iMac and Mac mini Benchmarks (Early 2009)

Yesterday, Apple updated its entire desktop lineup. This update had been a long time coming, especially since the Mac Pro hadn't been updated since January 2008 and the Mac mini hadn't been updated since August 2007!

However, a lot of people were disappointed with the updates, since it felt like an incremental update rather than a substantial upgrade. Now that Geekbench results are coming in for the new iMac and Mac mini, we can look at one aspect of the updated hardware -- processor performance -- and see if the upgrade is incremental or substantial.


I've gathered results for the latest iMacs and Mac minis and compared them against previous generations (note that results for some hardware configurations aren't available yet; I'll update the post when they are available). Results were collected from the Geekbench Browser for Macs with standard processors (i.e., no processor upgrades or overclocked processors). I've reported the average overall score for each model and processor combination.

If you’re unfamiliar with Geekbench and how it measures performance, a score of 1000 is the score a Power Mac G5 @ 1.6GHz would receive. Higher scores are better. Also, Geekbench 2 only measures processor and memory performance which is why models with the same processors but different video cards have roughly the same score.

iMac Benchmarks

iMac (Early 2009)
Intel Core 2 Duo E8435 3.06 GHz (2 cores)
iMac (Early 2008)
Intel Core 2 Duo E8435 3.06 GHz (2 cores)
iMac (Early 2009)
Intel Core 2 Duo E8335 2.93 GHz (2 cores)
iMac (Early 2008)
Intel Core 2 Duo E8235 2.8 GHz (2 cores)
iMac (Mid 2007)
Intel Core 2 Extreme X7900 2.8 GHz (2 cores)
iMac (Early 2008)
Intel Core 2 Duo E8335 2.66 GHz (2 cores)
iMac (Early 2009)
Intel Core 2 Duo E8135 2.66 GHz (2 cores)
iMac (Early 2008)
Intel Core 2 Duo E8135 2.4 GHz (2 cores)
iMac (Mid 2007)
Intel Core 2 Duo T7700 2.4 GHz (2 cores)
iMac (Mid 2007)
Intel Core 2 Duo T7300 2.0 GHz (2 cores)

Mac mini Benchmarks

Mac mini (Early 2009)
Intel Core 2 Duo P7350 2.0 GHz (2 cores)
Mac mini (Mid 2007)
Intel Core 2 T7200 2.0 GHz (2 cores)
Mac mini (Mid 2007)
Intel Core 2 T5600 1.83 GHz (2 cores)
Mac mini (Early 2006)
Intel T2300 1.67 GHz (2 cores)
Mac mini (Early 2006)
Intel T1200 1.5 GHz (1 core)


Processor performance hasn't increased substantially in the latest hardware; the performance increase seems to scale with processor speed. This isn't surprising, since neither the iMac nor the Mac mini moved to a new processor architecture.

You might want to keep this in mind if you're looking for a new Mac; you might be better off getting a discontinued (or refurbished) previous-generation Mac rather than one of the new Mac models.

John Poole is the founder of Primate Labs and lives in Toronto, Ontario with his wife Deborah. You can find John on Twitter or .