Speedmark waits for Leopard, too

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With Leopard’s release looming at the end of this week, Macworld Lab personnel are preparing to update our overall system performance benchmark, Speedmark, to account for the new operating system. If you’ve ever read one of our benchmark charts—to see one, check out this review of the recent upgraded Mac mini models —and thought to yourself, “Why don’t they test Application X?” well, here’s your chance to help us fill in Application X with your favorite program.

Mainly we’re looking for tests that are repeatable, consistent, and whose results scale between systems. If, for example, the integrated graphics of the Mac mini can easily serve up full frame rates of the latest Pong game, then the latest ATI or Nvidia cards won’t show any performance advantage, and therefore it’s not a good candidate for inclusion in Speedmark.

For your reference, here’s a list of tests that make up the current version of Speedmark.

Mac OS X

  • Startup
  • Duplicate 500MB file
  • Open multiple folders
  • Create Zip archive of 1GB folder
  • Unzip 1GB file archive

Microsoft Office X
( Note: These 3 tasks require Rosetta to run on Intel-based Macs )

  • Word scroll
  • Word search/replace
  • Download e-mail


  • Convert AAC files to MP3 from hard drive

iMovie HD

  • Export to QuickTime for e-mail
  • Apply aged video effect


  • Import 100 photos from hard drive

( Note: Both Safari and Firefox were returning very inconsistent scores when we were creating the test listed below, so we went with Camino. We will re-evaluate those browsers for possible inclusion in this version of Speedmark. )

  • Multiple Page Loading Test

Unreal Tournament 2004
( Note: The title of this game says it all—it’s time to change this test! )

  • Antalus Botmatch at 1,024-by-768 Max Settings with sound and graphics enabled—Average Frames Per Second

Cinema 4DXL 9.1

  • Render

Photoshop used to be part of Speedmark, but we pulled it out the calculation after the introduction of Intel Macs due to the application’s slower performance under Rosetta. We did leave in the Office tests because we felt that Rosetta performance was/is relevant for people thinking about upgrading to an Intel Mac. Now that Adobe’s CS3 runs natively on both PowerPC and Intel-based Macs, we will reintroduce Photoshop as part of Speedmark 5.

So please send us your test suggestions now, and look for a new version of Speedmark to accompany the first new Mac reviews of systems released after Leopard’s introduction.

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