Preparing for Speedmark 6

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It’s that time again. Apple has a new cat on the loose and soon the company will release new hardware to accompany it. And when that new hardware arrives, we in the Macworld Lab will need a new version of our overall performance test suite, Speedmark, to test these new Snow Leopard-driven systems. So we’re asking you, our readers, what tests and applications you’d like to see in Speedmark 6.

Speedmark is a set of tasks we run on a wide variety of systems, so the tests need to be able to work on a MacBook Air as well as a Mac Pro. We pick one Mac as our baseline, which is given a score of 100, and then compare the results of other Macs to it, a 1.5GHz Core Solo Mac Mini serves as our baseline system today. The current version of our benchmark, Speedmark 5, includes 17 real world tasks run in the finder and 12 other applications. We try and keep the same tests and applications until the next major OS release - Speedmark 5 was developed after the release of Leopard and Speedmark 6 should last until whatever animal Apple adopts for use in OS X 10.7.

Here’s a list of current tasks, all run three times with a minimum of 2GB of RAM.

Mac OS X Finder

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

Microsoft Office 2004

  • Word Scroll*
  • Entourage - Download E-mail*

* These two tasks require Rosetta to run on Intel-based Macs.

Pages ’08

  • Search/Replace


  • Convert AAC files to MP3 from Hard Drive

iMovie HD

  • Export to QuickTime for Email
  • Apply Aged video effect


  • Import 100 photos from hard driver


  • Multiple Page Loading Test

Unreal Tournament 2004

  • Antalus Botmatch at 1024x768 Max Settings with sound and graphics enabled—Average Frames Per Second

Cinema 4DXL 10.5

  • Render

Compressor 3

  • Convert DV file to MPEG2 for DVD

Adobe Photoshop CS3

  • 14 Actions

Handbrake 0.9.1

  • Encode one chapter from DVD to H.264.

We’ll definitely be updating all applications to their latest version, and we have a number of new tests in mind, but we’d like to hear from you. Here’s your chance to help shape the results that Macworld Labs will be reporting for the next year or so.

We’re looking for time-able, repeatable tests that can be used across a wide range of systems. So take a few moments to think about the tasks you do often that you’d like to see included in Speedmark. Please post your suggestions in the comments.

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