Review: Apple Mac Pro 2.66GHz dual-core Intel Xeon

“The stock Apple Mac Pro 2.66 GHz model includes two 2.66 GHz dual-core Intel Xeon processors, a new Intel four slot PCI Express architecture with a NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT 256MB graphics card. Higher performance graphics options are available including the ATI Radeon X1900 XT ($250) and the NVIDIA’s Quadro FX 4500 ($1650) at the Apple Store. The Mac Pro comes with 1GB of 667MHz DDR2 fully buffered EEC memory. It has eight memory slots that can be used to upgrade to as much as 16GB of memory using 2GB chips. Each 2.66 GHz dual-core Intel Xeon 5100 series processor has 4MB of shared L2 cache and a front side bus speed of 1.33 GHz,” Michael Bean reports for AMUG.

Bean reports, “The Mac Pro includes a 250GB SATA hard drive and a 16x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD+R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW). One FireWire 800 port is provided on the rear and one on the front. Two FireWire 400 ports are also provided with one in front and one in the rear. Five USB 2.0 ports are included. Three are located on the rear and two in front. No modem is included but two gigabit ethernet ports are provided. Wireless airport, bluetooth and an external modem are all optional.”

Bean reports, “The Mac Pro package includes an Apple Keyboard, Mighty Mouse, USB keyboard extension cable and a DVI to VGA adapter. The software provided with the Mac Pro includes Mac OS X, iLife (includes iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie HD, iDVD, iWeb and GarageBand), iCal, DVD Player, Comic Life, OmniOutliner, QuickBooks, Xcode Development Tools and a demo of Office, iWork and FileMaker.”

Bean conducts a rather extensive review of the Mac Pro and writes, “While the PowerMac G5 Quad felt more like a Mac truck than a race car, the Mac Pro 2.66 GHz feels more like the race car. The startup time is more than twice as fast and it processes H.264 video with amazing speed. It could be argued that a few of the Mac OS X services are still starting up after the finder appears on the monitor and that this is just a speed trick. Even so, the Mac Pro feels like a considerable speed improvement over the G5 PPC. Using non-universal applications with the Mac Pro can change that feeling in a hurry. They take much longer to launch than when using the Quad. However, I see this as a short term issue. Within a year every application that you might want will be available in a universal version.”

Full review with much more here.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
PC Pro crowns Apple Mac Pro fastest ‘PC’ – October 04, 2006
AnandTech upgrades and tests Octo-Core ‘Clovertown’ Apple Mac Pro – September 13, 2006
Wired’s Kahney: Apple’s Mac Pro ‘speaks power’ with ‘a weapon aesthetic, like an expensive handgun’ – September 05, 2006
MSNBC: Apple Mac Pro is the ultimate desktop computer – August 28, 2006
Apple Retail Stores can build-to-order customized Mac Pros on site – August 26, 2006
Computerworld hands on: Apple’s new Mac Pro is ‘one screamer’ – August 18, 2006
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. I bought one of these but was very disappointed to learn that the Apple Java Virtual Machine (JVM) only runs in 32-bit mode, so Java applications can’t make use of more than 2 GB of RAM and can’t run in 64-bit mode.

    There are very few Mac applications that can make use of multi-processors (so far).

    Hopefully, these limitations will be overcome in the future and these new Macs will keep getting faster and faster.

  2. I thought about gettting a refurb, then looked at Amazon, which with their $150 rebate and no tax (at least in Fl) ends up being less for new than a refurb from Apple.

    BTW, isn’t this a great reversal for Apple and a great selling point, the Mac Pro will only get faster over the next few months!

  3. MadMac

    ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” /> I dreamed of owning a IIvxi bit the extra $600 was more than my paper route gave me a year. As it was i had to sell my body for the Ci

  4. Loved the IIci and IIvx! Used those my last two years of college before I picked up what my roommate dubbed the Death Star – a PowerMac 7100/66 8/250/CD, a 15″ MultiScan monitor, and a LaserWriter Select 360. Gotta love edu discounts and having a banker as a friend! Loaded it up with Office 5.0 and Quark and I was set.

  5. @Mac ademic

    “I bought one of these but was very disappointed to learn that the Apple Java Virtual Machine (JVM) only runs in 32-bit mode, so Java applications can’t make use of more than 2 GB of RAM and can’t run in 64-bit mode.”

    Um, it’s not just the JVM, buddy. Everything runs in 32-bit mode under Tiger, except special command-line applications that have been desgined for 64-bit. This is why full 64-bit support is one of the top 10 features of the forthcoming Leopard (OS X 10.5).

    As far as multiple processors, this is more an issue of how applications are threaded, and how the work you are doing involves tasks that can be done in parallel (in multiple apps or multiple threads in one app at the same time). If you have to do something like writing the numbers from 1 to 1 billion sequentially to a file (dumb example but you get the idea) no amount of multiprocessing will help – ever.

  6. Ryan –

    Thanks… what I should have said is that, unlike 64-bit capable JVMs from Sun that run on other 64-bit hardware, the Apple JVM is not able to run in 64-bit mode (yet). We use high-end Java applications that would greatly benefit from being able to access more RAM, but our high end Mac is not able to let them (yet) due to limitations with the Apple JVM.

    According to Apple, OS X Tiger is partially 64-bit and allows 64-bit addressing, so a 64-bit JVM should be able to run in Tiger even though the entire OS is not yet 64-bit enabled.

    Of course, it is not Apple’s fault that applications haven’t yet been re-written to make use of the multi-processors. What I really meant to say was that I am hoping that more applications will become multi-threaded and 64-bit capable so that my new Mac will be able to flex all its muscles soon.

    Without 64-bit support and multi-threaded applications, some of the biggest improvements in the new Mac Pros go unused and unnoticed.

  7. I too appreciate all that new Mac Pro is as a piece of computing hardware, but the dearth of software that can take advantage of this hardware makes it difficult to pull the trigger on a purchase right now, even though I need another computer.

  8. God I can’t wait to get my hands on one of those. Waiting for the next version, when I can get it (hopefully) with Leopard, and Adobe is Universal. That’s what makes Apple sales right now EVEN MORE amazing. There’s a huge core market waiting for the same things, and that is gonna be a big quarter for Apple.

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