Wednesday, September 9, 2009

iMAC G5 Performance

We attempted to reproduce the same benchmarks we ran on the Power Mac G5 last year, upgrading the Power Mac operating system from 10.2 to 10.3.5. We did not run SpeedRun because it is no longer being updated, and we used a newer version of Cinebench, optimized for the G5 processor. While we were interested in seeing how the iMac compared to our previous tests, we were most interested in comparing the iMac G5 to the Power Mac G5/1.8GHz.

These tests (iMac G5 Benchmarks) revealed that the iMac G5/1.8GHz performed on par with the single-processor Power Mac G5/1.8GHz system, which is very well indeed. While there were a few minor differences, some of these were actually in the iMac's favor.
From a hardware perspective, the Power Mac's most significant difference to the iMac is that it has a higher bus speed (900 versus 600 MHz), but none of the benchmarks, or even our real world tests, showed a major difference, as a result.

We also noted that About This Mac describes the iMac G5's chip as a "PowerPC G5 (3.0)", while the Power Mac G5's is a "PowerPC 970 (2.2)." Obviously there must be differences in the motherboard and firmware, as well, that could be responsible for minor differences.
The iMac G5 uses Nvidia GeForce FX 5200 Ultra graphics hardware with 64 MBytes of video memory, just like the Power Mac G5, and it shows comparable graphics performance.
The Power Mac G5 came with a Sony DVD RW DW-U10A SuperDrive, while the iMac G5 has a Matshita DVD-R UJ-825 mechanism.The speed of these drives is comparable, though current Power Mac G5s ship with faster drives.

There were fractional differences in performance for all tests, but not significant enough to be noticeable in real-world tasks. The one exception was the effect of processor mode: running in the Auto mode, video compression took substantially longer on the iMac G5, yet the speed was practically identical if the Power Mac and iMac were both set to "Highest" mode.


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Doctor Faustroll said...

Although I had some problems when I initially purchased my G5 iSight, I'm still using it and recently added an Acer 23 inch monitor for an extended desktop. It sure beats the hell out of the T60 Thinkpad I use at work.

Now that Snow Leopard only runs on Intel architecture, I'll probably go with a 24" iMac next year.

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