Most people think that Macs are faster than PCs, but it’s hard to say without actual numbers. What is fast for me, might not be fast for another. How do you compare the speed between two computers or operating systems?
The answer to this problem is benchmarking. Benchmarking means using different applications to benchmark your devices’ performances. It specifically measures the performance of the individual components of your computer. So if you want to check if your computer’s CPU, GPU, and/or hard drive are in good running condition, read on below.
Why Should You Conduct a Mac Speed Test?
Performance is hard to quantify since it is a very subjective matter. Benchmarking provides you with the numbers which you can compare with other devices or machines. This way, you’ll be able to see whether your device is lagging behind the other device’s performance.
In other words, benchmarking is a method of evaluating the performance of your device. The Mac performance test will help you decide whether you need to buy a laptop or upgrade your computer’s hardware. It will also help you understand how the various pieces of hardware are performing and how you can enhance the individual pieces.
General Mac Performance Test
There are apps available in the market that are mainly used for Mac speed test. However, the easiest to use and the most widely recommended is the Geekbench 4 or GB4 by Primate Labs. Aside from Mac, you can also use it to benchmark iPhones and iPads. It also works across different platforms such as Windows, Android, macOS, and iOS. Geekbench is a paid app but you use the Tryout version for general benchmarking. You need an active Internet connection for the Mac speed test because GB4 will automatically upload the benchmarking results to its website in order for you to compare with others. The main advantage of using the GB4 is that it is very easy to use and you don’t need technical knowledge to run the app. To run a computer speed test for Mac:
- Close all the other apps you are currently using and open the GB4.
- Click ‘Run CPU benchmark’. GB4 will then evaluate your CPU’s performance when doing “everyday tasks designed to simulate real-world applications”. The benchmarking takes around 20 minutes to complete, depending on the speed of your CPU.
- Once the speed test is done, your results will be loaded on your chosen browser. The numbers might be confusing and intimidating, especially if it’s your first time running the app. However, you only need to look at two numbers at the top – single-core score and multi-core score.
- The single-core score shows how fast your Mac is performing when a single core is taking care of everything.
- The multi-core score, on the other hand, measures your Mac’s performance when it’s using multiple cores to handle the processes.
- Once you have your scores, you can compare it with the other users and have an idea how your device fares with the other Macs or PCs. All you have to do is go the Geekbench Browser to organize and share your GB4 results with others around the world.
Here’s a tip – you can improve your CPU’s speed and performance by regularly cleaning up your computer using third party cleaning tools like Outbyte MacRepair. The app not only deletes all your trash and unwanted files, it also optimizes your RAM boosting your Mac’s speed as a result.
Hard Drive and SSD Benchmarking
Hard drive benchmarking allows you to evaluate how fast you can read and write on your hard drive or SSD. For this test, you can use the free version of BlackMagic Disk Speed Test. The app was designed for video editors to help them check whether their hard drives are capable of handling large files, but you can also use it to check your hard drive’s read/write speeds. To use BlackMagic Disk Speed Test:
- Download and open the app, then select your target hard drive.
- If you have more than one drive, click the gear cog icon to select which drive you want to test.
- Click Start. Make sure no other apps are running for more accurate results.
Once the test is done, don’t get overwhelmed by the information on the ‘Will it Work?’ and ‘How Fast?’ charts. You only need to check out the big gauges at the top. The left gauge will show you the write speed and this will give you an idea of how fast data will be written on the drive. The right gauge, on the other hand, shows the read speed, which tells you how fast it will take for apps and files to load on your computer.
Another aspect you have to test on your computer is the performance of your graphics card. You can use the Maxon’s Cinebench because of how easy it is to use. Cinebench also measures the speed of your CPU, like what Geekbench does, but it doesn’t have the ability to share results so you can’t compare your results with others. However, one of its useful features is its ability to measure graphics card performance. To run the text:
- Just open the app
- Click Run next to the OpenGL test in the top left corner of the app. The test uses 3D cars running in a poorly lighted street to see how your GPU handles special effects.
- Once the test is done, you will see your final score next to the Run button.
Older versions of Mac score around 40-50fps while newer versions can hit speeds between 70-80fps. And unlike other computers, Mac graphics card can’t be upgraded on most Macs. So if you think you need a better graphics card for your computer, you’ll probably need to buy a new Mac.
These tests are important, not only because it shows how your Mac is performing, but it also shows you whether you need to upgrade the components of your Mac or worse, you need to buy a new one.