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Accelerate Your Mac! - the source for performance news and reviews
The Source for Mac Performance News and Reviews
Review: OWC's Mercury G4/500, G4/400 & G3/500
ZIF CPU Upgrades

How they compare in a Blue & White G3/350 System
By Mike
Published: 10/19/2001
(revised 10/26/2001 for G4/400 results)
Real World Performance Tests
Intro | Benchmarks  | Apps/Game Tests | Installation | Specs/Design
Applications and Game Performance
This page lists test results in common Mac applications like iMovie2 (OS 9 and OS X), iTunes (OS X only due to problems with OS 9 version), Photoshop 5.5, Word 98 Scrolling, time to boot tests and popular 3D games like Quake3 (Classic and OS X) and Unreal Tournament.

iMovie 2 Tests

I used the same test I have since iMovie was released - stacking the 6 tutorial file clips end-to-end (no transitions) and timed how long it took to export the movie using the standard "CDROM Medium" settings. (By using the tutorial with no variables like transitions, it's something everyone can easily test with their own systems.) The latest versions of iMovie 2 (v2.1.1) for OS 9 and OS X 10.1 were used. (Quicktime version was 5.02.)

iMovie2 OS X Test Results

iMovie2 OS 9 Test Results

iTunes MP3 Conversion
Time to convert an Audio CD (6 min, 50 second) song to MP3 (192Kbs rate quality setting) using the original DVD ROM drive. (Outermost song track used.)

iTunes MP3 convert

OS 9.2.1 iTunes results are not included since I could not get MP3 conversion to work. (It would not convert the file, despite reinstalling iTunes, making sure no Soundjam extension was enabled, etc..) I had to move on rather than spend more time troubleshooting the OS 9.2.1 iTunes problem (which was consistent regardless of the CPU installed.) I suspect it was an extensions issue.


PhotoShop 5.5 Tests

PSBench's 21 filter action script was created as a cross-platform test of Photoshop performance, long before the G4 CPU based Macs were available. (I've used it in many past reviews of upgrades/systems.) Only a few of the 21 filters in the test are accelerated by Altivec (Lighting Effects benefits most, about 4x faster). The overall score is therefore heavily weighted towards non-Altivec supported filter functions (the filters that took longest to run don't benefit from Altivec), so the total test times don't show a large difference between a G3 or G4 of the same clock speed. However since users don't always use Altivec aware filters all the time, the results are still a valid comparison of system performance for the filter functions listed.

Rather than just a simple graph showning total times for the filter series, as in my other reviews, I've listed each filter, its description and the time each system took to complete it. (Each filter is run 3 times, the avg. is displayed in the table below. PhotoShop's timing function is used, not a stopwatch.)

The graph below shows a comparison of the B&W G3 with OWC's G4/400, G4/500 and G3/500 upgrades in Bold, with many other systems for comparison, based on results from past reviews here.

PS 5.5 comparison

Filter-by-Filter Performance Comparisons:
A web page isn't wide enough to show every system tested in the graph above, so I'm listing filter-by-filter comparisons of the B&W G3 with the original G3/350 ZIF; the two OWC ZIFs and my previous G4/500 AGP (single cpu) system scores for reference. (This also allows you to compare performance filter-by-filter to see the difference by function, not just total time.) The table below shows the times in seconds to perform each of the 21 filter operations on a 10MB image.

Photoshop 5.5 Filter Test Details

PS5Bench Test
(10MB Image File)

B&W G3
350MHz G3 CPU

1MB L2 at 175MHz
100MHz bus
256MB PC100 (222)
Radeon PCI
OS 9.2.1
VM Off
B&W G3
500 MHz G3 CPU

1MB L2 at 250MHz
100MHz bus
256MB PC100 (222)
Radeon PCI
OS 9.2.1
VM Off
B&W G3
400MHz G4 7400 CPU

1MB L2 at 250MHz
100MHz bus
256MB PC100 (222)
Radeon PCI
OS 9.2.1
VM Off
 B&W G3
500MHz G4 7400 CPU

1MB L2 at 250MHz
100MHz bus
256MB PC100 (222)
Radeon PCI
OS 9.2.1
VM Off
Apple G4 AGP
500MHz G4 7400 CPU
1MB L2 at 250MHz
100MHz Bus
256MB SDRAM (222)
Rage128 Pro AGP (16MB)
OS 9.04
VM OFF

Rotate 90

0.9

0.7

0.3

0.2

0.2

Rotate 9

3.4

2.5

2.5

2.0

2.0

Rotate .9

3.1

2.3

2.3

1.9

1.9

Gaussian Blur 1

1.5

1.1

0.7

0.6

0.5

Gaussian Blur 3.7

3.7

2.8

2.3

1.7

1.4

Gaussian Blur 85

4.7

3.6

2.4

2.1

1.6

Unsharp 50/1/0

1.9

1.5

1.1

1

0.7

Unsharp 50/3/7/0

4.1

3.1

2.3

2.0

1.7

Unsharp 50/10/5

4.1

3.1

2.4

2.0

1.7

Despeckle

2.8

2.0

1.1

1.0

0.8

RGB-CMYK

5.8

4.1

5.0

4.0

4.0

Reduce Size 60%

1.4

1.0

0.5

0.4

0.4

Lens Flare

4.9

3.5

4.2

3.4

3.3

Color Halftone

4.4

3.2

3.9

3.2

3.0

NTSC Colors

4.8

3.4

4.3

3.4

3.4

Accented Edges

12.6

8.9

10.9

8.8

8.9

Pointillize

18.0

12.5

16.0

12.7

12.5

Water Color

26.6

18.6

23.1

18.5

18.7

Polar Coordinates

6.1

4.4

3.7

3.1

2.9

Radial Blur

40.9

29.1

35,8

29.1

29.9

Lighting Effects

10.4

7.3

2.1

1.8

1.7

PS5Bench Index
(time to complete)

166.1
Seconds

118.7
Seconds

126.7
Seconds

102.9
Seconds

101.2
Seconds

System

B&W G3
350MHz G3 CPU

1MB L2 at 175MHz
100MHz bus
256MB PC100 (222)
Radeon PCI
OS 9.2.1
VM Off
B&W G3
500 MHz G3 CPU

1MB L2 at 250MHz
100MHz bus
256MB PC100 (222)
Radeon PCI
OS 9.2.1
VM Off
B&W G3
400MHz G4 CPU

1MB L2 at 250MHz
100MHz bus
256MB PC100 (222)
Radeon PCI
OS 9.2.1
VM Off
B&W G3
500MHz G4 CPU

1MB L2 at 250MHz
100MHz bus
256MB PC100 (222)
Radeon PCI
OS 9.2.1
VM Off
Apple G4 AGP
500MHz G4 7400 CPU
1MB L2 at 250MHz
100MHz Bus
256MB SDRAM (222)
Rage128 Pro AGP (16MB)
OS 9.04
VM OFF

You can download the latest PSBench action script at the PSBench home page.

Word 98 Scroll Tests
I measured the time it took to scroll the a 6.9MB document file (2,187 pages, 45K paragraphs, 144,799 lines) with multiple font sizes, etc. from the first page to the last. Word was allocated 40MB (many times the document size). Display was set to 1024x768, millions colors. (Apple LCD 15" display limit.) The results are shown in the graph below. All times are in seconds rounded to one decimal place. Remember these tests were timed with a stopwatch, so there differences of 1/2 a second or so can result from variations in starting and stopping the stopwatch for each run.

Word98 Scrolling Tests

I included this to satisfy some reader's curiosity, as generally you don't buy a CPU upgrade to speed up a word processor (which most often is waiting on you during typical use).


Time to Boot OS 9.2.1/OS X 10.1
Although it's not a major issue for me personally, I measured the time it took to boot from a cold start. (Time from the startup bong to having the OS ready to use.) Memory test was not disabled and no other PCI cards other than the Radeon were installed. All times are in seconds rounded to one decimal place. Remember these tests were timed with a stopwatch, so there differences of 1/2 a second or so can result from variations in starting and stopping the stopwatch for each run.

Time to Boot

OS 9.2.1 takes longer to boot on all my Macs than previous versions (the first extension causes a long delay). Both these drives are not as fast as the current generation of IDE drives. (They're 1999 models, OS X on the original 5400 OEM Maxtor drive and OS 9.2.1 on a 6800 series Maxtor 27GB.)


Game Performance Tests:
Tests were done with the latest versions (1.30) as of press time of Quake3 (OS 9 and OS X versions) and Unreal Tournament (v436).

With the same game settings (detail settings/config file) the CPU load is the same across resolutions, so I'm showing 1024x768 mode tests just as a FYI on the PCI Radeon performance with the various CPUs tested in the B&W G3. (The Apple 15" LCD used with the system has a max resolution of 1024x768.) Tests were run with the "Fastest", "Normal" and "High Quality" Quake3 options with resolution adjusted as needed.

Quake3 OS X 640x480

[As a FYI: my Cube DP500 running OS X 10.1.2 scores 79.9 (HQ), 80.6 (normal), 82.9 (fastest). OS X/Q3 supports dual processors which shows in higher FPS rates.]


Quake3 OS X 1024x768

[As a FYI: my Cube DP500 running OS X 10.1.2 scores 66.5 (HQ), 70.5 (normal), 79.6 (fastest).]

Quake3 Classic 640x480

Note: The Cube DP500 w/Radeon scored 55.8 (HQ), 55.9 (normal), and 64.1 (Fastest). AGP system had OS 9.2.2, vs OS 9.2.1 used for the B&W G3 system (different ATI driver versions, different OpenGL version) , VM off, fresh (rebuilt) Q3 config file, no tweaks. (My DP500 Cube with Radeon AGP card scores 10FPS higher across the board in OS 9.2.2/Q3 1.30 than my G4/500DP AGP Tower, so there has to be something wrong with the scores I'm seeing with my AGP Tower system.)


Quake3 Classic 1024x768

Note: My G4/500 DP Cube with AGP Radeon scored: 54.3 (HQ), 54.7 (normal), and 62.7 (Fastest).


Unreal Tournament: Using 436 in OS 9.2.1. Medium Quality settings, low-audio quality, music volume set to 0, decals and dynamic lighting enabled. "Min Desired FPS" set to 0. (Rave Mode used since it runs better than OpenGL mode on the ATI cards in my tests. PCI Radeon in 66MHz PCI slot used for all tests.)

Cityintro Flyby

UT Bench

Wicked400 demo

(BTW: Wicked400 scores under 30FPS avg with the same settings/config file on a G4/733 overclocked to 800mhz with a GeForce3 card.)


Other Sources of Game Performance Comparisons:

  • My Video card reviews page lists articles and reviews with comparisons of literally every fast Mac 3D video card currently on the market.

  • My searchable Mac Game Framerates database has thousands of entries (and growing) of Mac 3D game framerate reports using most every popular 3D game (Unreal/UT, Quake1, Quake2, Quake3, etc.) as well as other benchmarks. Systems range from 603e models to Apple's latest AGP/G4s. You can limit searches by game title, video card, CPU speed, Mac model (or any combination). This database can be a great tool to see what effect CPU speed and video card have on game performance.

  • For 3Dfx video card specific information, see my new www.mac3dfx.com site.



The next page covers installation of CPU upgrades. Or you may use the links below to jump to a specific page.

Index of OWC Mercury ZIF Review Pages

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

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