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First Report on G4/733MHz System Performance:
By Jeremy Hansen
Published: 2/27/2001

Update: For more detailed performance tests of the G4/733 with a GeForce3, as well as comparisons to a dual G4/500 see the most recent G4/733 and GeForce3 review. Includes comparisons of Radeon vs GeForce3 graphics cards in both systems also.

Note: This page has initial impressions and simple tests from a G4/733 owner. I have not had time to accumulate or compile the later applications performance tests noted by Jeremy and several other G4/733 owners in this forum thread (iMovie, Photoshop, Cinema 4D) which has swelled to over 100 posts and growing. If you take the time to read all these posts there are comments on the 7450's latencies/pipeline design, compiler notes, and addition real-world apps tests not shown on this page. Also note the stream benchmark results below were not using the 601 or 604 optimized versions (there is no G4 or G3 optimized version). Jeremy later sent Stream 601/604 optimized version results which I have not had time to post. They show much higher rates but still lower in some areas than my PB G4/400 on the same tests. This is only a benchmark however. The important factors are actual applications performance use (see the forum posts for examples until I can compile a comparison).

I don't have a G4/733 personally to do a normal system review (which would be very complete and methodical) so I'm relying on owner reports. I've got a G4/733 on order, but with the GeForce3 it will likely be April before it arrives. (In a way that may be a good thing - read on.)

Don't Forget Possible 7450 Chip Errata:
What has not been mentioned elsewhere but what has been a primary concern for me personally is the fact the G4/733 systems are using an early version of the 7450 CPU. There is errata (errors or bugs) in literally every CPU, especially in early steppings (revisions). My gut feeling is that some of the performance oddities noted may be due to chip errata in the early shipping 7450's. As later versions ship, we will see if this is indeed a factor.
-Mike 3/1/2001

Updates/Related Links:
To see how a G4/733 w/Radeon AGP card fared against a 1GHz Pentium III, a single and dual G4/500 and a Beige G3 with dual G4/500 cpu upgrade in Photoshop 5.5 filter tests, click here.

7450 G4 CPU Chip Tech Docs and Errata: I've always wondered if the errata (errors) in the initial 7450 chip versions could be a factor in its performance. It appears this is so from the errata noted in some Motorola 7450 chip documents. See this 3/19/2001 news story for links and details.

Several G4/733 owners have posted their apps tests results in this (long) forum thread which also has comments on compilers, the 7450's longer pipeline effects on performance and more. You have to read all the posts or at least scan every one of the pages in that thread to get the full picture. (Not just benchmarks are noted, but actual apps tests.)

(Note) Apple sent sent an email with G4/733 comments & appl/system tests results comparing several other G4 systems.

(the original article follows)
(Updated 2/28 for Stream results and mb photos)
(Updated 3/1/2001 for iDVD comments and more Q3 tests)
(Updated 3/6/2001 for Unreal Tournament tests)

Jeremy Hansen just received his new G4/733MHz system and sent a report including some puzzling (in some cases) performance test results.

" Within an hour of the MWSF keynote I placed my order for a 733 MHz G4, and after much waiting it finally came today. I spent the evening putting it through its paces, and as I promised I'm sending you the results of my tests. Since xlr8yourmax already has the extensive review of the 533 MHz machine, I'll skip much of the niceties and cut straight to the chase in the form of performance results (in text and pictures). I'll also leave it up to you to decide what extras are worth adding to information, as I don't keep close enough track on what versions what extensions are at to notice if I've got a different rev than what is publicly available for downloading. That's why you will see so many attachements.

Testing was done with virtual memory off and appletalk off, but otherwise bone stock configuration.

I'd like to start with the oddity. Using Gauge Pro V1.1, You can see that the results are a bit bizzarre. First, it can't figure out what kind of processor it is - perhaps not too odd considering how new this one is. But then it not only thinks that it's only running at 399 MHz, but it also shows the memory speed at about 150 MB/s. I'm not sure what to make of that, but I suspect it's not correct and look forward to hearing people's ideas or other G4/733 results. Hopefully mine isn't limping along on half it's bus capability!
[Note: Earlier G4 systems (and even the PowerBook G4/400) report about 230MB/sec in GaugePro. I took Jeremy's screenshot and added some notes for readers as I saw in the screenshot that it's not detecting the on-chip L2 cache nor the 1MB L3 cache of the G4/733 system, but I would assume these would be enabled, and if so why the rates are so low is puzzling, unless this is a GaugePro bug.-Mike]

GaugePro Results G4/733

[Jeremy later sent Stream Memory bandwidth test results]
Stream Results G4/733

[Here's the results from the same test on a G4/533 from another reader-Mike]
Stream Results G4/533

[The G4/533 7410 CPU has an external 1MB L2 cache and no L3 cache.-Mike]

Although it doesn't apply well anymore, the Macbench 5 scores were as follows:
Processor - 1927
Floating Point - 1910
Disk - 906
Publishing Disk - 517

[Note: those disk scores are very low - a 1000 score is the baseline from a Beige G3/300's ATA/3 original disk drive. If it's a Maxtor drive, perhaps the write verify on the cache is the reason. (Disabled after 10 power cycles)-Mike]

I used ATTO tools to benchmark the drive. I did not power cycle 12 times to clear the drive's write-checking slowdown prior to these tests. As you can see, Peak Read was 61.35 MB/s, Sust'd Read 60.75 MB/s, Peak Write 51.20 MB/s, Sust'd Write: 49.77 MB/s when the max transfer size was 512 KB, but sustained read/write values fall off rapidly as the 2MB cache size of the drive is exceeded. For me this resulted in a Peak read of 61.7 MB/s, Sust'd Read of 35.61 MB/s, Peak Write of 58.05 MB/s, and Sust'd Write of 29.20 MB/s

Next is Cinebench:

Cinebench 2000 V1.0 Performance

Tester : Jeremy Hansen

Processor : 733 MHz G4
Number of CPUs : 1
Physical Memory : 256M
Operating System : OS 9.1

Graphic Card : nVidia GeForce MX
Resolution : 1024x768
Color Depth : 32bit


Shading (CINEMA 4D) : 6.12 CB
Shading (OpenGL) : 7.64 CB
Raytracing (Single CPU): 8.99 CB
Raytracing (Multiple CPU): --- CB

OpenGL Shading is 1.25 times faster than CINEMA 4D Shading!


G4TimeDemo.032 in amazing quality, millions of colors produced 70.9 FPS.

For Throughput V1.5, you can see that many of the numbers are significantly lower than the results from the G4/533 MHz machine you have data on. Once again this begs the question - what's going on? Is it bussing? Is it the new altivec units in the 7450? I'm open to suggestions again on this one.

Throughput Scores - G4 733

Then I ran the Fractal PPC, using AltiVec test and got the following result:

G4/733 = 5.1 sec, 2624.7 Megaflops which compares favorably to G4/533 = 7.3 sec, 1843.3 Megaflops

Now for some games!

First I tried Unreal v224b4. It ran in RAVE mode but I was pretty disappointed in the Unreal score as well as some of the strange video effects. At 800x600 with Mike's recommended settings (High Quality, shiny surfaces, no vsync, etc) it only produced 34 FPS. The screen also displayed a one or two pixel wide band of bright lines all the way around the display. Additionally, during the castle flyby when you swoop down low through the doorway and the fog, there was no fog. I believe the RAVE emulation isn't quite 100% on the nVidia drivers yet.

I didn't spend a whole lot of time on Quake3 Demo because it's been covered so much as a benchmark for these machines. My results were pretty similar to others, leading one to believe that the bottleneck is not the CPU for this test.

Q3Demo - 800x600, "Highest" setting,
72.6 FPS
Q3Demo - 1024x768, 32bit, lightmap, high detail, bilinear, Demo1
56.9 FPS

Finally we got to my favorite waste of all my time, Unreal Tournament. This game, more than anything, is what drove me to plunk down the dough to pick up this sweet machine. So, I found that Rave mode does work, however when I tried OpenGL I ran into an error that would boot me from the game as soon as it tried to drop me into the main menu (I have mine configured to not show the cityintro). I always use the Wicked400 demo for benchmarking UT since it's in-game and far more realistic than the cityintro test. Tests were performed on V436 with 150 megs dedicated to the game.

Wicked400 - 800x600, medium/medium/32bit/no decals/dynamic lighting/0minFPS/music on
min: 16.60 / Avg 22.11 / Max 31.08

Wicked400 - 800x600, medium/medium/16bit/nodecals/dynamic lighting/0minFPS/music on
min: 22.09 / Avg 31.06 / Max 45.3

Wow! That's by far the best Min/Avg/Max I've seen for the Wicked400 on any machine to date. However, notice how much better the 16bit figures are than the 32bit ones. It is a very significant difference, and I believe one that's only been seen in the past when high detail is being used. I must say that in playing a game of CTF-Thorns, where I usually end up cannon fodder due to really low FPS from my old machine (which scored 9/15/23 for the Wicked400), I came out at the top of my team and I could actually SEE what was going on. On the downside, the in-game video is extremely dark, even with the brightness set all the way to the top. I also changed my monitor profile to help out how dark it was in UT. Not being able to tell who's red and who's blue is bad, and having blue guys being virtually BLACK when in shadows (basically, invisible), such as down the sides of the room in CTF-Thorns, is especially troublesome.

[He later sent an update with Cityintro tests in Unreal Tournament-Mike]

UT Full v436 CityIntro Min:20.36 / Avg 41.23 / Max 105.86 FPS
In-game settings were med/med/16bit/nodecals/dynamiclightingon/music on
[I would think that OpenGL would be faster given the maturity of the GeForce2MX's Rave driver. Not sure why there were errors running OpenGL model in UT however-Mike]

So what else did I try? I installed Diablo II and gave it a quick spin - Ran it in OpenGL and it played without a hitch. I did notice some odd "clicking" sort of sound noise. I didn't take the time to figure out if it was overdrive noise or some other issue. I played with iTunes some and ripped a song from a CD (at about 7x speed), and really enjoyed all the features that offered. I have not yet had a chance to install iDVD (it came on seperate CDs) but I must admit it's very nice that Apple included two DVD-Rs and two CD-Rs with the computer. This is one thing I don't know how soon I will get to, because at the present time I don't have a firewire camcorder to quickly and easily import the movies into the Mac with.

Finally, I yanked the Voodoo3 card from my old computer and put it in the G4 and found that dual-monitors worked just fine. Unfortunately the Voodoo3 wouldn't load all its extensions (as noted by the X-out during startup) and therefore I could not get UT to run in Glide on the Voodoo3."

From Jeremy's Apple System Profiler report, it appeared the ATI extension set was also enabled, although they shouldn't load if the card is not present, I suggested he disable them. I'm hoping he can provide OpenGL UT results in the future and a review/report on iDVD.

(3/1/01 update)

iDVD Comments:

" Tonight I finally took the time to try out iDVD. It doesn't come installed, but rather comes on a CD-ROM. Upon launching it for the first time there is about 5 seconds of audio and video fanfare. I chose to go through the included tutorial.

The tutorial is very easy to follow with Quicktime clips to show you exactly what to do in case the text descriptions are not clear enough. The software is typical Apple - incredibly simple to use. Choose a theme from the theme popup, drag and drop your video clips, click and edit titles, add "folders" for nesting menus (I nested about 5 deep just to see if it would let you), and when you're done, click preview to get a little remote control that lets you see how it will behave in a DVD player.

Some other little things I noticed:
There is a lot of customization allowed for graphics - backgrounds, buttons, etc, however the button locations seem to be fixed based on the theme chosen. In other words, they align horizontally and vertically, centered upon the screen and although you can rearrange the order you can't move them around to exact, floating locations.

Slideshows are also simply done by creating a folder and dragging in pictures from the desktop. I threw in both a jpg and a pict and it took both of them no problem (as you can see from the attached screenshot, where I dragged in the ATTO benchmark screenshot from my G4/733). A 99 picture limit is enforced on slideshows, however it appears you can have any number of slideshows on a DVD.

A small DVD icon always displays in realtime the amount of time remaining for adding content to burn into the DVD. It starts at 1 hour and counts down as you add more content.

In the File menu is an option for "Buy media" that takes you right to the Applestore page for purchasing more blank DVD-Rs (which has a 21 day leadtime at the moment I write this).

I didn't go so far as to burn anything since I don't have anything worth burning at the moment. I also had it crash on me once while I was goofing around with it after completing the tutorial. I also found that when I tried to launch it after running some other programs, or while running some other program (simpletext and Navigator) that I would get a freeze upon launching (that could be escaped by doing a force-quit). So I think there may still be a bug or two hidden inside, or at least a conflict with other software. I would recommend not running anything else when you're actually working inside iDVD.

To summarize, the software is incredibly simple to use and I found it quite exciting to see the power in the simplicity of it. Just like iMovie and iTunes, iDVD is fantastic.

[he later wrote with more comments:]

I forgot to mention two other drawbacks to iDVD that I noticed (and would expect to see added in any future revs) - all the menus you can create were static - no video loops, and I saw no way of adding audio to the menus either. I can see iDVD not appealing to more professional customers for this reason alone.

Quake3 Demo Tests: (I asked if he could test Quake3 set to fastest settings to see what the max framerates possible were-Mike)

" Per your request I ran some more Q3Demo 1.11 tests and got the following results For "fastest" Demo001 resulted in 82.3 FPS
"Fastest" modified for 640x480 came in at 81 FPS
Disabling the Apple Audio Extension [no sound] bumped it up to 104.3 FPS
Disabling the Apple Audio Extension and turning off all effects and lowering all textures resulted in 127.3 FPS

-Jeremy Hansen"

More UT Results On 3/6/2001 Jeremy sent results of tests in Unreal Tournament Wicked400 demo with this G4/733 and GeForce2MX. (I've added results of my tests at 1024x768 max settings with a G4/500 DP AGP system (100Mhz bus/2X AGP) with GeForce2MX card for comparison)

"Also posted on the BBS:

UT Results

Ok, finally got UT results. This is with VM off, reduced extensions, filesharing off.

All tests performed with medium textures, decals off, dynamic lighting on, 0 min for framerate setting, and reduced Gore unless otherwise noted.

Numbers listed are average framerate.

Single G4/733 with nVidia GeForce2MX card.


(my results with a G4/500 AGP w/GeForce2MX card
this is a 100Mhz bus system w/2X AGP-Mike)

(MAX) result is for maximum settings - high textures, decals on, lighting on, normal gore.A lot of texture swapping was obvious while watching the demo play (as seen by momentary pauses.)

So the OpenGL is faster overall for average framerates. So what about my earlier statement about one being faster under one condition, the other faster under another? Well, if you look at minimum framerates (which I was doing at the time), that is a true statement. I prefer to look at minimum framerates because I want to know how bad it can get. However I have posted average here because the standard measuring stick is average numbers and I don't want to start mixing up numbers and confusing things even more.

Jeremy and other G4/733 owners have posted applications test results in this forum thread (iMovie, Photoshop, Cinema 4D) noting that performance was lower than expected (and not just in benchmarks).

If any other readers have gotten their G4/733s (a Radeon test comparison would be nice) - let me know how it performs.

G4/733 System Internals

Other 2001 G4 Related Articles:

Apple TILs and Tech Info on the new G4s:

  • PowerMac G4 Developer Notes
  • Power Mac G4: Clean Installation Disables Disc Burner 1.0
  • Power Mac G4 (Digital Audio): What's New and Different
  • Power Mac G4 (Digital Audio): Technical Specifications
  • CD-RW and SuperDrive: Specifications and Usage Information
  • NVIDIA GeForce2 MX Graphics Card: Technical Specifications
  • Power Mac G4 (Digital Audio): Digital Sound System Information
  • Power Mac G4 (Digital Audio): Sound Output Ports
  • Power Mac G4 (Digital Audio): Differences Between Models
  • Power Mac G4: Display Compatibility
  • Power Mac G4 (Digital Audio): Disc Burner 1.0 Software Records Single Session Only
  • Power Mac G4 (Digital Audio): Requires PC-133 Memory

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