Macworld Lab's first results in testing Apple's new dual-processor Power Macs are in. This first set of data proves that two 450MHz processors do excel at tasks in applications designed to take advantage of the second processor -- but in terms of general Mac use as measured by our Speedmark 2 test, the new system is slightly slower than a single-processor 500MHz Power Mac.
Speedmark 2.0 is Macworld Lab's new standard test tool for benchmarking new and upgraded systems. It uses real-world applications and everyday tasks. It is a general purpose suite which includes tasks high-end users and new users perform everyday, including starting up, downloading e-mail and unstuffing a file.
Because some of the Speedmark tests involve applications that take advantage of multiprocessor systems, the dual 450MHz scored faster than a single-chip 450MHz G4 but couldn't quite match the score of a Mac powered by a single 500MHz chip. That's because many of Speedmark's tests involve applications -- including the Finder -- that can't take advantage of the second processor.
In our application-specific testing, we found the dual-chip Power Mac bested a 500MHz in all but one test -- a conversion of an image from RGB to CMYK in Photoshop. The most impressive boost was in Cinema 4D XL 6.1, where the rendering of a 640 x 480 model took almost eight minutes on the dual-processor Mac, but nearly 14 minutes on a 500MHz single-processor G4.
This proves that the new dual-processor Macs are speed demons -- but only if you're using an application that can take advantage of them.Speedmark 2
Power Mac G4 450MHz (Dual Processor)
Best results in red.
Reference systems in italics.
|Photoshop 5.5||Cinema 4D XL 6.1||SoundJam 2.1.1|
|Speedmark 2||Gaussian Blur 10||Unsharp Mask 2.3||Resize 50%||RGB to CMYK||Arbitrary Rotate .3||Lighting Effects||Model Render 640x480||MP3 Encode|
|Power Macintosh G4 450 (Dual Processor)||158||11.9||11.1||6.0||22.7||13.2||11.7||7:54||1:14|
|Power Macintosh G4 450||146||18.9||17.4||9.5||25.2||21.4||18.5||15:43||2:10|
|Power Macintosh G4 500||159||16.0||15.4||8.4||22.3||18.2||16.0||13:46||1:38|
We tested each system with Mac OS 9.04, 128MB of RAM, a default system disk cache of 4MB, and Virtual Memory disabled for applications tests. Displays were set to 1024 x 768 @ 24 bit color. Speedmark 2 is a suite of common tasks -- for more information, see Macworld's Speedmark page. Photoshop tasks used a 50MB file. Photoshop's memory partition was set to 80MB, and Photoshop History was set to minumum. 80MB of memory was allocated to Cinema 4D XL. We rendered a model at 680 x 480. A 9:25-minute track from an audio CD was used for our MP3 encoding test. It was converted using default settings of 128Kbps in SoundJam 2.1.1. --Macworld Lab testing supervised by Gil Loyola