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BARE FEATS LAB - real world Mac speed tests

FOUR 'mid 2011' iMacs
versus ONE 'mid 2010' iMac

Posted Friday, May 6th, 2011, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist
Updated Saturday, May 7th, 2011, with results for the top 2011 iMac model
and added the 6-core Westmere Mac Pro for perspective

With the help of the Other World Computing Test Lab, I'm able to give you some initial performance data for four 'early 2011' iMacs versus the fastest 2010 iMac and popular 2010 6-core Westmere Mac Pro.

Cinebench uses all of your system's processing power to render a photorealistic 3D scene that makes use of various algorithms to stress all available processor cores. (Higher numbers are better. RED bar indicates the fastest iMac.)

Geekbench measures your processor and memory performance. The Integer, Floating Point, and Memory ratings are averaged to produce an overall rating. (Higher numbers are better. RED bar indicates the fastest iMac.)

LuxMark is a relatively new OpenCL benchmark tool. It lets you use the CPU only or GPU only or a combination of the two to render the test scene. (Higher numbers are better. RED bar indicates the fastest iMac.)

Steam Portal FIrst Slice (demo) was run with these settings: Model Detail = High, Texture Detail = High, Shader Detail = High Water Detail = Reflect All, Shadow Detail = High, Color Correction = Enabled, Antialiasing Mode = none, Filtering Mode = Anisotropy 4X Vertical Sync = Disabled, Motion Blur = Enabled. (Higher numbers are better. RED bar indicates the fastest iMac.)

OPENGL EXTENSIONS VIEWER
OpenGL Extensions Viewer was tested with 4x MSAA, 8x Aniso, Fog, Transparency. The graph shows the results for the OpenGL 2.1 Extension. (Higher numbers are better. RED bar indicates the fastest iMac.)

GRAPH LEGEND
Mac Pro 3.33 w6 = 'mid 2010' Mac Pro 3.33GHz 6-Core Westmere with Radeon HD 5870 (1G GDDR5)
iMac 3.4 i7 = 'mid 2011' iMac 3.4GHz Core i7 with Radeon HD 6970M (2G GDDR5)
iMac 3.1 i5 = 'mid 2011' iMac 3.1GHz Core i5 with Radeon HD 6970M (1G GDDR5)
iMac 2.93 i7 = 'mid 2010' iMac 2.93GHz Core i7 with Radeon HD 5750 (1G GDDR5)
iMac 2.7 i5 = 'mid 2011' iMac 2.7GHz Core i5 with Radeon HD 6770M (512M GDDR5)
iMac 2.5 i5 = 'mid 2011' iMac 2.5GHz Core i5 with Radeon HD 6750M (512M GDDR5)

INSIGHTS
Note the advantage of the 2010 iMac Core i7 and 2011 iMac Core i7 over the three 2011 iMac Core i5s when it comes to CPU intensive functions. That's because the iMacs with the Core i7 have eight virtual cores (or threads) thanks to Hyper-Threading (HT). The Core i5s used in the 2011 iMacs maxes out at four threads -- no HT.

On the other hand, the iMac 3.1GHz Core i5 with its Radeon HD 6970M GPU equals the 3.4GHz Core i7 with the same Radeon HD 6970M GPU and easily beats the 2010 iMac Core i7 with its Radeon HD 5750 in all three GPU intensive tests.

Though the top 3.4GHz iMac with the Radeon HD 6970M has the optional 2GB of video memory, it scores no faster than the 3.1GHz iMac with the same GPU but 1GB of video memory. Though our tests didn't, there are some apps that will use up all the 1GB. For example, when we were running Portal 2 tests (which we will soon post), we saw as high as 96% use of the 1G of VRAM.

If you have the 2011 iMac with CTO 2.8GHz Core i7, we'd like you to run the tests listed above and send us your results.

TIME TO GET RID OF YOUR MAC PRO?
It depends. If you have a older, slower quad-core Mac Pro with a wimpy graphics card, the new crop of iMacs could be all you need -- especially with the Thunderbolt ports providing very fast external storage options.

But as we have shown in the graphs above, the popular 6-core Westmere Mac Pro is significantly faster than the fastest iMac.

QUESTIONS? ANSWERS!
"Will the 2011 iMac support two external 27" LED Cinemas since it has two Thunderbolt ports?"
Yes. We have two external 27" LED Cinemas connected to our 2011 iMac with 27" display. All three are running at 2560x1440. (And with the 2GB video memory option, we have plenty to go around.)

MORE TO COME
To be notified of additional 2011 iMac test results, subscribe to our RSS feed or follow us on Twitter@barefeats. If you have the 2011 iMac with CTO 2.8GHz Core i7, we'd like you to run the tests listed above and send us your results.

WHERE TO BUY APPLE PRODUCTS
When you purchase Apple USA products, please CLICK THIS LINK or any APPLE BANNERS on this site. It's a great way to support Bare Feats. since we earn a commission on each click-through that results in a sale.

DON'T LIVE in the USA? Please use the links below in support of Bare Feats:
Apple Store - Canada
Apple Store - France
Apple Store - Germany
Apple Store - Italy
Apple Store - UK

STORAGE ENHANCEMENT KITS FOR THE IMAC
MaxUpgrades has a kit for replacing the optical drive with an SSD or HDD.

Other World Computing has a turnkey upgrade program to install SSDs inside and/or add an external eSATA port.

IF YOU NEED MEMORY FOR YOUR iMAC, try...

LOOKING FOR ADOBE SOFTWARE?
Order your copy of Adobe Photoshop (or the Creative Suite) direct from Adobe USA. Or click these links to Adobe France, Adobe Germany, Adobe Sweden, or Adobe UK. (Clicking our links helps us earn a commission.)

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