Statistically these two machines are fairly
similar. Both have an 800 MHz G4 processor with 256K of L2
cache running at full processor speed. However the PowerBook
also has a L3 cache which sits between the memory of the machine
and the processor. This extra cache provides the processor
fast access to frequently used data, and so provides more
efficient processing overall.
The benefits of this cache and the fact that
the PowerBook has a 133 MHz System Bus, has an impact on the
scores you'll see below. The PowerBook, in most processing
intensive tasks, turned in from 10 - 20% speed improvement
over the cache-less iMac.
The PowerBook also appears to have the better
graphics system, handily besting the iMac in both on-screen
graphics and gameplay.
The iMac did come out ahead in some of the drive
tests, including CD drive performance, but it wasn't a complete
slam dunk here either. If you opt for a PowerBook, you'll
pay about $1,300 more than you would pay for the iMac listed
below. But let me tell you from experience .... dragging around
the iMac can get old really quick!
Difference and similarities in processor,
and memory & graphics systems of each machine
NVIDIA GeForce2 MX with 32 MB of DDR RAM in a 2x AGP
60GB Ultra ATA/66 (5400 rpm)
60GB Ultra ATA
2x 8x 6x 24x
8x 8x 24x
"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 G4/800, which is set to 100%. For all scores, higher
numbers are better.
The iMac's faster drive pushes it ahead here ... slightly
The opposite is true here. It appears that
more calculating power is required to boot classic. The
PowerBook has somewhat better processing capability &
memory subsystem, and so neutralizes the iMacs drive advantage
On the folder copy test above the iMac required
35% of its processing capability to get the job done. The
PowerBook required only 20%. The single file copy test required
much less of the processor's power, leaving the drive to
come forward as a stronger determining performance factor.
The PowerBook burns CDs at 6x and the iMac
We think that the PowerBook is helped out
in this test due to the addition of the L3 Cache and faster
Bus speed. The test above creates and destroys 1,000 windows.
See the Let1kWindowsBloom
site for more info.
Large document is scrolled from one end to
the other using Classic OS 9.2.2 when booted in OS 10. Test
shows the performance of on-screen graphics
Large Document & Database Type Tests
(series of complex actions) was run in Microsoft's Word
program, which is part of Office
A Macro (series of complex actions) was
run in Microsoft's Excel program, which is part of Office
Stresses the processing & memory systems
of the machine. This test takes place in a large AppleWorks
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
encode compresses a QuickTime movie for streaming on the
movies to DV allows you to import them into iMovie
We think the difference above is due to
CD drive performance
An MP3 encode, Search & Replace in AppleWorks
and Folder Copy are all carried out at the same time
A Sorenson encode and fractal render are
performed at the same time
A QuickTime DV conversion and MP3 encode
are carried out at the same time
Aside from the graphics card, Giants
is also tuned to take advantage of the processor as well.
Indeed, when run on a dual processor machine, you will see
ahead of the same game running on a single processor
machine. Frame rates here are 14.7 for the iMac and 25.8
for the PowerBook.
To see the performance of these machines
compared to many others click
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