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13-Inch MacBook Benchmarks 5

Cinema 4D, LightWave and Maya running in Windows XP By Dave Nagel
I don't want to suggest that the 13-inch MacBook would be an adequate machine for day to day 3D work. But in our final battery of benchmarks on this system, we can see clearly that it's a powerhouse when it comes to CPU-intensive tasks like software rendering.

Obviously the 13-inch MacBook's lack of professional graphics disqualifies it as a primary machine for working in 3D applications (at least if OpenGL performance is important to you). But for rendering, this consumer notebook can certainly get the job done.

For this suite of tests, we look at the performance of Maxon Cinema 4D, NewTek LightWave 8 and Autodesk Maya 7 running in Windows XP on the MacBook. As we saw in our previous tests, when software is written natively for the MacBook's Intel processor, the results can be amazing. In this case, the results aren't as amazing as they were for Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and After Effects. But the performance still shows, making the MacBook a viable machine for rendering at home, on the weekends or wherever else you might want to put it to work to help you get your 3D projects finished.

For these tests, the 13-inch MacBook was running Windows XP Pro. It was equipped with 2 GB RAM, like the other systems tested, and was upgraded (really sidegraded) to a Hitachi Travelstar SATA drive with a rotational speed of 7,200 RPM.

Before we get started with the numbers, you might be interested in our previous benchmark tests on the 13-inch MacBook. You'll find them at the links below.


Maxon Cinema 4D
For our Cinema 4D tests, we're running Maxon's own benchmarking utility, which tests various hardware components in terms of functions performed in Cinema 4D: CPU rendering power, OpenGL hardware acceleration, OpenGL software performance and Cinema 4D shading. You can download Cinebench from http://www.cinebench.com to compare these results with your own hardware.

As was seen with the MacBook Pro, the 13-inch MacBook performed better in Mac OS X than it did in Windows, meaning, simply, that Cinema 4D 9.6 runs more efficiently in Mac OS X at the moment than it does in Windows. (These numbers tend to flip-flop as new versions of the software are released.)



Our tests here show the MacBook running Mac OS X and comparing the results with the MacBook Pro running both Mac and Windows operating systems, two Apple G5s and various other pieces of hardware.

The MacBook's CPU score managed to beat out the MacBook Pro running Windows, but fell short of the MacBook Pro running Mac OS X. It clearly beat out the dual 2.0 GHz G5 but fell short of all the other systems tested. Obviously these results show off the raw CPU power of the MacBook, which uses the same chip as the MacBook Pro.

In terms of OpenGL hardware acceleration, as expected, the MacBook came in last place against all other systems, although it wasn't all that far off the dual G5, which was loaded with an ATI Radeon 9600 (256 MB) for these tests.

There are some surprises in the area of OpenGL software. Here the 13-inch MacBook came close to matching the MacBook Pro (running Windows) and even beat out both G5 systems, one of which was a fully loaded G5 Quad.

Somehow it also beat out all of the systems except the G5 Quad in the category of Cinema 4D shading. The Quad barely edged out the MacBook.

NewTek LightWave 8
With NewTek LightWave 8, the results are satisfactory, but not as amazing as some of the tests we've conducted in the past. In no case does the MacBook beat the G5 Quad, though it beats the dual-processor G5 system in all but one test. The test that id did lose, it lost by only three seconds.



All of these tests are based on rendering times on scenes that are included with LightWave.

Test 1 rendered out the scene called Radiosity_BOX.lws (/Content/Scenes/Benchmark/). It contains 7,294 polygons and renders at 600 x 600 with anti-aliasing set to "Low" and radiosity turned on.

The second scene is SunsetSample.lws (/Content/Scenes/). This is the simplest of the scenes tested and includes one polygon with four points. It's rendered with no anti-aliasing and no radiosity.

The third test involved the scene called Teapot.lws (/Content/Scenes/Benchmark/). It contains 25,938 polygons and renders with anti-aliasing set to "medium." Radiosity is off for this test.

The fourth test uses The_Matrix5.lws (/Content/Scenes/Abstract/). This is the most processor-intensive of all the tests. It involves 24,288 polygons and renders with anti-aliasing set to "enhanced low" and radiosity off. The render resolution is 800 x 400.

The final test involved depth of field. It uses the Virus_DOF.lws scene (/content/Scenes/Surface/).

Autodesk Maya 7
With Maya 7, we have fewer systems for comparison. So we've matched the MacBook against the higher-end MacBook Pro and the dual-processor G5 desktop system. The 13-inch MacBook beat the G5 in all of these tests, in some cases soundly. It merely kept pace with the 15-inch MacBook Pro.



Test 1 involved rendering a smoke-filled scene at 320 x 240 with highest-quality anti-aliasing.

Test 2 rendered a fog scene at 200 x 200 with anti-aliasing set to high quality.

Test 3 used a scene with a soft-body object and particles. It was rendered at 640 x 480 with anti-aliasing set to high quality.

Test 4 involved rendering a cutaway scene of a building that included a number of several objects. It was rendered at 768 x 415 with anti-aliasing set to "highest quality."

And the final test involved rendering a complex object at 720 x 486 with anti-aliasing again set to "highest quality."

Conclusions
We've now run five batteries of benchmark tests on the 13-inch MacBook. And we've seen that when software is written natively for the hardware (be it in Mac OS X or Windows), the MacBook produces fantastic results. We've seen it keep up with extremely high-end workstations and, in some cases, even outperform them. In the case of 3D applications, the results aren't as spectacular as they were in some of our previous tests, but the numbers show that the $1,300 MacBook can at least keep pace with some of the more powerful desktop/workstation systems out there.

Next time we look at the 13-inch MacBook, it will be in the context of a formal review. In the meantime, if you have any further questions, be sure to drop me a line or visit me in one of the forums listed below.


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Related Keywords:macbook, benchmarks, 13 inch macbook, lightwave, maya, cinema 4d, maxon, cinebench, alias, autodesk, newtek

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