Latest in Features

Image credit:

Psystar Open Computer notes, benchmarks and video

Nilay Patel

Sponsored Links

Okay, so we've been playing with the Psystar Open Computer for a few hours now, and we've formed some early impressions and put together a short video of it in action. We haven't really tried to stress the system yet, but based on our other experiences with OSx86 machines, we're expecting things to generally go smoothly. That said, there are some definite rough patches and issues, all mostly having to do with the fact that OS X isn't really built for this hardware. Here's what we know so far:

  • It's running 10.5.2, build 9C31, which is behind the latest Apple build of 9C7010.
  • The mobo is a Gigabyte GA-G31M-S2L with an Intel G31 Express chipset. We're not sure which model of Core 2 Duo is in there as of yet.
  • The graphics card appears to be an NVIDIA GeForce 8600GT, but it doesn't show up in ASP, so we have to confirm. Psystar's store says it's supposed to be a 256MB card, but we have 512MB -- strange.
  • It's LOUD. Crazy loud. OS X doesn't seem to interface with the fan controller, so it runs at full tilt all the time. It doesn't really come across on the video, but it's loud enough so that it's hard to talk on the phone when the machine is running. There's no way we could deal with this thing on a daily basis.
  • The DHCP lease drops every fifteen minutes or so and you have to manually renew it in prefs.
  • Apple System Profiler doesn't know how to read the configurations of several systems, notably memory and audio. The Audio screen just says there's no built-in audio, while the Memory page returns an error.
  • That said, audio works just fine, showing up in prefs as HD Audio Output, and obviously the memory works fine.
  • We plugged in a couple cameras, an iPod, and an iPhone, everything worked as expected.
  • There's no iMovie or iPhoto out of the box, since iLife doesn't come with Leopard -- you'll have to buy it separately.
  • Time Machine seemed to recognize an external HD, but we didn't have time to fully test it out.
  • The included copy of Leopard was out of the shrinkwrap, but there's no way to install it -- it shows up in Startup Disk but it won't restart, and it's not recognized at boot.
  • Front Row works fine.
  • You can grab the entire System Profiler file here, if you're so inclined -- just make sure and share with the group if you notice anything crazy, okay?

As far as benchmarks, it doesn't exactly blow Apple's gear away, but it definitely holds its own -- and the GeForce card just destroys the integrated graphics in the MacBook / Mac mini. Check it out:

  • All machines tested with Xbench 1.3.
  • All machines tested were using Leopard.
  • You can check the bold Xbench scores to compare the cumulative results for each test.

MBP (2.5GHz Penryn) MacBook (2.2GHz Core 2 Duo) iMac (2.4GHz Core 2 Duo, previous gen.)
iMac (3.06GHz Core 2 Duo)Psystar Open Computer (2.2GHz Core 2 Duo)
CPU 169.23 126.66 138.58 188.54 138.89
GCD Loop 15.33 Mops/s 13.43 Mops/s 14.91 Mops/s 18.90 Mops/s 13.70 Mops/sec
Floating Point Basic 3.37 Gflop/s 2.95 Gflop/s 3.23 Gflop/s 4.12 Gflop/s 2.98 Gflop/s
vecLib FFT 3.93 Gflop/s 3.36 Gflop/s 3.66 Gflop/s 4.65 Gflop/s 3.39 Gflop/s
Floating Point Library 36.64 Mops/s 17.80 Mops/s 19.43 Mops/s 44.76 Mops/s 24.08 Mops/s
Thread Test 275.13 186.4 208.77 314.45 195.42
Computation 6.93 Mops/s 3.58 Mops/s 3.56 Mops/s 8.50 Mops/s 3.73 Mops/s
Lock Contention 9.90 Mlocks/s 8.48 Mlocks/s 11.06 Mlocks/s 10.81 Mlocks/s 8.97 Mlocks/s
MBP (2.5GHz Penryn)MacBook (2.2GHz Core 2 Duo)iMac (2.4GHz) iMac (3.06GHz Core 2 Duo)Psystar Open Computer (2.2GHz Core 2 Duo)
Memory Test 168.11 150.23 150.82 211.78 146.46
System 183.01 158.95 151.56 247.04 142.68
Allocate 922.99 Kalloc/s 856.78 Kalloc/s 657.80 Kalloc/s 374.06 Malloc/s 559.35 Kalloc/s
Fill 7424.09 MB/se 6480.99 MB/s 6606.88 MB/s 9667.21 MB/s 6585.52 MB/s
Copy 3522.10 MB/s 2914.92 MB/s 3014.12 MB/s 4651.03 MB/s 2918.53 MB/s
Stream 155.45 142.41 150.08 185.33 150.44
Copy 3059.86 MB/s 2799.64 MB/s 2926.68 MB/s 3653.38 MB/s 2853.57 MB/s
Scale 3008.89 MB/s 2797.66 MB/s 3022.24 MB/s 3652.08 MB/s 2888.89 MB/s
Add 3525.00 MB/s 3196.17 MB/s 3364.41 MB/s 4165.23 MB/s 3484.55 MB/s
Triad 3523.21 MB/s 3211.97 MB/s 3328.48 MB/s 4147.22 MB/s 3514.66 MB/s
MBP (2.5GHz Penryn)MacBook (2.2GHz Core 2 Duo)iMac (2.4GHz) iMac (3.06GHz Core 2 Duo)Psystar Open Computer (2.2GHz Core 2 Duo)
Quartz Graphics Test 198.29 154.32 193.4 228.36 213.88
Line 12.43 Klines/s 9.69 Klines/s 11.64 Klines/s 15.27 Klines/s 11.00 Klines/s
Rectangle 70.01 Krects/s 51.66 Krects/s 70.02 Krects/s 252.7 Krects/s 67.11 Krects/s
Circle 15.29 Kcircles/s 11.54 Kcircles/s 15.29 Kcircles/s 16.46 Kcircles/s 14.73 Kcircles/s
Bezier 4.92 Kbeziers/s 3.79 Kbeziers/s 4.51 Kbeziers/s 5.64 Kbeziers/s 4.32 Kbeziers/s
Text 12.17 Kchars/s 10.39 Kchars/s 12.66 Kchars/s 15.06 Kchars/s 41.75 Kchars/s
OpenGL Graphics Test 165.99 23.36 152.66 201.68 143.78
Spinning Squares 210.57 frames/s 29.64 frames/s 193.65 frames/s 255.84 frames/s 182.39 frames/s
User Interface Test 326.63 244.28 335.18 443.26 324.71
Elements 1.50 Krefresh/s 1.12 Krefresh/s 1.54 Krefresh/s 2.03 Krefresh/s 1.49 Krefresh/s
MBP (2.5GHz Penryn)MacBook (2.2GHz Core 2 Duo)iMac (2.4GHz) iMac (3.06GHz Core 2 Duo)Psystar Open Computer (2.2GHz Core 2 Duo)
Disk Test 33.08 39.64 80.72 78.47 70.94
Sequential 60.60 66.07 115.15 106.39 137.51
Uncached Write 52.17 MB/s [4K blocks] 53.34 MB/s [4K blocks] 72.17 MB/s [4K blocks] 84.32 MB/sec [4K blocks] 92.61 MB/sec [4K blocks]
Uncached Write 47.88 MB/s [256K blocks] 47.63 MB/s [256K blocks] 66.51 MB/s [256K blocks] 77.36 MB/sec [256K blocks] 82.91 MB/sec [256K blocks]
Uncached Read 9.89 MB/s [4K blocks] 10.83 MB/s [4K blocks] 27.81 MB/s [4K blocks] 17.43 MB/sec [4K blocks] 29.79 MB/sec [4K blocks]
Uncached Read 39.17 MB/s [256K blocks] 49.62 MB/s [256K blocks] 69.83 MB/s [256K blocks] 80.85 MB/sec [256K blocks] 86.51 MB/sec [256K blocks]
Random 22.75 28.31 62.13 62.16 47.80
Uncached Write 0.81 MB/s [4K blocks] 1.03 MB/s [4K blocks] 2.67 MB/s [4K blocks] 2.51 MB/sec [4K blocks] 1.87 MB/sec [4K blocks]
Uncached Write 18.56 MB/s [256K blocks] 22.73 MB/s [256K blocks] 48.45 MB/s [256K blocks] 62.96 MB/sec [256K blocks] 34.00 MB/sec [256K blocks]
Uncached Read 0.41 MB/s [4K blocks] 0.48 MB/s [4K blocks] 0.63 MB/s [4K blocks] 0.66 MB/sec [4K blocks] 0.64 MB/sec [4K blocks]
Uncached Read 18.44 MB/s [256K blocks] 19.31 MB/s [256K blocks] 27.08 MB/s [256K blocks] 28.77 MB/sec [256K blocks] 28.12 MB/sec [256K blocks]

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Popular on Engadget

Get $24 off the Nintendo Switch on Amazon

Get $24 off the Nintendo Switch on Amazon

Supreme’s burner phone is a hypebeast’s dream

Supreme’s burner phone is a hypebeast’s dream

Nintendo Switch sales top 15 million in North America alone

Nintendo Switch sales top 15 million in North America alone

Endel's Apple Watch app generates soothing sounds on your wrist

Endel's Apple Watch app generates soothing sounds on your wrist

You can report traffic snarls in Google Maps for iOS

You can report traffic snarls in Google Maps for iOS


From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr