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BARE FEATS LAB - real world Mac speed tests

'late 2012' 21.5-inch iMac Core i5 2.9GHz
versus other Macs

Originally posted Friday, December 7th, 2012, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist

Game enthusiasts are excited about the adoption of the GeForce GTX 675MX and 680MX in the 27-inch 'late 2012' iMac. However, until our CTO iMac arrives, we decided to tantalize you with some game benchmarks using the best 2012 iMac available in the Apple Retail Store, the 2.9GHz 'late 2012' iMac with the GeForce GT 650M GPU.

MP 3.3 = 'mid 2010' Mac Pro 3.33GHz Hex-Core Westmere with Radeon HD 5870 GPU (1G VRAM), 27" LED Backlit Cinema display (2560x1440)
iMac 2.9 = 'late 2012' (21.5") iMac 2.9GHz Quad-Core i5 with GeForce GT 650M GPU (512M VRAM), built-in 21.5" LED Blacklit Cinema display (1920x1080)
mini 2.6 = 'late 2012' Mac mini 2.6GHz Quad-Core i7 with Intel HD 4000 GPU (shares main memory), 27" LED backlit Thunderbolt display (2560x1440)
rMBP 2.7 = 'mid 2012' (15") MacBook Pro 2.7GHz Quad-Core i7 with GeForce GT 650M GPU (1G VRAM), 27" LED backlit Thunderbolt display (2560x1440)

World of Warcraft - Mists of Pandaria - We did our "Narache Village Totem to Tree to Totem Run" which tests GPU performance and used the Titan Panel Performance Addon to compute average frames per second. Settings were "ULTRA" preset. Resolution for the iMac was 1436 by 808. The Mac Pro, Mac mini, and rMBP were force to run at a slightly higher 1456 by 820. (HIGHEST number indicates the best average FPS.)

Feral Interactive Dirt 2 - We ran the built-in benchmark where Travis Pastrana races seven copies of himself. SETTINGS include multisampling OFF, graphics_detail level ULTRA, shadows enabled, tessellation TRUE, dynamic_ambient_occ enabled, vehicles characterQuality="4." Resolution was 1344 by 756 for all Macs. (HIGHEST number equals the the best average FPS.)

Laminar Research X-Plane 10 - Run from Terminal app using this command line: ./X-Plane.app/Contents/MacOS/X-Plane --no_fbo_minify --fps_test=3001 --load_smo=Output/replays/p3.rep --pref:_prefs_found=1 --pref:_is_full_ALL=1 --pref:_x_res_full_ALL=1440 --pref:_y_res_full_ALL=900 --pref:_bpp_full_ALL=32. Our test was a replay of an F4 Phantom jet taking off and making a 180 degree turn. (HIGHEST number equals the the best average FPS.)

Steam Portal 2 - The settings were 4X MSAA, 8X Anisotropic Filtering, Vertical Sync Disabled, Multicore Rendering Enabled, Shader Detail High, Effect Detail High, Model/Texture Detail High. Resolution was 1920 by 1080. (HIGHEST number equals the the best average FPS.)

1. It was essentially a tie between the iMac and MacBook Pro -- logical because they both have the same GeForce GT 650M. And though the MBP has twice the video memory, it wasn't an advantage -- at least at the settings we used.

2. Both the iMac and MacBook Pro compete well with a Mac Pro 6-core running the optional Radeon HD 5870, the fastest gaming GPU that Apple currently sells. We are aware that many Mac Pro owners have even faster GPUs like the GeForce GTX 580 and 680 but that's another story. It will be interesting to see how the GeForce GTX 680MX in our CTO 27-inch 'late 2012' iMac compares to those 'alternative' GPUs.

3. For gaming, Intel HD 4000 is no match for "real" GPUs including mid-range mobile GPUs like the GeForce GT 650M -- much less higher-end GPUs like the 27-inch iMac's optional GTX 675MX or 680MX.

One other article in the 'late 2012' iMac series is real world speed tests using a mixture of pro apps including Aperture, PhotoZoom, After Effects, Motion, Final Cut Pro, Premiere Pro, and DaVinci Resolve. And, of course, once our special order 27-inch 'late 2012' iMac arrives, we will add it to all the recent articles.

Speaking of recent articles on the 'late 2012' iMac, here's the list:

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Other World Computing has an upgrade kit for the 21.5" iMac. It requires disassembly but they provide the tools and the installation video. They also offer memory upgrade kits for the 27" iMac.

Check with Trans International for memory kits for the iMac and other Mac models.

MaxUpgrades has memory kits for various models of iMac.

See all the Special Offers for Photoshop and other products from Adobe USA.

Live OUTSIDE the USA? Go to THIS LINK and pick your Country. Then pick the type of Adobe online store (Home, Business, or Education).

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copyright 2012 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"