Power Mac G5 benchmarks: Dual-2.7GHz model tops field

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Apple’s latest dual-processor G5 had no problem besting the dual-2.5GHz Power Mac G5 in Macworld Lab’s benchmark testing of the newly released top-of-the-line Power Mac. But in a surprise result, the new mid-level 2.3GHz model edged out the older 2.5GHz system in our overall Speedmark suite.

The strong results for the dual-2.7GHz Power Mac G5 shouldn’t come as a surprise—it does feature the fastest processor ever to ship with a Mac. It turned in the best performance in all but one of our tests.

More surprising was the dual-2.3GHz system’s performance. Not only did it approach the older dual-2.5GHz Power Mac G5’s times, the slower processors in the new desktop didn’t stop it from barely beating the previous champ in our overall Speedmark suite. The reason? The dual-2.3GHz Power Mac’s speedier 250GB hard drive.

The one test result that puzzles us is the top-of-the-line dual-2.7GHz model’s Unreal Tournament 2004 score. With 256MB of video memory, we expect the ATI Radeon 9650 to beat the older 128MB Radeon 9600 XT found in the dual-2.5GHz system. But even after removing the 9600XT from the dual 2.5GHz Power Mac and installing it in the new system, the older card still bested the new one, even at higher resolutions.

Power Mac G5 Benchmarks

SpeedMark 4 Cinema4D 9.1 iMovie HD Render iTunes 4.7 MP3 Encode Photoshop CS2 Suite Unreal Tournament 2004 Compressor MPEG2 Encode
Power Mac G5 Dual 2.7GHz 250 1:02 0:25 0:52 0:53 49 3:52
Power Mac G5 Dual 2.3GHz 226 1:13 0:35 0:58 0:59 40 4:24
Power Mac G5 Dual 2.0GHz 205 1:24 0:29 1:08 1:06 38 4:46
Power MacG5 Dual 2.5GHz 225 1:08 0:36 0:54 0:56 52 4:19
Power MacG5 Dual 2.0GHz (old) 196 1:25 0:38 1:07 1:23 39 4:59
Power MacG5 1.8GHz 160 3:06 0:40 1:49 1:33 27 10:04
>better <better <better <better <better >better <better

Best results in bold.
Systems in italics are no longer in the product line. Included only for reference.

Speedmark 4 scores are relative to those of a 1.25GHz Mac mini 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 10.4, had 512MB RAM, with Processor Performance set to Highest in the Energy Saver pane in System Preferences. We converted 45 minutes of AAC audio files to MP3 using iTune’s High Quality settings. We used Unreal Tournament’s Antalus Botmatch Average Frames Per Second score tested at a resolution of 1,024-by-768 pixels at highest settings. 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. Go here for more information on Speedmark 4.—Macworld Lab testing by James Galbraith and Jerry Jung.

We’ll continue looking into this, with details coming when we publish the full review.

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