The 13-inch MacBook unveiled by Apple Tuesday outperformed the fastest iBook G4 in all but one of our tests and also matched up well against a PowerBook with a 1.67GHz G4 processor, according to Macworld Lab tests.
We tested two of the latest Intel-based laptops: a white MacBook with a 1.83GHz Intel Core Duo chip and a black-matte laptop powered by a 2GHz dual-core processor. These laptops replace the G4-based 12-inch PowerBook as well as the entire iBook line.
Those MacBook processor speeds are the same ones that originally appeared in the MacBook Pro line. (Apple boosted the clock speeds in its higher-end laptops to 2GHz and 2.16GHz to coincide with Tuesday’s MacBook launch.) So it’s no surprise that the MacBooks held their own against the MacBook Pros on most processor-intensive tasks like Compressor, Photoshop, and Cinema 4D. The MacBooks also outperformed the G4-based laptops in these tests, with one exception—the Photoshop suite test. Adobe Photoshop CS2 has yet to appear in a Universal Binary form, so it requires Apple’s Rosetta emulation technology to run on Intel-based hardware. That creates a performance hit as the chart below indicates.
|Speedmark 4.5||Adobe Photoshop CS2||Cinema 4D XL 9.5.21||Compressor 2.1||iMovie 6.0.1||iTunes 6.0.4||Unreal Tournament 2004||Zip Archive|
|SUITE||SUITE||RENDER||MPEG2 Encode||AGED FILTER||MP3 ENCODE||AVERAGE FRAME RATE||1GB FOLDER|
|MacBook/1.83GHz Intel Core Duo||154||2:53||1:25||4:17||1:12||1:37||17.8||3:14|
|MacBook/2GHz Intel Core Duo||160||2:38||1:23||4:11||1:08||1:32||17.6||3:02|
|14-inch iBook/1.42GHz G4||107||1:49||4:29||8:29||2:07||2:19||14.1||4:33|
|17-inch MacBook Pro/2.16GHz Intel Core Duo||193||2:26||1:06||3:59||1:01||1:28||63.1||2:48|
|15-inch PowerBook/1.67GHz G4||131||1:34||3:54||7:32||1:50||2:12||21.4||3:29|
|20-inch iMac/2GHz Core Duo||217||2:31||1:11||3:22||1:02||1:19||56.0||2:32|
Best results in bold. Reference system in italics .
Also worth noting is the MacBook’s graphics system. These new portables use integrated Intel graphics that share the main memory, as opposed to the ATI Mobility Radeon graphics with dedicated memory found in the MacBook Pro models. You can see the advantage of having dedicated graphics memory in our Unreal Tournament test. The MacBook Pro tallies 63 frames per second, compared to a little less than 18 for the MacBook. The 1.67GHz PowerBook G4 tallied a score of 21.4 frames per second in that test. So if you’re a serious gamer, the MacBook is probably not the right system for you. Nevertheless, its performance in other processor-intensive applications is impressive, especially compared to the laptops it replaces.
We’ll keep testing, so check back for Macworld’s full review with updated test results including more reference systems and game scores.
[ James Galbraith is Macworld Lab director. ]