ITProPortal reviews Apple’s Mac Pro: One of the best premium desktops we’ve ever tested

“There’s no getting around it, the new Apple Mac Pro is simply stunning,” Brian Westover writes for ITProPortal. “However, that distinctive look isn’t the only thing that’s different here. The Mac Pro is a powerhouse in an astonishingly small and compact chassis, with a design that embraces innovations in manufacturing, cooling technology, and embodies concepts that may very well shape the future of the desktop PC. There are plenty of details to discuss, but we can assure you from the outset that Apple’s new Mac Pro is one of the best premium desktops we’ve ever tested.”

“Apple Mac Pro Workstations are built for performance, and the Mac Pro is no exception. Peel back the slick marketing and fancy design, and you’ll find that the Mac Pro is still a potent work machine, built to offer the sort of performance that professionals need, but can’t get from consumer-level systems,” Westover reports. “The Mac Pro scored 13.54 points in Cinebench, the best score we’ve seen among single-CPU workstations. This machine also made short work of multimedia benchmark tests, finishing Handbrake in 29 seconds, and cranking through Photoshop in 3 minutes 3 seconds. The Photoshop performance isn’t shabby, but it is more towards the middle of the pack than we expected.”

“It’s safe to say that the Mac Pro offers some of the most exciting updates to desktop design we’ve seen, and backs this up with powerful professional-grade performance,” Westover reports. “This machine is quite simply our number one choice when it comes to single-processor workstations, and one of the best high-end desktops we’ve seen in years.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
PC Magazine reviews Apple’s Mac Pro: Stunning, astonishing, Editors’ Choice – December 27, 2013
The New York Times reviews Apple’s Mac Pro: Deeply futuristic; extremely, ridiculously fast and powerful – December 26, 2013
The Verge reviews Apple’s new Mac Pro: Unlike anything the PC industry’s ever seen – December 23, 2013
Engadget reviews Apple’s new Mac Pro: In a league of its own – December 23, 2013
The first 24 hours with Apple’s new Mac Pro and Final Cut Pro X 10.1 (with video) – December 20, 2013
T3 Mac Pro review: Unboxing, hands-on, and first impressions – December 20, 2013
Apple’s powerful new Mac Pro a good value; far from the most expensive high-end Mac or high-end PCs – December 20, 2013
CNET hands on: Apple’s radically reimagined Mac Pro is a powerhouse performer – December 20, 2013


  1. Just saw one “in action” (or rather inaction) at my local Apple dealer.
    Man – that thing is _small_!
    It looks like a it’s been shrunk from something bigger.
    Playing a bit with it reminded me of the the fact that I have no use for the power of this machine other than running VMs with Fusion.
    The i5 MacMini next to it was of course much slower, but also much more affordable 😉

    1. As we speak I’m running the program Handbrake one of my DVDs to turn the movie into a .m4v file so I can watch it on my mini that is connected to my TV (and/or iPad). With the settings I’m using it takes about 1.25 times the length of the movie to transcode it. A 2 hour movie takes about 2.5 hours on my Mid-2010 2.8GHz i5 iMac (with the “cheap” settings you can do a movie in 30-40 minutes). He doesn’t say how long the movie/TV show was that he was doing, but even if it is just a 1/2 hour TV show 29 seconds is going to make me cry.

      1. This is what I use as well, but I am just trying to understand what exactly they were doing – ripping from a dvd to ssd? Would seem like a slight increase in time – but I would think the cd/dvd drive has a read limit.

        That is why I am confused about this whole 29 sec biz.
        The settings I use in Handbrake are about 40-45minutes per rip. I don’t do max (granted I have over 8TB on a NAS system) but I don’t feel its entirely necessary to slow burn)
        My files still end up in the 1.5-3GB range depending on the length of the movie…
        All said, if these systems did a 29 second rip – that would be insane. I cannot fathom this ripping from a DVD in 29 seconds.

        As C++ mentions I can see SSD to SSD but from DVD no way???

        1. As an owner of the bottom Mac Pro, I can tell you it doesn’t do anything in Handbrake that is breaking speed limits. The multi-core computing is probably the one area that the machine is pretty much as fast as previous Mac Pros and even iMacs.

          It’s anything that hits the GPUs that shows huge increase. Since handbrake relies entirely on CPU performance, the speeds are in line with what you would expect from 4x 3.7Ghz processors. I encoded a 2 hour movie from 1080p MKV into AppleTV 720p mpeg4 in about 30 minutes. Very fast, but not “29 sec.”

    2. Can someone explain the remark about “finishing Handbrake in 29 seconds”?

      Presumably this refers to converting a DVD image from one form to another (I assume from SSD to SSD file, not from a DVD to SSD file).

      Would have to look at the original article to see the benchmark on a different system to see if this has much meaning. However, Handbrake is a program that can make use of lots of cores, so one would expect Handbrakes performance to be proportional to the number of cores.

    3. “finishing Handbrake” refers to how long it takes Handbrake to encode a known file from one format to another, thus comparing how long different machine take to do video encoding.

  2. “It’s the ship that made the Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs.”

    Lucas (or whoever actually wrote that line) didn’t understand that a parsec is a length measurement, not a time measurement. Still, an author for one of the spin-off books managed to finagle a situation where the line made sense.

    Let’s put it this way: is the Mac Pro fast enough to make NSA worried about its passwords?

    1. >>Lucas (or whoever actually wrote that line) didn’t understand that a parsec is a length measurement, not a time measurement.

      Actually it’s an angular measurement that we translate into distance.

  3. This is my first post from my new 8-core Mac Pro. Haven’t had a chance to do much with it: there are a few terabytes of data I’ve got to get onto my Thunderbolt drives before I can do much. But boy is it gorgeous. It’s quiet and comparatively cool to the touch. Tomorrow I’ll pound the heck out of it.

      1. Aside from the 1/2 Terabyte solid-state on board, I’m using a Velociraptor Raid 0 for high-speed (twin 10,000 RPM 1TB drives). Then there’s a 7200 RPM Seagate for iTunes, photos and so-on. Finally a 5400 RMP Seagate 3TB for Time Machine. I also have a couple of large NAS RAIDs for Carbon Copy Cloner backup.

        1. Comparing the performance of the drives housed in an external Thunderbolt array (presumably Thunderbolt 2), is there any appreciable drop in performance when measured against the drives housed in an internal SATA3 bay.

          Are you regretting the fact that the Mac Pro lacks internal expansion bays or are you quite happy with the fact that you have the ability to work with an external drive array.

          Any opinions?

          1. The Velociraptor is TB1, but performs as well as an internal SATA3. I have absolutely no problem with the external drives: I thought it was a brilliant move by Apple. The 4 internal bays in my old Mac Pro (soon to be a Windoze machine) had become a limitation. Sure, you’ve got to lay your gear out a little differently, but I’ve long had things set up in a machine room anyway.

  4. So f***ing what, if it completes Handrake in 10 millisecs…what about some real world apps, like Da Vince Resolve, Cinema 4D, ZBrush. These and others are what top professional graphic artists use. I recommend you all take a look at where they do REAL world tests using ACTUAL programs. Unless the app is dual GPU aware, older MacPros stomp all over the new MacPro. From their tests it would seem that only Apple apps do well on this machine. A sad day for Apple.

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