benchmark ▪ May 14

Over the course of writing guides to boosting Mac and hard drive speeds, I’ve discussed the incredible performance improvements Macs can get from simple upgrades — adding RAM, choosing a fast solid state drive (SSD) as an internal or external drive, and even running a simple disk optimizer tool. But there’s a common question that comes up when considering upgrades: how can you tell in advance how big of an improvement you’ll actually see?

The answer: benchmarking tools. Many apps help you measure the speed of various components of your Mac, and with a little help, you can estimate the performance jumps you’ll see after an upgrade. Below, I’ll introduce three of the best free Mac benchmarking tools, and explain how they work…

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benchmark ▪ April 1

macbook1

Even though the device is not yet available, an early unboxing gave us a hands-on look at Apple’s upcoming 12-inch Retina MacBook this morning, and now Geekbench results (cached) from the device have emerged giving us a look at what kind of performance we can expect from it. As we predicted, the Geekbench process tested the performance of the entry-level 12-inch Retina MacBook, which packs an Intel Core M-5Y31 processor clocked at 1.1GHz with Turbo Boost to 2.4GHz.

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benchmark ▪ June 12, 2012

After posting initial benchmark data yesterday for the new Retina MacBook Pro’s SSD and USB 3.0, AnandTech published a longer analysis today about the notebook’s display. The report first took a closer look at the new resolution preferences for Retina MBP users and described the advantages of the different scaling options displayed in the gallery above:

Retina Display MBP owners now get a slider under OS X’s Display Preferences that allow you to specify desktop resolutions other than 1440 x 900. At 1440 x 900 you don’t get any increase in usable desktop resolution compared to a standard 15-inch MacBook Pro, but everything is ridiculously crisp… Even at the non-integer scaled 1680 x 1050 setting, the Retina Display looks a lot better than last year’s high-res panel. It looks like Apple actually renders the screen at twice the selected resolution before scaling it to fit the 2880 x 1800 panel (in other words, at 1920 x 1200 Apple is rendering everything at 3840 x 2400 (!) before scaling… Everything just looks better.

As illustrated in the images above showing benchmark data, the review found greatly improved viewing angles, black levels, and contrast when compared to the previous generation high-res MacBook Pro model. AnandTech then looked at Apple’s claims that the new MacBook Pro display reduces glare by 75 percent from previous generations:

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benchmark ▪ March 30, 2012

At the launch of Apple’s third-gen iPad, the company’s Marketing Chief Phil Schiller claimed the device’s new A5X processor with quad-core graphics provided up to 4x the graphics performance of NVIDIA’s Tegra 3 chip. Schiller also claimed the new chip provided 2x the graphics performance of the iPad 2’s A5 chip. NVIDIA was skeptical of the benchmark data behind the claims, but early benchmarks seemed to show A5X outperforming a Transformer Prime running Tegra 3 in the majority of tests.

New benchmark data provided by IGNshows the iPad 2’s A5 chip outperforming both the A5X and Tegra 3 with the A5X’s improved graphics going largely toward powering the new iPad’s high-resolution Retina display of 3.1 million pixels. The A5X shows a significant increase in performance over iPad 2 and Tegra 3 devices only when the chip is not forced to power the Retina display in “off-screen” benchmarks.

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benchmark ▪ March 19, 2012

When Apple launched the new iPad on Friday, it did so with a new dual-core A5x processor and quad-core graphics inside. During the product’s unveiling, Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller talked about the new chip noting that it provides four times the performance of Tegra 3. Nvidia was quick to question the slide displayed by Apple onstage (pictured right), which did not provide any specific benchmark data. We now finally have some solid benchmark tests courtesy of Laptop Mag that provide us new insight.

For the benchmark tests, Laptop Mag used an ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime, which is powered by Tegra 3, and put it up against the new iPad in GLBenchmark 2.1, Geekbench, and browsers’ benchmarks with Sunspider and Peacekeeper. In its last test (video above), the publication did a side-by-side subjective gaming performance test to try to spot any noticeable differences between the same title running on both devices. Here is what the publication found:

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benchmark ▪ January 2, 2012

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