The PowerBook update that came at the end of January included a slight boost to the clock speed of the processors powering the Apple laptops. While the old PowerBooks came with either a 1.33GHz or 1.5GHz PowerPC G4 processor, the refreshed line now features a 1.5GHz G4 chip in its entry-level model. The high-end 15-inch and 17-inch PowerBooks ship with a 1.67GHz G4 processor.
Will this modest speed bump mean a measurable increase in performance? We’ve finished benchmarking most of the new PowerBooks (with the exception of the 17-inch 1.67GHz PowerBook G4, which has yet to arrive), and we can report that PowerBook performance has improved with this upgrade.
For the most part, the results followed a predictable pattern. The 15-inch 1.67GHz PowerBook G4 was faster than the new 1.5GHz models, which produced very similar results to the previous 1.5GHz models.
The only exception was the Compressor MPEG-2 encode test, in which the new 12-inch 1.5GHz model handily beat a 15-inch model with the same processor. The li’l 12-incher even beat the 1.67GHz model by a few seconds. We’re still trying to figure that one out.
Look for our full review of the new PowerBooks to appear soon.
In the meantime, here are the results from our preliminary PowerBook tests:
PowerBook G4 Benchmarks
| ||SpeedMark 3.3 ||Cinema4D 8.5 ||iMovie HD Render ||iTunes 4.7 MP3 encode ||Photoshop CSSuite ||Unreal Tournament ||Compressor MPEG2 Encode |
|PowerBook 1.67GHz 15-inch || 142 || 4:15 || 0:51 || 2:16 || 2:00 || 28.4 ||12:36 |
|PowerBook 1.5GHz 15-inch ||136 ||4:44 ||:56 ||2:30 ||2:02 ||25.5 ||13:55 |
|PowerBook 1.5GHz 12-inch ||136 ||4:36 ||:58 ||2:24 || 2:00 ||22.4 || 12:06 |
| PowerBook 1.5GHz 15-inch (2004) || 134 || 4:38 || 0:58 || 2:26 || 2:05 || 26.5 || 12:24 |
| ||>better ||<better ||<better ||<better ||<better ||>better ||<better |
Best results in bold. Reference system in italics .
Speedmark 3.3 scores are relative to those of a 1GHz eMac 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 10.37. and 512MB RAM. We tested MP3 encoding with an audio-CD track that is 45 minutes long, converting it from the hard drive using iTunes’ High Quality setting. We used Unreal Tournament’s Antalus Botmatch Average Frames Per Second score tested at a resolution of 1,024-by-768 pixels. The Photoshop Suite test is a set of 14 scripted tasks using a 50MB file. Photoshop’s memory was set to 75 percent and History was set to Minimum. Macworld Lab testing by James Galbraith.