From the Lab: New PowerBook Benchmarks

PowerBook product line
The PowerBook update that came at the end of January included a slight boost to the clock speed of the processors powering the Apple laptops. While the old PowerBooks came with either a 1.33GHz or 1.5GHz PowerPC G4 processor, the refreshed line now features a 1.5GHz G4 chip in its entry-level model. The high-end 15-inch and 17-inch PowerBooks ship with a 1.67GHz G4 processor.

Will this modest speed bump mean a measurable increase in performance? We’ve finished benchmarking most of the new PowerBooks (with the exception of the 17-inch 1.67GHz PowerBook G4, which has yet to arrive), and we can report that PowerBook performance has improved with this upgrade.

For the most part, the results followed a predictable pattern. The 15-inch 1.67GHz PowerBook G4 was faster than the new 1.5GHz models, which produced very similar results to the previous 1.5GHz models.

The only exception was the Compressor MPEG-2 encode test, in which the new 12-inch 1.5GHz model handily beat a 15-inch model with the same processor. The li’l 12-incher even beat the 1.67GHz model by a few seconds. We’re still trying to figure that one out.

Look for our full review of the new PowerBooks to appear soon. In the meantime, you can stay up-to-date on all PowerBook-related news by visiting Macworld ’s Mac Laptops page.

In the meantime, here are the results from our preliminary PowerBook tests:

PowerBook G4 Benchmarks

SpeedMark 3.3 Cinema4D 8.5 iMovie HD Render iTunes 4.7 MP3 encode Photoshop CSSuite Unreal Tournament Compressor MPEG2 Encode
PowerBook 1.67GHz 15-inch 142 4:15 0:51 2:16 2:00 28.4 12:36
PowerBook 1.5GHz 15-inch 136 4:44 :56 2:30 2:02 25.5 13:55
PowerBook 1.5GHz 12-inch 136 4:36 :58 2:24 2:00 22.4 12:06
PowerBook 1.5GHz 15-inch (2004) 134 4:38 0:58 2:26 2:05 26.5 12:24
>better <better <better <better <better >better <better

Best results in bold. Reference system in italics .

Speedmark 3.3 scores are relative to those of a 1GHz eMac which is assigned a score of 100. Photoshop, Cinema 4D,iMovie, and iTunes scores are in minutes:seconds. All systems were running Mac OS X 10.37. and 512MB RAM. We tested MP3 encoding with an audio-CD track that is 45 minutes long, converting it from the hard drive using iTunes’ High Quality setting. We used Unreal Tournament’s Antalus Botmatch Average Frames Per Second score tested at a resolution of 1,024-by-768 pixels. The Photoshop Suite test is a set of 14 scripted tasks using a 50MB file. Photoshop’s memory was set to 75 percent and History was set to Minimum. For more information on Speedmark 3.3 visit www.macworld.com/speedmark .—Macworld Lab testing by James Galbraith.

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