Apple's Nehalam-based 8-Core 2.93GHz Mac Pro is a speedy, but expensive PC.
Mac Pro: Beauty and the beast
With its four hard drive bays, two optical drive bays and four PCI Express 2.0 card slots, the Mac Pro is Apple's most configurable Mac, and offers a host of different upgrades and options. We tested a couple of different Mac Pro configure-to-order (CTO) systems and the results include our first Speedmark 5 score to top 400.
To refresh your memory, the latest Mac Pros come in two standard configurations. The £1,899 Mac Pro features a 2.66GHz Quad-Core Xeon processor based on Intel's Nehalem architecture. It has a 640GB hard drive, 3GB of 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM, and an Nvidia GeForce GT 120 graphics card with 512MB of DDR3 memory.
The second standard configuration model is a £2,499 8-Core model that uses two Quad-Core Xeon processors running at 2.26GHz. It has twice the amount of SDRAM as the £1,899 Mac Pro, but uses the same Nvidia graphics card and hard drive.
The CTO Mac Pros that we received for testing had 1TB hard drives (an option that will run you an extra £80.01) and an ATI Radeon HD 4870 graphics cards with 512MB of GDDR5 graphics memory (a £160 upgrade).
Both models featured faster 2.93GHz Quad-Core Xeon processors - a £400 upgrade for the Quad-Core 2.66GHz model, and a - read it and weep - £2,080 upgrade for the standard 8-Core 2.26GHz model.
In our tests of these custom Mac Pros, we found that the CTO Quad-Core was about 8 per cent faster in our Speedmark 5 overall system performance test suite than the standard 2.66GHz configuration. The 2.93GHz Quad-Core Mac Pro was 11 per cent faster in Cinema 4D tests and about 7 percent faster in our ProRes to H.264 Compressor test.
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