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Review: Newer Tech's iMAXpowr G4/433 CPU Upgrade
G4 CPU Upgrade for iMac 233 - 333MHz models
By Mike
Published: 7/19/2000
*Real World* Performance Tests
Intro | Benchmarks | Appl/Game Tests | Software Controls | Installation | Specs/Design | Summary
Applications and Game Performance

This page lists test results in common Mac applications like Photoshop 5.5, SoundJam MP, Bryce, Infini-D, After Effects, and many popular 3D games like Quake1, Quake2, Quake3 and Unreal Tournament. As always, a clean reboot was performed before running each test. All results on this page used the application's (or game's) built-in timing function to eliminate human error variations possible when starting and stopping a timer/stopwatch.


SoundJam MP 2.11 MP3 Encoding Tests

Casaday & Green's SoundJam MP features Altivec support that shows a sample of what gains can be had from use of the G4's unique instruction set. The iMac rev A's stock CDrom drive is not a great performer however in audio extraction. I could have sworn I saw some indication of Altivec being enabled (in some dialog or panel) during past G4 tests with Soundjam, but didn't see it when running these tests (I copied over the Soundjam folder from a G3 system rather than reinstall from scratch with my SoundJam 1.0 CD - perhaps that mattered).

Soundjam results from CD

Soundjap MP encoding from HD AIFF



Photoshop 5 Tests:

The table below shows the results of PSBench (21 filter test) series between the iMac rev A G3/233 and the same system with the iMac iMAXpowr G4 upgrade. Beige G3/233/512K cache (stock CPU) and a Beige G3 w/466MHz/1MB cache upgrade. The total time to complete the 21 filters is shown. PSBench settings are 1024x768, millions colors, VM off, Interpolation set to bicubic (better) and Photoshop should be allocated enough RAM (100MB for this review) to avoid any swap file activity from the 10MB test image filter actions. The latest versions of Adobe's Photoshop 5.5 Altivec addons (as of the review date) were used.

Note that as shown in all the past G4 upgrade/system reviews tests - Photoshop's Altivec support only benefits certain functions (some dramatically so however). Lighting Effects seems to be the most accelerated, as is shown in some past reviews that included tests with a G4 with and without the Altivec core plugin and Lighting Effects (Altivec version) installed.

PS5Bench Test
(10MB Image File)

iMac rev A
w/iMAXpowr G4/433

433MHz CPU Speed
1MB Cache at 217MHz
66MHz Bus
192MB RAM
ATI RageII (6MB)
iMac G3/233
(Rev A/Original CPU)

233MHz CPU Speed
512K Cache at 117MHz
66MHz Bus
192MB RAM
Onboard ATI RageII (6MB)

Gain

Rotate 90

0.4

1.4

3.5x

Rotate 9

2.7

5.8

2.1x

Rotate .9

2.5

5.3

2.1x

Gaussian Blur 1

0.8

2.5

3.1x

Gaussian Blur 3.7

2.3

5.9

2.3x

Gaussian Blur 85

2.7

8.0

3x

Unsharp 50/1/0

1.1

3.3

3x

Unsharp 50/3/7/0

2.7

6.6

2.4x

Unsharp 50/10/5

2.7

6.7

2.5x

Despeckle

1.0

4.6

4.6x

RGB-CMYK

4.8

9.7

2x

Reduce Size 60%

0.6

2.3

3.8x

Lens Flare

4.3

8.0

1.9x

Color Halftone

3.5

7.3

2.1x

NTSC Colors

4.1

8.5

2.1x

Accented Edges

10.5

21.2

2x

Pointillize

15.1

28.9

1.9x

Water Color

22.0

44.1

2x

Polar Coordinates

3.8

10.7

2.8x

Radial Blur

35.0

69.6

2x

Lighting Effects

2.1

17.2

8.2x

PS5Bench Index

124.7 Sec.

277.0 Sec.

2.2x

System

iMac rev A
w/iMAXpowr G4/433

433MHz CPU Speed
1MB Cache at 217MHz
66MHz Bus
192MB RAM
ATI RageII (6MB)
iMac G3/233
(Rev A/Original CPU)

233MHz CPU Speed
512K Cache at 117MHz
66MHz Bus
192MB RAM
Onboard ATI RageII (6MB)

Gain

Note: For more comparisons of Photoshop performance, see the Systems page and previous G4 CPU upgrade reviews.

When looking at the results above, consider which filters you use most often when determining how much a G4/Altivec upgrade will benefit you. Many of the filters in this test don't use Altivec. Weigh the gains from those that you use most often.


Infini-D 4.01 Tests

Like most of today's applications, Infini-D 4.01 does not use Altivec extensions, but is a common application I have used for comparisons of CPU/FPU performance. I used the same 'Chapter 7 completed' tutorial scene file from my past reviews. Rendering quality was set to Ray Trace, medium anti-aliasing, shadows on, patch detail low. I didn't change the default QT movie output file options.

The graph below shows times to complete the 150 frame movie (10.6MB) rendering with an iMac DV SE (G3/400MHz) previously reviewed but tested again with OS 9.04, my rev A iMac G3/233 (OS 9.04) with the stock CPU and with the iMAXpowr G4 CPU upgrade. Infini-D was allocated 40MB of RAM for the tests.

Note the G3/400 is slightly faster than the G4 CPUs of the same speed in this test. Another interesting note was that the G4/450 AGP Sawtooth system finished this same test more than 2 minutes faster with OS 8.6 than with OS 9.

Infini-D 4.01 results


Note - my rev 1 Apple G4/450 AGP system (v2.6 CPU) took 38 Min+ to complete this test. (Spec. Processing is disabled in the v2.6 G4 systems)

Bryce 2 Tests

Bryce 2 testing used the samples scenes in the KAI folder called "Magical Knight I" and "Alexandria II". Bryce 2 was left at the default memory allocation of 16980k, antialiasing was on, screen resolution was set to 1024x768, thousands colors.


Since Bryce doesn't use Altivec, a G3 CPU of the same speed does just as well as a G4 CPU.

After Effects 3.1 Tests
The following is a chart showing the time to render a special effects movie (appx. 8MB file size) in After Effects 3.1. Resolution was set to 1024x768, thousands colors as was common on all the application tests except for Photoshop 5.5 (which used millions colors).

After Effects 3.1 results

Note: I do not own After Effects v4.1, but there is an Altivec Plugin for that version Apple G4 section for a full list of applications/links to Altivec program updates).


Game Performance Tests:

Tests were done in Quake2, Quake3 and Unreal Tournament. All systems were running OS 9.04 and OpenGL 1.1.3. The iMAXpowr G4 CPU had OS 9's Altivec extensions active.

Quake 2: All tests used the latest Quake2 version as of this date (v1.03) as well as OpenGL 1.1.3. I edited the config file to force 16bit and disable multitexturing (since it chokes the ATI cards). Graphics settings in the game were :

  • 16-bit color
  • Max Texture Quality
  • No Sync Every Frame
  • No CD Audio
  • Full Screen


Quake2 Timedemo 1 results

Quake2 Crusher Results

The Crusher results seemed low with Voodoo2. I'll be retesting with the iMAXpowr G4 when I return from Macworld.


Quake III v117 Results: I used the latest version available at the time of the review for all tests. Graphics settings for the standard Timedemo 1 tests were:

  • 16-bit color
  • Lightmap lighting
  • Geometric detail high
  • Texture quality 16-bit
  • Texture detail 1 notch from max
  • Texture filter - bilinear

  • Game Options - disabled only Marks on Walls and HQ Sky

Note - what is not shown in the results below is the poor image quality of the VR128 chip in the iMac DV SE in 16bit color mode (32bit looks great, but is slower). For sample screenshots of 16bit vs 32bit Quake3 with the iMac DV SE - see the game tests page of that system review.


Quake3 timedemo 1 results

I also ran tests with the FPS boosting Locki config file which dramatically reduces image quality and game details to provide higher framerates. The results are shown below.

Quake 3 tests with Locki config settings


Unreal Tournament: I tested using both the builtin (retail version only) 'cityintro' test and also the user created demo file called 'wicked400' (which is a recording from actual play).

Unreal Cityintro Tests

Wicked 400 demo test results

The Wicked400 is recording of a multiplayer game with many players firing, etc. and is a much better indicator of performance than the Cityintro playback which has no player action, etc.

The next page describes the software cache control supplied with the card. Or you may use the links below to jump to a specific page.

Index of Newer Tech iMAXpowr G4 433MHz Review

Intro | Benchmarks | Appl/Game Tests | Software Controls | Installation | Specs/Design | Summary

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