So Steve Jobs says that the new Intel iMacs are twice as fast as the old iMacs. So Gus happened upon a programmer-relevant benchmark: Subversion compile. For the non-nerdy among us, Subversion is a place where programmers put their code so that it stays safe and they can go back or compare with old versions.

Here’s all the numbers I’ve received so far:

iBook G4 1.2Ghz 768MB (after reboot) – 11:49 (Cameron)

PowerBook G4 800mhz 768MB – 11:34 (Steve)

PowerBook G4 1.33Ghz 1.5GB (that’s my personal machine) – 10:55

PowerBook G4 1.67Ghz 1.5GB (top of the line of current PowerBooks – before reboot) – 9:42 (Bill)

Mac mini 1.42Ghz 1GB (after reboot) – 9:14 (James)

PowerBook G4 1.67Ghz 1.5GB (top of the line PowerBook – after reboot) – 8:48 (Bill)

PowerMac Dual G4 1.0Ghz 512MB – 6:14

PowerMac Dual G5 2.0Ghz 2GB (before reboot) – 4:31 (Michael Tsai)

PowerMac Dual G5 2.0Ghz (before reboot) – 3:48 (Daniel)

PowerMac Dual G5 2.0Ghz (after reboot) – 3:18 (Daniel)

PowerMac Dual G5 2.0Ghz (after reboot, single user mode) – 3:13 (Daniel)

Developer Transition Kit (DTK) Intel 3.6Ghz Pentium 4 1GB – 3:21

Kubuntu Linux – Athlon64 3200+ (2Ghz) 1GB – 2:59 (Mike PJ)

PowerMac Dual G5 2.0Ghz 2GB (after reboot) – 2:46 (Michael Tsai)

PowerMac Dual G5 2.5Ghz 2.5GB – 2:35 (Mike PJ)

iMac Intel Core Duo 1.83 1.5GB – 2:08 (Steve)

iMac Intel Core Duo 1.83 1GB – 2:06 (Gus)

iMac Intel Core Duo 2.0 2GB (bad test since there were several apps running) – 2:13

iMac Intel Core Duo 2.0 GB – 1:57 (Michael Tsai)

PowerMac Quad G5 2.5Ghz 4GB (still the king) – 1:39 (Jon)

So it looks like the G4s are looking pretty slow nowadays compared to the G5s and Core Duos. The MacBook Pros are coming out in Core Duo 1.67 and 1.83 configurations, so they should come in around 2 to 3 minutes. Jon’s Quad G5 is still the king of the hill… for now. :)

I’m still not sure if it is really twice as fast, from a programmers standpoint, but this is clear: if you’re a programmer on a PowerBook G4, you stand to gain a LOT from upgrading to either a MacBook Pro or an Intel iMac.

Interesting that the DTK, even though Ghz wise matches up with the Core Duos, is significantly slower. In all fairness, it was a prototype development machine, destined never to make it into consumer hands.

Anyone out there want share the numbers they get for any of the iMacs or PowerMac G5s?

Here’s the test instructions:
1. Get Subversion 1.3.0.

2. Do a “configure”.

3. Quit all running apps.

3. Run “time make -j8”. This is important because it will keep your processors running at 100%. (On a single-processor Mac, you should probably use “time make -j2”.)

4. Report back the numbers you get for “real”. This is how long it took to build subversion.

5. (Optional, but makes things more interesting) Reboot. Repeat step 3 and report back both the numbers before and after rebooting.

Update: Steve from Martian who just released SlingShot which syncs folders between Macs sent me some numbers. Thanks Steve!

Update (2/4/2006): Bill Nalens sent me his numbers for the 1.67 Ghz PowerBook, which is the top of the line (and maybe end of the line?) for PowerBook G4s. I think Apple’s claim of 4x might be very accurate for developers. Assuming that the MacBook Pro is a little slower than the iMac, and it comes in at around 2:30 that’s right at 4x the speed of a PowerBook G4.

Mike PJ posted his numbers from his PowerMac Dual G5 and a Linux box. Mike is the developer of Seasonality, an advanced weather monitoring app for OS X. Surprisingly, the PowerMac is bested by the newest iMacs by 15-20%. I think the Intel PowerMac will come back with a vengeance later this year. I guess I should try to break things down further and look at the L2 caches and bus speeds to try to make sense of this.

Update (2/5/2006): I got more numbers from Daniel Jalkut who develops FastScripts and Michael Tsai who develops DropDMG, SpamSieve, and runs ATPM. Michael confirms my belief that the Intel iMac 2.0Ghz is the fastest of the current Macs with the exception of the Quad G5. Well at least for compiling.

What’s more interesting is that Michael and Daniel gave numbers for the same model of PowerMac, the Dual G5 2.0Ghz. Not sure how if the memory is the same, but it ranged from 2:46 to 4:31, which is a pretty big range. It turns out that rebooting can make a big improvement, probably due to some sort of memory leaks?

I also changed the instructions to tell people to quit all running apps and then optionally report a second set of numbers after reboot to see if Michael’s daily reboot suggestion makes a difference.

Update (2/7/2006): I got some more numbers from Daniel, who reported that single user mode doesn’t have much of an impact than regular (multi-user) mode. This is a good indicator that OS X is quite efficient. At startup, you have Finder and Dashboard running in the Dock, plus several other processes running hidden.

I also got some numbers from other Mac models, with an iBook 1.2Ghz bringing up the rear and a Mac mini 1.42Ghz beating out my PowerBook (which is sort of sad – I really should buy an Intel Mac this year) but still bested by the top of the line PowerBook.

There seems to be a debate as to how much benefit you get from rebooting, but I still recommend it at least for this benchmark. Also I’m only reporting the after reboot numbers from now on.

Also Patrick brings up an interesting point – we should build the same thing on both platforms, meaning a Universal Binary. I’ll look into doing something like compiling Adium.

I’m still looking for iMac G5 numbers.