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Review: Powerlogix's Series 133 Dual 1GHz G4 Upgrade
Tests vs Original Dual G4/533 and Dual 1GHz MDD G4
By Mike
Published: 12/24/2002
Real World Performance Tests
Intro | Benchmarks  | Apps Tests | Game Tests | Installation | Specs/Design
Applications Performance Tests

This page lists test results in common Mac applications like iMovie2, iTunes3, Photoshop 7.0, and time to convert a very large QT movie (1.92GB) to MPEG4. It also includes a multitasking test using iTunes3 playback/visuals while downloading a large file via a high-speed internet connection. (The system is doing Audio, Video, Disk, Firewire and Network I/O simultaneously.)

Note: Since this has been an issue in the past, I also tested for any wake from sleep issues with the upgrade - there were none. (I've not had this problem with any of my stock macs, although some have, even without CPU upgrades.)

I wish I could have included more tests, but the holiday season and other demands on my time were factors. However I believe these results will give you a good idea of how performance compares with this upgrade in many common tasks. (I do not have a Quicksilver G4 to test to see if the upgrade would perform differently/better in that system.)

Quicktime to MPEG4 Conversion
I used a very large 1.92GB (GigaByte) Quicktime movie and timed how long it took to export (convert) to MPEG4 using the default settings in Quicktime 6.02 (Pro). (Shorter bars are faster of course.)

QT to MPEG4 Export Test Results

I don't currently own any expensive/high-end video apps (like Final Cut Pro) currently, so I can't provide comparisons using them.

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 version of iMovie 2 in OS X 10.2.3 was used.

iMovie2 QT Export Test Results

The dual 1GHz upgrade reduced the time required by about 1/3, and delivered times close to a new Dual 1GHz MDD system. (Based on past tests, iMovie2 doesn't take advantage of dual CPUs however.)

iTunes MP3 Conversion
Time to convert an Audio CD outer track (4 min, 20 second) song to MP3 (192Kbs rate quality setting) using a Lite-on 40x12x48x Firewire drive (oxford911 bridge case). The outermost song track used to try to minimize the effect of the drive's speed (although the drive speed isn't a bottleneck for this test). I used a fast Firewire CDRW drive so that the same drive could be used for all system tests and avoid using the (relatively slow) internal Superdrives.

iTunes MP3 convert

MultiTasking: iTunes3 Playback + Visuals + High-Speed Downloading in I.E.:
To test how each CPU performed while multitasking, I ran a test doing something I've personally done many times - playing a song in iTunes with the visuals on while downloading a large file. The internet connection is a cable modem (via Airport). iTunes3 Visuals was set to large size, with the show FPS and Use OpenGL enabled. (I did not select the options to cap framerate or use Faster/rougher display.) Screen mode was 1600x1200/millions colors on a Sony F400 CRT. Internet Explorer 5.2.2 was used. Downloads were from an Apple server of a large file (30MB).
The graph below shows the average FPS rates shown in iTunes3 visuals during the duration of the download (while audio was playing of course).
This may not be the perfect multitasking test, but it's a) something that I commonly do in OS X and b) the system is doing Audio, Video, Disk, Firewire and Network I/O simultaneously.

Multitasking iTunes Visuals

I went so far as to try and test using similar iTunes visuals (repeating the test until similar visuals appeared). Before I return the PL upgrade, I hope to retest this with the 9000 Pro in the Digital Audio Mac to see what effect it has in that system in this and other tests. (BTW: Dual CPUs are a usually a big plus in this test.)


PhotoShop 7.0 (OS X) Tests
I used the 50MB image file (advanced) version of the PSBench 21 filter action script. (PSBench was created as a cross-platform test years ago for Photoshop performance that anyone can download to use themselves. Not an unknown/unspecified mix of filters as often seen in some reviews/marketing, which could be chosen to include filters that performed better on a specific processor or platform. PSBench is something you can actually download and try yourself.)

In addition to a graph showing total times for the filter series, as in my other reviews, I've also listed each filter, its description and the time each cpu 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.)

PS 7 comparison

Filter-by-Filter Performance Comparisons:
The table below shows the times in seconds (avg. of 3 runs) to perform each of the 21 filter operations on the 50MB image.

PS 7 Filter comparison

You can download the latest PSBench action script (I used the Advanced 50MB version) at the PSBench home page.

Time to Load Photoshop 7 (OS X) and 50MB Image File:
Just as a FYI, I timed how long it took to load the application and then a 50MB image file in OS X. (The drive was not optimized, the non-MDD hard drive was heavily fragmented.)

PS load times


The next page covers performance tests with several popular 3d Mac games.


Index of PL 1GHz Upgrade Review Pages

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

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