Desktops

Speedmark 6.5

Here in the Macworld Lab, we try to keep Speedmark, our Macintosh benchmark test suite, on pace with the current version of Mac OS X (for example, we updated to Speedmark 6 when Mac OS X 10.6 was released). Since the introduction of Speedmark 6, we've seen new releases of Photoshop, HandBrake, Aperture, and Parallels. Another application in Speedmark 6, CineBench R10, can't handle all 24 virtual processing cores found on some 2010 Mac Pros.

Though there has been no announced release date for OS X 10.7, it has become necessary to update our Speedmark tests. To that end, we've been hard at work updating the applications and the tests to come up with Speedmark 6.5.

Aside from the updates to the applications, we've made some additions and some subtractions from the test suite. We've added a multitasking test, running our updated Photoshop CS5 action script while iTunes 10 converts AAC files to MP3 and the Finder compresses a 2GB folder. Due to strange issues with certain optical drives, and the absence of DVD drives on some Macs, we no longer rip a DVD from the Mac's optical drive--we now use HandBrake to encode a video file already ripped to the hard drive. We've also chosen to leave out our Compressor test; Speedmark 6 was heavy on encoding tests and our iMovie and HandBrake tests seem more in-line with the tasks Macworld readers are likely to perform most often.

We use a 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo Mac mini as the baseline system, with a base score of 100. We compared the performance of all other Macs to the performance of the 2010 Mac mini running 17 different tests.

Speedmark 6.5 scores

Here are the benchmark results for the current Mac lineup. We've also included benchmarks for several older Macs--we don't have every older Mac, but we tested what we have in the Lab.

We will be updating the link above whenever we have new test scores. Also, the test scores are available for download.

* PDF: Speedmark 6.5 scores

* Excel: Speedmark 6.5 scores

Speedmark 6.5's task list

Mac OS X: Finder

* Duplicate 1GB file

* Compress 2GB folder

* Uncompress 2GB file archive

Pages '09

* Convert and open 500 page Microsoft Word document.

iTunes 10

* Convert 42 AAC files to MP3 from hard drive.

iMovie '09

* Import two minute clip from camera archive.

* Share two minute movie to iTunes for mobile devices.

iPhoto '09

* Import 200 photos from hard drive.

Parallels 6

* WorldBench 6 Multitasking Test on Windows 7.

Call of Duty 4

* Timedemo run at 1024-by-768 with 4X anti-aliasing.

Cinebench R15

* CPU test

* OpenGL

Adobe Photoshop CS5

* Action script run on a 50MB file.

Multitasking

* Time Photoshop CS5 action script run on a 50MB file while Finder compresses a 2GB folder and iTunes encodes 42 AAC files to MP3 in the background.

HandBrake 0.9.4

* Encode four chapters from ripped file on hard drive to H.264.

MathematicaMark 7

* Evaluate Notebook test.

Aperture 3

* Import and process 200 photos.

[James Galbraith is Macworld's lab director.]

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