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MacBook Pro Benchmarks 234

jfpoole writes "Geek Patrol has benchmarked a MacBook Pro and a PowerBook G4 using Geekbench, their benchmarking utility. It's impressive to see how well the MacBook Pro performs compared to the PowerBook G4 (at least when it comes to Universal Binary performance)." Their benchmarks aren't particularly surprising, and they lack the most important benchmark: Frames Per Second during Molten Core Combat (or as it is more commonly referred to since I made it up 5 seconds ago, the FPSDMCCMark, which is the only number I'm waiting for).
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MacBook Pro Benchmarks

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  • Having owned a Powerbook G4 for almost a year now, I have no regrets. It's still going to take a while for them to get the kinks out. It's gonna be great when the 2nd revision comes out though!
    • by realmolo ( 574068 ) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @05:20PM (#14787937)
      Yeah, yeah.

      You're not fooling anyone. We all know that every time you boot your antiquated G4, you think about selling one of your kidneys to buy a new MacBook.

      Rationalization is a beatiful thing. ;)
      • You are right with the exception I would bargain away my right lung as well. I like my 9 month Powerbook and all, but those Macbooks look real tempting.
      • by Fred_A ( 10934 ) <> on Thursday February 23, 2006 @08:08PM (#14789240) Homepage
        As much as I hate to admit it, I bought a G4 iBook. Right about when Steve announced Apple would *Switch* (well, they wanted everybody else to switch, they just followed their own advice).

        And even though it pains me to admit it here in public, this being /., me being a geek (and I've been a geek for longer than most of you have been alive too), not only am I pertfectly happy with the performance of my machine (actually a G3 would probably have been fine too) but by the time it's old enough to need replacing, I sincerely hope Linux will be up to date on laptop hardware. So I can dump Apple altogether. Because I'm not really all that fond of it.

        So what do I do with that iBook ? Well I run Firefox (no, it doesn't look like the other Mac OS apps, what do I care?), CopyWrite (The *only* thing that would keep me using that machine; it exports to RTF though so I'd go back to OOo without trouble) and ssh. All that (mostly) on a WiFi link. Of course (apart from CopyWrite, which is an app I've been thinking of writing for years) I could do all of that on a random laptop without trouble. So why an Apple?

        Because :
        • It's cheap
        • It works (Linux can "just work" but you never know prior to buying the hardware and nowadays I no longer have time to tinker around)
        • It has the same or better battery life than a random laptop that Linux would not fully run on (i.e. not sleep with the screen closed, not support the built-in Wi-Fi, etc. And don't give me the "check beforehand bit, you *don't know* what you'll get beforehand. You expect revision B3 of the chipset and you get A2 (unsupported)...
        • The "unixy" bits come with the system. Yes, they are weird (the filesystem layout really takes some getting used to), the documentation is incomplete (a bitr like windows in that regard, with a bit of poking in a few websites and the dev documentation you get there eventually)
        • To sum it up: It's Unix and it works. All of it. If Sun had made it at that price I would have gotten that but they didn't.

        On the other hand, the Unix software often feels out of place, there is little "free" (as in libre) native software (for a Unix user, maybe it feels like heaven for a Windowe person), the interface isn't all that great, the bundled software isn't all that great either (iPhoto is probably the worst offender there, or maybe despite the few hours I spent trying to "get" it, I just didn't), in other words, don't listen to the hype, sliced bread is good, Apple is too, but that's it.

        Anyway to get back to the subject at hand, a lot of Linux people (those people who write Debian books, who admin hundreds of Linux machines, who have been running Linux for 6 to 10 years, whop have all their workstations running it at work and at home) have Apple laptops. Just because they are sick of the elusive driver search, of the great parameter poking game.

        I talked to a lot of them. Most of them aren't overly fond of the Apple interface. They all grew up with the Unix way of doing things. Things like sloppy focus. Or like virtual desktops. Yet they all got i/PowerBooks. Because that was better than spending ages getting Linux running on whatever hardware was available.

        So yes, poke fun at those people who (in your opinion) bought some overpriced hardware, but when I got a *very nice* Vaio laptop, the C1XD PictureBook (you can look it up if you like), you would have been astounded at the number of subsystems that weren't supported in Linux. Still, that machine never had anything but EXT2 partitions. Same with the IBM notebook before it.

        So my iBook, at 1200 € might seem overpriced to you (at the time I added a few options, the same machine is about 950 now), however it *works*. It comes with most of the Unix stuff, it sleeps on demand, setting it up took all of five minutes, if I had to choose between it an the *same* machine running Linux (whatever the CPU), I'd pick Linux without a second thought, however Linux isn't there yet. A

      • We all know that every time you boot your antiquated G4, you think about selling one of your kidneys to buy a new MacBook.

        Huh!? I boot my Powerbook every 15-30 days or so, and that's a rare enough event that I couldn't care less whether it takes 1 or 5 minutes.

        Last time when I booted it was due to 10.4.5 update. Before that I tested Ubuntu's live DVD, and before that – well, I went and double-clicked an extremely old floppy disk image, without realising that it was actually MFS [] instead of HFS, but the
    • Ditto

      I bought one last January when they announced the new updates and I'm quite happy with it. I expect it to last me quite a while if I wait. I may buy the next iteration (I like games and haven't had a great gaming computer in quite a while), but my PowerBook is an excelent machine.

      I'm glad I futureproofed it though. 1GB of ram, 1.67 GHz, extra graphics memory, etc.

  • rofl. so true.
    not really surprised though, i think the major objection to intel chips for most applications was stability not speed. ditto for the graphics cards. more boxes = more games = more devs on the cards.
    props to the amusing summary though.
  • Amazing (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 23, 2006 @05:03PM (#14787805)
    A new product that's an improvement over the model it replaces. Wow! That's news!
  • by winkydink ( 650484 ) * <> on Thursday February 23, 2006 @05:05PM (#14787811) Homepage Journal
    Before the aricle even went live, the site was slashdotted. I guess the geek patrol got ambushed.

    Maybe they should benchmark web servers next.
  • by Critter92 ( 522977 ) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @05:06PM (#14787822)
    Apparently Geekpatrol is hosted on a G4 Powerbook. Were it hosted on a Intellitosh it would have survived a bit longer.
  • by Anubis333 ( 103791 ) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @05:16PM (#14787897) Homepage
    Given that many of the same apps run on both Mac and PC platforms, why don't more people bench Mac vs. PC? I mean we are even talking about virtually the same architecture, the mac is now just another OS running on x86 hardware like Linux et al. I know it's interesting to see how the latest Mac stacks up against last years model, but how bout someone bench the latest Mac against it's contemporaries? The reason this isn't often done is because they usually get thrashed pretty bad, and feathers get ruffled (see: Adobe "PC Preferred" ad campaign, or Apple's SPEC processor benchmarks that were rejected because they were not completely legit). Windows always gets put against Linux, but Mac never seems to get benched against other platforms, and it is much, much closer to PC, as both platforms run many of the same apps. Just my two pennies...
    • Because if you benchmark commonly used apps now, it'd be pointless. Windows would win because native versions of Photoshop and a dozen other apps important to mac users are not yet available.
    • by aftk2 ( 556992 ) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @05:53PM (#14788252) Homepage Journal
      I agree with you, and as a Mac user, this is kind of frustrating (the occasional disparity between Mac & Windows versions of the same program). However, you might be interested in this: Ableton Live 5.2 Benchmarks []. It benchmarks multiple versions of the program, on Windows and OS X with different processors.
    • These early benchmarks are primarily for Apple fans who want an excuse to buy a new Powerbook. And also those who are interested in gauging the Rosetta performance hit.

      I'm sure future benchmarks will pit WinXP + app vs. Mac OS X + app.

    • Given that many of the same apps run on both Mac and PC platforms, why don't more people bench Mac vs. PC? I mean we are even talking about virtually the same architecture, the mac is now just another OS running on x86 hardware like Linux et al.

      Historically it is because there has not been "equivalent" hardware. There have been benchmarks and they have been a mixed bag, and no one knows what is because of hardware, what is because of software, and what is because of the OS.

      Now that Intel macs are starti

    • Out of curiosity, I tried running OS X x86 on my desktop (don't yell at me! I own a Mac laptop and I'm going to buy a new one soon.). My PC is mostly Intel hardware; it was a network driver and a video driver away from being fully functional under OS X. Conveniently, I ran the exact same benchmark TFA mentions.

      The first two, and indeed most of the benchmarks, were very close:

      Windows- cpu (float) mandelbrot (sqrt) 1 thread 872.91 megaflops
      OS X- cpu (float) mandelbrot (sqrt) 1 thread 890.3
      • Windows- cpu (float) mandelbrot (sqrt) 4 threads 1.10 gigaflops
        OS X- cpu (float) mandelbrot (sqrt) 4 threads 598.65 megaflops

        Windows- cpu (integer) blowfish (cache) 1 thread 70.02 megabytes/sec
        OS X- cpu (integer) blowfish (cache) 1 thread 672.46 megabytes/sec

        Windows- memory (stdlib) fill 1 thread 1.60 gigabytes/sec
        OS X- memory (stdlib) fill 1 thread 3.26 gigabytes/sec

        I think the sqrt test score has something to do with unoptimized/buggy math routines in your unofficial version of OS X. But look a

    • "Given that many of the same apps run on both Mac and PC platforms, why don't more people bench Mac vs. PC?"

      Because most Mac users don't buy Macs for the hardware. There may have been a few in the last three years who picked up a G5 just to have gobs of RAM to use for crazy HD video editing stuff, but most Mac users run Apple for the OS, and don't really care if the Apple systems are a little slower.
  • Lame (Score:4, Funny)

    by Eightyford ( 893696 ) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @05:17PM (#14787906) Homepage
    No altivec. Less space than a Dell. Lame.
  • FPS in WOW (Score:5, Informative)

    by Shishak ( 12540 ) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @05:19PM (#14787924) Homepage
    I had a PowerBook G4 1Ghz, 1Gig RAM (all graphics set to lowest setting) and would get insane lag in Ironforge around the AH. I couldn't run my epic horse through that area without ending up in the ditch. I now have a MacBookPro, 2.0 Ghz, 2 Gigs RAM and can run around in IF with 0, none, NADA lag and 30-35 FPS. I have all options turned on and the highest resolution the laptop screen can handle. Crusing around WSG is fun as I don't get lagged to death

    The MacBookPro is insanely fast. I'm not a big fan of the magnetic power cord, it seems to fall out too often with just a switch in body position. It is quite a bit hotter on my lap and I have had some random crashes while in WoW. Complete computer lock up, power down, restart to get it working again. (CTRL-ALT+Power)

    I haven't gone into MC yet but will hopefully go tonight, we are killing domo so that should be some tasty lag.

    All in all, I'm extremely happy with my MacBookPro

    • Call it a guess, but now that the auction houses are linked, there's less reasons for everyone to hang out at iron forge all day. Of course, Iron Forge is also pretty heavy on the geometry, but the massive amount of player movement may have contributed to that old lag.
    • I had a PowerBook G4 1Ghz, 1Gig RAM (all graphics set to lowest setting) and would get insane lag in Ironforge around the AH. I couldn't run my epic horse through that area without ending up in the ditch. I now have a MacBookPro, 2.0 Ghz, 2 Gigs RAM and can run around in IF with 0, none, NADA lag and 30-35 FPS. I have all options turned on and the highest resolution the laptop screen can handle. Crusing around WSG is fun as I don't get lagged to death

      I'm sure the new MacBook helps - lucky bastard - but f

      • If I pop open CPU and bandwidth monitors on my dual G5 while playing WoW (windowed), the CPUs are only hitting 50-65%

        Is WoW multithreaded? Most games aren't, and that would indicate that it's effectively taking 100% of 1 CPU.
        • Ding ding ding!!! We have a winner!! You'd get even better performance if you can force WoW to run on a single CPU instead of hopping back and forth.
    • Blizzard should really release a "jam packed ironforge auction house" benchmarking tool. It's been over a year since WoW came out, and that place is STILL the most trying thing any game can throw at a computer.
  • Damn (Score:3, Funny)

    by wackymacs ( 865437 ) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @05:24PM (#14787970)
    Damn! I thought the MacBook Pro was going to be slower than the PowerBook G4...
  • Just to see how well it would run... Cause honestly it's the only thing worth benchmarking for me.
  • battery life (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Tibor the Hun ( 143056 ) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @05:51PM (#14788232)
    anyone have any numbers on battery life?
    3 hours? 5? DVD playing? airport on/off?
    because, that's, you know kinda important when it comes to laptops...
  • by thatguywhoiam ( 524290 ) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @05:58PM (#14788285)
    Seems like (nearly) every time a Mac/Intel story pops up, CmdrTaco chimes in with some comment on WoW/Molten Core.

    Dear Apple: Slashdot needs to review 5 of these indefinitely. Thank you XOXO ;) Seriously, i'm waiting for someone to give good benchmarks on these- especially testing for Warcraft. Now that it has a new Universal Binary I can't wait to see how it holds up against a modern windows machine.

    'Not only did the new iMac wipe the floor with the old model in their tests, but using MacWorld's own test methodology would allow MacSpeedZone to conclude that the new Intel iMac is almost as fast as a PowerMac Quad G5.' I see only one way to solve this: Give me one. I'll run WoW on it, and decide.

    I'm still waiting for the most important benchmark: frames per second in molten core combat.

    We get it. You use your Mac for WoW.

  • by ImaNihilist ( 889325 ) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @06:12PM (#14788394)
    There is something that some of you forget about FW800. FireWire 800 was a mistake to begin with. There is no FireWire chipset that I know of that sits on the PCIe bus. That means, that if FW800 is on the PCI bus, it almost completely saturates the entire bus ITSELF. It was pointless. Until someone comes out with a FW controller that sits on the PCIe bus, FW800 is best left to something like ExressCard 54.

    In theory, a FW 800 Express Card should be superior to FW800 built onto the PCI bus.

    When the next generation of FW controllers come out that sit on the PCIe bus, then it will make sense. FW800 is just a little to early. Soon.
    • Small correction: There are PCIe FW 800 cards however, they use a PCI FW chipset and a PCI to PCIe bridge chip. I have no idea though if the PCI to PCIe bridge supports a 64-bit length. If the PCI to PCIe bridge only supported a 32-bit length it would be sort of stupid as full speed FW 800 would saturate the bus. Then again there are native PCIe FW 400 cards so native PCIe FW 800 cards can't be that far off.
    • Umm, PCI-X 64bit 133MHz will give you 1Gbyte/second, or, about 10 times the 100MByte/second that FW800 burns.
    • by illumin8 ( 148082 ) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @08:16PM (#14789283) Journal
      That means, that if FW800 is on the PCI bus, it almost completely saturates the entire bus ITSELF.

      Not true. The bandwidth of a 33mhz./32 bit PCI bus is roughly ~128 MB per second. The bandwidth of a FW800 interface is roughly ~82 MB a second. That's not complete saturation, and we're talking about the lowliest PCI bus available.

      Throw it on a PCI 66 mhz./64 bit interface with ~ 512MB a second of throughput, or even better yet, a PCI-X 133 mhz./64 bit interface with ~ 1GB a second of bandwidth and you're not even scratching the surface of your available PCI bandwidth.
  • by craigtheguru ( 919530 ) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @06:59PM (#14788798) Homepage
    I also performed some MacBook Pro benchmarks [] on the MacBook Pros introduced at Macworld and my results may be of interest. While the report only includes a 1.83 GHz MacBook Pro, it does include comparisons to G4 PowerBooks and a Dual G5 PowerMac.

    MacBook Pro Performance Analysis []

  • by DECS ( 891519 ) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @07:40PM (#14789080) Homepage Journal
    WOW plays poorly on G4 Macs because they have outdated graphics cards compared to gamer PCs.

    A 2003 Dual 2 GHz G5 will play WOW poorly if you have a vanilla video card, but not because of the G5. In fact, if you watch processor use while the game is "challenged," you'll notice that with dual G5s, the CPUs are running about 60%. Turn one off and the processor redlines, but the gameplay doesn't change drastically. Put in a higher end PCI card, and it plays like a totally different machine.

    The last revision of G5 Macs have PCIe, and better video cards. The Intel Macs have the same stuff or better. It's no surprise that WOW plays better with a much better video card.

    The G5/Core Duo are not being compared when you pit them against each other playing WOW; it's pretty much just the video card difference.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      This turns out not to be the case.

      Comparing a 2GHz iMac G5 with a 2GHz iMac-CoreDuo, we see that the iMac-CoreDuo has four times the L2 cache and maybe about half the main memory latency on cache misses. It really adds up. Even if you disable one of the Intel-CPU cores to try and make a fair fight.

      WoW has almost always been CPU limited on the Mac; the new Macs have much better CPU's and memory controllers. One can see that it's rather tough to run a totally fair test - there's no X1600/RV530 card for G5
  • drm ignorance (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kombinat ( 805502 ) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @08:00PM (#14789204) Homepage
    The ignorance of the drm really scares me. It makes clear that the silent tactic of introducing socalled trusted computing step by step actually works. I really would like to love Apple and get one of the MacBookPros but no way I spend money on this. People, take care, but maybe its to late already. What do you need to wake up? How about 'trusted' harddisk? ge/Storage_Use_Case_Whitepaper_v07.pdf []
  • by Arandir ( 19206 ) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @09:40PM (#14789649) Homepage Journal
    Benchmarks are useless, and this one doubly so. One great thing about the Mac is that it does lots of stuff OUTSIDE the processor. My 1.42Ghz PPC iBook is dog slow compared to new PCs, if all you're measuring is CPU speed, and it's video card is an embarrassing "mobility" chipset. Yet it's smooth and responsive even in the middle of a lengthy compile with multiple applications open and running.

    Benchmarks measure the edges of the envelope where users rarely visit. If you're not doing serious number crunching or running last week's must-have video game, you don't need to worry about benchmarks. It's like worrying about the top speed of an Italian Sports car, when you're never going to drive it faster than 100 Kph. In other words, if you're content with the size of your penis you can safely ignore benchmarks.
  • I'm in MC right now, and the joke is getting old to me. I can only imagine what it must be like for the people who don't play. You like WoW, we get it, now shut up about it.
  • It's just running from the damn AH to the mailbox in Ironforge that sucks, falling off the bridge and having to run around to get back sucks. 256MB, video card and 1GB memory standard (on the bigger model) should help this out

In less than a century, computers will be making substantial progress on ... the overriding problem of war and peace. -- James Slagle