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Category: Hardware

[REVIEW] The Quad-core and Eight-core Mac Pro

Written on September 03, 2010 by Adam Eve

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Though it seems that Mac Pro is loosing its relevance in today's work environment against iMac, it is still undeniable that the former has a lot to offer. One of its many advantages is the use of multiple cores. So what can the new quad-core and eight-core Mac Pro do?

With literally billions of available configuration combination, the continues to be expandable and customizable. Anyone struggling to install anything in the rest of ’s Mac lineup can find it easy to access, swap and install these components on the Mac Pro. Among many of its advantages, Mac Pro has the ability to use multiple processors with multiple cores. People using Mathematica, Cinema 4D and other high-end software cannot deny the performance advantage.

Design and Components

The $2499 model has a 2.8GHz quad-core Intel Xeon Nehalem processor, 3GB of RAM, 1TB Hard Drive and 1GB ATI Radeon HD 5770 graphics card. While the $3499 unit contains a 2.4GHz quad-core Intel Xeon Westmere processor (for a total of eight cores), 6GB or RAM, but with the same hard drive and graphics. Both includes a 18X DVD-burning SuperDrive with dual layer burning support. However, despite the many inclusions in the new Mac Pros, the external design hasn’t changed. In front, it has two FireWire 800 ports, two USB 2.0 ports and a headphone jack. While on the back are additional FireWire 800 ports, three USB 2.0 ports, 2GB Ethernet ports, optical audio in and out ports and analog audio in and out ports.

The $2499 Mac Pro is consist of a single quad-core 2.8GHz Xeon Nehalem Processor, the processor included in the last generation of Mac Pros but with faster clock speed. The $3499 unit, however, marks the debut of Intel’s Westmere Xeon processors. The eight-core 2.4GHz processor is based on 32nm process, and offers up to six cores per processor and 50 percent larger L3 cache. Both Westmere and Nehalem supports Intel HyperThreading and TurboBoost. One subtle change about these new Mac Pros, though, is that they are the first Mac OS X to use a 64-bit kernel by default.

Speedmark 6 Scores

The 2.8GHz is 13 percent faster in overall Speedmark 6 tests. The Radeon HD 5770 has the ability to display 87.7 frames per second, giving a big gain in graphics performance. On the 2.8GHZ Mac Pro, iPhoto importing is 18 percent faster, while iMovie exporting was almost 30 percent speedy. Apple claims that the new 1GB ATI Radeon HD 5770 graphics card is five times faster than GeForce GT 120. The card can support up to three monitors, with two mini display ports and single dual-link DVI port. The 2.4GHz eight-core model, on the other hand, is only three percent faster than the 2.8GHz Mac Pro. However, the eight-core system is much faster with programs that take advantage of multiple cores like MathematicaMark and Cinebech.

The Buying Verdict

Based on performance alone, the new Mac Pros are a bit more than speed bumps than their predecessors, but they offer better function and more customization options at the same price. The Mac Pro offers power users a flexible system that can fill their needs.

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