Okay, so I've always believed that Blue Box was a completely valid environment for running classic Mac apps. It handles memory better than Mac OS 8/9, and doesn't suffer from trying to be too transparent (like Classic in Mac OS X). But I had never really put Blue Box to the test before.

I came across a page with results from dozens of systems using Mathematica 2.2 doing different types of calculations. Better yet, they included the calculations in the listings. As I use Mathematica 2.2 in Blue Box on my 8600/300, it seemed like a good way to see how Blue Box stacked up against some other systems.

Rather than list all the systems from that page, I decided to list a few key systems along with my results. I included a couple 9600s and a Beige G3 as they were standard Macs at about the same time that my 8600 was released. I included a 500MHz AlphaStation as it had some of the best results listed. I included two Pentium based systems running NEXTSTEP and an SGI Indigo2 because they were pretty close to the configurations of some other hardware I currently own. And lastly, I included a dual processor Pentium II system running Windows NT 4.0 so it didn't seem like I was shutting out Windows.

Compared to the other Macs (and most of the other systems in general), my system has a ton of memory. Of course memory doesn't cost what it did back when these systems were originally tested, but I don't think it'll effect things that much as it'll be balanced out by the fact that I'm running in Mac OS 8.6 on top of Rhapsody 5.6 on my system.


My system:
Power Macintosh 8600 (PPC 604ev at 300MHz), 416MB RAM, 1MB L2 cache, Rhapsody 5.6 (Blue Box)
Reference systems:
Power Macintosh 9600 (PPC 604ev at 350MHz), 128MB RAM, 1MB L2 cache, Mac OS 8
Power Macintosh G3 (PPC 750 at 233MHz), 64MB RAM, 512kb
Power Macintosh 9600 (PPC 604e at 233MHz), 96MB RAM, 512kb
DEC AlphaStation 500MHz, 512MB RAM
dual Pentium II 266MHz, 128MB, 512kb L2, Windows NT 4.0 Server (SP3)
Pentium Pro 200MHz, 128MB RAM, NEXTSTEP 3.3
Pentium 133MHz, 64MB RAM, 256bK L2, NEXTSTEP 3.3
SGI Indigo2 XL R4400sc 200MHz, 2MB L2
All systems are running a version of Mathematica 2.2. The actual calculations that were inputted into Mathematica are given before the list of results. All results are listed from best to worst.

DEC AlphaStation 500MHz, 512MB:_________0.38 Second
PowerMac 9600/350,128MB,1MB L2:_________0.50 Second
PowerMac 8600/300,416MB,1MB L2:_________0.63 Second
PowerMac G3/233, 64MB, 512kb:___________0.72 Second
Powermac 9600/233, 96MB, 512kb:_________0.75 Second
Pentium Pro 200MHz,128MB, NEXTSTEP:_____0.83 Second
Pentium II-266MHz (dual CPU) 128MB:_____0.88 Second
SGI Indigo2 XL:_________________________2.56 Second
Pentium 133MHz,64MB,256K, NEXTSTEP:_____3.90 Second


DEC AlphaStation 500MHz, 512MB:___________0.47 Second
PowerMac 9600/350,128MB,1MB L2:___________0.87 Second
PowerMac G3/233, 64MB, 512kb:_____________1.25 Second
Powermac 9600/233, 96MB, 512kb:___________1.25 Second
Pentium II-266MHz (dual CPU) 128MB:_______1.31 Second
Pentium Pro 200MHz,128MB, NEXTSTEP:_______1.48 Second
PowerMac 8600/300,416MB,1MB L2:___________1.60 Second
SGI Indigo2 XL:___________________________3.91 Second
Pentium 133MHz,64MB,256K, NEXTSTEP:_______6.55 Second


DEC AlphaStation 500MHz, 512MB:_________0.60 Second
PowerMac 9600/350,128MB,1MB L2:_________0.63 Second
Powermac 9600/233, 96MB, 512kb:_________0.78 Second
Pentium II-266MHz (dual CPU) 128MB:_____0.84 Second
PowerMac G3/233, 64MB, 512kb:___________0.98 Second
PowerMac 8600/300,416MB,1MB L2:_________1.33 Second
Pentium Pro 200MHz,128MB, NEXTSTEP:_____1.80 Second
SGI Indigo2 XL:_________________________2.86 Second
Pentium 133MHz,64MB,256K, NEXTSTEP:_____5.68 Second


PowerMac 9600/350,128MB,1MB L2:_________1.72 Second
DEC AlphaStation 500MHz, 512MB:_________1.90 Second
PowerMac G3/233, 64MB, 512kb:___________2.17 Second
Pentium II-266MHz (dual CPU) 128MB:_____2.33 Second
PowerMac 8600/300,416MB,1MB L2:_________2.53 Second
Powermac 9600/233, 96MB, 512kb:_________2.57 Second
Pentium Pro 200MHz,128MB, NEXTSTEP:_____4.28 Second
SGI Indigo2 XL:_________________________5.02 Second
Pentium 133MHz,64MB,256K, NEXTSTEP:_____6.07 Second

f[x_]:= 4x-4x^2;

Timing[ Nest[f,0.6,5000]][[1]]

PowerMac 9600/350,128MB,1MB L2:_________0.48 Second
PowerMac G3/233, 64MB, 512kb:___________0.50 Second
Pentium II-266MHz (dual CPU) 128MB:_____0.64 Second
PowerMac 8600/300,416MB,1MB L2:_________0.67 Second
Powermac 9600/233, 96MB, 512kb:_________0.68 Second
DEC AlphaStation 500MHz, 512MB:_________0.77 Second
Pentium Pro 200MHz,128MB, NEXTSTEP:_____0.87 Second
Pentium 133MHz,64MB,256K, NEXTSTEP:_____1.77 Second
SGI Indigo2 XL:_________________________1.79 Second

f[x_]:= BesselJ[0,x];


PowerMac 9600/350,128MB,1MB L2:_________1.12 Second
PowerMac G3/233, 64MB, 512kb:___________1.25 Second
PowerMac 8600/300,416MB,1MB L2:_________1.35 Second
Pentium II-266MHz (dual CPU) 128MB:_____1.41 Second
DEC AlphaStation 500MHz, 512MB:_________1.48 Second
Powermac 9600/233, 96MB, 512kb:_________1.60 Second
Pentium Pro 200MHz,128MB, NEXTSTEP:_____1.70 Second
SGI Indigo2 XL:_________________________3.04 Second
Pentium 133MHz,64MB,256K, NEXTSTEP:_____3.15 Second

kdv[q_]:= D[q,t] - 1/4 D[q,{x,3}] -3/2 q D[q,x]
q3:= (-5*E^((11*t)/8) - 45*E^(2*x) - 18*E^((11*t)/16 + x) +
162*E^((3*t)/2 + 2*x) - 188*E^((13*t)/16 + 3*x) +
162*E^(t/8 + 4*x) - 45*E^((13*t)/8 + 4*x) -
18*E^((15*t)/16 + 5*x) - 5*E^(t/4 + 6*x))/
(8*(-E^((11*t)/16) + 3*E^x - 3*E^((13*t)/16 + 2*x) +
E^(t/8 + 3*x))^2)


PowerMac 9600/350,128MB,1MB L2:_________4.32 Second
PowerMac G3/233, 64MB, 512kb:___________4.67 Second
Pentium II-266MHz (dual CPU) 128MB:_____5.44 Second
PowerMac 8600/300,416MB,1MB L2:_________5.62 Second
DEC AlphaStation 500MHz, 512MB:_________6.28 Second
Powermac 9600/233, 96MB, 512kb:_________6.35 Second
Pentium Pro 200MHz,128MB, NEXTSTEP:_____7.37 Second
Pentium 133MHz,64MB,256K cache,NEXTST._15.05 Second
SGI Indigo2 XL:________________________15.16 Second

Obviously I would have liked my system to have placed first in every test (I would have been happy to have it place first in any of the tests actually). But given the systems it was up against I'm quite pleased with how it faired. Mathematica in Blue Box doesn't seem to run drastically slower than other systems, and when looking at the other Power Macintosh systems seem pretty close to what you might expect for the hardware I'm using.

Stone Design's Create(tm)
2006-02-04 20:54:59 -0600