Low End Mac Benchmarks

'Mystic' Power Mac G4/450 Dual

Dan Knight - 2008.01.25 - Tip Jar

It's been quite a while since we've published any new benchmark tests on Low End Mac. I've been working for the past 4-5 weeks to revive a couple of old Power Macs that never ran quite right - a Blue & White G3 and a "Mystic" Power Mac G4/450 with dual processors. Long story short, the problems turned out to be bad RAM.

The Mystic was Apple's second generation of AGP Power Mac, and its claims to fame include gigabit ethernet and dual processors. It's a lot like the "Sawtooth" G4 - same Rage 128 Pro AGP 2x video card, same four memory sockets, same drive support, same case. But with Motorola unable to provide CPUs beyond 500 MHz, adding a second CPU was the only way Apple could offer more power.

This computer has 768 MB of RAM (three 256 MB PC133-333 modules) and two hard drives, an 80 GB 7200 rpm Deskstar, which is one of my favorite drives, and a 60 GB Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 9. Each drive is partitioned and has Mac OS X 10.2.8, 10.3.9, and 10.4.11 installed. I have an Apple mouse and keyboard attached and used a 17" Samsung 700DF monitor at 1024 x 768 resolution and millions of colors for all tests.

Let 1000 Windows Bloom

The system was tested on 25 January 2008. Running Jaguar (OS X 10.2.8), the Mystic displayed 1000 windows in 56.4 seconds. The same test took only 41.1 seconds under Panther (10.3.9), and just 32.2 sec. in Tiger (10.4.11). Apple has definitely been improving graphics performance as Mac OS X has moved forward.

At this point we're not able to boot into Mac OS 9.2.2, but we'll continue to work toward that goal and update this page when we can test under the Classic Mac OS.

Power Fractal

This program creates a fractal pattern, which can really bog down a CPU. It does not run under Jaguar. Under Panther, it took 7.0 seconds and scored 3,662 Mflops. Under Tiger, that dropped to 7.9 seconds and 3,232 Mflops.


Xbench has been out for some time, and version 1.1.3 runs on all three versions of OS X installed on the Mystic, and tests a lot of things. Here are the test results using Xbench 1.1.3 for OS X 10.2.8 (100 = 1 GHz G4) and 1.3 for 10.3 and 10.4 (100 = 2.0 GHz G5):

           10.2.8  10.3.9  10.4.11
Overall     69.6    22.8    25.7  
CPU         54.4    29.5    28.9  
Threads     68.4    34.9    39.4  
Memory      73.8    20.7    23.2  
Quartz      72.7    27.2    25.1  
OpenGL      62.3    34.0    38.6  
User Int.   68.9     9.1    12.0  
Drive      103.4    51.2    49.4  

Again we can see how OS X has become more efficient over the years. The overall score is about 15% higher under Tiger than Jaguar (comparing Xbench 1.1.3 scores, which are no longer included here), and improvements are especially evident in the User Interface and Threads benchmarks.


Geekbench only runs in Tiger and Leopard (which I don't yet have). Scores under OS X 10.4.11 are 529 for the Integer test, 529 for floating point, 266 for Memory, 165 for Streams, and 439 overall.


The best news is that OS X keeps getting better, even on old hardware like the January 2001 Mystic. This machine will be our primary testbed for hard drives, memory configurations, CPU upgrades, and AGP video cards, so we'll be comparing a lot of things to the numbers reported here.

Go to the Mystic Power Mac G4 profile.

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