Mac OS Classic Benchmarks
Below are benchmarks comparing Mac OS 7.6.1, Mac OS 8.1, Mac OS 8.6, and Mac OS 9.1. All tests were run on a Power Macintosh 8600/200, with a 500mb SCSI Hard Drive, 64mb of RAM, and an ixMicro Twin Turbo 128 M8 graphics accelerator.

All the System Folders contained the latest version of QuickTime possible, being version 5.0.2 for Mac OS 7.6.1 andn Mac OS 8.1, and QuickTime 6.0.3 for Mac OS 8.6 and Mac OS 9.1.
Speed Doubler 8.1.2 was installed in all system folders, except for Mac OS 9.1, with which Speed Doubler is not compatible. ixMicro Twin Turbo drivers were also installed in all system folders. Finally, LibMoto math libraries, which are built into Mac OS 8.1 and above, were added to the Mac OS 7.6.1 system.

Speed Doubler 8.1.2's 68k emulation was the only feature of that software that was enabled. The "faster file copying" and "keyboard power" features, for example, were switched off.

Cold Boot Times
For the first test, each system was timed (in seconds) during a cold boot process, where a completely powered-down machine was booted using the power button on the keyboard, and timed until the desktop icons appeared. This being a cold boot, it must be stressed that outside-the-machine factors like broadband connection are irrelevant to the processing speed.


The results are displayed below. Shorter bars are better.

Mac OS 7.6.1
  66 Seconds
Mac OS 8.1
  69 Seconds
Mac OS 8.6
  91 Seconds
Mac OS 9.1
  114 Seconds

Reboot Times
For this test, each system was timed (in seconds) during a reboot process, where a completely powered-on machine was rebooted using the power button on the keyboard, and timed until the desktop icons appeared.

The results are displayed below. Shorter bars are better.

Mac OS 7.6.1
  61 Seconds
Mac OS 8.1
  69 Seconds
Mac OS 8.6
  87 Seconds
Mac OS 9.1
  110 Seconds

Copy Files
For this test, each system was timed (in seconds) during a file copy process , where a folder containing 81 items totaling 35 MB was copied on the hard drive.

The results are displayed below. Shorter bars are better.

Mac OS 7.6.1
  47 Seconds
Mac OS 8.1
  50 Seconds
Mac OS 8.6
  46 Seconds
Mac OS 9.1
  48 Seconds

GUI Performance
For this test, each system was timed (in seconds) opening 1000 standard window dialogs, and closing them again, using the Let 1k Windows Bloom program. The display was set to 640 x 480 resolution, millions of colors.

The results are displayed below. Shorter bars are better.

Mac OS 7.6.1
  26 Seconds
Mac OS 8.1
  31 Seconds
Mac OS 8.6
  31 Seconds
Mac OS 9.1
  35 Seconds

Memory Usage
For this test, each system's freshly booted memory usage was recorded.

The results are displayed below. Shorter bars are better.

Mac OS 7.6.1
  14.9 MB
Mac OS 8.1
  19.8 MB
Mac OS 8.6
  25.2 MB
Mac OS 9.1
 34.3 MB

System Size
For this test, each system folder's hard drive usage was recorded.

The results are displayed below. Shorter bars are better.

Mac OS 7.6.1
  53.4 MB
Mac OS 8.1
  63.2 MB
Mac OS 8.6
  102.1 MB
Mac OS 9.1
 131.6 MB


Conclusions
As you can see, in almost all of the tests, Mac OS 7.6.1 beats the later versions performance, often by significant numbers. The only test where all four versions have similar performance is in file copying, where they are all very close. This is surprising as the later versions were touted as having faster file copying, but at least on this system, they do not.

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