Apple's Mac Pro - A True PowerMac Successor

by Anand Lal Shimpi on 8/16/2006 12:27 PM EST
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  • retoucherman - Thursday, January 24, 2008 - link

    Let me tell you! I just got a the two 2.8ghz Quad core Macpro and this baby is like driving greased lightning. Plus it is a lot quiter than the quad g5 that I had (and basically blew up becuase it couldn't take my working with it.)

    These second generation MacPros are a great investment (just make sure you get the 3 year Apple Care warranty - Just in case)

  • toonerh - Thursday, September 07, 2006 - link

    Terrabit has a">site detailing how to "slipstream" Intel drivers for the Mac Pro's SATA hard drive controller and speed it up from under 4MB/s to 60 MB/s!

    I posted a bunch of screen shots to help those not familiar with Windows "slipstreaming" at">my site.

    Help get the word out!
  • nickgwyn - Saturday, August 26, 2006 - link

    Anand, where is the final installment?!?

    I am trying to decide if I should buy this computer, and am trying to be patient in waiting for your review, but c'mon... I have to decide soon.

    P.S. I enjoyed the other parts for their very in depth look at this computer.

  • JAS - Sunday, August 27, 2006 - link

    Yes, Anand has done a first-rate review of the Mac Pro. I think he's waiting for Apple to release a new beta of Bootcamp before finishing the next installment that will cover running Microsoft Windows on this machine.

    But if you're anxious, based on everything that has already been said by Anand and on many other sites, I don't think you would go wrong with ordering your Mac Pro now. Apple is aware of that SATA issue (under MS Windows. It will likely be addressed by the next Bootcamp release. Parallels is another option in the meantime. (When OS X 10.5 is released, we may not even need Bootcamp or Parallels as separate installs.)

    As for me, I'll order the Mac Pro from because of their $150 rebate.
  • nickgwyn - Monday, August 28, 2006 - link

    I am going to lease it from apple, it's a really good deal, if you have a business. Reply
  • maharajah - Thursday, August 24, 2006 - link

    Anand, do you have any specs on the MacPro intake and output fans? Any model numbers, current or power ratings? Is it a 3 or 4 wire connector, or is there a custom connector on the fan housing? Can the 120mm (I assume it's 120mm) fans be replaced easily? The reason I am asking is that while the OEM fans are quiet at idle (based on the reviews), I have fans in another PC that are almost silent (<20dB from 1 foot away) at idle and load. I was thinking of replacing the MacPro's fans with these once I get the machine. Thanks. Reply
  • spike spiegal - Tuesday, August 22, 2006 - link

    >G5s kept up well with Intel and AMD, and were often faster - sometimes much faster - but weren't going anywhere in the foreseeable future<

    IBM uses a similiar architecture as the G5 in the multi million dollar iSeries, and Microsoft uses a G5 clone in their Xbox 360, so the G5 architecture was hardly dead. If anything, I've heard IBM refused to lower prices on their processors to suite Apple because Apple represented so little profit.Your reply dictates the myopic view of Apple users that the G5 processors was exclusive to Apple, and IBM actually cared when you jumped to Intel.

    Also, the G5 architecture has been getting it's butt kicked by AMD 64 for quite awhile, while only Altivec optimized apps on G5 really pull away. Gee, you lost Altivec on the Intel platforms, and you're froced to use Rosetta, but you're still raving about the Intel platforms. Doesn't say much about the G5 by your own admission.

    >I don't know whether you're an AMD or Intel fanboi<

    Neither. I use the best tool for the job, not the specific hardware a single vendor tells me to use or allows me to use like Apple does. I've migrated Windows servers from dual P3 Tualatins to dual Xeons, and then to Opterons. I'll likely switch to Woodcrest while getting the price from a vendor of my choosing, not who makes my operating system.

    >A computer is just a tool to get things done

    Then why are your Apple buddies raving about crap like how 'pretty' the Mac Pro is, and the layout of rear ports? You honestly to god think anybody with a legitimate IT job cares about that? Computers belong under the desk or in a server rack, not displayed on a desk like over proced stereo equipment.

    >Hmm, have you heard about the best tool for the job?<

    I've used dual processor G5s, and respect the way Apple has polished multimedia workflows on OSX with better productivity than Windows. Other than that, I could care less because because the world doesn't revolve around Photoshop, page layouts, and video editing.

    >I would immediately insist on using XServes just because they're from Apple.<

    Explains why you don't make buying decisions for your company. I've seen benchmarks of XServes getting humiliated by NT4 and Win2K in SQL benchmarks, but if I were rendering crystal balls in a server farm it would be my first choice {smirk}. Also, if the G5 based XServe is so great, why is Apple themselves procaliming the Intel based Mac Pro as significantly faster than the G5? Oops...guess you should visit more often, are are you smarter than the server engineers in your Company because you know how to use OSX?

    >Cool, e-Machines are going to be producing 8-CPU Xeon-powered workstations for $1250?<

    A single, 3ghz Core 2 Duo will beat a 2.66ghz dual processor Woodcrest in about any application you hand it other than those very few that can utilize four cores. It won't take E-machine an HP long to start producing sub $1,000 workstations with the faster Core 2 Duo processors in them, and those systems will be faster than the 2.66ghz Mac Pro. Sorry for that reality check, but you are now in the Intel PC industry and have to learn to deal with it. Apple won't be able to make up benchmarks showing the superiority of their platforms because unlike the G4 and G5, the same architecture will be running Windows and Linux.

    >Or maybe Apple might upgrade their offerings ... they've been known to do that occasionally<

    As I said above, a 3ghz Core 2 Duo will spank a dual processor 2.66ghz Woodcrest for about 90% of the tasks you can do on a desktop. Apple could make such a system for $1250 in their iMac line 6 months down the road, but you honestly think Apple will do this and humilihate their flagship Woodcrest owners? They haven't in the past, so the ones getting screwed in the long run are Apple owners and not those of us who can pick and choose our hardware. You can then explain the logic that one to your kids when they are competing in the job market with $80,000 in college loans, but how they should only buy one product from one vendor.
  • plinden - Tuesday, August 29, 2006 - link


    >I would immediately insist on using XServes just because they're from Apple.<

    Explains why you don't make buying decisions for your company... rant... rant ... rant

    Wow, what a prick you are. Look back at my post to see what this asshole is replying to. Here's exactly what I said, full quote (I've added bold to "doesn't"):

    The fact that I actually enjoy doing my work with OS X, and find myself being more productive with desktop applications, doesn't mean that if I were making the buying decisions for my company, I would immediately insist on using XServes just because they're from Apple.

    Massaging other people's posts just makes your own arguments even weaker.
  • JAS - Tuesday, August 22, 2006 - link

    Gosh, Spike ... lots of rage there. Why such a fierce assault on a computer that wears a happy face? ;<)

    I don't doubt that a 3gHz Core 2 Duo six months from now will outperform today's Mac Pro, but in the computer world there is always something "around the corner" that will be better/faster/less expensive. Most of us buy computers to suit today's needs, not next year's. The new Mac Pro is a great performer and a good value, regardless of whether you use it for Microsoft Windows or OS X.

    As for Apple's servers, even their outgoing G5-based XServe has sold well to big customers. Credit card processor XTech, for instance, uses a gazillion of them. NASA has an enormous XServe installation, too.">
  • spike spiegal - Tuesday, August 22, 2006 - link

    Before I accuse you guys of thinking like Tom's Hardware, why don't you do us a favor and compare the Mac Pro to a single processor Core 2 Duo at the same clock? Then compare the $2500 Mac Pro to a Single Core 2 Duo running at 3ghz, and see what's faster.

    Gee, that 2.66ghz Core Duo system would be a LOT cheaper cheaper to build and likely perform virtually identically to the quad core Woodcrest, except for like maybe two apps that have some concept of multi-threading. The 3ghz dual core system would beat the Quad core Woodcrest at 2.66 in all but maybe one real world benchmark.

    When E-machine and HP are selling $799 machines 6months to a year from now that spank the Mac Pro, what say you?

  • rockinphotog - Saturday, August 19, 2006 - link

    AS a matter of fact, I often use my apple keyboard for my digital camera, printer, syncing my treo and even my wacom tablet. Reply
  • aaronlyon - Friday, August 18, 2006 - link

    In next week's article, please evaluate Parallels Workstation for running Windows apps simultaneously with Mac OS. If this works smoothly, why not use Windows versions of Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator? That would be a good solution while waiting for Universal Binary updates.
  • Zebo - Friday, August 18, 2006 - link

    Great pics and article Anand.

    What a deal for such a clean system. They don't build PCs that pretty and this is the best yet from Apple's industrial design squad. I definity want one but don't need four cores.

    Can I run Windows fully with this machine? Or maybe I should wait until a single processor (dual core) version comes. If Apple sells $1500 Conroe boxes and it ran windows they counld'nt keep them in stock.
  • plinden - Friday, August 18, 2006 - link


    Can I run Windows fully with this machine?

    There's an issue with the speed of SATA hard drives, as Anand mentions here:">

    It will probably be fixed eventually but if you're relying on this to run Windows, you should wait.
  • FutureMedia - Thursday, August 17, 2006 - link

    You are not comparing the Quad G5 Rear Ports to the Mac Pro Rear Ports. Quad G5 has 3 USB 2 ports as well as 2 Gigabyte Ethernet ports just like the Mac Pro. IE the Quad G5 rear set of ports is IDENTICAL to the Mac Pro rear set - just laid out differently. Only the front adds a fifth USB 2 and second FW800 port not on the Quad G5 which is the same layout as what you show from OLDER not last generation October 2005 PowerMac G5s.

    Moreover I was looking forward to a Quad G5 comparison with the 2GHz and 2.66 GHz Mac Pros. That is what I want to know. Especially Is even the 2GHz Mac Pro faster than the Quad G5? Is the problem that you don't have a Quad G5 in house to compare it to? I am so bummed out that you didn't compare Mac Pro two bottom speeds with the Quad G5. Please can you do it after next week? I would really appreciate it. Thanks.
  • PhilG5 - Friday, August 18, 2006 - link

    Thank you so much for pointing that out! In fact, Anandtech uses mid-2004 PowerMac G5 (still using AGP graphics and DDR-400 memory!) and doesn't take into account the whole "late 2005" series (which first supported DDR2, PCI-E and had the "Antares" PPC970 core). If you look at Barefeats benchmark results ("> ) the Quad G5 still seems to be pretty much competitive with the new Mac Pros. Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Friday, August 18, 2006 - link

    We did not have a Quad G5 on hand, however the performance results woult not have been that different. The benchmarks that show little or no scaling between the Dual and Quad Mac Pros would show the same scaling between dual and quad G5s (which were most of the benchmarks). None of our tests were GPU bound, so difference in graphics interfaces should also minimally impact performance. The only real variable that could have changed things is DDR2, however seeing as how none of the DDR-DDR2 transitions we've seen on the PC side have done anything for performance, hopes aren't too high for a tremendous impact on G5 performance.

    Take care,
  • Konq - Thursday, August 17, 2006 - link

    Anand - I think something is wrong with the 2 vs. 4 core Xcode test. As with gcc, you can tell it to compile with as many threads as you like. This will compile 4 source files at the same time for instance on 4 cores (multitasking). Perhaps the code was too small to really see a difference, or the environment was not set right? Reply
  • Konq - Saturday, August 19, 2006 - link

    OK, now another interesting 4-core note: MacWorld did a test with iTunes and a quad core, 2.5 Ghz G5 beat a dual-core, 2.7 Ghz G5 system when converting 45 minutes of AAC files to mp3. Maybe this was due to having multiple files to work on? AAC->mp3 vs. Wave->mp3?

    One thing I am interested in now: An article that covers how to get the most out of 4-core systems. Which software benefits and how. Since 4-core processors are coming out soon, this will be needed in purchasing decisions.
  • Konq - Friday, August 18, 2006 - link

    I verified on the Apple Xcode users list that Xcode can indeed take advantage of every core. You might want to modify the test you do and configuration if needed.

    Great article btw. I enjoy reading reviews from you that can be counted on for true pro's and con's instead of overly rosey approach from fan sites.

    In spite of "horrid memory system", it sounds like the system kicks butt! One is in my future...
  • spike spiegal - Thursday, August 17, 2006 - link

    Question 1:

    Apple users have been bad mouthing Intel and PC's for over a decade and touting the superiority of Motorola, and then IBM over Intel. Now that Apple is running on nothing more than PC clone with an Apple bios and beating the heck out of the dual G5, isn't this a little hypocritical? When Apple switches to Cyrix next year, how much faster will those machine be over Intel?

    Question 2:

    If OSX so much more "secure", "faster" and "easier" to use than Windows or Linux, and OSX is closer to Unix than Liux is, why have I never encountered an Apple machine or OSX inside a corporate server farm? Are the graphics artists in the company media dept using Macs that much more intelligent than the network engineers who's job is on the line to keep commerce up 24/7?

    Question 3:

    A year from now when E-machine is selling boxes that cost half the price of the new PowerMac and has twice the horsepower because of new processors being introduce by either AMD or Intel, how can we fudge PowerMac benchmarks for the courtesy of Apple users?

    Question 4:

    I want to run OSX legally on my dual core AMD, and I don't want to buy a new computer just to run OSX. I can run Windows on any hardware I want...why not OSX?
  • plinden - Thursday, August 17, 2006 - link

    Q1: Hmm, have you heard about the best tool for the job? G5s kept up well with Intel and AMD, and were often faster - sometimes much faster - but weren't going anywhere in the foreseeable future. Did you notice that that the new 2.66GHz Xeons aren't much faster than the 2.5GHz G5s they're replacing? But the potential is there for the future (the 3GHz Xeons show that). I don't know whether you're an AMD or Intel fanboi, but would you continue using a CPU from your current favourite manufacturer if you could foresee {AMD/Intel - delete as necessary} pulling well ahead? A computer is just a tool to get things done, what CPU is in there is a pointless argument, and your strawman argument just makes that all the more obvious.

    Q2. Hmm, have you heard about the best tool for the job? XServes are gaining some traction, especially in specialist areas, but I work a company that delivers streaming content on the internet, and we use (mostly) generic PCs running RedHat ES. We also have a number of Windows Media Servers for encoding wmv content and use Apple's Darwin QuickTime Streaming Server (running on Linux, incidentally). The fact that I actually enjoy doing my work with OS X, and find myself being more productive with desktop applications, doesn't mean that if I were making the buying decisions for my company, I would immediately insist on using XServes just because they're from Apple.

    Q3: Cool, e-Machines are going to be producing 8-CPU Xeon-powered workstations for $1250? I might get a couple of those for the kids. Or maybe Apple might upgrade their offerings ... they've been known to do that occasionally.

    Q4: Because Apple owns the rights to OS X, they make the decisions. If they offered OS X to run on any PC, I would be first in line to install it on my Dell laptop.
  • michael2k - Thursday, August 17, 2006 - link

    1) At the time those comments were made, PPC was faster than Intel, literally. Then the IBM was faster than a P4, just like an Opteron was faster than a P4. You would be stupid to believe if Cyric made a faster, cheaper, cooler CPU that Apple wouldn't consider it.

    2) Why would a corporate SERVER FARM care about "secure", "faster", or "easier"? A SERVER FARM cares about redundancy, reliability, recovery, and distributed computing. The only places you will find a Mac are places that care about:
    1) usability, say at a design firm
    2) design, say at a advertising firm
    3) ease, say at a home

    Also, you do know that the pural for "anecdote" is not "data", right? Your anecdote only means you have limited experience.

    3) Easy, drop in a new Intel processor.

    4) Because no copy of OS X exists for generic x86 hardware. You also cannot run Windows on any hardware you want. Try to run it on an SGI MIPS workstation, an IBM PowerPC Workstation, a Dec Alpha workstation, or an Apple G4 iMac. This is despite the fact that Microsoft originally wrote Windows NT to support Alpha, MIPS, PowerPC, and Intel. You want to know why Apple won't produce generic OSes? Because they aren't big enough to afford the support and market costs. Until, I think, they hit 30% marketshare, they can't afford to sell their OS as a generic software kit.
  • saratoga - Thursday, August 17, 2006 - link

    PPC was very rarely faster then x86. More often it was on par, but seldom faster, and usually only briefly. People went on and on about PPC performance because they had bought expensive PPC systems. Reply
  • Dubb - Thursday, August 17, 2006 - link

    Really curious about those three:

    1) any issues with xp-64
    2) We all know you have clovertons already. put them in and see what happens. then tell us.
    3)Apple's price on a 4500 is way overpriced. there has to be a way to get a quadro 3500 working in one.
  • mgrimard - Thursday, August 17, 2006 - link

    Since it is cheaper than a Dell, what about using as a server (with Windows Server 2003)?
    It is a server that it will most benefit from the quad-core and dual-gbe, don't you think?
  • Calin - Thursday, August 17, 2006 - link

    "Of course if there's performance to be lost, we're there to benchmark it."

    That is very funny :)
    And by the way, very nice article. Enjoyed every page of it. Thanks!
  • IntelUser2000 - Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - link


    It's not Apple's fault, but FB-DIMMs absolutely kill memory latency; even running in quad channel mode, the FB-DIMM equipped Mac Pro takes 45% more time to access memory than our DDR2 equipped test bed at the

    FB-DIMMs are not at complete fault here. It lies majorly in the memory controller. PC chipsets ALWAYS perform better than the workstation/server ones.
  • Calin - Thursday, August 17, 2006 - link

    I find it strange that dual and quad channel FBDIMMs have the same memory read speed in Everest (or the difference is so small as not to be noticeable) Reply
  • dborod - Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - link

    I understand the advantages of installing 4 FB-DIMMs vs. 2 FB-DIMMs and the need to install them in pairs, but does it matter if the first two pairs of FB-DIMMs are of difference sizes? In other words is 2 x 512 MB and 2 x 1 GB FB-DIMMs going to result is lower memory performance than 4 x 512 MB FB-DIMMs? Reply
  • tmohajir - Thursday, August 17, 2006 - link

    I had the same question. I was debating whether to by 2 x 512MB or 1GB, and then thought it might affect performance if I went with the 1GB sticks. I think for now the best bet would be to buy 2 512s so that each branch has a channel with the same amount of memory. Then if I want to upgrade later, move all 4 512s to riser 1, and buy 2 1GB dimms when the price drops a little more and stick them in riser 2. So that way you still have 2GB total per branch. Reply
  • dborod - Thursday, August 17, 2006 - link

    I decided to order my MacPro with 4 x 512 MB dimms so as to be able to fully utilize the available memory bandwidth. It seemed the easiest and safest approach for now. Reply
  • dborod - Thursday, August 17, 2006 - link

    I decided to order my MacPro with 4 x 512 MB dimms so as to be able to fully utilize the available memory bandwidth. It seemed the easiest and sa Reply
  • Questar - Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - link

    Why use MP3 encoding for performace testing in a multi cpu environment? MP3 encoding is not very threadable, and most likely is not threaded to any great extent in iTunes. Reply
  • Griswold - Thursday, August 17, 2006 - link

    Somebody obviously has never used the multithreaded encoder of the LAME MT project. I see gains of up to 50% with that. Sure, that may not be relevant for a mac pro user, but it is proof that MP3 encoding benefits from SMT. Reply
  • Questar - Thursday, August 17, 2006 - link

    Griswald stikes again.

    Yes I've heard of LAMEMT. So how's that sound quality you're getting without a bit resevoir? Pretty crappy I'll bet.
  • Griswold - Friday, August 18, 2006 - link

    Oh give me a break nutsack. Dont pretend you know what you're talking about here, as it doesnt match your first (false) post - you obviously never used LameMT. Disabling bit reservoir may come with a certain loss of quality, but its not nearly as much as you (or the poster above) want it to make to be. I'm willing to bet 95% of the people using mp3 wont notice the difference.

    I'm listening to the same song encoded with standard Lame and LameMT and the quality is virtually the same. Of course, you'll now say your ears are so much better, you got so much better audio equipment and what not.. but meh, it's just questdork talking.
  • michael2k - Saturday, August 19, 2006 - link

    The same 95% of the population who purchase tracks from the iTMS I bet :) Reply
  • Questar - Friday, August 18, 2006 - link

    Thanks for the best laugh I've had all week!
    I really needed it!!
  • saratoga - Thursday, August 17, 2006 - link


    Somebody obviously has never used the multithreaded encoder of the LAME MT project. I see gains of up to 50% with that.

    Yeah but you also lose quality, so very few people use it.


    Sure, that may not be relevant for a mac pro user, but it is proof that MP3 encoding benefits from SMT.

    Not exactly. LAMEMT is only multithreaded when you use parts of the MP3 standard that can be multithreaded. Typical MP3 encoding as done by lame, itunes, xing, etc simply can not be multithreaded. LAMEMT can be multithreaded because it disables certain features that are incompatable and then implements software pipelining.

    The LAME devs have talked about trying to work around this problem in the past, but so far most people seem to think its just not worth the effort because the speed up is much worse then just running two copies of LAME (which gives a 100% speedup verses the 50% you saw), and of course the unresolved questions about just how badly quality would be hurt by rewriting LAME profiles from scratch to use the approach in LAMEMT.
  • plinden - Thursday, August 17, 2006 - link

    I know of at least one multithreaded LAME encoder for iTunes, but I've never used it so don't know how fast it is -"> Reply
  • Maury Markowitz - Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - link

    The MP3 process itself might not be, but the load -> encode -> write process most certainly is threadable.

  • Questar - Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - link

    Reading and writing a file most likely doesn't use very much in system resources. Reply
  • Dennis Travis - Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - link

    Good job Anand. I can't wait for the next part!!

  • WeirdZen - Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - link

    Something I have not seen mentioned is support for Video Cards. Now that these are using a different Bios, can we use standard PC Video Cards, or are we still forced to pay too much money for a slim selection of cards? Reply
  • Maury Markowitz - Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - link

    The basic answer is "no, but it is likely you can make them work with some effort". There are two basic problems, one is the boot firmware on the card, and the other is the drivers in the Mac OS (or lack thereof). Both can be addressed, and have been in the past. Here's the scoop:

    The firmware on the basic PC card is basically aimed at getting a BIOS-based machine up and running. Since the Mac uses EFI, this doesn't work, and a PC card in a Mac simply won't boot (nothing bad happens though, just nothing happens). The Mac cards replace this BIOS-based code with one that appears to work fine on both BIOS and EFI machines. So basically a Mac card will work fine in any PC, but most PC cards will not run in the Mac. EFI is expected to become more common in the future though, so we'll have to see how this turns out six months from now.

    Now it's just firmware. That means you can download it from a Mac version and upload it to a PC version and presto. The problem here is that the combination on the Mac drive ends up being larger, which shouldn't be surprising. So while most PC cards have a 64k flash on them for the firmware, the Mac version is about 110k and needs a 128k flash. SOME PC cards have this, but generally it's rare.

    Things are not so bad as they seem. In the past hackers have been able to strip out the PC-only code, leaving a smaller Mac-only version that will fit into 64k. It will be a little while before we know if this is possible for the EFI driver too, it's simply too early to know yet. Another option is to solder a 128k flash onto your card, but obviously that's much more "serious".

    The other issue is the drivers in the Mac OS. Every card has a unique ID and vendor code in it, and the Mac OS tries to look up cards by pattern matching on these IDs. So even if you did flash the firmware, the Mac wouldn't find the driver matching those codes, and fail to load it. The news here is very good though, because Apple puts practically everything into normal text files, including these codes. It's a triviality to find them in the driver and change them to match your card.

    So we'll all just have to wait a bit and see how it all turns out. The basic long-n-short is that its definitely _possible_ in theory.

    Finally, a word or two about SLI/CrossFire. These are a different matter entirely. Basically these systems use custom drivers that split every message being sent out of the video drivers and sends them to both cards at the same time. That way they both have an identical copy of the "world". Clearly the normal drivers cannot be used, and unless someone makes a driver for the Mac, these things simply aren't going to work.

    There is one oddball though, the GeForce 7950 GX2. This card is basically two 7900's bolted together, with SLI _internal_. From what I understand, the machine and OS has no idea that it's not talking to a bog-standard 7900. Assuming all the problems above can be worked out, it is just possible that the Quattro driver Apple has now could be adapted to work with this card. THAT would be good enough for me, Halo runs full-screen on a 30" LCD on this card...

  • Pirks - Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - link

    yeah Anand please tell us if we can buy nice cheap evga 7900GT and stick it inside this fruity beast Reply
  • VooDooAddict - Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - link

    I think this is a burning question amoung those of us thinking about this beast. Reply
  • ViRGE - Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - link

    Early results look like it won't happen. For Mac OS X, the card needs to support EFI, which means there needs to be a portion of the video BIOS programmed to handle it. Right now only Mac-specific cards seem to be able to do so, and PC cards can't be flashed because the Mac cards are using a larger EEPROM for the BIOS. Reply
  • delta53 - Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - link

    They go on and on about the price difference and fail to tell you that the Apple doesn't include at monitor or a protection plan which the price of the dell includes both. The price for the apple plan is $249 for 3 years. Dell will take off $149 for the monitor. Therefore, the Apple with protection plan without monitor is $2748.00 and the Dell with the protection plan without monitor is $2961.00. Price difference $213.00. That is comparing apples to apples. Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - link

    Could you show me how to get Dell to take $149 off for the monitor? Whenever I try to configure it if I select the "No Monitor" option it lists a cost of $0, meaning I don't gain or lose anything.

    The Dell protection plan is truly enterprise class however the point of the comparison was to look at things from a purely hardware/cost of components perspective, which is how these Mac vs. PC price comparisons are usually done. Once you go above and beyond that then you get into this slippery slope argument of how much you should tack on for the price of being able to run OS X, etc...

    Take care,
  • delta53 - Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - link

    The "they" was referring to Apple namely at the WWDC6, no offence Anand. The option is given under the Medium and Large business section, but your point is well taken that exact price is impossible in that section.

    Keep up the good reports,

  • Furen - Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - link

    I was under the impression that Cinebench had very light memory usage. It looks to me that what will make or break Woodcrest's "power efficiency" is going to be FBDIMM power so perhaps loading up the ram will paint slightly different numbers... Reply
  • TamarinMonkey - Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - link

    Now that we can run both OSX and XP on the same hardware, I'd be interested to see some of the benchmarks run on both OSs and see how they do. Any plans to do this in a future article?

  • retrospooty - Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - link

    I am pretty sure this has been done, and OSX has been found to be lacking, especially in 3d games. The speed advantage of PC over MAC was not that Intel/AMD were so much faster than IBM G4, then G5, but the OS and drivers are much finer tuned. Reply
  • Tegeril - Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - link

    It was definitely not so much about the OS/Drivers being finer tuned in regards to 3D gaming. It was definitely a DirectX versus OpenGL issue. Reply
  • psychobriggsy - Thursday, August 17, 2006 - link

    More specifically, Apple's OpenGL implementation on PowerPC was/is severely lacking.

    I wonder if the Intel Mac OS X drivers are better - i.e., the ATI/Nvidia drivers ported to Mac OS X.
  • Konq - Monday, September 11, 2006 - link

    I just played WoW last night on my Quadro 4500-equiped Mac Pro. An ATI version should be similar. I was in a 40 man raid for my guild. This thing screams in OS X. I get 30-40 fps in a crowded IF, 50-100 fps flying, and I peaked at 135 fps looking at the sky. All at 1920x1200. The drivers sure have improved and I think are better on intel. I have a 2.3 Ghz dual core G5 and this is twice as fast even thought the G5 had a 7800 GT card. Oh - and I never noticed the fans spin up during the raid even though I had low sound volume.

    Rumor has it that OpenGL will be much improved when it goes multithreaded in 10.4.8. We will see. :)
  • Konq - Monday, September 11, 2006 - link

    I forgot to mention: the Mac Pro loaded the WoW AQ40 instance in about 2 seconds! Faster even the second time. I can't express how impressed I am with this machine.

    As a side note, I used Office in Rosetta, and it is as fast as my G5. Maybe 4GB of RAM helps here but I was worried after reading Anands' report.
  • Pirks - Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - link

    Please use XP x64 benchmarks as well, since it's uberinteresting to see how both 64-bit OSes from MS and Apple compete. XP 32-bit is okay, but a bit boring. Reply
  • DigitalFreak - Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - link

    Is there a 64bit version of OS X for the Intel platform? I didn't think there was, considering that until now all of the Intel Macs have only had 32bit processors. Reply
  • kelmon - Thursday, August 17, 2006 - link

    Depends on what you mean by 64-bit. OS X has, I believe, had a 64-bit UNIX layer since 10.3 (I don't think it was introduced with 10.4) but the only applications that can take advantage of this are command-line tools. Leopard will introduce 64-bit everywhere but I'm still struggling to find a reason why that will impact me in a good way. That said, the new Mac will have a 64-bit processor so that I can feel future-proof. Reply
  • Pirks - Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - link


    Is there a 64bit version of OS X for the Intel platform?
    Good question. I don't know, maybe OS X on those Mac Pros is patched to 64-bit or something.. if not than I should shut up and wait till Leopard.
  • Snuffalufagus - Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - link

    it should factor in at least a 25% - 35% discount code on the Dell :).

    I have never bought anything off the Dell site without getting a substantial discount from a current promotion.
  • trivik12 - Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - link

    Does Dell offer 25-35% off for Dell Precision Workstation? Reply
  • MrPIppy - Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - link

    The last generation of Power Mac G5s also had dual GigE ports:">Apple's G5 specs page

    One difference though, the G5s (and the GigE G4s before them) used Broadcom 57xx chips for Ethernet, while the Mac Pro now uses an Intel 8254x chip.
  • Josh7289 - Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - link

    But what is so good about Macs? Why would I want a Mac instead of a PC? What can a Mac offer me that a PC can't? I don't like trolling, but I seriously am asking these questions and want to know what the answers are. Reply
  • phaxmohdem - Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - link

    I used to be a mac hater because All the macs I've ever used truely were Pieces of $h!t. Old single cpu G4 towers with no Hard Drive Space or RAM, and way too much student crap spread on them. HOWEVER recently I had the pleasure of using a REAL mac (Quad G5) for a video project, and it made me think of macs a little differently. Plenty fast, and stable. My biggest problems were learning all the new Mac hot keys and keyboard shortcuts.. but once you master those you'll fly on the mac. (Some of Macs shortcuts still seem pretty stupid and complex to me though).

    However I serioualy don't understand the keyboard and mouse that Apple gives their cusotomers... The new mighty mouse is an improvement, but still an uncomfortable POS to me. Ditto for the mushy fugly keyboard that is standard. I've found that a proper Logitech (or similar) Kybd/Mouse combo makes the mac experience feel 10x better. (One more side-gripe... OS X does not have adjustments for mouse acceleration, and for me the stock acceleration speeds are wretched and piss me off... Hopefully this is something to be updated in the next release of the OS)

    So, moral of my story is... if you're going to Mac it up, do it right with proper input devices and some decent specs, and you'll have an enjoyable experience under OS X. I personally still choose Windows for its versatility w/ software and hardware... but to each his own.
  • Maury Markowitz - Thursday, August 17, 2006 - link

    Agree. I find it somewhat ironic that the only MS products I really like are their keyboards, mice, and joysticks. What's particularily maddening is that Apple used to, years ago, make the best keyboard money could buy. Seriously, solid as a rock and typing feel you'd kill for. Now they peddle crap that looks nice. Not good. Reply
  • timelag - Thursday, August 17, 2006 - link

    Apple used to, years ago, make the best keyboard money could buy.

    Ah yes, the extended keyboard II. Better even than the famous IBM and Sun keyboards of yore. If it weren't for my Kinesis (the One True ergo keyboard), I'd be using mine through an ADB to USB connector.
  • dborod - Monday, August 21, 2006 - link

    I also miss the Keyboard II. As an alternative I use the TactilePro from Matias ( To quote from their web site: "The Matias Tactile Pro Keyboard is built from the same premium keyswitch technology that Apple used in its original Apple Extended Keyboard, widely viewed as the best keyboard Apple ever made."

    I agree.
  • Maury Markowitz - Friday, August 18, 2006 - link

    I actually use the Keyboard II. ON MY PC! Reply
  • Maury Markowitz - Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - link

    You're basically asking why you should bother with a woman when you can "operate" with your hand. After all, you can do everything with your hand that you can do with a woman, right, so what could a woman offer?

    No, really, I'm not joking here. I'm using this blatently outrageous imagery to get my point across. There are things in life that you simply can not put into words, yet to claim they don't exist is obviously untrue. Try watching your kid being born some time, try putting THAT into words!

    I didn't even know the answer myself until last winter. My friend was on a four-month trip, so he lent me his Mac while he was gone so I could handle his e-mail (he has a small company). Some things are not as good on the Mac as the PC, some things are just _different_, but a lot of things are better. There's no simpler way to say it.

    There's no laundry-list of features that will convince you of this, you just have to try it for a while. It's entirely possible that you won't even notice much of a difference after trying it out. But I'm betting that's not true for the vast majority of people. In my experience the Mac simply looked better, ran smoother, and was much quieter than my PC. I wanted to buy one then and there, but the lack of games meant I'd need to keep a PC around as well, so it was very difficult to justify. Now that the new machines run Windows too, there's no good excuse any more. Now I'm saving up.

  • plinden - Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - link

    An answer to this can only be a mix of objective and subjective, but this is what I like about OS X:

    * The OS is more stable and professional, easier to use and better looking than Windows or Linux (I've used Windows since Win3.1 and *nix since before that - it's maybe not more stable than Linux, but definitely much easier to use).

    * I can do in OS X whatever I can do in Linux and Windows. (If you really need something like AutoCAD, go ahead and get a windows-only PC. It's cheaper than a Mac + XP install disks).

    * I can install on a backup boot (without going through any WGA crap) on an external FireWire drive and USB2 (with the Intel Macs) without having to hack anything on the install disk.

    * OS X is much more secure ... whether through obscurity or better design, it doesn't matter. You can't get infected with a virus or other malware. I tried hard to infect my backup install with that "virus" that was released back in February, but it couldn't do anything. Because I was running, as I normally do, without administrator privileges.

    * You don't need to be administrator to be able to do anything ... yes that mostly the fault of third party developers who don't understand, but MS didn't do a lot to educate them on writing apps to be used as non-administrators.

    * OS X is *nix, and I can clone my development environment across Linux and Solaris without needing to download and install something like cygwin (I'm a big fan of cygwin, but I would rather not have to use it).

    * I can run OS X, Linux or Windows (if I really want it) on one machine.

    * I can spend my time doing productive work, rather than running virus and spyware scans, defragging the hard drive or tweaking services.msc in Windows ... or trying to make sure I don't trash one of my Linux apps by installing a binary that doesn't work in my kernel version (because I didn't have time to get the source code and all dependencies and build with the correct version of gcc). I've enjoyed tweaking Windows and Linux in the past, but now I'm a productive member of society and just want to be able to meet my project deadlines.

    Instead, why don't I rephrase your question and ask "what does Windows bring me that OS X doesn't?"

    Assume, like 90+% of the general population, that I don't play graphics-intensive 3D games.
  • Desslok - Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - link

    Nothing beats their current iLife software suite. At least nothing I have found comes close to it on the PC side, plus now that you can run XP on them you can have the best of both worlds. Albeit no SLI/Crossfire, but then again how many people really use SLI? Reply
  • retrospooty - Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - link

    I keep asking the same question, and ilife keeps coming up as the answer, but no-one cares to explain what it is an/or why it is better then the PC equivalent. What is ilife, and why is it so great? Reply
  • Desslok - Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - link

    Read the reviews on iLife if you want to know more. They can explain it much better than I. Reply
  • retrospooty - Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - link

    Thanks, I did at your suggestion... So its a suite of iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD, GarageBand, and iWeb... Oh boy, I am totally unimpressed. I have all that on my PC using various free crap. I am sure they are nice apps for what they do, but hardly worth purchasing (thus the reason they are free). That is SOOOO not a reason to buy a MAC over PC (to me anyhow). I prefer to build my own hardware and have a way faster system. Reply
  • plinden - Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - link

    Unlike you, I've used both iLife and free crap (as you aptly call it), and apart from Picassa (as a replacement for iPhoto) there's no contest. I have been able to very quickly and easily put together DVDs of the kids for the rest of the family using iMovie and iDVD. Sure I have done something similar with Windows Movie Maker, but the result is nowhere near as good.

    But ignoring iLife (it's not one of the reasons I give for liking Macs) there is still no reason for me to switch back to Windows.

    90% of my time on my computers is spent working ... that includes code development. Compilation time for my code on my Mac is the same as in Linux but is twice as fast per CPU cycle as in Windows.

    So explain to me again why Macs are crap ... what? ... oh games. Right, well I guess I'm too cheap to spend thousands on a toy.
  • retrospooty - Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - link

    I never said macs are crap specifically... I was just asking what the draw is. I would personally not buy ANY computer from ANY major manufacturer. Not Dell, not sony, gateway, Apple, or any other manufacturer, because they are all crap. Cheap mobo's and memory bought in bulk and sold to the masses. Junk. Reply
  • michael2k - Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - link

    1:) Well, according to Anandtech's calculations, it's cheaper to buy a quad CPU Mac than to build one.
    2:) iLife is better than "free crap"
    3:) Macs can run Windows, BSD, Linux, and OS X all at once; PCs cannot
    4:) Drive sleds
    5:) Ram risers
    6:) Quiet case
    7:) 6 SATA connectors
    8:) 4 PCIe slots and 8 monitors
  • retrospooty - Thursday, August 17, 2006 - link

    Yes, in general, good quality components cost more than cheap crap... This is why Acura and Lexus cost more than a Ford, even though they are all built in hte USA. Would you rather get the mobo, memory, HDD, and video card that some kind and caring (cough cough) company landed a mulimillion dollar cotract to buy 10's of thousands, or pick your own?

    What is your point?
  • nexcom - Saturday, November 28, 2009 - link

    yes good and quality also mater aswell ok. Reply
  • michael2k - Thursday, August 17, 2006 - link

    My point was that you got better build quality than the average DIY case:
    You get HDD sleds, cablefree installation, 2 gigE ports, 6 SATA connectors, etc, etc, etc.

    Not everyone has the skill, time, or resources to do their own research, shopping around, and haggling, you know.

    Are you arguing against, similarly, mass produced cars, TVs, homes, fridges, and furniture over DIY solutions?

    Or do you shop at Target and Walmart too?
  • retrospooty - Thursday, August 17, 2006 - link

    MAybe I am dense, but I am still missing your point... Anyhow, Apple's MAC's, or Dell, or any other vendor for that matter are not of high quality parts. The CPU's are great, most of the rest is cheap deal based components. Yes, most people lack the knowledge to build thier own systems, and they buy Dell's, and MAC's and such. All I am saying is that those systems arent at all using all the best high quality/high performance parts. Reply
  • michael2k - Thursday, August 17, 2006 - link

    So I'm asking if you are consistent.

    Do you refuse to buy at Walmart and Target because they sell mass produced furniture, clothing, and household goods because they don't happen to use the highest quality materials? Do you, instead, build your own furniture, make your own clothes, grow your own produce, and make your own electronics?

    I don't see your point, because you haven't proven it, that Macs use "cheap deal based components". The case is definitely not "cheap deal based components" because it is crafted of aluminum ONLY for Apple, and it is quite nonstandard compared to the average PC case. Then there is the Mac motherboard, which as far as I can tell is also unique, being a Xeon EFI based motherboard, crafted singularly for Apple, most likely by Intel itself. The video card, yes, it is cheap, but that saves the user money too, and is no worse than an off the shelf NVIDIA video card.

    Where is your proof that the Mac Pro has cheap, unreliable, components?
  • retrospooty - Friday, August 18, 2006 - link

    you're wearing me out... I give. Long live the MAC, may Apple break thier 10 year rut and finally get more than 3% global marketshare, maybe even 5%. Whoopdeedoo. Yippee skip.

    BTW, Apple's beautiful aluminum cases are a total ripoff (if not an out right purchase)of the Lian Li design. EFI is an average/cheap mobo maker at best (not to say unreliable, just average in function, and performance). They are no DFI, or ASUS, not even close.
  • Maury Markowitz - Friday, August 18, 2006 - link

    You really are trolling...

    > total ripoff of the Lian Li

    Well I've actually used one of these, which I really doubt you can claim, and they're certainly nothing at all like the Apple case. Or are you overheating those two brain cells because both cases happen to use aluminum? I guess, by that brilliant logic, that Apple stole the design of their cases from the Dornier Dr.I from World War I. After all, that used aluminum too.

    For the record, the Lian Li design doesn't show a single one of the features that the Apple industrial design team put into the Mac Pro. They are, quite simply, bog-standard PC cases made of aluminum instead of stamped steel. That's it. For instance, the drives slide in from the front through a removable panel, are fastened into place with tiny little screws, and connected to the mobo with cables. Does this sound like the Mac Pro in any way whatsoever? Well pictures are worth a thousand words:">

    > EFI is an average/cheap mobo maker

    Stop! Please, stop! My ribs are aching!

    Hey brainiac, EFI is not a company.

    > They are no DFI, or ASUS, not even close.

    I hope not, considering it's an acronym for a boot standard.

    If this is the basis of your "Apple is cheap" argument, you really are a moron.

  • retrospooty - Friday, August 18, 2006 - link

    Sorry to all, my bad, I read too quickly and I thought the post above was stating that EFI (the company) made Apple's new mobo's.

    Anyhow, I was not saying they are particularily bad, or cheap, I was saying ALL manufacturers use "average" parts in thier systems, including Apple. Aplle may well be at or very near the best of the list of major manufactureres, but its still not like hand picking your own motherboard, ram, v card, HDD etc. In other words, if Apple was an open standard, and any manufacturer could make parts for it, you would see alot of higher quality parts from some of those vendors.

    Any Yes, the case appearance is a TOTAL ripoff of Lian Li. The interior is certianly not, bute the look and feel externally, is identical, right down to the holes.

    Anyhow, I am done on this one, I have riled up enough MAC fanboy anger for now :D LONG LICE MAC, may their marketshare double to a whopping 6% !
  • michael2k - Friday, August 18, 2006 - link

    Right, a total ripoff... you sound like a broken record. Look at Anand's review here:">

    It was introduced in April of 2004... almost a full year after Apple introduced their PowerMac G5 in June of 2003. The case design, with the cooling zones, grill face, and inverted motherboard all debuted in an Apple design and then was copied by Lian Li. This has nothing to do with being a fanboy and everything to do with being right.

    You believe Apple ripped off the Lian Li... fine, link the Lian Li that preceeded the PowerMac G5 case!
  • plinden - Saturday, August 19, 2006 - link

    No point in arguing with this guy - he's shown just how much he knows about the subject. How could someone regularly read AnandTech and not know about EFI? And then profess to have confused it with some obscure mobo manufacturer?

    Oddly enough, I can't find any motherboards for sale manufactured by a company called EFI - either it's very obscure or he's making it up. I wonder which one it is?
  • michael2k - Friday, August 18, 2006 - link

    EFI isn't a manufacturer, it stands for "Extensible Firmware Interface", see the link in the other post.
    Lian Li had an aluminum case first, but Apple's design was COPIED by Lian Li. Read the Anandtech article in which half the comments for the case review claim "G5 ripoff".
  • plinden - Friday, August 18, 2006 - link


    EFI is an average/cheap mobo maker at best (not to say unreliable, just average in function, and performance). They are no DFI, or ASUS, not even close.

    I laughed out loud at this. You're absolutely right, EFI is no DFI or ASUS, not even close.

    You've just proved you know fuck all about this. I suggest you read up on EFI ("> before posting about this in the future.

    I'm not going to tell you makes the Mac motherboards. I'll leave that up to you to research.
  • pervisanathema - Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - link

    I want one. :o Reply
  • takeshi7 - Tuesday, January 07, 2014 - link

    Just a small correction on page 2: The Power Mac G5 PCI-E also has 3 USB 2.0 ports on the rear panel. Reply

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