||Time in minutes|
We use Adobe Photoshop to evaluate a Mac's performance as an integrated whole -- the CPU, the memory, the hard disk, and the graphics card. We run an automated suite of operations that simultaneously stresses a variety of the machine's subsystems and simulates a real-world Web-production work flow. The suite includes launching the application; converting between colour spaces and bit depths; applying a variety of filters; working with layers, selection areas, and alpha channels; and resizing and compressing images. We time how long it takes to run the suite on 15 files that range from 1.8MB to 49.2MB, in 8- and 16-bit colour.
||Time in minutes|
In order to evaluate a Mac's performance on CPU-intensive operations, we encode and compress a 54-second, 1GB video clip using Sorenson Squeeze 4.0, a multithreaded video-encoding application. We create an MPEG-4 data stream with a target data rate of 1Kbps and apply settings such as streaming hints, 2-pass VBR, and global motion compensation to increase the stress on the CPU.
||Time in seconds|
We use Apple iTunes as another indicator of a system's performance. This test times how long it takes to convert a 107MB AIFF audio file to MP3.
||Frames per second|
To measure 3D gaming performance, we use Quake III Arena for OS X. Although Quake III is an older game, it is still widely used as an industry-standard tool.
Mac OS X 10.3.3; 1.25GHz PowerPC G4; 256MB DDR SDRAM 333MHz; 32MB ATI Radeon 9200; 80GB 7,200rpm Ultra ATA/100
Apple iMac G5
Mac OS X 10.3.5; 1.8GHz PowerPC G5; 512MB DDR SDRAM 400MHz; 64MB Nvidia GeForce FX 5200; 80GB 7,200rpm Serial ATA
Apple Power Mac G5 dual 2.0GHz
Mac OS X 10.2.7; Dual 2.0GHz PowerPC G5; 2048MB DDR SDRAM 400MHz; 128MB ATI Radeon 9600 Pro; 160GB 7,200rpm Serial ATA
Apple Power Mac G5 dual 2.5GHz
Mac OS X 10.3.5; Dual 2.5GHz PowerPC G5; 4,096MB DDR SDRAM 400MHz; 256MB ATI Radeon 9800; 160GB 7,200rpm Serial ATA
Bully Computers Tyrant
Windows XP Professional SP2; 3.2GHz Intel P4 Extreme; Intel 875P chipset; 1,024MB DDR SDRAM 400MHz; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 6800 GT (AGP); two WDC WD740GD-00FLX0 74GB 10,000rpm Serial ATA; WDC WD2000JD-00HBB0 200GB Serial ATA 7,200rpm; integrated Intel 82801ER SATA RAID controller
Velocity Micro ProMagix PCX
Windows XP Professional; 3.6GHz Intel P4 560; Intel 925X chipset; 1,024MB DDR2 SDRAM 533MHz; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 6800 Ultra (PCIe) ; two WDC WD740GD-00FLX0 74GB 10,000rpm Serial ATA; Hitachi HDS724040KLSA80 400GB Serial ATA 7,200rpm; integrated Intel 82801FR SATA RAID controller
Edited by Matthew Elliott
Additional editing by Tom Espiner