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Macworld's new Speedmark 7 benchmark suite

Monday, September 5, 2011

Now that the Mac OS has entered the Lion era, its time to bring Macworld’s overall system performance test suite, Speedmark, up to date.

With this latest version, Speedmark 7, we’ve updated all of the applications to their current versions, increased files sizes that some tests use, and changed our 3D game test to a more recent title. One thing that doesn’t change is 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo Mac mini from 2010 that serves as Speedmark’s baseline system to which each Mac’s performance is compared. By keeping the same “100” system as the previous version of Speedmark, it should be easier to compare older systems tested with Speedmark 6.5 to the systems tested with the new Speedmark 7.

Speedmark 7 scores
Which system was the best overall performer? Look no further than our Speedmark 7 score, which combines the performance scores from all of the tests and boils them down to one number.

Our baseline system, which is given a score of 100 and is what we compare the individual test performance of each system to, is a 2010 Mac mini with a 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB of RAM, a 320GB 5400-rpm hard drive, and integrated Nvidia GeForce 320M graphics. A second system, a 2010 MacBook with very similar specifications, also earned a Speedmark 7 score of 100.

The fastest system overall of the current Mac lineup is a build-to-order (BTO) 2011 21.5-inch iMac with a quad-core 2.8GHz Core i5 processor; it has a Speedmark 7 score of 244. The fastest standard configuration Mac we’ve tested so far, earning a Speedmark 7 score of 241, is a 2011 27-inch iMac with a quad-core 3.1GHz Core i5 processor. The fastest overall of all the systems we’ve tested with Speedmark 7 is a BTO 2.93GHz Core i7 iMac from 2010 with an internal SSD; this system earned a Speedmark 7 score of 264. The system with the slowest Speedmark 7 score of all the Macs we have tested is a 2008 MacBook Air with a 1.6GHz Core 2 Duo processor.

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