Small Dog is giving away a G5 Power Mac

Bare Feats

"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"

Real World Macintosh Performance Test Lab
Chief Mad Scientist: Rob-ART Morgan; Brain Snatcher: Bet-TAY "Igor" Morgan

G5 versus G5 versus G5
3D Games and Graphics

Posted 9/23/03 by Rob-ART, mad scientist
Updated 10/13/03 -- Dual G5/2.0 with Radeon 9800 Pro Retail (versus OEM)
Updated 11/29/03 -- Dual G5/1.8 added

This is a continuation of PAGE ONE where tested the various models of G5 with After Effects, Photoshop, and other "real world" applications. On this page we show 3D graphic apps that utilize the speed of the graphics processor, not just the CPU.

Rad9800 = Radeon 9800 Pro 8X 128M (Retail Windows version)
Rad9800F = Radeon 9800 Pro 8X 128M (Apple OEM -- build-to-order option)
Rad9800R = Radeon 9800 Pro 4X 128M (retail Mac Edition)
Rad9600 = Radeon 9600 Pro 8X 64M (Apple OEM)
GeFX5200 = GeForceFX 5200 8X 64M (Apple OEM)







The Dual G5 really cranks when we ran Quake3 (1.32b), thanks to the various optimizations made to the code by Id Software's programmers including MP awareness.

Unreal Tournament 2003 doesn't do as well on the G5s compared to the Pentium 4. For one thing, UT2003 is NOT multiprocessor aware. The Botmatch we posted at 1024x768 comes closest to "real world" use of UT2003. In that mode, the difference between various G5s wasn't very pronounced.

The Flyby tests above, on the other hand, show the potential gains produced with graphics cards with faster core clock speed and faster video memory.

The Dual G5 has much more 3D graphics muscle than its Dual G4/1.42 predecessor (both running a similiar Radeon 9800 Pro graphics card). The same can't be said for the single processor G5s. If you are an extreme 3D gamer and Mac fanatic, the Dual G5 with Radeon 9800 Pro (OEM or retail) is the hot setup.

To see how the Dual G5 compares to Dual Xeon and Dual Athlon, check out our Mac vs PC cpu crunch and 3D Game pages.

SPECIAL INFO about RETAIL version of RADEON 9800 Pro
Many of you have asked me how this card compares to the OEM version shipped by Apple as a BTO option. I've created a table below to help clear up the confusion:

Radeon 9800 Pro

Apple OEM
ATI Retail

AGP Bus Speed


AGP Port

AGP 3.0 Pro, 1.5v
AGP 2.0 Universal, 1.5/3.3v


DVI + VGA + S-Video

Full Scene Anti Aliasing and Anisotroic Filtering Support


FSAA and Aniso Override Control


Versavision* software



G5 Power Mac
G4 and G5 Power Mac


(BTO price from Apple online store with no credit for card replacing)
$350 - $400 depending on source
*Versavision provides hardware accelerated display rotation and scaling. It enabled me, for example, to turn my Cinema display into a giant Portrait display. Now if I could just figure out how to keep my Cinema display sitting on edge... (An alert reader referred me to the PixArm from Marathon Computers. It's an articulated arm mount that lets you rotate your display 90 degrees.)

As you can see from the graphs on this page, the Retail version is every bit as fast as the OEM version, despite its slower AGP speed rating.

QUESTION: WHY is the 4X Retail just as fast or faster than the 8X OEM?

ANSWER: The limiting factors in the high rez Quake3 and UT2003 tests we ran were the 9800 Pro's core and memory clock speed. The AGP bus was not being accessed very often, so 4X vs 8X AGP bus speed was not a factor.

If, however, you run an application that regularly exceeds the 128MB VRAM, it will require frequent video data swapping across the AGP bus. In that scenario, the 8X OEM version may show its advantage.

ATI designed the Retail version to work on the widest variety of Power Macs. The only bone I can pick with them is the choice of ports. I believe dual DVI ports would have been more appropriate. That way, for minor cost, you can "dumb" it down for VGA displays or "smart" it up for up to two ADC displays.

Go BACK to PAGE ONE for more After Effects, Photoshop, and more.









Refurbs? Think Small.


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© 1995-2003 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
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