (multimedia, scientific etc.), multiple applications at once in a production environment, or some other processor intensive activity of which I am unaware, the 933 MHz machine will suit us just fine.

Do you think you need a Dual Processor G4/1GHz? Let us know why, we're curious to know to what uses you will put the machine. How will you utilize all that power?

Difference and similarities in processor and memory systems of each machine


  Power Mac G4/933 Power Mac Dual G4/1GHz

Additional Resources

Check prices at:

 

Processors G4/933 2 x G4/1000
L2 Cache 256k @ 933 MHz 256k @ 1 GHz
L3 Cache 2 MB @ 233 MHz DDR 2 MB @ 250 MHz DDR
Memory 768 MB PC 133 1 GB PC 133
Graphics Card NVIDIA GeForce4 MX with 64MB of DDR SDRAM NVIDIA GeForce4 MX with 64MB of DDR SDRAM
Drive 60 GB @ 7200 rpm 80 GB @ 7200 rpm
Operating System 10.1.2 10.1.2
Price $2,299 $2,999


"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 were timed with a stopwatch. The times are then converted to percentages relative to the Power Mac G4/933, which is set to 100%. For all scores, higher numbers are better.

Desktop Tests

Actual time: G4/933: 36.75 sec .... Dual G4/1GHz: 34.38

Desktop Tests

 

Not sure why the Dual processor machine turned in poorer performance here. Perhaps more code needs to load to accommodate the extra processor. Time difference was only about 3 seconds.

Actual time: G4/933: 20 sec Processor usage: 100% .... Actual time: Dual G4/1GHz: 23.5 sec

Actual time: G4/933: 10.79 sec, Processor usage: 20% .... Actual time: Dual G4/1GHz: 10.54 sec, Processor usage: 10%

Actual time: G4/933: 8.62 sec, Processor usage: 10% .... Actual time: Dual G4/1GHz: 8.48 sec

The drives on both machines are very fast and comparable in performance

Actual time: G4/933: 122.73 sec, Processor usage: 10% .... Actual time: Dual G4/1GHz: 119.63 sec

Both machines have the same drive for burning CDs and the process is not a processor intensive task.

 

Actual time: G4/933: 34.45 sec, Processor usage: 100% .... Actual time: Dual G4/1GHz: 34.14 sec, Processor usage: 60%

The test above creates and destroys 1,000 windows. See the Let1kWindowsBloom site for more info

Actual time: G4/933: 17.93 sec, Processor usage: 30% .... Actual time: Dual G4/1GHz: 17.92 sec, Processor usage: 10%

Large document is scrolled from one end to the other using Classic OS through OS 10. Both machines have the same graphics cards. Perhaps this explains the evening out of 2D graphics performance

 

Large Document & Database Type Tests

Actual time: G4/933: 21.56sec, Processor usage: 100% .... Actual time: Dual G4/1GHz: 19.79sec, Processor usage: 50%

This test takes place in a large AppleWorks document. This was a case where only 50% of the processing capability of the dual processor machine was utilized

Actual time: G4/933: 45 6sec, Processor usage: 95% .... Actual time: Dual G4/1GHz: 43 sec, Processor usage: 45% (Non-multitasking)

Only one processor at a time was used on the dual processor machine. It does not appear that the indexing function of Sherlock is multi-threaded

Number Crunching & Rendering Tests

Actual time: G4/933: 27.62 sec, Processor usage: 100% .... Actual time: Dual G4/1GHz: 28.38 sec, Processor usage: 50%

Actual time: G4/933: 171.40 sec, Processor usage: 100% .... Actual time: Dual G4/1GHz: 149.38 sec, Processor usage: 50%

Actual time: G4/933: 56.69 sec, Processor usage: 100% .... Actual time: Dual G4/1GHz: 26.54 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. Now why can't all processor intensive tasks take advantage of the dual processor machine like this one does?

 

Encoding/Decoding Tests

Actual time: G4/933: 195.33 sec, Processor usage: 100% .... Actual time: Dual G4/1GHz: 175.05 sec, Processor usage:

This version of Sorenson does not take advantage of dual processors ... you have to pay big bucks to get that capability

Actual time: G4/933: 116.71 sec, Processor usage: 100% .... Actual time: Dual G4/1GHz: 76.88 sec, Processor usage: 80%

Converting QuickTime movies to DV allows you to import them into iMovie. Now that is better, 80% usage on the dual processor machine

Actual time: G4/933: 98.36 sec, Processor usage: 100% .... Actual time: Dual G4/1GHz: 94.39 sec, Processor usage: 75%

Both machines have the SuperDrive and thus read and write data from and to the CD at the same speed. Perhaps that is why the scores are so close ... the CD drive is the bottleneck?

Actual time: G4/933: 9.67 sec, Processor usage: 100% .... Actual time: Dual G4/1GHz: 8.92 sec

Multitasking

Actual time: G4/933: 424.84 sec, Processor usage: 100% .... Actual time: Dual G4/1GHz: 280.81 sec

A Sorenson encode and the AltiVec Fractal are performed at the same time. Here you can see the dual processor advantage beginning to take shape ... however only if you plan on a consistent basis to be running multiple heavy-duty applications at once.

Actual time: G4/933: 115.66 sec, Processor usage: 100% .... Actual time: Dual G4/1GHz: 73.53 sec

A Sorenson encode and the AltiVec Fractal are performed at the same time.

 

Actual time: G4/933: 65.24 sec, Processor usage: 95% .... Actual time: Dual G4/1GHz: 45.77 sec, Processor usage: 60%

Here the Sherlock Index Test and the AppleWorks Search and Replace tests are run at the same time. Curiously the 550 MHz machine beat the 500 MHz one when these two tests were run seperately.



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