iBook G4 Benchmarks: New models fare well

A processor bump and new graphics hardware made all the difference for the latest iBook configurations, as the models unveiled by Apple last week edged last year’s models in testing by Macworld Lab.

The iBook changes announced by Apple a week ago simplified the iBook line to two models—one with a 12-inch screen and a 14-inch configuration. Cosmetically identical to the last round of iBooks, the internal upgrades include a faster processor—a 1.42GHz PowerPC G4—in the high-end 14-inch model and the fastest processor from the last generation—a 1.33GHz PowerPC G4—in the entry-level 12-inch model. New to both models is ATI’s Radeon Mobility 9550, replacing the Radeon Mobility 9200 found in previous models. The amount of video memory remains at 32MB.

Here’s how these hardware changes affected overall system performance as compared to the previous top of the line iBook, with each laptop running the latest version of OS X.

iBook G4 Benchmarks

Speedmark 4 Adobe Photoshop CS2 Cinema 4D 9.1 iMovie HD iTunes 4.9 Unreal Tournament 2004
OVERALL SCORE SUITE RENDER RENDER MP3 ENCODE FRAME RATE
14-inch iBook G4/1.42GHz 111 1:52 4:59 1:04 2:35 16
12-inch iBook G4/1.33GHz 106 1:59 5:14 1:02 2:45 13
14-inch iBook G4/1.33GHz (previous model 101 1:58 5:17 1:08 2:44 11
>better <better <better <better <better >better

Best results in bold. Reference system in italics .

Speedmark 4 scores are relative to those of a 1.25GHz Mac mini, which is assigned a score of 100. Adobe Photoshop, Cinema 4D XL, iMovie, and iTunes scores are in minutes:seconds. All systems were running Mac OS X 10.4.2 and had 512MB of RAM, with processor performance set to Highest in the Energy Saver preference pane. We converted 45 minutes of AAC audio files to MP3 using iTunes’ High Quality setting. We used Unreal Tournament 2004’ Antalus Botmatch average-frames-per-second score; we tested at a resolution of 1,024-by-768 pixels at the Maximum setting. The Photoshop Suite test is a set of 14 scripted tasks using a 50MB file. Photoshop’ memory was set to 70 percent and History was set to Minimum. To compare Speedmark 4 scores for various Mac systems, visit our Apple Hardware Guide .—Macworld Lab testing by James Galbraith and Jerry Jung

As you can see, the modest increase in processor speed helped the new 1.4GHz model beat the others in all but the iMovie render test, with the latest 1.33GHz iBook winning by only two seconds. The new graphics hardware helped boost the average frame rate scores of the new models, but with all systems having the same 32MB of video memory, the performance increase wasn’t too dramatic. You can compare these results to previously tested systems at Macworld ’s Apple Hardware Guide.

At the time of the new iBook announcements, Apple also introduced updated Mac mini models. Processors and hard drives stayed the same across the line with the only differences being the optical drive and wireless connectivity options. Since these changes would not affect the benchmark performance of these models, we chose to not re-run our lab tests on them.

Macworld ’s full review of both the new iBook and Mac mini models will be posted shortly. Watch for it, along with all the latest portable news, reviews, and tips, at our Mac Laptops page.

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