Speedmark 6

Back in August, Apple entered the era of Snow Leopard. Today, Macworld’s Speedmark test suite enters the Snow Leopard's den.

Speedmark is Macworld Lab’s standard test tool for benchmarking new and upgraded systems running Mac OS X. It uses real-world applications and everyday tasks. It is a general-purpose suite that includes tasks everyone from a high-end user to a new user performs every day.

Macworld Lab follows a detailed script to perform the 17 tasks. Each task is performed three times. We compare the results to a 2.13GHz MacBook with 2GB RAM (Mid 2009), which is assigned a score of 100. We then take the geometric mean of the normalized scores.

Apple’s latest Mac OS X operating system, 10.6, focuses more on refinements rather than features. But the new OS does boast some new technologies meant to help your Intel Mac take better advantage of its central and graphics processing units. Unfortunately, in order to make these refinements and improvements, Apple made the decision to pull the plug on Power-PC equipped Macs, offering no support for any pre-Intel hardware.

The Macworld Lab has been hard at work tweaking Speedmark, our overall system performance testing tool, to better accommodate Snow Leopard and to test the Macs on which it runs. Of course, that means that the new version, Speedmark 6, runs on Snow Leopard and supports only Intel-powered Macs.

We have Speedmark 6 scores for 19 Intel Macs, including the new MacBook, iMacs, and Mac minis released last month. Please note that because Speedmark 6 uses different tests and a different OS, Speedmark 6 scores can’t be compared to the scores of Speedmark 5, the previous version of our test tool.

For your convenience, we offer the complete scoresheet as both a Microsoft Excel file and a PDF for download. These scoresheets have the Speedmark 6 scores, as well as the performance scores for each application.

Speedmark 6 scores

Score
Mac mini 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo 2GB RAM (Mid 2010) 117
Mac mini 2.53GHz Core 2 Duo 4GB RAM (Late 2009) 118
Mac mini 2.26GHz Core 2 Duo 2GB RAM (Late 2009) 104
Mac mini 2GHz Core 2 Duo 2GB RAM (Early 2009) 100
Mac mini 1.83GHz Core 2 Duo 2GB RAM (Mid 2007) NA*
27" iMac 2.93GHz Core i7 Quad-Core 4GB RAM SSD (Mid 2010, BTO) 254
27" iMac 3.6GHz Core i5 Dual-Core 4GB RAM SSD (Mid 2010, BTO) 228
27" iMac 3.6GHz Core i5 Dual-Core 4GB RAM (Mid 2010, BTO) 200
27" iMac 2.8GHz Core i5 Quad-Core 4GB RAM (Mid 2010) 217
27" iMac 3.2GHz Core i3 4GB RAM (Mid 2010) 188
21.5" iMac 3.2GHz Core i3 4GB RAM (Mid 2010) 190
21.5" iMac 3.06GHz Core i3 4GB RAM (Mid 2010) 178
27" iMac 2.66GHz Core i7 4GB RAM (Late 2009) 225
27" iMac 2.66GHz Core i5 4GB RAM (Late 2009) 209
27" iMac 3.06GHz Core 2 Duo 4GB RAM (Late 2009) 162
21.5" iMac 3.06GHz Core 2 Duo 4GB RAM, ATI (Late 2009) 164
21.5" iMac 3.06GHz Core 2 Duo 4GB RAM, Nvidia (Late 2009) 148
24" iMac 3.06GHz Core 2 Duo 4GB RAM (Early 2009) 165
24" iMac 2.93GHz Core 2 Duo 4GB RAM (Early 2009) 153
24" iMac 2.66GHz Core 2 Duo 4GB RAM (Early 2009) 134
24" iMac 2.8GHz Core 2 Duo 2GB RAM (Early 2008) 141
20" iMac 2.16GHz Core 2 Duo 2GB RAM (Late 2006) 94
Mac Pro 2.26GHz 8-core 6GB RAM (Early 2009) 206
Mac Pro 2.66GHz quad core 3GB RAM (Early 2009) 203
MacBook Air 2.13GHz 2GB RAM (Mid 2009) 72
MacBook 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo 2GB RAM (Late 2010) 118
MacBook 2.26GHz Core 2 Duo 2GB RAM (Late 2009) 111
MacBook 2.13GHz Core 2 Duo 2GB RAM (Mid 2009) 100
17" MacBook Pro 2.53GHz Core i5 4GB RAM (Mid 2010) 154
15" MacBook Pro 2.66GHz Core i7 4GB RAM (Mid 2010) 161
15" MacBook Pro 2.53GHz Core i5 4GB RAM (Mid 2010) 150
15" MacBook Pro 2.4GHz Core i5 4GB RAM (Mid 2010) 146
13" MacBook Pro 2.66GHz Core 2 Duo 4GB RAM (Mid 2010) 126
13" MacBook Pro 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo 4GB RAM (Mid 2010) 118
17" MacBook Pro 2.8GHz Core 2 Duo 4GB RAM (Mid 2009) 140
15" MacBook Pro 2.8GHz Core 2 Duo 4GB RAM (Mid 2009) 139
15" MacBook Pro 2.66GHz Core 2 Duo 4GB RAM (Mid 2009) 127
15" MacBook Pro 2.53GHz Core 2 Duo 4GB RAM (Mid 2009) 118
13" MacBook Pro 2.26GHz Core 2 Duo 2GB RAM (Mid 2009) 104

*The Mac mini 1.83GHz with 2GB RAM (Mid 2007) was unable to run Call of Duty.

Like Speedmark 5, Speedmark 6 consists of 17 tests. Many of the tests are new and few of the new tests reflect reader suggestions. Here’s a look at the new task list.

Mac OS X Finder

  • Duplicate 1GB file
  • Compress 2GB folder
  • Uncompress 2GB file archive

Pages ‘09

  • Open 500 page Word document

iTunes 9

  • Convert 28 AAC files to MP3 from hard drive

iMovie ‘09

  • Import two-minute clip from camera archive
  • Share two-minute movie to iTunes for mobile devices

iPhoto ‘09

  • Import 150 photos from hard drive

Parallels 5

  • WorldBench 6 Multiple Page Loading Test on Windows 7

Call of Duty 4

  • Timedemo run at 1024-by-768 with 4X anti-aliasing

Cinebench R10

  • CPU test
  • OpenGL

Compressor 3.5.1

  • Convert DV file to MPEG-2 for DVD

Adobe Photoshop CS4

  • Actions script run on a 50MB file

Handbrake 0.9.3

  • Encode one chapter from DVD to H.264

MathematicaMark 7

  • Evaluate Notebook test

Aperture 2.1.4

  • Import 150 photos and build thumbnails and previews

[James Galbraith is Macworld’s lab director.]

[Editor's note: Updated 11/9/09 at 10AM PT with score for 24" iMac 3.06GHz (Early 2009). Updated 11/9/09 at 4:10PM PT to correct for the 24" iMac 2.66GHz 4GB RAM (Early 2009) test results. Updated 11/20/09 at 3PM PT with scores for Core i5 and Core i7 iMacs and the 17" MacBook Pro 2.8GHz 4GB RAM (Mid 2009). Updated 8/5/10 at 4:45PM PT with scores for the Mac mini 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo 2GB RAM (Mid 2010), MacBook 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo 2GB RAM, the Mid 2010 MacBook Pros, and Mid 2010 iMacs.]

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