First Look: Updating our Speedmark 5 results

Since the introduction of Leopard, a busy bunch of testers have taken over the Macworld Lab, putting the new and the not-so-new Macs we have around through the paces of our new overall performance benchmark, Speedmark 5.

Unveiled a few weeks ago, Speedmark 5 is a suite of 17 real-world tests that we run on all new Mac systems. We test each system running Mac OS X 10.5 with 2GB of RAM installed; we compare the results to a 1.5GHz Core Solo Mac mini.

Our first priority was to publish results for all shipping, standard configuration Macs—which we did earlier this month. Now we’re adding results for seven systems to our main Speedmark 5 test results chart. Six of these systems are older, pre-Intel systems, while one is the recent (and much-requested) build-to-order iMac with a 2.8GHz Core 2 Duo processor.

The 2.8GHz iMac scored very well in our Speedmark 5 tests, even beating Apple’s current highest standard configuration system, the 2.66GHz Quad Core Mac Pro. It finished second overall to another build-to-order system, the 3GHz Quad Core Mac Pro.

Speedmark 5 Results

Speedmark 5 Adobe Photoshop CS3 Cinema 4D XL 10.5 Compressor 3 iMovie HD iTunes 7.5 Unreal Tournament 2004 Quake 4 Finder Handbrake
OVERALL SCORE SUITE RENDER MPEG2 Encode Aged Effect MP3 ENCODE FRAME RATE FRAME RATE ZIP ARCHIVE H.264 ENCODE
MacBook Core 2 Duo/2.2GHz (black) 186 1:17 1:00 2:05 0:51 1:12 25.4 7.8 5:13 3:14
MacBook Core 2 Duo/2.2GHz (white) 185 1:17 1:01 2:11 0:53 1:11 23.3 7.7 5:09 3:14
MacBook Core 2 Duo/2GHz (white) 172 1:26 1:06 2:22 0:57 1:16 24.1 7.7 5:42 3:15
MacBook Core 2 Duo/2.16GHz (white) 179 1:16 1:04 2:17 0:53 1:13 18.5 4.5 5:11 3:18
MacBook Core 2 Duo/2GHz (white, May 2007) 165 1:31 1:11 2:37 0:59 1:16 18.5 4.5 5:51 3:31
15-inch MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo/2.2GHz 185 1:24 1:00 2:16 0:55 1:09 78 43.1 5:37 3:14
15-inch MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo/2.4GHz 199 1:17 0:55 2:08 0:50 1:06 69.9 39.1 5:01 3:02
17-inch MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo/2.4GHz 204 1:20 0:55 2:07 0:50 1:03 76.6 52.5 5:03 3:01
20-inch iMac Core 2 Duo/2GHz 210 1:03 1:05 2:17 0:56 1:09 73.7 21.3 5:13 3:21
20-inch iMac Core 2 Duo/2.4 GHz 245 0:54 0:54 1:57 0:47 0:59 88.7 31.3 4:24 2:56
24-inch iMac Core 2 Duo/2.4 GHz 245 0:55 0:54 1:57 0:47 0:59 88.6 31.2 4:25 2:56
24-inch iMac Core 2 Duo/2.8 GHz 262 0:47 0:47 1:42 0:41 0:51 93 31.1 3:46 2:39
Mac Pro Xeon/2.66 GHz Quad Core 260 0:51 0:28 1:19 0:39 0:52 93.5 51.4 4:16 1:55
Mac Pro Xeon/3 GHZ Quad Core 274 0:47 0:25 1:16 0:35 0:48 95.3 51.5 3:56 1:38
Mac mini Core 2 Duo/2 GHz 172 1:19 1:07 2:21 0:56 1:09 23.4 5.6 5:29 3:22
Mac mini Core 2 Duo/1.83GHz 159 1:24 1:14 2:37 1:02 1:25 23.6 5.6 5:57 3:34
Mac mini Core Solo/1.5GHz 100 2:16 3:00 8:03 2:09 2:50 19.2 n/a* 7:47 9:28
15-inch PowerBook G4/ 1.67Ghz 92 3:00 3:53 7:52 1:58 2:26 22.3 19.9 7:12 16:58
Power Macintosh G5/Quad 2.5GHz 225 1:12 0:32 1:28 0:37 0:48 32.6 37.7 4:47 2:25
Power Macintosh G5/Dual 2.7GHz 204 1:19 0:53 2:12 0:47 0:55 49.8 16.7 4:43 4:36
Power Macintosh G5/Dual 2.5GHz 193 1:22 0:57 2:18 0:47 0:58 47.3 18.1 4:45 4:57
Power Macintosh G5/Dual 2.0GHz 166 1:49 1:11 2:34 0:56 1:10 38.8 17.2 5:44 6:04
Power Macintosh G5/1.8GHz-single 112 2:25 2:33 5:40 1:31 1:58 19.3 5.8 7:01 13:54
>Better <Better <Better <Better <Better <Better >Better >Better <Better <Better

Best results in bold. Recently added systems are in italics. Asterisk (*) Denotes a system that doesn’t meet the application’s minimum requirements.

Speedmark 5 scores are relative to those of a 1.5GHz Core Solo Mac mini, which is assigned a score of 100. Adobe Photoshop, Cinema 4D XL, iMovie, iTunes, and Finder scores are in minutes:seconds. All systems were running Mac OS X 10.5 with 2GB of RAM. The Photoshop Suite test is a set of 14 scripted tasks using a 50MB file. Photoshop’s memory was set to 70 percent and History was set to Minimum. We recorded how long it took to render a scene in Cinema 4D XL. We used Compressor to encode a 6minute:26second DV file using the DVD: Fastest Encode 120 minutes - 4:3 setting. In iMovie, we applied the Aged Film effect from the Video FX. menu to a one minute movie. We converted 45 minutes of AAC audio files to MP3 using iTunes’ High Quality setting. We used Unreal Tournament 2004’s Antalus Botmatch average-frames-per-second score; we tested at a resolution of 1,024-by-768 pixels at the Maximum setting with both audio and graphics enabled. We ran Quake 4 timedemo at a resolution of 1,024 by 768 pixels at High Quality settings. We created a Zip archive in the Finder from a 2GB folder.—MACWORLD LAB TESTING BY JAMES GALBRAITH, JERRY JUNG, AND BRIAN CHEN

Though not as fast as the Mac Pros in the few applications that can make use of four processing cores such as Cinema4D and Compressor, the iMac’s speedy hard drive help beat those systems in the 2GB Zip archive/unarchive tests as well as the 2GB folder duplication test. The Mac Pros also did well in the Quake 4 frames-per-second test, but those results are not calculated as part of the final Speedmark score due to the game’s high minimum hardware requirements.

Of the older systems, the Power Macintosh G5s scaled about as you’d expect. The Quad 2.5GHz G5 was the top scorer among these systems; it held its own against newer Intel systems. The rest of the Power Mac line fell into place with the 2.7GHz dual-processor G5 beating the 2.5GHz dual-processor G5, which beat out the 2GHz dual-processor G5.

The 15-inch 1.67GHz PowerBook earned the dubious honor of being the first Mac to score under 100 points in Speedmark 5. The results show just how powerful Mac portables have become over the last two years. The PowerBook’s HandBrake score was painfully slow, taking five times as long as today’s entry-level Mac laptop, the 2GHz MacBook Core 2 Duo.

If you don’t see your favorite Mac on this list, don’t worry, we’re not finished testing—though, hopefully, these results will cut down the number of daily e-mails I’ve been receiving asking for benchmarks of the 2.8GHz iMac.

[ James Galbraith is Macworld Lab director. ]

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