[OS X TeX] some Intel iMac "benchmarks"

Gary L. Gray gray at engr.psu.edu
Sat Feb 11 00:17:05 EST 2006

I was able to get my hands on a 1.83 GHz Intel iMac for the weekend,  
so I thought I would install TeX and do a few comparisons with my 1.5  
GHz PowerBook G4 that also has 2GB of RAM (this machine is about 18  
months old). The iMac has a 7200 RPM drive and 2GB of RAM.

The numbers I present are for typesetting a textbook I am writing. It  
has hundreds of figures and a rather complex layout. Typesetting  
everything yields 481 pages. My PowerBook had not been restarted for  
more than a month, so I restarted and logged in with the shift key  
down so that no login items loaded. I did the same thing on the iMac,  
though it is right out of the box, so there isn't much on it. In each  
case, I immediately ran TeXShop and typeset the entire book. I  
measured the time between hitting the typeset button and when the  
preview window came to the fore. Here are the results:

PowerBook: first typeset = 119 s
            second typeset = 97.0 s
            third typeset = 101 s

Intel iMac: first typeset = 39.3 s
             second typeset = 25.3 s
             third typeset = 27.1 s

On each machine, I then commented out all chapters except one  
(chapter 4, not that that matters) and typeset three more times. Here  
are those numbers:

PowerBook: first typeset = 34.5 s
            second typeset = 17.1 s
            third typeset = 17.0 s

Intel iMac: first typeset = 5.6 s
             second typeset = 5.5 s
             third typeset = 5.5 s

I am *amazed* at these numbers! I never expected the increase in  
speed to be so substantial. On a day I work on this book, I may  
typeset 60-100 times (not the entire book, but one or more chapters),  
so this speedup would make a huge difference in my workflow.

I also installed Adobe Illustrator CS2 and updated it to the latest  
version. It works under Rosetta without any issues and it certainly  
feels as fast as it does on my PowerBook, though I have no idea how  
to benchmark Illustrator (suggestions are welcome).

I think I will be getting a MacBook Pro.

I am interested in hearing people's comments. In addition, let me  
know if there is anything other benchmarking you would like me to do  
on one or both of the machines. Like I said, I have the iMac until  
Monday afternoon.

-- Gary
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