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BARE FEATS LAB - real world Mac speed tests

Top 'mid 2011' iMac running
Pro Apps vs other top Macs

Posted Thursday, May 19th, 2011, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist

In response to popular demand, we have some pro app results for the top 'early 2011' iMac versus the top 2011 MacBook Pro, top 2010 iMac, and popular 6-core 2010 Mac Pro.

Adobe After Effects CS5.5, used for creating motion graphics and cinematic effects, lets you assign a dedicated amount of RAM to each virtual core when you enable multiprocessing mode for rendering. The more memory you have, the more cores can be used to render the project. There is a sweet spot to be found by trying different combinations of RAM per core. (Time is in seconds. Smaller numbers are better. RED bar indicates the fastest Mac.)

Adobe Photoshop CS5.5 uses multiple cores but not all available cores. We observed the 2011 iMac using from two to five cores (out of eight virtual possible) when running Lloyd Chamber's diglloydSpeed1 action file for speed testing. (Time is in seconds. Smaller numbers are better. RED bar indicates the fastest Mac.)

BenVista Photozoom Pro 4 enables you to enlarge an image using a patented S-Spline technology. (Time is in seconds. Smaller numbers are better. RED bar indicates the fastest Mac.)

Sorensen Squeeze 7 enables you to encode or transcode video to various formats. It's more sophisticated than Handbrake but takes longer to complete our "HD to iPad" transcode test. (Time is in seconds. Smaller numbers are better. RED bar indicates the fastest Mac.)

Apple's iTunes isn't a pro app but is an interesting excercise in that it uses only one core to convert MP3 to AAC. We converted 14 tunes (totalling 34 min and 18 secs). Note the surprise winner. Can you say "Turbo Boost" boys and girls? (Time is in seconds. Smaller numbers are better. RED bar indicates the fastest iMac.)

GRAPH LEGEND
MP 3.33 = 'mid 2010' Mac Pro 3.33GHz 6-Core Westmere with 24G of RAM
iMac 3.40 = 'mid 2011' iMac 3.4GHz Core i7 with 16G of RAM
iMac 2.93 = 'mid 2010' iMac 2.93GHz Core i7 with 16G of RAM
MBP 2.30 = 'early 2011' MacBook Pro 2.30GHz Core i7 with 8G of RAM

INSIGHTS
With the exception of After Effects, the top 2011 iMac acquitted itself very well. Again, it begs the question, "Do you really need a new Mac Pro to replace your old Mac Pro or Power Mac?" Do the cost/performance analysis before you choose.

What makes me scratch my head is how well the 2011 MacBook Pro 2.3 did against the top 2010 iMac 2.93.

RELATED ARTICLES
We compared the 2011 Core i5 iMacs to the Core i7 running After Effects, Photoshop, Handbrake, and iTunes.


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copyright 2011 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
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