Mac Pro vs. Consumer Macs

For my final set of CPU performance charts I put the new Mac Pro through the same set of tests I do all new Macs. There are definitely multithreaded components to these tests (some are indeed highly threaded), but the suite also values good single threaded performance. Here we'll get an idea of how the new Mac Pro, in its most expensive configuration, fares as a normal Mac.

I've already gone through Cinebench 11.5 results, but the following graphs should put in perspective the Mac Pro's performance relative to all consumer Macs:

3D Rendering - Cinebench 11.5 (1 thread)

If there's one graph that tells the story of why Intel's workstation roadmap is ridiculous, it's this one. The Mac Pro follows Intel's workstation roadmap, which ends up being cut down versions of Intel's server silicon, which happens to be a generation behind what you can get on the desktop. So while the latest iMac and MacBook Pro ship with Intel's latest Haswell cores, the Mac Pro uses what those machines had a year ago: Ivy Bridge. Granted everything else around the CPU cores is beefed up (there's more cache, many more PCIe lanes, etc...), but single threaded performance does suffer as a result.

Now part of this is exaggerated by the fact that I'm reviewing the 2.7GHz 12-core Mac Pro configuration. Single core turbo tops out at 3.5GHz vs. 3.9GHz for the rest of the parts. I suspect if you had one of the 8-core models you'd see peak single threaded performance similar to what the 2012 27-inch iMac delivers. The 2013 27-inch iMac with its fastest CPU should still be quicker though. We're not talking about huge margins of victory here, a matter of a handful of percent, but as a much more expensive machine it's frustrating to not see huge performance leadership in all areas.

The Mac Pro is designed to offer competitive single threaded performance, but really deliver for everyone who depends on great multithreaded performance:

3D Rendering - Cinebench 11.5 (multithreaded)

If you need more cores, the Mac Pro is literally the only solution Apple offers that can deliver. We're talking about multiple times the performance offered by anything else in Apple's lineup with a Pro suffix.

I'm slowly but surely amassing Cinebench 15 results. The story doesn't really change here, I just thought I'd publish the numbers in case anyone wants data using this new test:

3D Rendering - Cinebench 15 (1 thread)

3D Rendering - Cinebench 15 (multithreaded)

The latest versions of iPhoto and iMovie break comparisons to my older benchmarks so I've had to drop them here. I still have our Photoshop CS5 and Lightroom 3 tests though:

Adobe Photoshop Performance

As I mentioned earlier, threading seems to have improved on newer versions of Photoshop. In CS5 our benchmark looks more like a lightly threaded test by comparison. Out of curiosity I ran the test under Photoshop CS6 and came away with a completion time of around 6 seconds.

Adobe Lightroom Export Performance

Our Lightroom 3 export test tells a very similar story. Anyone with lighter workloads looking for a huge performance increase thanks to the Mac Pro will have to look elsewhere. The Mac Pro is at least performance competitive, but in these lightly threaded workloads you won't see a huge uplift.

Putting Mac Pro Performance in Perspective: Professional Apps The PCIe Layout
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  • madwolfa - Tuesday, December 31, 2013 - link

    Happy New Year! Reply
  • mwildtech - Tuesday, December 31, 2013 - link

    Tahiti's roasting on an open fire... Whew!! Reply
  • mwildtech - Tuesday, December 31, 2013 - link

    To be fair this was running Furmark and is not a realistic load on the gpu's. I would be interested in seeing the CPU and GPU temps while gaming in something like BF4. Anyway you guys could test it? Great review as always! Reply
  • wildpalms - Friday, January 03, 2014 - link

    Gaming is not possible on the new Mac pro, at least not with any suitable level of performance. The GPU's are workstation class....and will crunch through rendering and other video type operations. Gaming will be lousy on these GPU's, as these are NOT the typical gaming type GPU's you may be used to. Reply
  • Haravikk - Monday, January 13, 2014 - link

    That's not completely fair; the D700's are what, 7970 (R9 280?) equivalents, and they will work with CrossFireX under Windows, so they should run pretty well. Granted you're absolutely right that they're not gaming GPUs so you shouldn't expect them to beat a decent gaming rig, but they'll do in a pinch. Besides, mwildtech was asking what kind of temperature the Mac Pro would reach while running games, not whether it'll be any good at doing so. Reply
  • newrigel - Wednesday, March 01, 2017 - link

    And the unified core will keep cool better than any water-based system and it won't leak and burn your computer up ha ha ha ha ha ha Reply
  • eutectic - Tuesday, December 31, 2013 - link

    Can I volunteer a Lightroom license for testing? I think export is much, much better threaded in v5; it'd be nice to see that benchmarked. Reply
  • knweiss - Thursday, January 02, 2014 - link

    +1 Reply
  • piroroadkill - Tuesday, December 31, 2013 - link

    463W at the wall with a 450W DC power supply...

    Throttling to 2GHz, almost boiling GPU temps. Yeah, I think this machine could have done with being a bit larger to extend the mass of that heatsink, and include a PSU that won't be pushed to an unhealthy percentage of its maximum all the time.
    Reply
  • mwildtech - Tuesday, December 31, 2013 - link

    To be fair they was with Furmark and Prime 95 at the same time. Not a realistic load, Tahiti's running Furmark in a desktop in CFX can see similar temps with a AMD reference model. Also, 463w at the wall with 85% efficiency is only 393w being used by the workstation, seems within the safe limits. Reply

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