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


  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…

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