Washington Apple Pi Journal, January/February 1998, pp. 25-26, reprint information
Washington Apple Pi has long steered a wary path around the issue of computer benchmarks. But no longer: as befitting our status as the world's oldest personal computer users group, we have a unique corporate memory spanning three decades of personal computing. Since the Pi was founded in the 1970s, our members have been besieged with claims and counter claims about which computer is best for any given task, which can carry the load and which can't, and the best way to measure such claims. So we finally developed our own measure.
It is our considered view that the Washington Apple Pi Mac Bench System vastly exceeds the scope, depth, and utility of any competitors. For Macintosh users, the most famed competitor, of course, is the ubiquitous MacBench® 4.0, which the publisher calls the "Ziff-Davis Mac® OS System Benchmark." When first introduced, the floppy-based MacBench® could tell you that your 16 MHz Macintosh II was fantastically more powerful than your prior love, an 8 MHz Macintosh Plus. But today, MacBench® 4.0 ships on a CD-ROM, won't run on a floppy-based computer, and doesn't really care about computers older than a Power Macintosh 6100.
We say: balderdash. In coming up with our own system, we decided to get back to the basics, and note that the term "benchmark" was first used to describe a surveyor's mark, used as a reference point in measuring altitude. We believe the Washington Apple Pi Mac Bench System clearly stacks up higher as a benchmark; it would take several hundred MacBench® 4.0 CD-ROMs to even come close.
Mac Bench Plus: The "standard" Washington Apple Pi Mac Bench System is known as the "Mac Bench Plus," though in reality it works just as well with even numbers of 128K and 512K Macs, as well as Mac Plus, Mac SE, Mac SE/30, and similar "compact Macs." The forthcoming "Wall of Macs" may well be the largest, most comprehensive Mac Bench ever attempted. (Photo by Lawrence I. Charters, taken with a Kodak DC50 digital camera)
More significantly, the Washington Apple Pi Mac Bench System is far more inclusive, incorporating everything from the original 128K Macintosh to the latest Power Macintosh G3. [Editor's note: we are confident this is so, but Apple has yet to provide us with a half dozen or more G3 systems for testing. We consider this Apple's failure, and not a failure of the Washington Apple Pi Mac Bench System.]
We make the following bold claims:
In the interests of full disclosure, we should make one point very clear: we have not tested the Washington Apple Pi Mac Bench System as a shipboard system, nor have we tested it in areas prone to major earthquakes. We believe minor modifications would be required before the Washington Apple Pi Mac Bench System was suitable for either environment.
The first two working prototypes of the Washington Apple Pi Mac Bench System are at the Pi's offices in Rockville, Maryland. A much larger, more impressive Washington Apple Pi Mac Bench System (known by the code name "Wall of Macs") will soon join these two prototypes. Development and testing of this amazing multi-CPU system is awaiting the delivery of lumber.
Mac Bench II: This Washington Apple Pi Mac Bench System is informally known as the "Mac Bench II," and is clearly a higher system (by several inches). And yes, we find the central placement of the IBM Selectric nothing less than hilarious, too. (Photo by Lawrence I. Charters, taken with a Kodak DC50 digital camera)
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Revised August 28, 1998 Lawrence I. Charters
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