Low End Mac Benchmarks

Mac IIci

Dan Knight - 1999.05.12 - Tip Jar

The IIci uses RAM for video, which it takes from the first bank of memory on the motherboard. Word on the street has always been that using a separate video card improves CPU performance, on assertion I wanted to test.

Another is that the 32 KB cache card makes about a 15% difference in performance.

The tested machine had 20 MB of RAM and a 540 MB Apple-branded Quantum 540S hard drive, which was formatted with Apple HD SC Setup 7.3.5.

Remember that benchmarks are arbitrary. They measure certain types of performance that may or may not reflect the way you work.

Speedometer 3.06

Speedometer 3 was not run on this system.

Speedometer 4.02

The system was tested on 12 May 1999 under System 7.5.5. Computer attached to a 14" Apple color monitor with 8-bit video, except as noted. Results are relative to a Quadra 605, which rates 1.0. Numbers rounded off to two decimal places.

The first set of numbers compares performance at different disk cache settings without the level 2 cache card installed.

cache  video   CPU  graphics  disk   math
 32KB  8-bit   0.38   0.39    1.64   1.25
 64KB  8-bit   0.38   0.39    1.63   1.24
128KB  8-bit   0.38   0.39    1.62   1.25
256KB  8-bit   0.38   0.39    1.35   1.25

The cache setting should have little influence on non-disk tests, which these numbers bear out. With this particular setup, cache size makes no appreciable difference up to 128KB. At 256 KB it drops almost 20%, which is unexpected.

For the next test, the 32 KB Apple cache card is installed.

cache  video   CPU  graphics  disk   math
 32KB  8-bit   0.40   0.46    1.68   1.37
 64KB  8-bit   0.40   0.46    1.69   1.37
128KB  8-bit   0.40   0.46    1.68   1.37

Speedometer 4 shows no perceptible difference at these cache settings. CPU scores are about 5% higher than without the cache, graphics scores are up about 17%, math scores about 10%, and even disk scores are up a couple percentage points.

The next test is with a 64KB Daystar FastCache card.

cache  video   CPU  graphics  disk   math
 32KB  8-bit   0.40   0.47    1.73   1.36
 64KB  8-bit   0.40   0.47    1.74   1.37

Results are not significantly higher than with Apple's 32KB card, although disk performance is slightly better -- about 3%. So the next test is run with Daystar's PowerMath turned on (in the FastCache control panel).

cache  video   CPU  graphics  disk   math
 32KB  8-bit   0.40   0.48    1.74   2.24
 64KB  8-bit   0.40   0.48    1.74   2.24

I don't know how PowerMath patches the SANE routines, but the gain is over 60% on math scores. This also slightly boosts graphic performance.

For the following tests, the IIci was used with an Apple portrait monitor and a Sonnet Presto 040. The point of this test was to measure the benefit of using a video card instead of internal video. The 14" 8-bit results are shown for comparison. (Tests performed with Sonnet Presto accelerator installed.)

video  video   CPU  graphics  disk   math
  14"  8-bit   1.49   1.28    1.57  10.04
 card  2-bit   1.37   0.58    1.81  10.04
 int.  4-bit   1.32   1.29    1.61  10.03

Although the CPU score is about 4% higher and the disk score is about 12% higher, the significant penalty incurred using the Radius video card seems to make for a poor tradeoff. Unless the IIci is being used with an accelerated video card, the serious degradation in graphic performance more than offsets the slightly improved CPU and disk scores.

For benchmark results with the Sonnet Presto 040 accelerator, click here.

Go to the Mac IIci profile.

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