Computerworld hands on: Apple’s new Mac Pro is ‘one screamer’

“Earlier this week, I got a chance to work with a Mac Pro for an hour or so to see how it stacks up against the now-discontinued Power Mac G5. The model offered by Apple for purposes of this quick review was the standard configuration, which has the stock 2.66-GHz Xeon processors, 1GB of RAM, a 250GB hard drive, a single 16x SuperDrive and the Nvidia GeForce 7300 GT graphics card with 256MB of video RAM,” Yuval Kossovsky reports for Computerworld. “The Mac Pro can hold and address up to 16GB of RAM, sport 2TB of internal hard disk drive storage, hold two SuperDrives (the second one will add $100 to the cost), and use two ATI Radeon X1900XT cards that can support four — four! — of Apple’s 30-in. monitors. Now, that is one screamer of production machine.”

Kossovsky reports, “The dual-core, dual-processor, 64-bit machine is significantly quieter than Apple’s previous top-of-the-line machine, the Power Mac G5 Quad, no doubt due to the lower power requirements and dramatically lower heat output from Intel Corp.’s Xeon ‘Woodcrest’ chips.”

“Apple officials have been touting the price competitiveness of the Mac Pro and how for the first time in history a Mac is cheaper than the equivalent hardware on the PC side. ‘Professionals who are in the workstation market will find that the Mac Pro is priced $1,000 less than a comparably configured Dell computer,’ said Tom Boger, Apple’s senior director of worldwide product marketing,” Kossovsky reports. “That’s not just hyperbole. The Mac Pro is cheaper than similarly outfitted hardware from Dell inc. And it makes one heck of a machine on which to run both Mac OS X and Windows XP.”

Kossovsky reports, “In any application compiled for Universal binary — meaning it runs natively on Intel chips — the speed increase was dramatic. Noticeable. Just plain ‘Wow that is fast.’ Take your pick. Watching a 6MB image of a Mini Cooper — the file had 1.54 million polygons, and 1.28 million vertices — rendered with Luxology Modo on both a Quad G5 and the Mac Pro was an example of fast and faster. When the Mac Pro was done the Quad G5 was still chugging along, only about one-quarter of the way done with the file.”

Kossovsky reports, “For a creative professional using QuarkXPress, or Final Cut Pro, the speed increase will be instantly noticeable. For applications still running under Rosetta translation, such as the Adobe Creative Suite, the Xeon Processors run fast enough to basically make the comparison a wash. In other words, the Mac Pro runs programs in Rosetta as fast as Quad G5 does natively.”

Full review here.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Thurrott pits Apple Mac Pro vs. similarly configured Dell, figures out the Mac is less expensive – August 18, 2006
AnandTech: Mac Pro vs. PowerMac G5 – August 16, 2006
Apple Mac Pro Quad Xeon 3.0GHz benchmarks – August 16, 2006
Apple Mac Pro dissection photos – August 16, 2006
Ars Technica reviews Apple Mac Pro Quad Xeon 64-bit workstation – August 11, 2006
Apple Mac Pro Quad-core Xeon easily beats Power Mac G5 Quad – August 11, 2006
OWC offers Apple Mac Pro memory upgrades; rebate trade-in of Apple factory memory – August 11, 2006
Benchmark duel: Apple Mac Pro vs. Power Mac G5 – August 10, 2006
Apple unveils new ‘Mac Pro’ featuring quad 64-bit Intel Xeon processors – August 07, 2006

34 Comments

  1. This article is pure bull

    First off it’s been throughly tested that, processor wise, the Quad Intel is only at best 10% faster than a PPC Quad.

    So where is all this “blazing fast” speed coming from?

    Oh, is it that software has been better optimized for the more abundant Intel processors than the PPC processors?

    Is it that hard drive I/O improvements doesn’t slow the CPU’s like the G5 processors did with their “glitch” (G4’s were actually faster at drive I/O than G5’s!!)

    Isn’t it because most companies just ported their Intel based software to the PPC platform, much like a lot of 3D games, not really spending the time to optimize the code from scratch?

    You see folks, the machine isn’t necessarily faster by a great leap, it’s the optimized code we are using now.

    Actually if a similar equipped Dell was matched up with the Mac Pro, the results should be about the same.

    Just wait for those comparisons to come out, hehehehe.

  2. to bad the dell is 50% more expensive and can only run windows, and doesnt have the build quality of the Mac Pro, or the good looks, but hey, at least the dell wont burst into flames, thats just the 4 million laptops that were recalled by dell, not the ugly, overpriced towers…

  3. Oh I’m no Dell fan, beleive me, Windows totally sucks a$$ and asks for more.

    What Steve Jobs is doing is extremely clever, he’s

    1: Building a lot of stores now, grabbing the best locations.

    2: Hooking up with the largest chip maker in the world so he has abundant supply.

    3: Transformed his platform to a new operating system.

    4: Transformed his hardware to be complaint with mainstream PC’s.

    5: Created a dual boot solution so that he can sell Mac’s to Windows PC users.

    6: Priced his hardware so that’s it’s even cheaper in some models to buy a Mac and Windows seperatly and still less expensive than buying a box with Windows pre-installed.

    We should be seeing something from Apple that will mimick the Windows API’s so that Mac OS X can run most Windows software next.

    We also should be seeing a tailored compiler from Apple that will take Windows API optimized code and make it Mac OS X compliant with little or no effort on the part of developers.

    We should also see a pay per download on Apple’s site for software, we might even see some sort of widget or integrated Mac OS X store. The object being Apple will encourage developers to run their code through the compiler for Mac OS X, host it for free/low cost on Apple’s server and watch the money roll in. This will get them a bit more excited and in turn more software will be availabe for Mac users.

    Apple has been doing tricks with our machines to keep the hit traffic high at Apple.com. The latest is the “widget checker” (aka ‘dashboardadvisoryd” which contacts Apple twice a day)

    Apple is building a complete ecosystem.

  4. Apple is building a complete ecosystem, that will just work and do what it’s supposed to do.

    Windows on the other hand is a compete mess, one has to be a computer rockect science engineer and be on top of the latest information to keep a Windows PC from being owned.

    Apple is going to attack the buisness space eventually, once they have siphoned off a bunch of top Windows only popular app makers like AutoCAD.

    Apple is carefully stalking the Redmond Beast, probing some soft spots with thier spears, looking for weakness.

    Apple should buy Adobe.

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