01-The Test Bench and Test Types
TweetFollow Us on Twitter

01-The Test Bench and Test Types

The Test Bench

When we were choosing computer models, we chose the current model of Macs that give a good representation of what most people may have. Certainly, the faster models of these computers will perform even better.

We chose five Mac models to compare alongside each other: MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, a tricked out MacBook Pro Retina, iMac (late 2011), and Mac Pro. Given the RAM requirements of Windows 7, the minimum configuration tested (including on the MacBook) was 4 GB.

8 GB MacBook Air 13-inch, 1.8 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor
Specifically: 8 GB/256 GB, Intel HD Graphics 4000

4 GB MacBook Pro 15.4-inch, 2.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor
Specifically: 4GB 1600MHz memory/500 GB 5400-rpm
Intel HD Graphics 4000 and NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M with 512MB of GDDR5 memory

16 GB MacBook Pro with Retina 15-inch, 2.7GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor
Specifically: 16GB 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM/768GB Flash Storage
Intel HD Graphics 4000 and NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M with 1GB of GDDR5 memory

4 GB iMac 27", 2.7GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i5 processor
Specifically: 4 GB/1 TB 7200-rpm
AMD Radeon HD 6770M with 512MB

6 GB Mac Pro, One 3.2GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon processor processors
Specifically: 6 GB/1 TB 7200-rpm / ATI Radeon HD 5770 with 1GB GDDR5

Memory for virtual machines can be configured with a wide array of settings. As a rule, both VMware Fusion's and Parallels Desktop's default memory for each configuration (of physical RAM and "guest" OS) were the same, and we made sure that was the case. Windows 7 and 8 virtual machines ran with 1 GB of virtual machine RAM (except for gaming). Lion and Mountain Lion (OS X) ran with 2 GB of virtual machine RAM. For gaming, we used 1.5 GB for 4 GB hardware, and 2 GB on hardware with 6 GB or more.

Similarly, for disk allocation we set up all of the virtual machines similarly. We used default sized (64 GB on Parallels, and 60 GB on VMware) expanding disks in a single file (e.g., not 2 GB chunks), but the disks were pre-expanded so that expanding actions wouldn't affect results. The disk location of the virtual hard drive was in a similar physical location between computers, as that can make a significant difference in disk performance.

The tests compared VMware Fusion 5.0.2 with Parallels Desktop for Mac 8.0.18314.813278, running on Mac OS X 10.8.2 with all updates. All "important," but not "optional," Windows updates also installed for Windows 7 and 8. By the time we got to testing games, we saw new versions released that could have impact, and therefore (games only) were tested on VMware Fusion 5.0.2 with Parallels Desktop for Mac 8.0.18354.823166, including additional updates to OS X 10.8.2.

Test Types

There are a variety of often referred to, and utilized benchmarking suites in the computer industry including SPEC tests, PCMark, WorldBench, Performance Test, Unixbench and others. Each of these tests uses a series of tests that measure in a consistent way to assess specific types of performances. The key to each of these tests is appropriateness, repeatability, and accuracy.

We are sometimes asked how we select the tests we have in benchmarks. The goal is to represent the types of actions that virtualization users are doing on a regular basis. In particular, we focus more on user tasks rather than installation or configuration (because they are typically only done once or infrequently).

In the PC market, PC World (magazine) uses WorldBench as their benchmarking tool of choice. If you don't know about WorldBench, you can see more at http://www.worldbench.com. WorldBench 7 uses a combination of applications bundled together to determine benchmarks. This may be a very good way for PC World to approach things, but obviously it's not reflecting the virtualization part of the experience or weighing towards the typical types of things people do in virtualization on the Mac.

There are a variety of other benchmarks available, and we've looked at many of them as possible tools to include in our mix. Often, we find their measurements simply don't reflect a true user experience. Other times, they don't reflect how a virtualization user may be using Windows, or even they simply report erroneous results. For example, in previous attempts to use PassMark, we found their graphics scores were not at all representative of real life graphics performance in games or other graphic uses. Those tests showed items as faster when, in fact, they were much slower. Benchmarks are only useful if they reflect the real world.

Rather than use WorldBench or others, we focus on the types of measurements we believe best represent the experience we see (in terms of speed). And while it takes practice and some skill, we test virtualization operations with a stopwatch—as the closest representation of how a real user would see it. CPU crunching ability, for example, is measured through tests like zip'ing files directly in Windows. For Office users, we use the most up to date version of Microsoft Office for Windows (2010), again with updates.

There are two exceptions to this: graphics/gaming and CPU utilization. In these two cases, we found that testing utilities not only work well, but also are necessary to give the most repeatable and concrete results. In the case of graphics benchmarking, we used 3DMark06 (the industry standard for tuning gaming systems). For game playing performance, we used FRAPS to measure frames per second. Finally, for CPU utilization we used "top" combined with Apple Remote Desktop.

Remember, benchmarks are not a review: they are benchmarks. They are simply meant to just tell you which runs faster. If you are interested in a specific feature, support, the user interface, or any of the other criteria for deciding on a product, that's a different article.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Spotify 1.0.44.100. - Stream music, crea...
Spotify is a streaming music service that gives you on-demand access to millions of songs. Whether you like driving rock, silky R&B, or grandiose classical music, Spotify's massive catalogue puts... Read more
Microsoft OneNote 15.29 - Free digital n...
OneNote is your very own digital notebook. With OneNote, you can capture that flash of genius, that moment of inspiration, or that list of errands that's too important to forget. Whether you're at... Read more
WALTR 2 2.0.8 - $39.95
WALTR 2 helps you wirelessly drag-and-drop any music, ringtones, videos, PDF, and ePub files onto your iPhone, iPad, or iPod without iTunes. It is the second major version of Softorino's critically-... Read more
Dropbox 16.3.27 - Cloud backup and synch...
Dropbox is an application that creates a special Finder folder that automatically syncs online and between your computers. It allows you to both backup files and keep them up-to-date between systems... Read more
EtreCheck 3.1.5 - For troubleshooting yo...
EtreCheck is an app that displays the important details of your system configuration and allow you to copy that information to the Clipboard. It is meant to be used with Apple Support Communities to... Read more
Carbon Copy Cloner 4.1.12 - Easy-to-use...
Carbon Copy Cloner backups are better than ordinary backups. Suppose the unthinkable happens while you're under deadline to finish a project: your Mac is unresponsive and all you hear is an ominous,... Read more
VueScan 9.5.62 - Scanner software with a...
VueScan is a scanning program that works with most high-quality flatbed and film scanners to produce scans that have excellent color fidelity and color balance. VueScan is easy to use, and has... Read more
SpamSieve 2.9.27 - Robust spam filter fo...
SpamSieve is a robust spam filter for major email clients that uses powerful Bayesian spam filtering. SpamSieve understands what your spam looks like in order to block it all, but also learns what... Read more
Fantastical 2.3.2 - Create calendar even...
Fantastical 2 is the Mac calendar you'll actually enjoy using. Creating an event with Fantastical is quick, easy, and fun: Open Fantastical with a single click or keystroke Type in your event... Read more
PCalc 4.4.4 - Full-featured scientific c...
PCalc is a full-featured, scriptable scientific calculator with support for hexadecimal, octal, and binary calculations, as well as an RPN mode, programmable functions, and an extensive set of unit... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Track Santa with these three festive app...
Christmas is fast approaching and that means it's time to prepare for Santa's yearly pilgrimage around the globe. Christmas Eve is an exciting time as parents help their kids get ready to welcome Santa. You've got the cookies and milk all planned... | Read more »
Galaxy on Fire 3 and four other fantasti...
Galaxy on Fire 3 - Manticore brings the series back for another round of daring space battles. It's familiar territory for folks who are familiar with the franchise. If you've beaten the game and are looking to broaden your horizons, might we... | Read more »
The best apps for your holiday gift exch...
What's that, you say? You still haven't started your holiday shopping? Don't beat yourself up over it -- a lot of people have been putting it off, too. It's become easier and easier to procrastinate gift shopping thanks to a number of apps that... | Read more »
Toca Hair Salon 3 (Education)
Toca Hair Salon 3 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Education Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Winter comes to Darkwood as Seekers Note...
MyTona, based in the chilly Siberian city of Yakutsk, has brought a little festive fun to its hidden object game Seekers Notes: Hidden Mystery. The Christmas update introduces some new inhabitants to players, and with them a chance to win plenty of... | Read more »
Bully: Anniversary Edition (Games)
Bully: Anniversary Edition 1.03.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $6.99, Version: 1.03.1 (iTunes) Description: *** PLEASE NOTE: This game is officially supported on the following devices: iPhone 5 and newer, iPod Touch... | Read more »
PINE GROVE (Games)
PINE GROVE 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: A pine grove where there are no footsteps of people due to continuous missing cases. The case is still unsolved and nothing has... | Read more »
Niantic teases new Pokémon announcement...
After rumors started swirling yesterday, it turns out there is an official Pokémon GO update on its way. We’ll find out what’s in store for us and our growing Pokémon collections tomorrow during the Starbucks event, but Niantic will be revealing... | Read more »
3 reasons why Nicki Minaj: The Empire is...
Nicki Minaj is as business-savvy as she is musically talented and she’s proved that by launching her own game. Designed by Glu, purveyors of other fine celebrity games like cult favorite Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, Nicki Minaj: The Empire launched... | Read more »
Clash of Clans is getting its own animat...
Riding on its unending wave of fame and success, Clash of Clans is getting an animated web series based on its Clash-A-Rama animated shorts.As opposed to the current shorts' 60 second run time, the new and improved Clash-A-Rama will be comprised of... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Never Settle for Low Performing Wifi With iOS...
AppYogi Software has announced the release of WiFi Signal Strength Status App 1.0, the company’s new utility developed exclusively for macOS. WiFi Signal Strength Status App features a unique, single... Read more
New 2016 13-inch Touch Bar MacBook Pros in st...
B&H Photo has stock of new 2016 Apple 13″ Touch Bar MacBook Pro models, each including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 13″ 2.9GHz/512GB Touch Bar MacBook Pro Space Gray: $1999 - 13″ 2.... Read more
New 2016 15″ Touch Bar MacBook Pros in stock...
B&H Photo has new 2016 Apple 15″ Touch Bar MacBook Pro models in stock today including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 15″ 2.7GHz Touch Bar MacBook Pro Space Gray: $2799 - 15″ 2.7GHz... Read more
DietSensor App Targeting Diabetes and Obesity...
DietSensor, Inc., a developer of smart food and nutrition applications designed to fight diabetes and obesity and help improve overall fitness, has announced the launch of its DietSensor app for... Read more
Holiday 2016 13-inch 2.0GHz MacBook Pro sales...
B&H has the non-Touch Bar 13″ MacBook Pros in stock today for $50-$100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 13″ 2.0GHz MacBook Pro Space Gray (MLL42LL/A): $1449 $... Read more
Holiday sale: Apple TVs for $51-$40 off MSRP,...
Best Buy has dropped their price on the 64GB Apple TV to $159.99 including free shipping. That’s $40 off MSRP. 32GB Apple TVs are on sale right now for $98 on Sams Club’s online store. That’s $51 off... Read more
12-inch Retina MacBooks, Apple refurbished, n...
Apple has restocked a full line of Certified Refurbished 2016 12″ Retina MacBooks, now available for $200-$260 off MSRP. Refurbished 2015 models are available starting at $929. Apple will include a... Read more
Holiday sale: 12-inch Retina MacBook for $100...
B&H has 12″ Retina MacBooks on sale for $100 off MSRP as part of their Holiday sale. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 12″ 1.1GHz Space Gray Retina MacBook: $1199 $100... Read more
Apple refurbished 13-inch MacBook Airs availa...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 13″ MacBook Airs available starting at $849. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and shipping is free: - 13″ 1.6GHz/8GB/128GB MacBook Air: $849 $... Read more
Apple refurbished iMacs available for up to $...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2015 21″ & 27″ iMacs available for up to $350 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free. The following models are available: - 21″ 3.... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions- Trumbul...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
US- *Apple* Store Leader Program - Apple (Un...
…Summary Learn and grow as you explore the art of leadership at the Apple Store. You'll master our retail business inside and out through training, hands-on Read more
Automotive Detailer - *Apple* Used Autos -...
We are currently conductinginterviews and will be accepting applications for a part-time detailer. Apple Used Autos is a great place to work andstart a career. We Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.