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Accelerate Your Mac! - the source for performance news and reviews
The Source for Mac Performance News and Reviews
Review: Giga Designs 1.4GHz CPU Upgrade
By Mike
Published: 6/13/2003
3D Game Performance Tests
Intro | Benchmarks  | Apps Tests  |  Game Tests | Installation | Specs/Design
Game Performance Tests

This page lists test results in popular 3D games like Jedi II, Return to Castle Wolfenstein (1.41), UT2003 Demo, Unreal Tournament X PR3 and Quake3 (1.32).
Since this is a test of CPU upgrades and not video cards, lower resolutions were used.
(For comparison test of games at higher resolutions/tests of graphics cards - see the Graphics card section of the Video Topics page although results here use 10.2.6 with its updated drivers/OpenGL version, where the last graphics card tests (9700 Pro vs GF4 Ti vs GF3 vs 8500 vs 9000 Pro) used 10.2.4.)

Jedi II Tests:
Timedemo tests were run at 640x480/32bit since this is a CPU review, not a graphics card review.

Jedi Knight II

Note: like many Mac 3D games, Jedi II seems CPU bound, as shown in the 9700 Pro OEM Review, most of the modern AGP cards show flat FPS rates from low res to 1600x1200 mode.

Return to Castle Wolfenstein Tests:
I used the RTCW Multiplayer demo first used in my PL 1GHz Cube review back in August 2002, sent by a reader (thanks Tzunami) back then. (You can download the demo using the button in the sidebar at
(Note with v1.41, you have to change the "59" in the demo filename to "60". Once the demos folder is installed, just open the console using ~ and type Timedemo 1 and Demo demo0001.)

I ran tests with the "High Quality" in-game settings, audio enabled, but music volume set to 0 (and using the internal speaker).

RTCW MP Demo Tests 800x600

Unreal Tournament X PR3 Tests:
I used the latest UT X (PR3) version as of this review date. Medium Quality settings, 1024x768 mode, music volume set to 0, decals and dynamic lighting enabled, "Min Desired FPS" set to 0.
Framerates seen in actual play will usually be significantly higher than what is shown with a demo benchmark however. But since it's impossible to play matches the exact same way, I recorded a botmatch demo for testing.

UT Bench X

Unreal Tournament 2003 Demo Tests:
I used the current Unreal Tournament 2003 Mac version for Flyby and Botmatch tests using the "Asbestos" benchmarks. (For how to run the tests - see the FPS database entry page.)
I used a clean INI file (defaults to 800x600) with two changes - sound channels were set to 8 (vs 32) and UseTripleBuffering = True.
Results were rounded to 2 decimal places. Higher numbers are faster.

UT2003 Flyby

UT2003 Botmatch

Quake3 Tests:
Tests were done with the latest Quake3 version (1.32) as of this review date. Again lower resolutions were used since this is a CPU test, not a graphics card test. (See the video card reviews page for Q3 tests up to 1600x1200.) I used the default "High Quality" and "Fastest" Quake3 settings w/all game options on, changing only the resolution for those standard settings. The Quake3 config file had only one tweak - s_chunksize was set to 4096 vs the default (for v1.32) 2048. For the dual CPU tests, r_smp was set to "1" (to use both CPUs). The single CPU results were with r_smp=0. As with every game test I've ever run on a Mac here, audio (sound) was enabled, although music volume is set to 0. I know there are faster Q3 config files but personally with a modern mac, decent speed CPU and graphics card, I'd want some eye candy on.

Quake3 HQ tests

Quake3 Fastest tests

Quake3 is one of the few Mac games that shows a good boost from dual CPU Macs (see previous Dual G4 reviews or the 9700 Pro vs other Mac graphics card review linked on the Video cards page for tests results with a dual 1GHz G4 tower.)

Other Sources of Game Performance Comparisons:

  • The Video card reviews page lists articles and reviews with comparisons of many previous Mac 3D video cards.

  • The Systems page includes reviews of various G4/G3 systems and PowerBooks. Usually those reviews include game performance tests also.

The next page comments on installation of the CPU upgrade. Or you may use the links below to jump to a specific page.

Index of Giga Designs 1.4GHz Review Pages

Intro | Benchmarks  | Apps Tests  |  Game Tests | Installation | Specs/Design

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