The first test we ran was a CD ripping session using iTunes 4. We compressed a 26 minute long Miles Davis fusion jazz single (Prelude Part One from his live Agharta album) into a 192 byte/sec AAC file.
Of all the benchmark tests, the iTunes results were the least spectacular. The dual G5 ran about 2.15 times faster than the 400 Mhz G4, and a scant 2.03 times faster than the PowerBook. We initially thought the low results were limited by the G5’s fixed-speed DVD drive, however further testing converting the same AIFF file off a secondary Firewire drive yielded even longer ripping times. The same test was executed in OS X 10.3 with no noticeable speed increase.
Photoshop BenchmarkWe ran a single layer, 35MB matte painting through a series of ten randomly-chosen Photoshop 7.0.1 actions, from color correction, repositioning, rotation, cropping, up-rez’ing, Gaussian blur, Unsharp mask, and five of the app’s funky artistic filters, like Sponge, Glowing Edges, and Charcoal.
All machines were optimized with either Adobe’s Altivec or G5 optimisation plug-ins. Memory usage was set to 100% and History was set to minimum.
Results here show an immediate increase between the new machine and its elder cousins, with the G5 running roughly 5 times faster than the first generation G4, and 3.9 times faster than the PowerBook. The Dual G5 ran on average one second faster in OS X 10.3 than in OS X 10.2.8.
After Effects BenchmarkThe After Effects file used for the test was a comp of a ten-second company logo, in which an Illustrator logo is run through a series of deformations and lit with Media 100’s Final Effects Complete Light Burst 2.5 plug-in on every level of the comp. After Effects 5.5 was used, with the resulting render compressed with Quicktime’s DVCPRO-NTSC codec at NTSC resolution.
The performance increase in this After Effects test is along the lines we were expecting out of the new machine, with the G5 running almost 8.5 times faster than the first generation G4 desktop. The dramatic speed increase is most likely the result of the CPU’s 64-bit architecture, with its increased math units. As of press time, Adobe had yet to enhance After Effects with G5 optimisation.
The AE tests were the first in which we noticed speed increase when tweaking settings within the Energy Saver preference panel. A new feature with the G5 computers is the ability to control the G5 chips’ performance through a new Processor Performance setting, sitting under the options tab. Factory set at “Automatic”, the preference can also be switched to Minimal and High. We ran all our tests through both processor settings, and while Photoshop and iTunes didn’t seem to be affected, the High setting shaved fourteen seconds off our After Effects tests. Running the test under the OS X 10.3 beta shaved an additional three seconds.