|Turning PC into Apple Macintosh: Hackintosh|
|Articles - Featured Guides|
|Written by David Ramsey|
|Sunday, 10 October 2010|
Page 5 of 7
I wanted to update my 2006-vintage Mac Pro to get better performance. The hardware I used for my Hackintosh should provide a significant performance boost relative to my old Mac Pro:
For benchmarking, I used CINEBENCH 11.5 (yes, there's a Mac version), Handbrake video encoding, and GeekBench to compare the performance of the Hackintosh with my existing Mac Pro.
CINEBENCH R11.5 Benchmarks
Maxon Cinebench is a real-world test suite that assesses the computer's performance capabilities. Cinebench is based on Maxon's award-winning animation software, Cinema 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. Maxon software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Spider-Man, Star Wars, The Chronicles of Narnia and many more. Cinebench Release 11.5 includes the ability to more accurately test the industry's latest hardware, including systems with up to 64 processor threads and the testing environment better reflects the expectations of today's production demands. A more streamlined interface makes testing systems and reading results incredibly straightforward.
The Cinebench R11.5 test scenario uses all of a system's processing power to render a photorealistic 3D scene, "No Keyframes" the viral animation by AixSponza. This scene makes use of various algorithms to stress all available processor cores. The OpenGL graphics card testing procedure uses a complex 3D scene depicting a car chase with which the performance of your graphics card in OpenGL mode is measured. During the benchmark tests the graphics card is evaluated by way of displaying an intricate scene that includes complex geometry, high-resolution textures, and a variety of effects to evaluate the performance across a variety of real-world scenarios. The chart below summarizes the benchmark results.
With a modern video card, faster processor, and faster memory, the Hackintosh thoroughly trounces the Mac Pro. The CineBench rendering test uses Hyper-Threading if it's available, and the eight virtual cores from the i7-920 CPU have a decided advantage over the four real cores from the pair of Xeons in the Mac Pro.
GeekBench 2.1.6 Benchmarks
Primate Labs' GeekBench is a "one-click" benchmark utility that performs a number of processor and memory tests; it does not test video cards or disk I/O. There are 12 integer CPU tests, 14 floating-point CPU tests, 5 basic memory tests, and 8 memory bandwidth tests. All tests comprise a mixture of single-threaded and multi-threaded versions. It produces a weighted composite score based on the individual scores.
"Pure synthetic" benchmarks like GeekBench are generally poor predictors of real-world performance. However, the results here seem to be roughly in line with what we're seeing in the other benchmark tests.
Handbrake 0.9.4 Benchmark
Few consumer applications will make good use of a six-core processor, or even a four-core processor. Extra cores can give you a system that remains responsive when performing a computationally-intensive background task, but will rarely accelerate the execution of an individual program. There are several reasons for this:
All that said, media transcoding (converting to a different format) is something that does scale well with the number of available cores, and the free and open-source Handbrake 0.94 video transcoder is an example of a program that makes full use of the computational resources available. For this test I used Handbrake 0.94 to transcode a standard-definition episode of Family Guy to the "iPhone & iPod Touch" presets. The encoding times are in seconds; lower is better.
The Core i7-920's eight Hyper-Threaded cores easily beat the old-school Xeons, encoding the video in less than half the time.