This wins the comment of the week: velocipede (via AdamJay) points us to a thread benchmarking Ableton Live 5, in which the first Intel Mac benchmarks are coming in:
Live 5 Performance Test [Info, downloadable benchmark at Ableton forums]
Core Duo iMacs (scroll down and look for the words “Intel” and “Mac OS X” in the same post)
So, what can we make from these results, for Mac — or PC, for that matter?
So far, it looks like folks have only posted Core Duo iMacs, but the results are impressive. The iMacs hold their own with high-end PCs, and even beat out a dual-G5 system (though not a quad, which frankly makes sense). Numbers around 27-31% put the Core Duo Intels near chips like the 2Ghz AMD 3400+ and 2GHz Centrino in this somewhat unscientific but interesting test. These folks are definitely at the bleeding edge: one notes that the only plug-in they’ve been able to upgrade is Crystal, and many audio interface drivers aren’t yet available. But these results are encouraging, even if (as I’d recommend) you wait to buy a new machine until summer.
The whole list is pretty interesting from a PC standpoint as well as for the Mac chips. The P4s and AMD64s make a predictably strong showing, though my PC money is currently on the cheaper AMD64. Amazingly, though, the Centrino is right up there.
Expect this list to shuffle a bit once Live fully supports multiple processors and cores later this year; I expect we’ll see machines with “dual” in them do a lot better. That should include dual G5 Power Macs and Core Duo Intels alike, as well as some of the PC chips that now get lost among the Centrinos.
I do like the benchmark. Moving a single project from machine to machine is a pretty decent real-world test of performance. And while the CPU meter in Live represents a lot of different variables, that’s sort of the point: see what you can actually do with these machines. So if you do have an Intel Mac, go download that file and let us know what you think.
Now we just need to construct a file for Cubase and Logic, etc. We could do what Apple did at G5 launch and load it up with an absurd, unrealistic number of reverbs specifically tilted to the G5’s favor (that’s another story). Or we could come up with something real world, which, as you know, is my middle name. (See representative picture below.)