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 scores are relative to an iMac 350MHz which is assigned a score of 100. Photoshop results are in seconds. Cinema 4D XL and SoundJam results are in minutes:seconds.
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 640×480||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