68K Emulator Benchmarks


Okay, so I did some bench testing of some emulators that I use frequently. The tests are adapted from some of the “real world” tests that Jim did back in the day. I carried them out in a fresh install of System 7.5.5. I used a ROM with a checksum of 06684214, emulating a 68040 processor. I gave each emulated Macintosh 32 MB of RAM, 256 colors and a screen resolution of 800×600.

The tests are all real-world “stopwatch” tests.

My test machine is an HP Pavilion dv9000 laptop (1.66 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo) running Windows XP.

The Contenders

  • SoftMac 9 beta (SoftMac 2008): Released May 4, 2008
  • SoftMac XP 8.2: Released December, 2002
  • Basilisk II JIT R5: Released May 2006
  • Basilisk II JIT R3: Released July 2001
  • Basilisk II .9 R142: Released January 2001

Note: Scroll down to “reader reports” for some SheepShaver benchmarks!

The Tests

(fastest result is in bold)

Opening a large .JPG in Graphic Converter

The first test was to open a 2.2 MB .JPG file in Graphic Converter. Here's what the stopwatch told me:

  • SoftMac 2008: 5.2 seconds
  • SoftMac XP: 5.3 seconds
  • Basilisk II JIT R5: 1.5 seconds
  • Basilisk II JIT R3: 1.5 seconds
  • Basilisk II .9: 6 seconds

Basilisk II takes the cake here. Interestingly, neither Basilisk II nor SoftMac has improved over the years in regard to this test. SoftMac proves slightly faster than the seven and a half year old build of Basilisk .9.

Manipulating a large .JPG graphic

Next, I applied Graphic Converter's Laplace 3×3 filter to the same .JPG file. Here's the results:

  • SoftMac 2008: 13.1 seconds
  • SoftMac XP: 13.3 seconds
  • Basilisk II JIT R5: 3.1 seconds
  • Basilisk II JIT R3: 3.5 seconds
  • Basilisk II .9: 18.8 seconds

Basilisk II JIT R5 emerges as the fastest emulator in this test. Both Basilisk and SoftMac show marginal improvements over their older cousins (though both improvements could just be within the margin of error… i.e: the speed of my thumb on the stopwatch). Here also we see how much of an improvement Basilisk II JIT is over the old non-JIT version (six times faster!)

Stuffit Test One

Next I did a Stuffit Test. I downloaded an archive of Marathon III Infinity, which is 35.6 MB in size and contains a number of individual files. I expanded the archive in each emulator using Stuffit 5.5. Here are the results:

  • SoftMac 2008: 7 minutes, 16 seconds
  • SoftMac XP: 7 minutes, 9 seconds
  • Basilisk II JIT R5: 2 minutes, 4 seconds
  • Basilisk II JIT R3: 2 minutes, 18 seconds
  • Basilisk II .9: 7 minutes, 25 seconds

Whew! This test took a long time to complete! Speed-wise, SoftMac 2008 seems to be in the same league as Basilisk 2001. Basilisk II JIT takes the cake once more.

Stuffit Test Two

I couldn't bare to do another long Stuffit test, so the next test required each emulator to expand an archive of Wordperfect 3.5. The archive is 12 MB, and consists of just a single file. Here's what the clock said:

  • SoftMac 2008: 11.3 seconds
  • SoftMac XP: 11 seconds
  • Basilisk II JIT R5: 2.7 seconds
  • Basilisk II JIT R3: 2.3 seconds
  • Basilisk II .9: 12.6 seconds

Again, Basilisk II JIT is the fastest. This time, R3 came out slightly ahead.

Installing an Application

This time, the test required the emulators to install that download of Wordperfect 3.5. Here's the results:

  • SoftMac 2008: 10.8 seconds
  • SoftMac XP: 9.7 seconds
  • Basilisk II JIT R5: 3.3 seconds
  • Basilisk II JIT R3: 3.2 seconds
  • Basilisk II .9: 11.2 seconds

Once again, Basilisk II JIT is the fastest emulator. SoftMac 2008 actually falls behind SoftMac XP here. Both prove only slightly faster than the old non-JIT version of Basilisk II.


Obviously, Basilisk II JIT is the fastest emulator. R5 (from 2006) is not significantly faster than R3 (from 2001). Likewise, the beta of SoftMac 2008 is not significantly faster than SoftMac XP from 2002. Both SoftMac versions are only slightly faster than Basilisk II .9 from January of 2001. It would seem that speed-wise, we haven't really seen any major improvements in the last seven years.


I tested the unofficial 2008 release of Basilisk II JIT, but it produced the same results as the 2006 build. This is to be expected… it has mostly just been updated with bug-fixes.

SoftMac seemed to test a bit faster when the CPU was set to “auto” rather than 68040.

I left the “priorities” of Basilisk II .9 at their default values.

I hope to do a few more tests in the near future, including the “word count” test that Emulators, Inc. mentions on its website.

Please feel free to e-mail me your own results.

68k_tests.txt · Last modified: 2010/02/28 19:35 by clockwise
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