Here in the Macworld Lab, we try to keep Speedmark, our Macintosh benchmark test suite, on pace with the current version of Mac OS X (for example, we updated to Speedmark 6 when Mac OS X 10.6 was released). Since the introduction of Speedmark 6, we’ve seen new releases of Photoshop, HandBrake, Aperture, and Parallels. Another application in Speedmark 6, CineBench R10, can’t handle all 24 virtual processing cores found on some 2010 Mac Pros.
Though there has been no announced release date for OS X 10.7, it has become necessary to update our Speedmark tests. To that end, we’ve been hard at work updating the applications and the tests to come up with Speedmark 6.5.
Aside from the updates to the applications, we’ve made some additions and some subtractions from the test suite. We’ve added a multitasking test, running our updated Photoshop CS5 action script while iTunes 10 converts AAC files to MP3 and the Finder compresses a 2GB folder. Due to strange issues with certain optical drives, and the absence of DVD drives on some Macs, we no longer rip a DVD from the Mac’s optical drive—we now use HandBrake to encode a video file already ripped to the hard drive. We’ve also chosen to leave out our Compressor test; Speedmark 6 was heavy on encoding tests and our iMovie and HandBrake tests seem more in-line with the tasks Macworld readers are likely to perform most often.
We use a 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo Mac mini as the baseline system, with a base score of 100. We compared the performance of all other Macs to the performance of the 2010 Mac mini running 17 different tests.