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Apple Mac Pro 8-Core 2.93GHz review

£4,819 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Apple

Our Rating: We rate this 4 out of 5

Apple's Nehalam-based 8-Core 2.93GHz Mac Pro is a speedy, but expensive PC.

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.

Latest Mac news

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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Apple Mac Pro 8-Core 2.93GHz [PCA] Expert Verdict »

Nehalam-based 8-Core 2.93GHz processor
8MB of L3 cache
Mac OS X 10.5
four hard drive bays
two optical drive bays
four PCI Express 2.0 card slots
  • Overall: We give this item 8 of 10 overall

It’s probably best not to think about the price when looking at a maxed-out system such as this. Clearly, with a price approaching the £5k mark, the 8-Core Mac Pro with a 2.93GHz CPU is a specialist system that’s beyond both the budget and means of mere mortals. Still, its Speedmark figures speak for themselves, and both data crunchers and 3D video professionals will find the speed increase represents value for money. Aside from that, as a pure object of lust it’s hard to beat.

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