You’ve heard it thousands of times. “Mac computers are very fast.” Yes, correct. But what is your exact speed? The speed and efficiency of any device can be relative depending on what other devices are compared.
We usually say that a computer is fast if it responds effectively to our clicks. And if it does not tend to get stuck when you change programs or open many windows. However, even if these efficiency assumptions are met, there may still be faster devices than others.
The exact speed of a Mac or any other computer can be measured using benchmarking applications. These are usually free apps that allow you to measure the speed of different computer components in different situations.
What is the use of knowing the speed of a Mac?
It is difficult to quantify the overall performance of the technology. However, benchmarking provides figures for comparison with other computers and devices. In short, benchmarking is a way to test the performance of a piece of technology. Be it the CPU of a smartphone or the GPU of a Mac.
Benchmarking can help you decide if you want to upgrade to a new desktop or notebook computer. And to understand the performance of the different components of the technology. From the CPU to the GPU and even the hard drive.
It can help identify weaknesses in the system that can be improved. Either by adding more RAM or upgrading an SSD. (Here you will find more tips on how to speed up a slow Mac.)
Benchmarking for general performance
There are many general benchmarking applications available for macOS. Nevertheless, the most user-friendly and most widely recommended is Geekbench 4 from Primate Labs (€ 10.99).
The paid version linked above has more features. While Geekbench 4 is also available in a free trial version. And the software works on multiple platforms. This includes Windows, macOS, iOS and Android, which makes it very practical.
There are not many limitations in the free version of GB4. Apart from the fact that it requires an active Internet connection at all times. And it will automatically load the results on your web page for others to see.
Moreover, you should not mind sharing the performance of your Mac with other Geekbench users. Unless you are evaluating the performance of a computer that has not yet entered the market confidentially.
Anyway, the main attraction of Geekbench 4 is that it is incredibly easy to use. And it requires little technical knowledge. Just open the application. Close any other app that is running on your Mac. And click on ‘Run CPU benchmark’.
Next, the performance of your CPU will be measured by performing “daily tasks designed to simulate real-world applications”. It may take up to 20 minutes to complete. Depending on the speed of your CPU.
Once this is done, the results will be displayed in your default web browser. Yes, it is possible that at first you feel overwhelmed by all the information that appears. From the processor ID to the hardware of the motherboard. But the only two numbers you must concentrate on are the ones at the top. That is single core score and multi-core score.
Single core score
The single core score helps give an idea of how fast the Mac works in certain situations where only one processing core takes care of everything.
Multi-core, on the other hand, shows you how well your Mac can work when you take it to its absolute limits. Since it uses several processing cores at the same time to manage the voltage. Think of it as the maximum performance of your Mac.
You can write down these results and compare them with other benchmark tests in the Geekbench browser. This will allow you to see how your Mac compares to the latest generation of Macs. And even to competition from other manufacturers.
I should give you an idea of how well your team is working at this time. Also, if the update you are considering is worth it in terms of raw processing power.
Benchmarking for hard disk and SSD
When it comes to measuring the read / write speeds of your hard drive or solid state drive (SSD), the easiest tool to use is BlackMagic Disk Speed Test (free).
Although it was designed for video editors to help determine if their hard drives can handle large files, it is extremely easy to use for any average user as well.
Simply download and open the application, select your destination unit if your Mac has more than one hard drive (this is done by clicking on the gear) and click on ‘Start’ to begin the benchmarking.
To improve accuracy, and as with all other benchmark tests, it is best to make sure that no other application is running at the same time.
Although there is a lot of data that is shown in the graphs, I submit that all this information is mainly for video editors. The numbers you need to focus on are shown on the large indicators at the top.
The writing speed is on the left and the reading speed on the right, which gives you an idea of how quickly things will be written to the unit and how fast the applications and files will load respectively.
What can be considered a good score?
While a standard external hard drive connected to a Mac via USB 2.0 will not reach speeds higher than 25-30MB / s (extremely slow), updating the hard drive built into an SSD drive should mean a significant increase in performance.
For example, our iMac 2011: while the integrated hard disk reaches speeds of up to 90 MB / s, our external SSD connected through Thunderbolt reaches up to 420 MB / s.
The difference in speed is dramatic, and it shows immediately in daily use. In fact, it’s probably the main reason why Apple has replaced traditional hard drives with solid-state drives across its entire MacBook range. If you have a slow hard drive, you may want to upgrade it to an SSD drive.
Benchmarking for graphics
Finally, let’s talk about graphic performance. For this, we usually opt for Maxon’s Cinebench, another free software that, in addition to testing your Mac’s CPU (very similar to Geekbench, but without the ability to compare with other online results ), will use an OpenGL test to compare your graphics card.
The test uses 3D cars that interact on a low-lit city street to see how the GPU handles almost a million polygons at a time when combined with various special effects.
To perform the test, simply open Cinebench and click on ‘Run’ next to the ‘OpenGL’ test in the upper left corner of the application. It will take you through the test, and the final result will be displayed next to the ‘Run’ button.
What is considered a good score?
Our 2011 iMac only reached 42.66 fps at the benchmark, but the newer Macs, including the high-end Mac Pro, can reach speeds of around 77 fps.
Traditionally, Macs are not as powerful as their PC counterparts in the graphics department due to the lack of high-end nVidia / AMD processors in Macs, and this should be taken into account when comparing the results with those of other Windows computers.
Unlike other components, the graphics card can not be updated on most Macs; If you’re looking for better graphics performance on your computer, you’ll probably have to pay for a newer Mac.
Also Read: How to change the username on Mac